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Types Of Rituals

What are the different types of rituals?

There are many types of rituals, most of which deal with transition (changes that have happened, are happening, or may happen). It’s an important part of life and community to honor and be present with our life transitions, whether they are small or large, trivial or significant. Rituals can be categorized into the following types:


Birth of a child, starting a new job or business, moving into a new home, entering puberty, becoming a grandparent, etc.
Keywords: Beginnings, purification, cleansing, initiation, origin


Marriage, getting a roommate, business mergers, etc.
Keywords: Balance, heart, unity, relatedness, connection


Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, seasons, etc.
Keywords: Cyclical (wheel of life), celebration, seasonal, movement, deepening


Physical death, divorce, leaving a job, completing a project, etc.
Keywords: Endings, releasing, finishing, completion, liberation


For any kind of imbalance, whether it’s in the body, mind, heart or spirit; and can be for the self, another person, a relationship, a group, the planet as a whole, etc.
Keywords: Wholeness, unity, balance, manifestation, embodiment, health

To this I would add a sixth category:

Personal Awakening:

Anything that one does daily or regularly to bring structure, comfort, spiritual growth and development, join with community, etc. To connect personally to something larger than yourself, whether that means mind-body yoking through a yoga or Zen meditation practice; connecting with Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the liturgy; or simply the act of making your coffee while your body wakes up and prepares for the coming day.

All rituals speak to connectedness, which, as we learned in the previous post (What Is Ritual), is the essential purpose of any ritual. Thus, many of these types of rituals (and their keywords) overlap and combine.

(Some info adapted from The Art of Ritual, Renée Beck and Sydney Barbara Merick)

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