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Author Topic: OCD Ritual and Religious Ritual  (Read 4476 times)

Juniperberry

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Re: OCD Ritual and Religious Ritual
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2012, 01:48:10 pm »
Quote from: Jack;86903
I'm a little late to the party, but I would definitely be interested in having this discussion, particularly about how it is relevant to us as pagans dealing with OCD. I talk about the subject on my blog pretty regularly, and how it crops up specifically for me. I do still struggle a lot with the intersection between magical thinking in the psychological sense and actual magic.


After a little bit of thought I would say that annual traditions (Christmas, Mother's Night, etc) aren't OCD-inspired. They're social and spiritual rituals of reaffirmation, a way of cementing the relationships and proper behaviors built/maintained in the last cycle so that they carry on into the upcoming cycle.
 
Daily offerings on the other hand seem to walk a fine line. Especially if there's a paranoia that failing to perform those rituals everyday will cause some harm to yourself or person. Sacrificing a goat once a season to thank gods for a previous harvest and ask for the next to be as fruitful has some natural and symbolic markers of endings/beginnings and a harmonious relationship with the world. Sacrificing a goat everyday because you fear a lapse in doing so will anger some vengeful force and not because there's a specific need, symbolic marker, or request seems...obsessive.
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Maps

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Re: OCD Ritual and Religious Ritual
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2012, 02:09:26 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;87116
After a little bit of thought I would say that annual traditions (Christmas, Mother's Night, etc) aren't OCD-inspired. They're social and spiritual rituals of reaffirmation, a way of cementing the relationships and proper behaviors built/maintained in the last cycle so that they carry on into the upcoming cycle.
 
Daily offerings on the other hand seem to walk a fine line. Especially if there's a paranoia that failing to perform those rituals everyday will cause some harm to yourself or person. Sacrificing a goat once a season to thank gods for a previous harvest and ask for the next to be as fruitful has some natural and symbolic markers of endings/beginnings and a harmonious relationship with the world. Sacrificing a goat everyday because you fear a lapse in doing so will anger some vengeful force and not because there's a specific need, symbolic marker, or request seems...obsessive.

 
This is why schedules do and don't work for me... and why dailies became out of the question. Far too much guilt and anxiety about missing day for it to be worth it. So I try to do things on holy days, which are far less often. Anxiety still, but not as much.

Makes me think more about the necessity of the division of religious labor among communities. Under other circumstances, there would be no anxiety about doing ritual for gods because it really wasn't much of my business to begin with. Some theists decry those stereotypical Christians who only go to church on Easter sunday, but... I think for many ancestors and ancients, their duties to the gods only needed to be upheld once a year. And I'm sure an arrangement like that is pretty unimaginable to the modern pagan. :P

Juniperberry

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Re: OCD Ritual and Religious Ritual
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2012, 02:52:41 pm »
Quote from: Maps;87121
This is why schedules do and don't work for me... and why dailies became out of the question. Far too much guilt and anxiety about missing day for it to be worth it. So I try to do things on holy days, which are far less often. Anxiety still, but not as much.

Makes me think more about the necessity of the division of religious labor among communities. Under other circumstances, there would be no anxiety about doing ritual for gods because it really wasn't much of my business to begin with. Some theists decry those stereotypical Christians who only go to church on Easter sunday, but... I think for many ancestors and ancients, their duties to the gods only needed to be upheld once a year. And I'm sure an arrangement like that is pretty unimaginable to the modern pagan. :P


That's a good point about scheduling and holy days. Thinking outloud here: Even rituals of giving thanks or needs could become obsessive, but assigning a day or term for when all thanks/general needs can be addressed  at once is more practical. Especially finding a day that has some significance in itself: a full moon, the start of summer, an upcoming eclipse. Then of course there's special events: births, deaths, marriages. And this is how religious communities worked, while leaving immediate personal needs/thanks-giving rituals up to the individual at their home altar.

I suppose since most of us aren't in religious communities its up to us to define and organize our schedule. Giving to the wights on a personal basis at the first of the month, for example. But making sure that the ritual is harmonious and significant to a greater symbolism and not self-serving and a slave to paranoia. Even "because it feels right now" could lead to an obsessive follow through,  so traditions should be set.

And if it is connected to some tide or symbolism then its less OCD but a meaningful coexistence and recognition of the sacred natural.
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Jack

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Re: OCD Ritual and Religious Ritual
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2012, 09:06:16 pm »
Quote from: Maps;87121
This is why schedules do and don't work for me... and why dailies became out of the question. Far too much guilt and anxiety about missing day for it to be worth it. So I try to do things on holy days, which are far less often. Anxiety still, but not as much.

 
I was doing daily offerings to my primary goddess for a while, but I missed one day and nearly had a panic attack the next morning when I realized. So now I'm on a weekly schedule, and she seems to be okay with that. I even put it in my to-do list app so I don't have to worry about getting reminded, I track it with the same amount of care I use in tracking my bills.

It feels like there's not really room to be a "Christmas-and-Easter" pagan. Maybe Samhain-and-Beltaine? I always felt like a "bad" pagan for not going to more things, and working on the ADF Dedicant Program isn't helping because I have to do all eight in a row with a certain number in the ADF style, and if I miss one I have to start over.
Hail Mara, Lady of Good Things!
"The only way to cope with something deadly serious is to try to treat it a little lightly." -Madeleine L'Engle

Jack

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Re: OCD Ritual and Religious Ritual
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2012, 09:09:57 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;87124
I suppose since most of us aren't in religious communities its up to us to define and organize our schedule. Giving to the wights on a personal basis at the first of the month, for example. But making sure that the ritual is harmonious and significant to a greater symbolism and not self-serving and a slave to paranoia.


Basically the only solution I've found for that is that any time I find myself getting anxious about missing a ritual, I force myself to take time off from that ritual, or revamp it in some way. Once the thoughtloop is short-circuited, usually the obsessive thoughts will subside (or at least find something else to focus on).
Hail Mara, Lady of Good Things!
"The only way to cope with something deadly serious is to try to treat it a little lightly." -Madeleine L'Engle

Lynx

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Re: OCD Ritual and Religious Ritual
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2012, 02:30:11 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;81242
The gist of it seems to be that humans develop social rituals that dictate what ethics and values a group should have for optimal survival. Supernatural agencies become part of a social group when our minds think "off-line", when we conceive of things not in our immediate physical reality, and then rituals are developed for that as well. So, a certain religion will have taboo numbers, colors, walk a bull in a circle three times, and only touch a tool with the left hand to maintain a proper balance and ward against contamination, catastrophe, ill-luck in much the same way that an OCDer will have taboo colors, numbers, walk out a door three times etc to ward against those same things. The OCD is self-ritualizing--what Freud called personal cults. If social rituals aren't providing the affirmations and sense of controllable interactions with physical and supernatural agencies, then private ones arise. I assume if you get more than one OCDer with similar ritual manifestations together then you'd have a tribal cult which would say "this is just how things are done".

I think the paper I brought up first had mentioned athletes being OCD ritualistic in the way that they have set superstitions before games and how if those rituals aren't met precisely then their game is off and they're mentally anxious and unbalanced. Which is perfectly acceptable in that context. But what caused the ritual? Did they notice a pattern of good games when the criteria was met? Do they just feel more zen? And isn't that what religion seeks to provide? A fortuante result and feeling of security?


Wow. This thread is amazing to read. My younger sister copes with some pretty bad OCD every single day. I'll have to show her some of the links in the thread for her to read. She's always interested in learning more. The connection to religion is definitely something that I've never thought of before, but now that everyone is talking about it, I think it makes a lot of sense.

Also, thank you for sharing all of this!
My (mostly empty) spiritual blog: Writing In Color

Revenant

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Re: OCD Ritual and Religious Ritual
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2012, 12:40:51 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;81108
Recently I discovered that I have OCD and it's made me pretty curious about the influences on my spirituality. What's interesting about OCD is a) it may be a throwback survival trait (i.e.  constantly checking treeline for predators) and b) it may have been the driving force behind religious ritual.

Anyway. As a personal example, I have this weird ritual where my kid's blankets and pillows must be facing right side up. Its as if leaving them facing right side down is a jinx and fixing that deflects the influence of some abstract imposing force. I can't leave it unfixed. Like, if I don't care enough to fix their blankets properly then something bad will happen, so fixing them is a ward against disaster. Its a completely organic OCD superstition but it reminds me of folk wisdom rituals: sewing and yarn must be properly cared for else Perchta/Holle will curse you with bad fortune. An idol must face in the proper direction, a chant must be said in the right tone, an offering should be given weekly, etc.



I know I'm a little late posting to this thread but I just wanted to give a heartfelt thank you to Juniperberry for starting this discussion. I'm very OCD about certain things and I completely understand the concept of "if I don't do 'this' something bad will happen" or "if I don't do 'this' then a higher power will somehow be offended". The thing is this though...while I realized that a number of people have OCD, I still subconciously had myself convinced that I was the only one doing these things. I can't begin to tell you how much it means to know it's not just me struggling with this...thank you so much!
"When I have a terrible need of - shall I say the word - religion, then I go out and paint the stars."  ~Vincent Van Gogh~

Sanacrow

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Re: OCD Ritual and Religious Ritual
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2013, 12:00:31 am »
Quote from: Revenant;87985
...I still subconciously had myself convinced that I was the only one doing these things. I can't begin to tell you how much it means to know it's not just me struggling with this...


I'm late to the party, but you're far from alone. Even in feeling sometimes as if you *are* all alone. I work with folks on a regular basis who deal with much more severe OCD than I do, and I still manage to convince myself sometimes that I'm the only one in all creation who had ever done this or that. I think it's part of the disorder. Or part of humanity. Either way, yeah. Me, too.

Juniperberry

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Re: OCD Ritual and Religious Ritual
« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2013, 12:26:38 am »
Quote from: Sanacrow;89313
I'm late to the party, but you're far from alone. Even in feeling sometimes as if you *are* all alone. I work with folks on a regular basis who deal with much more severe OCD than I do, and I still manage to convince myself sometimes that I'm the only one in all creation who had ever done this or that. I think it's part of the disorder. Or part of humanity. Either way, yeah. Me, too.

Ditto. I'm Pure O, and didn't realize until I finally opened up about the thoughts I had. I figured I was like...awful. I found out that everyone has those thoughts but can usually dismiss them as mental sludge. O's tend to analyze and question them to death. Finding out I wasn't some weirdo was amazing. I still worry about it, especially about saying them outloud. ( OCD is related to Tourettes.) In very stressful situations those thoughts pop up out of the blue and I'll literally bite my tongue to keep from blurting them out. And then I'll obsess that I did say them...man, its vicious.

But it's a lot better knowing that it's not just me and I'm much more open knowing that.

As far as religion goes, I can obsess about "signs" and warnings. Why did I get the urge to go left instead of right? Does it mean I'm about to die? A dog barked in my dream and I drowned and omg I just heard a dog bark so I have to get off the road. But after my own upg matching up to researching stuff like that I realized that there are rules, there is an order to whatever it is out there, and it isn't so randomly connected as I used to worry it was.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 12:27:54 am by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Sanacrow

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Re: OCD Ritual and Religious Ritual
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2013, 01:17:40 am »
Quote from: Juniperberry;89317
I can obsess about "signs" and warnings.


I have both sides. I don't obsess about the "signs" exactly, but I have a big thing about patterns in general and can get really hung up on supposed signs that fall into one of "my" patterns. I'm also BPD type 2, and if I'm under a lot of stress they can feed on each other if I'm not careful. It helps lots that my wife is my Craft partner as well - she's an invaluable sounding board for LOTS of reasons!

It's just another area where "know thyself" is a really important thing. I know my triggers and which patterns hang me up, so it's a lot easier to catch myself before I go off too much most of the time. And R's there to smack me up side the head the rest of the time.

Jack

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Re: OCD Ritual and Religious Ritual
« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2013, 01:04:05 pm »
Quote from: Sanacrow;89324
It helps lots that my wife is my Craft partner as well - she's an invaluable sounding board for LOTS of reasons!

 
Seconding this. I'm very lucky to have a wife who's also my working partner, which means I can say "I can't stop thinking about X and Y" and she can tell me if I sound like I'm being obsessive or if it sounds like a genuine thing. It's like having an extra set of filters outside my head.

(On the other hand, I've known people before who exacerbated my issues, so I think it's important to have someone you can completely trust if you're going to hand so much of your control over to them.)
Hail Mara, Lady of Good Things!
"The only way to cope with something deadly serious is to try to treat it a little lightly." -Madeleine L'Engle

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