Welcome to this week’s craft post. Today is our last post in the sub-series on religions. Next weeks will be a wrap-up post. For those who are new or haven’t been here in a while, we have been going through a massive series on Worldbuilding. You can catch up on all the posts thus far in the series, by clicking on the Worldbuilding link in the toolbar. For those just not up to date on the sub-series of religion, you can find all the posts here. For warning, I will be referring back to the post on Doctrine of Religions for this post. If you haven’t read it, you can find it here.

What is a ritual? According to Dictionary.com a Ritual is:

1. an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rites.
2. a system or collection of religious or other rites.
While Dictionary.com is linking the word to religious use, you do not need to be religious to have rituals. You can have a morning ritual, where you get up and  go to the bathroom first thing, or have your coffee. You can have a night ritual, where you have a beer before going to bed or check on the kids before turning in. Ritual is something you do a specific way every time you do it. It doesn’t have to be daily, it can be weekly, monthly, annually, etc. When we hear ritual we link it to some kind of religious act because religion and rituals are so intertwined. Let’s look at some common rituals from the top three religions.
Christianity Islam Judaism
  • Holy Communion
  • Baptism
  • Tithe
  • (salat) Ritual Prayer
  • (zakat) Alms tax
  • (hajj) Pilgrimage to Mecca
  • Circumcision
  • Adulthood: Bat-mitzvah
  • Dietary laws (Kosher foods)


Each of the three rituals that are listed is only a few of those religions common rituals. Each one comes from a teaching from their holy scriptures. This is where Doctrine of Religions post will come in. I mentioned in that post that once you know the doctrines of your religions on your world will help with this. In case you don’t know all of or any of the religions in your worlds doctrine, that’s fine. You can come up with rituals and tie them to the doctrine later.

There is another post that may come in handy as well, the post on the Purposes of Religion. In this case, the bad purposes. If you have a villain who is religious, you can have him require the followers of the religion he is a part of tithe 50% of their weekly, monthly, or annual income to his position. This priest or monk could use obscure texts to back this up. In other words, not all rituals and practices have to be tied to doctrine. They can be tied by corrupt or mistranslation of the scriptures.

An example of this is, Christian Churches preach tithing, but nowhere in the New Testament does it say you must tithe. It only says tithe only if you want to. A good church will tell you this, a bad church will preach you must tithe, and it is usually the 10%, which is found in the Old Testament and the old Covenant that no longer applies. Please note this is not me trying to bash Christianity, just pointing something that I didn’t even really know until I heard some talk about it, back when I was more religious.

How do I come up with a Ritual? This is easy, it can be anything you want it to be. Your limit is that of your imagination. If you want a ritual to be drinking the blood of a virgin, you can do that. I would probably make that a ritual something fanatics follow, or have that religion be looked down upon. The key is, to tie it into the doctrine of the religion. Almost every ritual in a religion comes from their doctrine. Rituals are seen as an act of worship, by the followers and leadership, not necessarily by the gods, if the gods are real in your world.

If you need some help, you can look up different religious rituals, Wikipedia has a massive list, which you can find here. I found a cool, worksheet that asks you questions about your ritual, and it can be found here. If you want to add some conflict between two characters who are apart of the same religion is give them each or only one of them a ritual that one believes is a must and have the other not only refuse, but say it isn’t a ritual that is part of the religion. This ritual could be something that developed in a specific region of your world or it is a ritual from that character’s family has created, but it isn’t known as that character’s family has practiced it for centuries.

There is so much fun stuff you can do with this part of your religion. They don’t have to be bad or good. Whatever act you want to have who follow the religion do. Just know, that if you have a very silly or way out there ritual, you need to sell it as being serious to those who perform it. Unless you want the reader to think it is as silly as it sounds.

That’s all I got this week. I hope this post was is helpful for anyone who is working on religions for their world. Next week, we will do a wrap-up post. I don’t know what the next sub-series will be. I have two weeks to think it through. Remember, to check back on Monday’s for my Weekly Writing Wrap-up post. Follow me on Twitter @timrgreenebooks.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s