Can anyone point me towards research on 'ritual' and 'online spaces'? How can 'ritual', usually tied with spectacle, performance, and physical presence in a group, be facilitated through online space/s, where bodies are not physically in the same space?

Any ideas, thoughts, pointers to essays or books greatly appreciated!

(plz boost)

Ritual online, religion 

@luka Some neopagans have been doing ritual online for decades, well before mass videochat was a thing. It's worth web searching some of their advice for running those. Some of the descriptions are wrapped up in theologies that won't make sense to you if you're not also pagan, but there are others that basically boil down to how to keep participants engaged in any big meeting.

Ritual online, religion 

@luka Very broadly, two entirely different answers to that.

First, ritual doesn't have to be social and performance. It can be participatory. Even in the pre-videochat 90s folks were doing online rituals via irc and chat apps. If everyone knows going in that we're all going to light our candles at this particular time, if ritual leaders know the parts they're sharing and when, and if coordinators can engage participants at the right times, it can work.

Ritual online, religion 

@luka Second, these days it can still use a lot of ritual and performance. Ever get immersed in a video game or movie? Media online can be very compelling if managed well. If your ritual leaders can make decent media and your participants have bandwidth to stream it, you have several senses to help with immersion.

Ritual online, religion 

@luka Combine those two together and you've got a lot to work with, actually. From pre-ritual communication participants come ready knowing how they're going to engage remotely. Leaders come ready to present any performance parts appropriate to the available media. And dozens of people all spamming "Amen" or "So mote it be" or "Praise Bob" in chat together can be surprisingly moving if they have some shared experience to attach it to.

@luka Aaaah, I’ll dig up my old curriculum. This is theatre science stuff.

@luka Not formally research, but I loved this essay on appropriating spreadsheets to celebrate online together:

@luka i think BECOMING DANGEROUS: A book about ritual and resistance had some stuff about that, if memory serves, but i don't have it on hands!

@luka isn't polling social media a ritual? Formatting a post to convey an essence a kind of prayer? Identifying language-patterns a form of social bonding? And hashtags a form of temple?

@luka There was a ritual amongst people who used to use "" which then became gnusocial, of saying

"TZAG" when they first posted in a day. TZAG stood for "Time Zone Appropriate Greeting"

@luka Some thoughts from recent experience. I practice Japanese tea ceremony, which is practically defined by a host serving a guest, which would seem impossible under pandemic conditions. Recently, a set of tea gatherings planned around the world had to be scrapped, and were replaced by a Zoom session that ran for 24 hours straight, spanning the globe. People took turns making tea for themselves or a family member. Some served the tea offering-style, leaving it on a small altar space.

@luka This ended up working really, really well. For many of us, we'd never seen how people practice tea outside of school settings. Seeing improvised utensils and personal art were object lessons in keeping the tradition by any means necessary. We saw so many personal expressions of tea. Like, the Egyptian practitioner with an Arabic calligraphy on the wall, who had to perform a sunset tea because of Ramadan? Wow. Just wow.

@luka Having to adapt to physical separation ended up being a much more powerful exchange across the world and reminded us all to not feel inadequate keeping our practice alone. Given that all of us carry on the legacy of a tea teacher who left war-torn Japan to teach non-Japanese and build a global base of practitioners, this kind of adaptable thriving is really part of the DNA or our tradition, even if we don't say it out loud because we strive for traditional high art so much.

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