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Does Ritual Always have to be Secret?

March 6, 2013


This blog is written by Cory Stopka, St. Cloud State, an Educational and Leadership Consultant at the Central Office. In honor of National Ritual Celebration Week, we hope you enjoy this blog and remember that Ritual is more than a ceremony.

Does Ritual Always have to be Secret? 

Our Ritual should not be a secret.

[Pause for inevitable disagreement]

What does our Ritual include? Values. Common purpose. Vision. Goals. A commitment by all members, new and old, to all of that.

Why not share that with others?

I’m not suggesting that we go around and hand our Ritual books to any stranger or discuss confidential material. Rather, show our commitment to each other and our great Fraternity’s mission by showcasing them in our actions.

We can have our Ritual ceremonies remain private and our actions remain public like that of a Presidential Inauguration.

The Harvard Business Review posted a blog following President Obama’s second inauguration in January. In the blog, author Gianpiero Petriglieri made numerous observations why rituals are important even in today’s seemingly ever-changing world. Take notice that our Ritual has changed at various points in history – no, our four founders did not write what we use today.

Petriglieri mentioned that ritual is about us. We use our Ritual to transition individuals, affirm our ability to renew the organizational values, to keep culture alive, ties our leaders to their communities and commitments, and vice versa.

When we go through Ritual prior to, and after closing, our chapter meetings we are reviewing our objectives and establishing meaning for our gathering. Although we do this on a regular basis, we need to heed the reminders that are found in those words.

Without the reminder of vision, we are merely individuals without purpose or community.

Each of us will have our own reasons for becoming and staying involved in the Fraternity throughout our lifetimes. An individual contemplation should happen to see why our Ritual resonates with us as individuals. The Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity wrote about this topic in their blog last year during National Ritual Celebration Week.

How can you celebrate your own purpose in our Fraternity while honoring the commitments made during our Rituals?

Talk about your purpose as it relates to the Fraternity. You may ask your Chancellor/Ritual Chair to serve on the team for initiation, watch a webinar, have a discussion with volunteer leaders, seek out some Past Grand Presidents to get their take on changes throughout our century-long brotherhood, Tweet with #NRCW, or simply make a commitment to actively listen when you’re at the next Ritual ceremony.

Whatever you do to gain or renew your perspective on the importance of our Ritual, know that your actions represent alumni, collegians, pledges, colony members, and future brothers. You are part of a brotherhood nearly 250,000 strong!

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 6, 2013 5:47 pm

    I really love this post and it brings up some interesting points. I must say, and maybe it’s a product of my generation, but I tend to agree with you. There are a few things from Ritual that I would prefer stay secret and just for Brothers who receive the privilege of membership in the organization.

    But for any true Deltasig, someone who the tenants and principles of our organization have become ingrained indelibly on our souls. We live every day showing our Ritual to the world. It becomes a part of us so much so where I have repeated parts of ritual verbatim in a conversation about something. Because it is who I am.

    Should it be broadcast on the internet or in public libraries? No. But we should have the ability to freely discuss the principles we stand for. A perfect example of this is Freeemasonry. They have many private ceremonies that are for members only but the broadcast freely that they stand for Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. This gives a good showing of what the Freemasons stand for but the true depth and meaning of what they stand for is only realized and known to Brothers, like myself, who have gone through the private Masonic ceremonies.

    Very thought provoking post and I would be interested to hear the differing viewpoints.

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