When a Roman Emperor made the Catholic Church the state religion in 308 A.D., the Western world was robbed of its ritual roots where gatherings for dancing, altered states of consciousness, and communion helped people passionately connect to one another as well as the gods.
Catherine Bell, the religious studies scholar, explains rituals as “the means by which collective beliefs and ideals are simultaneously generated, experienced, and affirmed as real by the community. Hence, ritual is the means by which individual perception and behavior are socially appropriated or conditioned.”
The Catholic Church – by making its rituals insular, and by extracting rites of passage from the lives of the people – caused humanity to cease coexisting in the same way. I feel this prevented humans from being reliant upon one another to interact in profoundly transformative ways. But that deep, archetypal longing still exists in each and every one of us.