Getting to Yes, And

Casper ter Kuile: The Power of Ritual


Casper ter Kuile

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Kelly connects with Casper ter Kuile to talk about his new book The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities Into Soulful Practices.

We’ve had a number of conversations on this podcast on how this present moment which feels so bleak, could possibly be a tremendous moment of opportunity.

“I wrote the book really in the context of big shifts and reflecting what it means for us as individuals: one is the kind of drastic shift away from religious institutions. So this process of dis- affiliation that more and more of us, especially in the US, describe ourselves as non religious or disconnected from a religious institution. And at the same time, this other kind of trend of the growing rates of loneliness and social disconnection. And so I think we find ourselves in the middle of this moment where a lot of the ways in which traditionally we were held in community, the ways in which we found meaning and purpose are kind of floating away and we're having to figure that out ourselves and that isn't always easy.”

This book offers that you don’t need to abandon what’s sacred simply because you don’t want to practice in a church or temple or mosque.

“Thinking about spirituality, not that it belongs to a certain institution or that it belongs to a certain place, but to think about it, instead, as something that's constantly present. And it really is about how aware of it. We are in each individual moment and not that we’re necessarily going to live in constant days of sacred bliss, you know, we have to do the laundry; we have to do the cooking, although, of course, those can be sacred moments, too.”

You, of course, are known for co-hosting the “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text” podcast. I imagine JK Rowling’s recent and past comments on trans rights has been a tough thing to encounter.

“Sacred reading is not about authorial intent. We're not trying to discover what does she mean or why does this plot not work, or what does this character, you know, represent to the author. For us, sacred reading is always about how can we use this story, how can we use this text to help us live lives of greater integrity and courage, what, what can we learn from these characters about how to live. And so, to some extent, we're protected from the immediate hurtful speech coming from JK Rowling, but at the same time, when you have loved something so dearly and the person who's created it betrays you it's incredibly painful. And so, you know, for some people, Harry Potter isn't that safe place anymore.”

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