Re-enchanting the Forest: Meaningful Ritual in a Secular World (Paperback)
A compelling exploration of the lost yet crucial role of ritual in our increasingly secular lives. Today, in the West, we hold neither adequate rites of passage for our youth, nor initiations for our growing number of elders. We have neither healing rituals for the loss of an unborn child, nor ways to mark the severing of a twenty-year relationship. This can leave us feeling alienated and bereft. Re-enchanting the Forest is written for that part in us that yearns for living ritual, that seeks to bring an embodied sense of solace and belonging back into our modern lives. Drawing on his own experience, and on the ritual cultures of the indigenous world, William Ayot demonstrates the value and power of ritual to revive and 're-wire' our sometimes confused and disconnected spirits. With a foreword by Mark Rylance.
Praise for Re-enchanting the Forest
In today's Western world, we are richer than we have ever been. The array of technologies, foodstuffs and consumer goods available to most of us would have rendered our ancestors speechless. We are told almost daily how lucky we are. So what is this huge hole at the centre of our culture? What is this grief that lurks beneath the surface? What is this thing we are missing, that so many of us can sense, but few can put their finger on?
It is, I think, a lack of understanding of our place in time and history, our loss of a deeper place in the natural order of things, a dim sense of our broken connections with the world beyond the human. A rediscovery of ritual is part of the necessary work to bind up this wound, and this book is a powerful part of the remedy.
Paul Kingsnorth, activist and author of The Wake and Real England
By introducing people to the ways of ritual, William Ayot helps people towards a wiser, richer, more connected life. Sobonfu Som , initiated teacher, activist and author of The Spirit of Intimacy
This is the most compelling book I know on the vital but lost role of ritual in our lives. Neither an academic treatise nor a theological tract, Re-enchanting the Forest is about life as it is and might be lived in a secular world, a book that honoured my mind but reached directly into my heart and soul. I cannot recommend it highly enough, with only one caveat: reading it might change your life as it changed mine.
Parker J. Palmer, author of A Hidden Wholeness and Healing the Heart of Democracy
In this remarkable book, William Ayot reclaims the beauty of practical ritual to enhance our lives, to heal, to inspire and to reveal personal insights otherwise beyond our ken. Ritual comes home. We can welcome it back and hold it close to our hearts.
Professor Brian Bates, author of The Way of Wyrd
I love the way William Ayot's book combines the story of his life with an exploration of the value and purpose of ritual. By weaving the accounts of his own challenges, described with such heartfelt honesty, with discussions of how to work with ritual, the whole subject comes alive. I found I couldn't stop reading.
Philip Carr-Gomm, author of Druidcraft and Sacred Places
One of the most important and inspiring books I have ever read in the field of ritual practice. William Ayot shows us that ritual is nothing to be scared of. It is instead a vital aspect of an integrating psyche, as relevant and essential today as ever, and a true ally to well-being, perspective and purpose.
Ben Walden, Founding Director, Contender Charlie
This is a powerful book, a handy source to rediscover the lost art of rituals.
Satish Kumar, Editor-in-Chief of Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine