What the adherents of a religion do as part of that religion
a. Prayer: private and solitary moments of quiet reflection on God; noisy, group singing and chanting; fully prostrate, while prayer is conducted by a priest; kneeling down, reciting memorized prayers bowing down repeatedly in direction of Mecca, chanting from the Holy Qur'an
b. Asceticism: severe self-discipline, renouncing pleasure; desert fathers and martyrdom, yoga and world-renunciation (thorns); Self-mortification:** flagellation, hair shirts - still the senses; snake handling and drinking poisons in the Appalachians
c. Possession: hook hanging, fire walking, possession by demons, gods; speaking in tongues glossalalia): Pentecostal, divine language
d. Modes of dress: Muslim women and the purdah; Muslim man who dies his beard red after pilgrimage to Mecca; novitiate in a monastic order shaves head (tonsure)
e. Pilgrimage: to Mecca to circle round the shrine (Ka'bah), kiss the stone; holy temples in the Himalayas
f. Ritual: prescribed patterned action in a religious tradition.
i. Sacrifice: ritual death in which a sacrificial victim is offered to god as part of a reciprocal relationship between god and human beings. Aboriginal: life force of victim released. Aztec human sacrifice; Hindu - buffalo sacrifice; Hebrew bible - Abraham and Isaac. Christian: Death of Christ, sacrificial lamb, commemoration in communion
ii. Initiation into religious community (often synonymous with adulthood): Sacred thread: presented to guru receive instruction; circumcision in Aboriginal tribes: ritual killing, resurrection of the victim into a new existence; Bar mitzvah: 13 yr boy reads from Torah and becomes a member of the congregation.
iii. Transition and Transformation:
1. Rites of Passage – mark or bring about change of social position and status, change in physical or spiritual being of initiate; change of life phase (life-cycle rites: birth, puberty, marriage, death). Example: Death rite in Hinduism: pyre, son recites prayer to fire, burns, strikes head
2. Seasonal, calendrical rites: harvest; rains; birth and death