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The Power of Ritual: How to Create Meaning and Connection in Everything You Do
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The Power of Ritual: How to Create Meaning and Connection in Everything You Do

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,753 ratings  ·  260 reviews
Casper ter Kuile, a Harvard Divinity School fellow and cohost of the popular Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast, explores how we can nourish our souls by transforming common, everyday practices—yoga, reading, walking the dog—into sacred rituals that can heal our crisis of social isolation and struggle to find purpose.

“After half a decade of research and hundreds of c
ebook, 224 pages
Published June 23rd 2020 by HarperOne
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 ·  1,753 ratings  ·  260 reviews

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May 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Me: YES! Casper ter Kuile wrote a book! I adore Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. Even though I’m not *precisely* the target audience for that podcast, I get so much from it. I’m excited to learn more about the philosophy behind it!

The Book: Here’s Casper’s basic approach to infusing everyday secular life with spiritual practices. Examples! Anecdotes! A little bit of new vocabulary!

Me: Wonderful! This is really bringing these ideas to life! Quick question-- what exactly does Casper mean when he
Vanessa Zoltan
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As charming as the author is on his podcast he is even lovelier in writing. And so wise and helpful.
Brian Hutzell
The Power of Ritual just came out, and already it has not aged well. For a start, the book spends a lot of time discussing community, and urging people to gather in ways that are not currently possible with COVID-19 running rampant. Next, there is the veneration of Jean Vanier, the recently discredited founder of L'Arche who has suddenly become an embarrassment to many a modern theology text. Third, there is the author’s podcast, Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, which he references repeatedly t ...more
Ivy Moore
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: came-soon-18-20
Casper’s podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text has been a kind and calming force in my life, especially while self-isolating, so even though I don’t normally go for self-help books I’m determined to pick this one up. Casper’s advice has already changed the way I read, write, and feel about the world, and that was just when he was talking about Harry Potter, so I’m sure this book will have an even larger positive impact on my days. (Besides, John Green liked it.)

Update: I loved it!
Alicia Bayer
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
I think this is one of those books that will be loved by folks who are already a fan of the author. I had high hopes for it but I found it really esoteric and dragging. I was hoping for something that was ideas on how to make rituals out of everyday life, which I really like to do. Instead, this felt like a really long research paper on things like how Crossfit is like church for modern day people. I didn't get a lot out of it but from the looks of the reviews on Goodreads, people who are fans o ...more
Devon Black
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-books, own
This book was amazing. Every adult can benefit from reading it. It invites readers to examine their lives and where they find connection to themselves, others, nature, and transcendent things we cannot name. It's written in a simple and calming style, and the author's admissions about his own shortcomings in or apprehensions about traditional rituals create a bond between author and reader. Read this book, and more than once. ...more
Mitch Karunaratne
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Don't be fooled by the fun and playful cover - this book is profound, widely researched and full of adaptable approaches to living a more intentional and purposeful life. It gives insights into how to create spiritual and sacred experiences within a very secular context. There's so much here that I'm genuinely going to reflect on and think about - it might just be one of those books that you look back on and know it played a part at a pivotal point in life. ...more
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been thinking for the past few years now about how, even though I have no interest in religion, I rather envied religious people a lot of the features of church - inter-generational community, regular reflection on morality, connection to something larger than yourself, marking important life moments, etc. So, I was thrilled recently to learn about the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast, and through that the insights of Casper's Sacred Design Lab and now this book. Casper validated th ...more
Andrew Bradley
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book couldn't have come at a better time!

Author Casper ter Kuile not only examines issues such as loneliness, overcoming tech addiction and the profound feeling of dissatisfaction/disconnection from modern life, which so many people were already feeling before the Coronavirus pandemic, and so many more are feeling even more strongly now.

Casper also explores all sorts of practical and easy rituals you can carry out in your own home (perfect for our new Corona lifestyles!) from new ways to a
May 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
‘The power of ritual’ deals with the ways we can find the spiritual in the everyday life that surrounds us. The book is split into several sections, each explaining finding connection in one way or another. The first part offers a manual of how to read different texts as sacred and having what essentially amounts to a spiritual experience while reading texts that might be considered mundane. While the first part of interesting as it differs from the usual content of self-help books, I lost inter ...more
Antti Värtö
I've been somewhat involved with the "postrationalist" movement (if you can call it that). They claim that rationality is good and it's worthwhile to try to cultivate better ways of thinking - but rationality is not enough for people. We need rituals and perhaps even mysticism in our lives, since that's how human brain is wired. If you're interested in achieving your goals and living a better life, it's not a good idea to try to become perfectly rational Vulcan, since people are not, in fact, Vu ...more
Mandi Ehman
Jan 15, 2021 rated it liked it
This book is hard for me to rate. It's enjoyable and thought provoking, and I enjoyed hearing ter Kuile read it and share his anecdotes in the audiobook.

That said, while I knew it wasn't a Christian book going in, I didn't quite expect it to be so anti-Christian. Rather than simply offering alternatives to ancient Christian rituals, the author seems to deride things like the Sabbath and prayer in their traditional sense and only value the secular alternatives to those things.

It's easy for me to
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
The Power of Ritual is a great read for anyone seeking to be more sane, happy, and fulfilled in an increasingly isolated world. The author, Casper ter Kuile, builds on years of research on religious and non-religious communities. The book is full of helpful tips to live a happier life — from holding a tech sabbath to starting a group of friends with whom you share your deepest concerns. Written with a solid dose of British humor and full of vivid examples and beautiful quotes, this is an easy re ...more
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
A pleasant read. I liked reading a chapter or two before bed to really let this one soak in. The author does a good job of offering various perspectives through a personable lens by offering insights about his own narrative throughout the book. Favorite parts were learning about forest bathing, pilgrimages, the different types of prayer, and the research that went into writing the book.
Elizabeth Turnbull
Through the utilization of conscious and thoughtful habits and rituals, Casper ter Kuile encourages us to find ways to get in touch with ourselves, our communities, nature, and the transcendent - regardless of our religious beliefs (or lack thereof).

Read for my PBB Book Club, I was (I must admit) a bit wary to begin as a long-time atheist. "What do I need with a book on spirituality?" I asked myself. Regardless of my trepidation, this book was well worth my time. Copious notes later, I feel insp
Leonard Davis
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books where I want to buy everyone a copy and have us all read it together.
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction
Actual rating is a 3.5.

If I wasn't a long-time listener of Harry Potter and the Sacred text, which ter Kuile cohosts, I'm not sure I would've picked up The Power of Ritual. I'm inherently skeptical of anything remotely resembling a self-help book, which made my enjoyment of this book even more surprising. There is a ton of well-argued points on actions you can take to better connect with yourself, those around you, nature, and something broader that ter Kuile calls "the transcendent."

This book
Amy GB
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, own
I have long been a fan of the author's podcast, Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, and have had a few interactions with him on social media and online events he has organised during the pandemic. In my experience every thing he puts into the world is food for my soul, and so I was predisposed to love this book. Which I did. His wisdom about ritual is simple but excellent. The prose style is clear, erudite and accessible. This book's main premise is that as religions are waning in popularity, we c ...more
Jill Marzolino
Nov 17, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
The author seems really arrogant. He appears to think that he invented close reading and mindfulness.
His attitude of deep investigation of your chosen 'sacred text' is just close reading - did divinity school not require literature classes?
The other half is easily summarized as - feel that your life is deeply meaningful. Which I think is more easily grasped by an approach to meditation or mindfulness, especially for a secular audience.
I lost interest rapidly as the book devolved into woo-y han
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tip-top
Dude I think this book is pop anthropology! Fucking incredible. It's an exploration of connection, community, and identity (and especially fragmented modern identity), our arbitrary distinction between the sacred and the profane, and how we translate traditional religious rituals into a contemporary spiritual context. That's a terrible summary but I won't try to write a better one because you should just read it!!! I cried like 4 times whilst listening. This sits in the same spot in my mind/hear ...more
Ian Mclaren
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
For many, 2020 has knocked us off kilter. This book is very well timed as it offers a plethora of ideas to rebuild a sense of stability through any one of a variety of practices. I've been inspired to get into sacred reading and embrace being in nature, for example, as well as incorporating the ACTS model of prayerful thinking. You may know Casper from his Harry Potter podcast, but he's a genuine and thoughtful writer as well and this book is very much checking out. ...more
Stacey McLarty
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How to find your soul when you don’t believe in god

This book really blew me away and changed my life. As a former devout Christian who lost my belief in God, I thought spiritual things were not for me anymore. This book gives both instructions and permissions to adopt and adapt the best of both secular and religious practices to find meaning and connection, without just being some new take on consumer spirituality. I plan to re-read immediately and expect to come back to this book many times in
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ll be referring back to this one again. A cool and timely dive into ritual, and what drives connectedness and spirituality. It helped me understand why I’ve been drawn to certain things in my life, and in quarantine especially, and provides some good tips on how to get the most of my “patterns of life”.
Hanna Osterwyk
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As someone who grew up with religious practices, and has left most of them behind in adulthood, this book was much appreciated! It often feels like there’s a gap, something missing, and it’s the practice of making something sacred, and the rituals that go with it. I love that the author draws
from so many different religions, from Judaism to CrossFit. I’m excited to go back and read what I underlined and take some of his suggestions!
Sam Young
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
UGH!!! i could not speak more highly of this book! it has insightful practices that help us connect with all parts of our lives. i will definitely be re-reading this book soon and taking practices from it to enrich my own life. there is so much that we can learn from the past and reform it for our own contexts, and i am excited to see how they shape my life!
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
A great book to read into the new gear, wherein lots of folks ponder their life and their choices and many people probably felt lonely during this year. I enjoyed it very much and can’t wait to bring a lil more meaning into my life
Dec 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-book
While it could just be my current state of kind, this book did not resonate with me. The author seems nice and his podcast sounds interesting, but I did not enjoy the book at all.
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I feel like I know Casper Ter Kuile. After listening to the wonderful podcast, Harry Potter and the Sacred text for 4 years, his voice is as familiar as a dear friend’s. And this book is as charming, clear and warm as his voice.
And goodness, what a timely book. It almost crosses into the uncanny, the inspired, that an accessible book about ritual and connection should come out this year, right when so many of us are in a crisis of loneliness and disconnect.

Casper (dear Casper! I feel so affect
Jane Glossil
A guide to discovering sacred moments, creating rituals, and redefining your spiritual life.
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book has been an awesome reminder to slow down and be intentional about my life. Everything in the book resonated with me and helped me reimagine my habits as potentially sacred but also challenged me to return to what I love - connection. This will benefit anyone who is starving for meaning making and connection in their lives - regardless of the relationship with religion or spirituality. It has the potential to create a paradigm shift in how we see the world, ourselves and our actions. I ...more
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Casper ter Kuile is helping to build a world of joyful belonging.

He's the author of The Power of Ritual (2020), and co-host of the award-winning podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. Casper is a Ministry Innovation Fellow at Harvard Divinity School and holds Masters of Divinity and Public Policy from Harvard University.

With his team at Sacred Design Lab, he co-authored the seminal paper How We

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Readers have a lot to look forward to this year! Just feast your eyes upon all of these debut books to check out and emerging authors to...
123 likes · 37 comments
“And here is the paradoxical secret: connection and isolation are bound to each other. I am confident that without my experience as a lonely closeted teenager at a boys’ boarding school, I wouldn’t be as passionate about deep connection today. We simply cannot know connection without also experiencing disconnection. There is nothing wrong with you when you feel that vast emptiness. Nothing you need to change. Nothing to fix. But there is one thing to do. Remember. Remember that both are true. The vast emptiness and the eternal connection. The sense of total aloneness and the interdependent belovedness. It is the paradox in which we live. And all of the practices and stories and strategies that we’ve explored in this book are simply there to help you, in moments of joy and sadness, overwhelm and barrenness, to remember.” 1 likes
“Tradition is living and active,” Merton writes, “but convention is passive and dead.” 1 likes
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