Talking about ritual and symbols can be a big challenge for me. As an atheist, there are few ritual practices (if any) in which I truly believe. Every “spiritual” practice comes with a large energy expenditure toward justification. Even the term “spiritual”, which I personally dislike, is difficult to avoid if only because there is no word with which to easily label my experience. Not spiritual, but connecting to an underlying shared culture of humanness? Not divine, but acknowledging that human evolution and social evolution dictates that there is some measure of comfort to be had in abandoning constantly turning inward (the self) and instead supplanting that impulse (anxiety, obsession) with something outside of ourselves?