Rituals, or rites, form part of what Rene Girard called the sacred order – the ways societies establish accord with the violence created by mimetic desire.

Desire Escalates

As mimetic desire escalates into violence it spreads disturbance, uncertainty, and upheaval throughout the culture. This leads to scapegoating and eventually sacrifice.  

Sacred Order

In order to commemorate these upheavals, and to prevent them from happening again, rites are instituted. Rites are actions imbued with meaning. They are highly symbolic and relate to an original myth that gives them meaning. 

Over time, rituals create a sense of stability for those who follow them. Through repetition and practice, they train society to face the violence, thus stripping the original even of its power or sacred order.