Ritual is connected to the theatre for me, the practice of preparation and comfort before stepping on stage. It has never meant anything religious to me; I wasn't brought up going to church and such. The theatre is like a church for me -- not in a flakey or spiritual communion kind of way, although I suppose there is a bit of that -- but in the sense of community and transcendence it brings, the pursuit of humanity, transparency and meaning in life.
There is nothing authoritarian about my ritual or my comparison of theatre to church. I do not bow down to God, Allah or "the muse" while in the theatre or making my preparations. You can't bow down to the pursuit of meaning, transparency of humanity. If you bow your head and close your eyes you can't take part in the chase.
Bowing the head and closing the eyes happens the land of dreaming for me, equally important and sacred, in a non-religious, non-ritualistic way. I do not prepare for or coax out the dreams, they wash through when they need or want to. Then they are filtered through into preparation for taking to the stage. Perhaps the filter is the ritual. Little dream images slipping through holes in soft cheesecloth....