The Inner Life, v. I/Second Section/VI
The line of ceremonial is one along which many people come, but of course it must be understood that no religious ceremonial whatever is ever really essential, and the man who wishes to enter upon the Path of Holiness must realize this fully and must cast off belief in the necessity of ceremonies, as one of the fetters which hold him back from nirvana. This does not mean that ceremonies may not be sometimes quite effective in producing the results which are intended, but only that they are never really necessary for any one, and that the candidate for higher progress must learn to do utterly without them. The ceremonial line is an easy road for a certain type of people, and is really helpful and uplifting for them; but there is another type of men who always feel ceremonial as an obstacle between themselves and the deities which they wish to reach.
In Christianity this ceremonial line is the one appointed by its founder, through which his magic is to work. The consecration of the host, for example, is a means by which spiritual force is poured out over the people. There is often a vast amount of devotional feeling at the moment of the consecration, and the working of the magic is assisted by that, though it does not depend upon it. Those who are devotional unquestionably receive more because they bring with them an additional faculty of reception. On the other hand, there is always the probability that ignorant devotion will degenerate into superstition. In a recent enquiry into these matters from the occult point of view, made in Sicily, I found that there was certainly plenty of superstition, and much harmful interference in family matters on the part of the priests; but still on the whole the country was distinctly better than it would have been without it. We should remember also that in history we usually hear much of the worst effects of religious enthusiasm, whereas the good steady progress of many thousands under its influence makes but little impression.