The Ring Shout: A Ritual of Religious Unity

What occurred during a Ring Shout?

During the ritual, worshipers would shuffle, stomp, and clap their hands while moving in a counterclockwise circle. Within the middle, drums would play (different variations to communicate different emotions or purposes) as they used call-and-response patterns to seek God in a time of tragedy. Shouts, slurs, cries, and moans were also incorporated into the ritual to connect as one with relatable notions of past and present conditions.

How has the Ring Shout influenced modern-day spirituality?

Within the present day, there are elements of the ring shout seen in modern-day churches and praises. For instance, the influence of the music used during those times is how one would look at Gospel music and shouts used within a church. The rhythmic beats of the drum and moving within a counterclockwise circle is a spiritual way of bringing worshipers closer to god. Congregating within churches and singing hymns is how African American churchgoers strengthen their relationship with God. The Ring Shout is still practiced today. Within this video of the McIntosh County Shouters, one will see components that tie together the Ring Shout and modern-day praises.

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