You seemed to be disregarding clothing and some other elements as trappings, and warning against imbuing them with psuedo-religious meaning.
Quick point of order: what I warned against was imbuing them with pseudo-religious importance
. Of course these things have meaning. If they didn't have meaning they wouldn't still be around. I wasn't calling these things meaningless; I was suggesting they are not vitally important to the question of what is and is not aikido.
This strikes me as funny because the entire traditional training process is a great example of a thing that is pseudo-religious....it is the product of thinking that is steeped in religious thought. The Japanese junction of Neo-Confucianism, Taoism, and esoteric Buddhism and Shintoism, to be precise (or not since it is quite a melange).
Even if you disregard the traditions established by Ueshiba's son and senior students, and don't understand or don't care about the link between what he was doing and how martial arts were transmitted classically, the link between Ueshiba's practice and the Chinese classics is something that a lot of people around here are currently pretty excited by.
And there is no reason they shouldn't be excited by it.
But is the "thinking steeped in religious thought" you're talking about really contained in what we wear and how many times we bow? And what's more, can't someone who has no knowledge of or interest in Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and Shinto still practice real aikido?