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Heathen's Lair

Ritual and Ritual Preparation

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Make A real difference come out of the broom closet
Bringing ritual into your every day life
America is under Attack!!
A Christian Speaks of Wicca and Witchcraft
The Goddess
The Old Ones Live in New Things Too
The Quest For Power
The Religious Experience: A Wiccan Viewpoint
The Rose
The Skeptical Witch
There Are More Religions in America Than Just Christianity
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To Heal or Not to Heal?
Values in the Balance
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We Are the Other People
Weight of the World
What is drawing down the moon and how do you do it?
Where Did Magick Originate?
Wicca: It's Traditions and Concepts
Wicca and Body Image
Wiccan Basics - What is Magick?
The Celtic Vedic Connection
The Dichotomy Between Sex and Faith
The First Congregational Church of Wicca[credits]
The Fundamentalist's Problem[credits]
The God of the Witches
The 'W' Word (Witch), What Does it Mean?
The Delicate Balance of Pagan Ethics
Safety With Herbs in Healing and Magick
So What is a Blue Moon
Spiritual Conception
Synaesthesia: The Crossing of the Senses
Talking to Goddess
Saturday Morning Cartoons Aren't Pagan-Friendly
Polyamory: Loving Unlimited
Principles of Wiccan Belief
Responses to Nasty Fundies
Ritual - Expression of Will, Art and Creativity
Ritual and Ritual Preparation
Rituals, invocations and sacred space
Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Irish Witches
Jesus Christ! Youre acting like one of those Christians
Magick and Science
Modern Pagan Persecutions
Music and Magic
Namaste - Meaning and Usage
Nipping Trouble in the Bud: Community and Child Custody Issues Affecting Heathens
Obedience: On Being Sheep
On the heaviness of weight
Our Pagan Village: The Importance and Persuit of Honor
Pagan Fundamentalists
Pagan Musings
Pagan Mythology
Pagan Sexuality and Sexual Freedom
Pendulums
How to find a Coven or Group
Howling at the Moon!
I am Pagan
In Nomine Babalon: Sacred Whoredom in a Thelemic Context
Initiations
Ethics In Magick
Experiences of a Pagan Practicing Pranic Healing
From Agape to Praxis: The Fourfold Nature of Love
From Self-Doubt to Self-Assurance: The Inner Journey of The Fool
Grounding and Shielding
Healing Routine: How to setup a Healing Ritual
Ethics Or Etiquette
Everyday is Sacred
Crossing Lines
Dryads
Descent Into Confusion
Disease and The Creative Process in Magick
Can you be a Christian and a Witch???
Creative Visualization and Wicca
Can You Bhoga All Night Long?
Consciousness & Politics
Children of the Gods
Building Shadows
Blood Sacrifice
Chingle Hall
Chinese Dragons
Absent Healing
All One People
An Earth Religion
An Open Letter To The Pagan Community
An Opinion on Magick
An Overview of Clairvoyance
Are there such things as White Witches?
Christianity vs. Paganism: Why?
Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are!
Coming Out as a Witch at Work
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Asatru, an Ancient Religion Reborn
Aspects of Religion: A Wiccan Viewpoint
Comming Out
Bambi Pagans
A cup of Hemlock
Astronomy in Ancient Civilisations
Being Jewish And Wiccan { One Women's View }

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Ritual and Ritual Preparation[credits]

 

  1. Avoid interruptions during a religious or magical rite -- take the phone off the hook, lock the doors, post a "do not disturb" notice. Depending on how your animals and/or children react to ritual, you may have to make other arrangements for them during this time. However, remember that an interruption won’t ruin your ritual unless you let it. In fact, our church was named by an "interruption" who stopped by without knowing that we were in the middle of a ritual and ended up an uninvolved observer (and dog sitter). For circumstances like this, it helps to develop a psychic pause button.
  2. Whenever possible a ritual bath (or jacuzzi!) is beneficial to wash away everyday tensions before entering sacred space. In addition to being a spiritually as well as physically cleansing event, immersion in water links us with our most primal memories. If you don’t have access to water, you can use incense, or a bell, or few minutes of light drumming or meditation for the same cleansing effect. The goal is to enter the circle with a clear mind and an untroubled heart; you’re trying to meet your friends (including Deity) on a higher/deeper level than in day-to-day life.
  3. Ritual dress can range from ritual nudity (skyclad), to formal hooded robes in colors appropriate to the ritual, to whatever you feel most comfortable in. In our group, we usually opt for the latter; most traditional groups I’ve visited work robed. Many English-based traditions work skyclad, as do many solitaries.

For those inclined, physical nudity symbolizes honesty, openness and intimacy, as well as the freedom from slavery mentioned in the Charge of the Goddess. Personally, I find spiritual and mental "nudity" an even more intimate goal for group practice.

In addition to ritual dress (or undress), ritual jewelry such as pentagrams, amulets, good luck charms and Deity images are often worn. While these are symbolically useful, remember that your power, luck, and connection with Deity is within yourself, not the jewelry. Losing an item, while emotionally painful, shouldn’t be spiritually devastating.

  1. Are you interested in solitary or group practice? Actually, this is almost an immaterial question since this is a book of how our group practices, and we all practice solo at one time or another anyway -- like when a rainbow appears while driving home on that last day before a long vacation, or that brilliant Full Moon slips through the clouds and into your bedroom window.

Obviously, we enjoy group practice -- the presence of like-minded friends can enrich your spiritual experience -- but there are a few caveats. First, the presence of others can be inhibiting, so try to concentrate more on your spiritual communion with Deity and your circlemates than whether you’re "acting weird." Also, beware of a love interest who takes an interest only because you do. Conversely, beware of becoming interested in someone solely because they share your spiritual beliefs. Finally, working in a group may lead you to start feeling that your solo work is inferior or wrong, but nothing could be further from the truth, as long as what you do alone works for you. What works is what’s right, and vice versa.

  1. An important part of ritual preparation is setting up the working altar. This physically prepares the area to become sacred space while simultaneously psychologically preparing the participants to enter that space. In addition to our standard tools (candles, incense burners, knives, wands, God and Goddess statutes, a chalice, a plate and a peace pipe), we add photos and/or artifacts of missing circlemates and other loved ones as well as any jewelry, amulets and artwork we wish to bless.
  2. The actual ritual activity is the least dogmatic and most spontaneous portion of all and is up to however the group feels on that occasion. Sometimes we just meditate together; sometimes we have extremely energetic drum circles. Occasionally we formally invoke the God and/or Goddess; we almost always do magic. While our primary tool is music -- both pre-recorded and live -- the selections and the order change from ritual to ritual, depending on our goals and moods (and sometimes on which tapes we can find!).
  3. The timing of rituals is also up to the group. Traditional circles practice together on Full and/or New Moons, the Solstices and Equinoxes, and the cross-quarter days (midway between the Solstice and Equinoxes). The Solar rituals are known as Sabbats; the Lunar, Esbats or Moons. Traditional Moons usually include invoking the presence of Deity for communication and doing magical work; the eight Sabbats are more a celebration of the Turning of the Wheel of the Year than magical work, and often include a potluck feast. Moons are usually held at night -- preferable at moonrise -- while Sabbats usually begin during daylight and sometimes last until the following dawn.

Church of Amazement ritual times (like our rituals themselves) tend to be very untraditional. If part of the group happens to be together and in the mood for ritual, we’ll have one. In general we try to plan rituals close to the actual Esbats and Sabbats, but due to varying work schedules, we have to stay flexible. The hour usually depends on who gets off work latest that day -- we occasionally end up starting at the "traditional" witching hour of midnight (which is far later than the traditional groups I’ve visited start). We also call for a ritual when anyone in the group has a particular magical request, like healing or a job search.

As an auxiliary note to time spent together in ritual, I should mention that our group also tries to spend some quality time together outside of ritual. We consider each other family and therefore share important times other than ritual with each other. Often a few of us will get together and share a new movie or a special music store or bookstore, and we try to attend local Pagan gatherings as a group. As in any good relationship, circle siblings should be friends first and foremost, no matter what else they become to each other.

  1. At the end of ritual, residual energy usually rushes around within you and the circle. This should be grounded, or reprogrammed to fit smoothly into your normal energy scheme. One way of doing this involves actually touching the ground and visualizing the energy returning to the Earth. A complementary method is the ritual sharing of food and drink. Eating kicks your body into a (literally) down-to-earth mode. In addition, sharing a meal provides communion among group members, especially when blessings are passing along with the plate and cup. To expand this ritual sharing to include all four basic elements, you can pass around a peace pipe as well to represent air and fire. Within our group, we call this the Elemental Feast.
  2. Once the power has been grounded, it is important to return the ritual area to its normal state as well. Before disassembling the working altar, the circle should be opened or "uncast". Instead of dispersing the energy and breaking the circle, we ground it by visualizing it sinking into the floor beneath us while saying:

As the circle sinks into the earth
Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again

 

There is no such thing as 'part-Cherokee.' Either you're Cherokee or you're not.

It isn't the quantity of Cherokee blood in your veins that is important, but the quality of

it . . . your pride in it. I have seen full-bloods who have virtually no idea of the great

legacy entrusted to their care. Yet, I have seen people with as little as 1/500th blood

quantum who inspire the spirits of their ancestors because they make being Cherokee a

proud part of a their everyday life."

 ~Jim Pell: Principal Chief of the North Alabama Cherokee Tribe ~