27 June 2013

Ritual Dos and Don'ts

Over the years I've been to many a public ritual, some of which have been amazing and transformative, other of which have been...less so.  Some of the public rituals I've been to (ok, maybe half or more) have been so bad I've had to restrain myself from shouting "What the hell were you thinking?!" halfway through them.  So here are a few tips for all you ritual presenters out there.

  • Explain what you'll be doing - before you're in the circle (it gives folks the chance to bow out if they're going to be uncomfortable.
  • Explain the purpose of the ritual.
  • Test any props/equipment before the ritual.
  • Speak up - It doesn't matter how beautiful your poetry is if we can't hear it.
  • Practice.  For the love of all the gods, practice.
  • Give participants something to do.  If your audience gets bored they will find something to do and you may not like it.
  • If your ritual is outdoors, prearrange an alternate indoor space or rain date.
  • Research.  If you're going to do a Celtic re-constructionist rite for Lugh, make sure you know what you're talking about and can pronounce all the names. 
  • Offer a pre-ritual orientation for newbies and make sure they feel welcome.  We were all new once and I bet you remember exactly how you were treated.

  • Wear robes/garb that you'll trip over, have fall off mid-ritual, or have catch fire (keep your ritual movements in mind when selecting your outfit).
  • Speak away from the circle when outdoors (no one will hear a word you say).
  • Have one person do everything while everyone else just watches.
  • Let intra or inter-group politics come into the circle.
  • Move too quickly through ritual theater.  (I once saw what I can only call a symbolic great rite quickie.  It was appalling.)
  • Forget that you're there to facilitate an important experience for others, not just yourself.
  • Force people to hug or kiss.  Not everyone wants to love everybody.  Seriously.  Uggh.

20 June 2013

Summer Solstice

It's that time of year again folks, the time for the sun to shine and fairies to gather and frolic.  I've decided to be a good little community builder this solstice and actually go out and join in some of the public rituals going on and *gasp* talk to people.  Of course, this being Seattle there's a very good chance of rain this weekend.  It's definitely going to rain tomorrow, but there's hope for Saturday.  Ah well, this is why I have rain gear.  I'll go out and tromp about with all of our lovely local Pagans and see about actually having a good time...during the day at least. Of course, when I get home I'll be doing my own workings. 

Traditionally the Summer Solstice is all about celebrating the power of the light at it's zenith.  The sun is warm, the plants are growing, flowers are in full bloom, and the days are long.  The sabbat celebrations are all about celebrating the growth that surrounds us and encouraging it to turn into prosperity and abundance - wonderful things that should be celebrated.  That's what going to all the public rituals is for. 
For me the Summer Solstice is always a time for mixed feelings.  On the one hand, it rains a lot less in the summer and the weather is generally less dismal; on the other hand, it gets too hot in the summer and all the pollen makes my eyes itch.  I enjoy a pleasant, warm afternoon as much as the next gal, but I tend to melt in the sun.  All the smiles and sunshine of this time of year tends to make me want to hide in my cave, so that's exactly what I'll do.

This year the Summer Solstice coincides almost perfectly with the super full moon.  On the 23rd the moon will be as close to the earth as is ever gets.  On the solstice itself the moon will be waxing and just not quite full.  It's the perfect time to do a working for growth of any kind.  What I need right now is some serious will power and that's what I'm going to do a working for. 

You see, like many people, I'm not a big fan of conflict - it's messy and unpleasant.  Doing conflict well (not letting my emotions get the better of me and not being ruled by pride) is really hard when I've got a vested interest in the outcome.  I've been trained as a mediator so I've got all the skills needed to not make an ass of myself, but it's hard.  Really hard.  It's so very much easier to just slink around and not face my problems, to not stand up for what I know is right, to compromise beyond reason (the shadow rearing it's head).  What I need is the ability to know when a conflict is worth facing head on and exhausting myself to make things right, and then the conviction to actually do so.

I'm going to harness all the power of growth and strength and channel it into a spell for courage, strength, wisdom, and empathy in conflict.  I'm going to use the power of a waxing supermoon on the summer solstice for personal growth and the ability to face the obstacles in my life.  Nothing like using the light of the sun to dive into your shadow and make it a strength right?

On Summer Solstice 2011