To Be a Witch… A Life of Ritual and Devotion

It’s a common thing to hear that there’s a difference between our magical lives and our mundane lives. In reality, we have the ability to step into ritual and devotion each and every day.

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Gwion Raven

Gwion Raven

I've been a practicing witch and ritualist within the Reclaiming Tradition since 2003. I love being in service with this community of witches and world changers.   My own practice, my own way of changing the world is through devotional practice. It's my belief that we can re-enchant our lives by re-framing the so-called "mundane" as sacred and divine. By imbuing the familiar with a sense of wonder and infusing daily life with acts of magic, we choose to consciously make all of life devotion. Whether we engage in large, public rituals or sink sumptuously into the pure ecstasy of eating a delicious meal by ourselves or meditating at sunrise, our daily rituals can draw us back into harmony with the world and each other.  
Spirits of Place - What They Need You to Know

It's just after noon. The weather is warm. There's a slight breeze that causes the leaves high in the canopy to rustle. The redwoods are creaking as they rub against each other. Loud raven clicks and caws punctuate the quiet forest. I'm one of only a few people standing in the camp grounds and we are all silent, breathing deeply, settling our rushed minds and sinking in, just sinking in.

In two hours witches from all of over the world will arrive. Some journeying to these woods for the first time, others coming home as they do each year. There will be hugs and kisses and hearty shouts of "oh! There you are. I'm so glad you came back." After the hub-bub of getting here subsides and the first night's dinner dishes have been put away, it's time for ritual.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Raggedrose - Thank you for your comment. The forest is indeed in a transitional space. What we look at as Ancient, in many cases,
  • Raggedrose
    Raggedrose says #
    Mendocino Woodlands is indeed a powerful and wonderful place. The forest there is in transition, which makes it only more so. It w
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you Steve. Your connection to and passion for the Spirits of Place and the planet we share is obvious and runs deep. Be wel
  • steve
    steve says #
    The title really caught my attention, the Spirits of Place, and that's due to my own interaction with the spirits of places. They

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Start by Grounding - Becoming Present

I've been examining the parts that make up many common Pagan rituals. I recently wrote about Cleansing. I'm moving on to Grounding. There's real irony here, because this week, I need grounding more than ever.

Alright!  A few personal details about my life are in order to set this article up. I'm a busy witch. Over the next few months I have a lot going on. I am helping to organize California WitchCamp which happens in late June. I am presenting at the upcoming Many Gods West conference in late July. In early September I am teaching at Aurora Borealis WitchCamp in Canada and in mid-October I'm teaching/facilitating the Mysteries of Samhain retreat. Woven through all of this are planning meetings, research, magical work and scheduling - endless scheduling. I also have three classes I'm teaching between now and then and I'm one of the folks that is putting Reclaiming's 36th annual Spiral Dance on October 31st.

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Cleansing - How a Ritual Begins

I am fascinated by ritual. Rituals of all sorts. In every culture, in every age there are rituals to commemorate births and comings of age and marriages and deaths. There are high holy days set aside to celebrate the gods, goddesses, fallen (s)heroes, venerated Ancestors and important moments in a culture's mythos. Rituals can be elaborate festivals lasting many days or simple, daily actions such as changing the milk in an offering bowl or setting a piece of food aside for the Fae folk or just taking a moment to pray.

Rituals are made up of many components. There's the liturgy, the actual words that are spoken. There may be songs and offerings and costumes and incense and props of all sorts. For me, whether it's a grand affair or the most humble of rituals, stepping into ritual space is a beautiful and necessary act, because rituals ask us to leave the mundane "outside" of the temple and allow us to connect with life and our past and our future, right now, in the present.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello Connie, Thank you for your comments. I'm glad to hear that you aren't sweeping the whole forest when you are doing ritual o
  • Connie Lazenby
    Connie Lazenby says #
    I can't DO a ritual without proper cleansing. If it is outside, I obviously leave out some steps (I am not sweeping the grass with
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Hello Elizabeth, "Writer's Hygiene" - I think I'm going to adopt that term. I think of writing as a ritual and I'm recognizing th
  • Elizabeth Creely
    Elizabeth Creely says #
    I love salt. Saltwater, shaken from the tip of my whisk, is probably the most consistent thing I do -and the last thing I do- to m

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Beltane - Yesterday and Today

I'm looking forward to Beltane this year. It's one of the more fun public rituals that I participate in with my local Pagan Community and it's usually outside, which really sits well with my ritual sensibilities. I’ve celebrated Beltane for as long as I can remember, although I didn’t always know it by that name growing up. I have extremely fond childhood memories of May Day celebrations in south east London and Kent. Most of the celebrations were at my school (St. Mary Magdalene C of E) and on the church grounds themselves right on the banks of the River Thames.

Beltane celebrations happening on Church grounds weren’t particularly unique experiences. I went to lots of different May Day events at churches.  There was often a church fete with scones and knitted things and lots of elderly ladies that all sounded just like every Monty Python Character you can conjure up. What was special about these gatherings is that it felt like we were all engaging with something that was "always just done".  I even have pictures of my grandmother as a young girl in the 1930s dressed as the May Queen.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    You know Annika, I think some of the very best rituals involve nothing more than gathering with beloveds around a fire, or for a p
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    I've always celebrated Beltane growing up in a Germany - well, mostly because it's my birthday - but we didn't have maypoles. Ever
Ritual Elements Earth - Loving the Earth

Author's note: I'm re-running this article in honour of Earth Day - April 22, 2015 

I've spent the last month examining my practices and interactions with the Elements. It's one of the core pieces of magic I teach in the Reclaiming Tradition. I revisit this work every so often as a teacher and as a student. In my last three articles I've chronicled my explorations with Air, my connections with Fire and my dive into Water. I'm turning now to the Earth.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    You know Annika, I pretty much always want to roll around in the soil and duff and get that rich, dark, wet earth all over me. G
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Now I want to go out and roll around in the dirt and breathe in the scent of grass and moss and bugs and listen to the cry of bird
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    > thank you Lizann
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Brilliant!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Ritual for the Elements

Working with the Elements is a core piece of magic I teach in the Reclaiming Tradition. I revisit this work every so often as a teacher and as a student. In my last five articles I've chronicled my explorations with Air, my connections with Firemy dive into Water my complex dance the Earth and finally finding myself standing in the Center.

A Ritual for the Elements

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Ritual Elements Center - The Cauldron in the Center

I've been examining my practices and interactions with the Elements for the past month or so. It's one of the core pieces of magic I teach in the Reclaiming Tradition. Not all magical traditions work I've been part of work with five Elements, some work with three, others work with four. I revisit this work every so often as a teacher and as a student. In my last four articles I've chronicled my explorations with Air, my connections with Firemy dive into Water and my complex dance the Earth.And now I find myself standing in the Center.

The Cauldron of Mystery

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you Annika - As my practice has deepened, dare I say matured, I find myself more often in the Center. Although, the moments
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    What a fantastic description of Center, I love it!

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