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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Gorgon Medusa part 4 - My Favourite Planet People

A principle of effective ritual-planning from my friend and colleague Robin Grimm: Do the math.


Question: If each participant at your ritual is to have a two-minute personal experience—an encounter with a deity, say—and there are 60 people in attendance, how long will that take?

Answer: Way too f*ckin' long.


The premise of the Medusa Ritual was a good one, addressing a need that goes largely unaddressed by contemporary pagan liturgy.

None of us live up to our values all the time. All of us have things that we'd like to get off our consciences.

So, the premise of the ritual was: you confess your (to use a good old pagan term) sin to Medusa. She turns your sin to stone, it crumbles into dust, and falls off of you.

Unfortunately, the ritualists hadn't done the math.


One hundred people. A maybe five-minute encounter each with Her Snakeyness.

It was excruciating.


A principle of ritual attendance from my friend and colleague Sparky T. Rabbit: Vote with your hooves. When ritual becomes ritual abuse, get out.

Alas, more easily said than done. I really wanted to vote with my hooves—politely, unobtrusively—at a recent Samhain ritual during which we waited interminably while people had their private “word with the Crone.” Irritable with boredom and low blood sugar, I really wanted to head off to the feast tables.

But I was a guest. To have walked away would have been a rejection of those who had so kindly welcomed me to their circle, and the very real community that our shared presence in that circle constituted.

So I didn't do it. More the fool me, maybe.


When the torture that was the Medusa Ritual was finally over, we sat, soul-numb, around the campfire. The definitive word on the experience was spoken by Gandalf, a much-beloved community elder known for his kindness and generosity of spirit.

What that ritual needed,” he said, “was Three Medusas, no waiting.”

Mistakes are only bad if we fail to learn from them.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    And you, and you...and you were there.
  • Kile Martz
    Kile Martz says #
    (Knowing wink.)

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Fear. We’re in it all the time. The cancer patients I teach, friends on the financial edge, my husband who has nightmares. A disturbing childhood vision--an intruder climbing a ladder to his room but somehow never reaching the sill--means he hates to be alone in the house. 

I don’t fear death or burglars, just failure and ferris wheels. But that’s been enough to affect many life choices. I don’t drive or have a career (or enjoy amusement parks). I lead classes and ritual, but both make me sweat. I imagine my friends rolling their eyes as I seek reassurance for something I’ve done a hundred times before.

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Oh what a lovely post! My partner and I have been talking about just this very thing for the past several months. She "faced down"
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    Thank you! For me, it was learning to live with the feeling of fear--not to be afraid of being afraid--that helped me move through

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