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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in ritual etiquette
The Care and Feeding of Sacred Fires

When the tribe foregathers, the sacred Fire of Gathering is lighted.

It burns through the duration of the gathering. The priesthood make offerings to It daily and pray for the well-being of the People.

At the end of the gathering-time, the Fire is bid farewell, and ritually extinguished.

There are, of course, innumerable laws governing the treatment of sacred fires. The single most important is this: Treat the Fire as you would an honored guest.

Three in-the-nutshell guidelines to bear in mind:

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Body Painting in the Wild by Gerhard Lipold.  Courtesy Pagan Festing season generally runs from May until October and usually takes place in campgrounds that are reserved for this purpose for anywhere from a weekend to a week. In Ontario, notable campgrounds that host Pagan Festivals include Raven's Knoll,Mythwood, and Whispering Pines.

Some of these Festivals feature Clothing Optional areas so that people have the option to be naked if they so wish. This is because some Pagans like to cast-off their wrappers and be caressed by the sun and the wind, while others consider their nudity to be part of their sacred relationship with the Gods and a Pagan event is a place where they can feel comfortable enough to explore that relationship.

However, because not everyone is comfortable with that, Clothing Optional areas can be restricted to certain areas, including:

  • campsites
  • the beach
  • the firepit area after 10pm

The important word in "Clothing Optional" is the term "Optional". A Clothing Optional area is not zoned as a Strip Club. You have the option to be as naked, clothed, or a variety of both as you wish and it's nobody else's business.

I cannot believe I must state this so blatantly, but this is also means that no one has the right to pressure you to be clothed or naked. No one has the right to tell you how naked or dressed you must be based on other people's decisions to be naked or dressed. No one has the right to express opinions about your character, your values, or your sexual identity. No one. No exceptions.

Now I know that sometimes people can unintentionally cross this line. In their minds, they want you to know that you are beautiful and valued and they want you to know that they are not judging you for any reason, so if you want to strip down, they are ready to support you in this decision. The problem is that it's very difficult to express this idea without it sounding like they are pressuring you into coming to this conclusion.

A person's state of nudity is NEVER an invitation for people to touch, stare, or make sexual references about. EVER. A person's nudity can be an expression of their relationship with the Gods, but it is not meant to be a show for other people to ogle or make snide remarks upon. However, if you want to quietly appreciate the beauty of the human body, that can be okay, but you need to be subtle in your appreciation.

Unwanted, unwarranted, unasked, uninvited contact with a person in a state of undress can constitute assault or sexual assault. The fact that the person is naked does not justify anyone's actions without EXPLICIT permission being given. It also does not give you the right to pressure anyone into being more naked or less naked, for any reason, even in jest. If you think you have accidentally crossed this line, take the person aside (probably better when they are dressed), apologize sincerely, and then learn from it.

Whether it is intentional or unintentional, here are some statements you should NEVER make to someone about their state of dress or undress:

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    "this is also means that no one has the right to pressure you to be clothed or naked" Does that actually happen? It sounds uber-c

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I’m going to my first public Pagan (or Wiccan) ritual, but I’ve never been to a ritual before. What should I wear? What should I bring? What should I expect in the ritual? What should I make sure to do (or not do) so I don’t accidentally insult someone or embarrass myself?

Public rituals are a good way to get your feet wet if you’re new to Wicca or Paganism. You can meet others who share your interests, and you can begin to learn about how rituals work and feel by participating in them. Public rituals usually feel a lot different from smaller, private ones, though, so if it’s possible, I recommend you try both kinds. I’ll cover private rituals in a later post.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_criticism_20140302-173627_1.jpgThe last few blogs I've posted have been all rants and ravings of mine about the trend in Pagan spirituality to turn rituals into platforms for critique or guests pulling aside ritual leaders moments after the Circle is closed to offer negative, unsolicited "advice." The danger in rushing to critique is that we lose focus of the ultimate goal of rituals: to create change in the world via Magick and/or building safe space for souls to grow, heal, and become reborn, or some other facet. They're not simply an opportunity to show to others our own knowledge. When we do this, our rituals lose their effectiveness. This is also a practice in the whole of the soul. We are entitled to our opinions, but others are not obligated to listen to them--even if we are right.

Yet sometimes, criticism is necessary.

No one is going to get any stronger at what they if they are only flattered and complimented. A good teacher doesn't only praise. A good teacher looks for ways the student might improve and a good student listens to those suggestions. Ritualists are no different and constructive criticism is necessary to building more effective rites.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    Sorry, apparently I can't hyperlink here. I was trying to link to this video:
  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    Graybeard is right—the Wiccan circle-casting works for small groups but becomes tedious with more than maybe twenty. But these pe
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Well-said. Learning to create rituals takes time and skill that can be learned. My general guideline is to keep it simple, words
  • Courtney Weber
    Courtney Weber says #
    Thank you, Carol! We just talked about this last night at a class. We didn't even use props and just used internal energy instead.
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Good rant. Unlike some other religions our clergy are often not trained very well and our rituals get more creative. One reaso

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