Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Why Public Rituals Need Titles

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Of the following rituals, which would you rather attend?

a) Main Ritual or b) The Passion of the Harvest.

c) Beltane Ritual or d) The Marriage of Earth and Sky.

e) Men's Ritual or f) Men's Ritual: The Wild Hunt.

Public rituals require titles because: 

  • Ritual fatigue is alive and well in the pagan community. What makes this Samhain ritual different from every other Samhain ritual?

  • Human beings are curious and attracted to novelty. On a forested horizon line, the tall tree draws the eye.

  • The specific is generally more interesting than the general.

  • A title engages the interest and attention of the audience even before the ritual begins.

  • Once the title is planted in people's minds, they gain a personal stake in the ritual and its outcome. Your public then approach your ritual with a sense of expectation and ownership.

  • The effort necessary to create a good, sexy title will likely make your ritual tighter and more focused.

If you want to up interest, attendance, and participation in your public rituals, title them.

So say the wise, the poets, and the ad execs.

And let us all say: So mote it be.


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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Greybeard
    Greybeard Saturday, 13 September 2014

    Right you are Steven. Giving a title to the ritual helps those who prepare and lead it as well as those who attend.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Monday, 15 September 2014

    My friend Stephanie, who's in advertising, always tells me, "A good ad is about one thing." The same could be said of ritual. Having a single, tight focus--something one can condense into a brief, evocative title--generally, in my experience, makes a ritual stronger.

    The same, I suppose, could be said of blog-posts, for that matter. :)

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