Pagan Culture - Ritual & Liturgy

A Guide to Creating Public Rituals that Work

NeoPagan Rites:
A Guide to Creating Public Rituals that Work
Issac Bonewits, Llewellyn 2007

While I haven’t led numerous public rituals, I have attended my fair share over the years, and I have a good understanding of basic ritual structure. That being said, should I ever need to present public rituals on a regular basis, this book will be at the top of my stack of research materials. An expanded version of Rites of Worship, Neopagan Rites is a guide to just about everything you could possibly need to think of when planning rituals — public or private.

I think it’s safe to say that the author has been involved in a lot of rituals. Not only are there excellent guidelines to ritual structure, methods of getting a group of people to a proper state of consciousness, and bringing out the right kinds of bells and whistles to get the mood right, but Bonewits points out a bunch of potential issues that you may not have considered. For example, he gives good reminders that not all ritual participants may be young (but not too young), agile, in good health, and completely physically able — and he gives excellent advice for including people who aren’t stereotypically “average.” He’s also quite blunt about talent, suggesting that ability to perform a task well trumps eagerness on the part of the not-so-talented. And he has a good sense of balance to prevent the ritual from being either boring, or too complicated. Best of all, the material can be applied not just to pagans, but to religious groups in general who are looking for ways to fine-tune their public rites.

Bonewits delivers with his characteristic wit and good research. He’s in fine form, and I wish I had more room to rave about this excellent text. Needless to say, whether the group rituals you participate in are public or not, this is an invaluable guide to making them the best possible.


RATING: 5 Broomsticks

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