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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in ritual
New Moon in Gemini: Radical Experimentation and Wild Imaginings

This morning, May 28th at 11:40 am (PDT) the New Moon in Gemini occurs, hovering for less than a moment in that space between breaths, and begins waxing even before she is visible in the heavens.  Gemini energy encourages us toward radical experimentation and wild imaginings.   We have the urge to get up and go, and explore new ideas, terrains, and paradigms.

Gemini is a mutable air sign, and as such is connected to the realm of the mind.  Gemini is associated with imagination, communication, language, culture, the Internet, and study. Because it is a mutable sign, it bridges one season into the next, and connects ideas, people, and things.

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  • Danielle Blackwood
    Danielle Blackwood says #
    Hey Kelly! Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed my post.
  • Kelly Benson
    Kelly Benson says #
    Beautiful! thank you Danielle

A few years back, some local witches held a ritual at Mounds Park in St. Paul.

Mounds Park is one of the most sacred (and beautiful) places in our area, where 2000-year old burial mounds line the bluff that is the highest point in Ramsey County, overlooking the Mississippi River Valley.

Although these folks pride themselves on being ritually innovative, this particular rite was Standard Wiccan Issue, right out of the books. So there we were, in the most sacred spot for miles around, casting a circle around ourselves to “create sacred space.”

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  • Lee Holland
    Lee Holland says #
    I am surprised that you were allowed to do a ritual there. At many of the Native American sites remaining in Tennessee and Georgi
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Mounds Park is a city park, so anyone with a permit can hold an assembly there, religious or non-religious. The issue you raise
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    I can understand your concern. I've been to rituals that were "creative" but made no mention of the time, place, or Sabbat they su
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Oh, I'm well aware of the risted circle's power to ward, Greybeard; it's part of Old Craft lore, too. But I would say that the Peo
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    In this highly industrialized world of ours, in which it's easy to forget that we ourselves are animals and belong to the environm

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

There I am, at the ritual planning meeting. The priestess-in-charge stands up, welcomes everyone, and thanks us all for coming.

Then she asks the question that should never be the first question asked at a ritual planning meeting.

Priestess: So how do we cast the circle?

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Wicca being the gold standard for Successful Modern Pagan Religions, I guess it's not surprising that a lot of us non-Wiccans suff
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    "Deosil, of course." I participated in a non-Wiccanate ritual at which there many Wiccanate attendees, and at which some dancing
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    I don't usually cast the circle or call the quarters either--though I once did. I felt vindicated when I learned from Ronald Hut
Pagan savings challenge, week eleven:  reflections

I've imposed some rules upon my own interpretation of the Pagan savings challenge, some of which are probably going to fall before long.

  1. I'm using the smallest bills possible, because I'm posting a picture each week and want that image to express abundance.  The envelope I use is pretty much maxed out as of this week, and my money shrine isn't large enough to support a larger one, but I still like the look of the growing pile of singles.
  2. I'm also replacing the cash entirely each week before I add new, to keep me mindful of the flow of money.  As the numbers grow higher, the practicality of doing so will drop, because . . .
  3. I am performing this savings challenge in cash, because talismans are powerful.  While there are security concerns for this practice, I have put sufficient safeguards into place that I feel confident continuing in this manner, even if I can't comply with the first two for much longer.

These rules are part of ritual which surrounds my savings, the ritual which places this work into religious context.  While I won't be dogmatic about them, I do believe that rooting work with money in one's faith practice will make it more powerful, more successful, and more valuable to the whole person than a wad of cash can be in its own right.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Do Women's Circles Actually Matter?

“We need rituals of memory…because a political movement, the public policy and tactics of our movement, does not come from our ideas, but from the bloody and joyful substance of our lives. We need to be conscious about what our lives have been, to grieve and to honor our strength, in order to break out of the past into the future.” –Minnie Bruce Pratt

Last year, I was feeling depressed and discouraged after reading some really horrifying articles about incredible, unimaginable violence and brutality against women in Papua New Guinea who are accused of being witches as well as a book about human trafficking around the world (I wrote about this book in a post for Pagan Families). Then, I finished listening to David Hillman on Voices of the Sacred Feminine, in which he issued a strong call to action to the pagan community and to “witches” in the U.S. to do something about this violence, essentially stating that it is “your fault” and that rather than spending energy on having rituals to improve one’s love life (for example), modern witches should be taking to the streets and bringing abusers to justice. And, he asserts, the fact that they don’t, shows that they don’t really “believe”—believe in their own powers or in their own Goddess(es).

This brought me back to a conversation I had with a friend before one of our last women’s circle gathering…does it really matter that we do this or is it a self-indulgence? We concluded that it does matter. That actively creating the kind of woman-affirming world we want to live in is a worthy, and even holy, task. I’ve successfully created a women’s subculture for myself and those around me that comes from an ecofeminist worldview. However, is that actually creating change? Or, is that just operating within the confines of a damaging, restrictive, and oppressive social and political structure? Last time I facilitated a Cakes for the Queen of Heaven series, I made a mistake when I was talking and said, “in the land that I come from…” rather than saying, “in my perspective” or “in my worldview.” This is now a joke amongst my circle of friends, we will say, “in my land…that isn’t what happens,” or “let me tell you what it is like in my land.” I have to feel like that DOES make a difference. If we can share “our land” with others, isn’t change possible? Doesn’t “our land” have inherent value that is worth promoting, protecting, and populating?

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Lovely, sensitive, well thought out. As David Hyde Pierce remarked about the current level of funding for Alzheimer's research, "

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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  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    Sorry, apparently I can't hyperlink here. I was trying to link to this video: http://blog.chasclifton.com/?p=6332#comments
  • 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

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Imbolc ritual

There is so much transformational energy for this New Moon sisters! Where I live in the East coast of the United States we have been hurting from the Arctic winds and craving the warmth. So with that anticipation, I humbly gift you my Imbolc ritual. It is a four day ritual which starts tonight on the New Moon. Will you join me in these four days of ritual?

 

Ritual for Days 1, 2 and 3

 

-Start on the New Moon before Imbolc

-Choose whatever time works best for you. Close to or after sunset is recommended.

-I recommend setting up an altar to keep your jars in continued sacred space throughout these four days. A place where sunlight and moonlight will shine upon them is ideal.

-Materials needed: altar, votive candle, matches, small jar with lid filled with water for each participant, music player, 4-6 minute long song for meditation time

 

    • Hum while holding your hand to your heart to tune in to your body. For a group, you may put a hand to the back of the person next to you where their heart is. In a circle, hum together.

    • Welcome the directions & elements. You may do this however you feel called or comfortable doing so. Here is a simple welcome that I use for my New Moon Intention Circles:

        • Turning to the East, we welcome Air, freedom and the power of thoughts. Welcome Air from the East!

        • Turning to the South, we welcome Fire, sensuality and the power of action. Welcome Fire from the South!

        • Turning to the West, we welcome Water, emotions and the power of cleansing. Welcome Water from the West!

        • Turning to the North, we welcome Earth, grounding and the power of home. Welcome Earth from the North!

      • Welcome any Ancestors/Goddesses/Guardians

      • Light a votive candle & read the Imbolc Intention: “Imbolc--in the belly, Mother Earth pregnant with Spring and new life. What are we holding inside ourselves that we wish to see birthed this Spring?”

      • Play a song 4-6 minute long softly while  meditating on the question and holding your small jar filled with water. I recommend Shawna Carol’s Blessed Be.

      • Extinguish the votive candle.

      • Goodbye to any Ancestors/Goddesses/Guardians who joined you.

      • Goodbye to the directions & elements. Again you may do this however you feel called or comfortable. Here is what I use:

o    Turning to the East, farewell Air, freedom and the power of thoughts. Thank you and Farewell Air from the East!

o    Turning to the South, farewell Fire, sensuality and the power of action. Thank you and Farewell Fire from the South!

o    Turning to the West, farewell Water, emotions and the power of cleansing. Thank you and farewell Water from the West!

o    Turning to the North, farewell Earth, grounding and the power of home. Thank you and farewell Earth from the North!

      • Hum while holding your hand to your heart to tune in to your body. For a group, you may put a hand to the back of the person next to you where their heart is. In a circle, hum together.

         

Ritual for Day 4- Imbolc

 

-Choose whatever time works best for you. Close to when the sunset is recommended.

-Materials needed: altar, votive candle, matches, small jar with lid filled with water for each participant, music player, 4-6 minute long song for meditation time, divination tool you know how to use, paper, pencils/pens.

 

      • Hum while holding your hand to your heart to tune in to your body. For a group, you may put a hand to the back of the person next to you where their heart is. In a circle, hum together.

      • Welcome the directions & elements. You may do this however you feel called or comfortable doing so. Here is a simple welcome that I use for my New Moon Intention Circles:

        • Turning to the East, we welcome Air, freedom and the power of thoughts. Welcome Air from the East!

        • Turning to the South, we welcome Fire, sensuality and the power of action. Welcome Fire from the South!

        • Turning to the West, we welcome Water, emotions and the power of cleansing. Welcome Water from the West!

        • Turning to the North, we welcome Earth, grounding and the power of home. Welcome Earth from the North!

      • Welcome any Ancestors/Goddesses/Guardians

      • Light a votive candle & read the Imbolc Intention: “Imbolc--in the belly, Mother Earth pregnant with Spring and new life. What are we holding inside ourselves that we wish to see birthed this Spring?”

      • Put your chosen song on repeat so it plays until it’s time to extinguish your candle. Meditate on the intention and write down your answers.

      • Imbolc is also a time for divination- an in between time. Use the divination tool you have brought to ask, “What am I holding inside myself that will come forth this Spring that I’m unaware of?”

      • Hold your jar filled with water to your heart. Feel the energy of your Imbolc intentions held within it. Drink the water and feel it nourishing you. Supporting you in manifesting this Spring what will most benefit you. Take at least three deep breaths.

      • Extinguish the votive candle.

      • Goodbye to any Ancestors/Goddesses/Guardians who joined you.

      • Goodbye to the directions & elements. Again you may do this however you feel called or comfortable. Here is what I use:

o    Turning to the East, farewell Air, freedom and the power of thoughts. Thank you and Farewell Air from the East!

o    Turning to the South, farewell Fire, sensuality and the power of action. Thank you and Farewell Fire from the South!

o    Turning to the West, farewell Water, emotions and the power of cleansing. Thank you and farewell Water from the West!

o    Turning to the North, farewell Earth, grounding and the power of home. Thank you and farewell Earth from the North!

      • Hum while holding your hand to your heart to tune in to your body. For a group, you may put a hand to the back of the person next to you where their heart is. In a circle, hum together.

         

So sisters that concludes the four days of ritual leading up to Imbolc. If you choose to use the rituals above, I would love to know if anything came up for you. I am sending so much love and light your way during this time of gestation. Blessed Imbolc!

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  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Thanks, Paola!
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you Molly! I was inspired to share my ritual by your posts from your personal blog where you did the same. I felt brave enou
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    I wondered about the humming! It works very well!
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you Molly! We had usually started rituals by chanting Om / ॐ but the humming is a good alternative.

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