“Pax a Gay White Male Pagan with interests in Witchcraft and Hellenic Paganism seeks moving and powerful ritual in his local community. He would like to see rituals in his community that actually have more to do with living in Central Florida in the 21st Century as a Pagan than they do looking to some vague and often wildly inaccurate Neo-Pagan vision of the past in a climate wildly out of sync with the one we are living in.
Ritualists should be able to show through their words and actions that they have an in depth understanding of the psychology and theology and thaumaturgy and theurgy of ritual. They should be able to craft ritual that is moving and powerful yet at the same time welcoming to both Theistic and Non-theistic Pagans, and should be more interested in crafting a ritual for OTHERS than themselves. They should also be willing to put long term planning, practice, and forethought into their rituals.”
I have decided I am tired of mediocre public rites, I am still working out what exactly to do about it though.
I am still in the midst of the first year I have given myself for my involvement with a local Pagan group and am coming to terms with the fact that I need to try and get out more into the community in the Orlando area. This particular group has a lot of good people, but frankly, a LOT of what I have seen out there down here in terms of ritual so far has seemed, well…just o.k..
I have had one too many rituals where people have been selected, sometimes seemingly at random or by volunteer to read out an invocation to the elements
“Uhmmm Powers of the North, er Spirits of Earth and the …Furmemenet , Strength of the Gray night, Fertilty of the Fields, uh ….”
I have been to one too many Pagan public rites where the organizers seemed to have only the haziest concept of the idea of establishing a group mind to make magick, or that spell work was not the end all and be all of ritual, or that Neo-Wicca is not the end all and be all of Paganism, and that there is more to ritual than 4 elements and spell craft. For that matter, if you must have a spell do it because it’s truly needed and not because your flailing about for a way to include everyone in attendance! If some people have trouble standing, fine, find them a chair, but for heavens sake could everyone who is able to stand when the Gods are invoked at the very least instead of having everyone sitting down and watching like a movie night around a tv?!
There are a few shining moments. Joe W. sharing his modern Freja myth for the Winter Soltice. The late and much missed Awen’s Moon Circles. Kym Dragons small simple Moon Circle. … a few times in the last 5 years. There have been a few other times were the rituals became Rituals… where that strange alchemical shift transformed play-acting and props into tools of Magic and Spirit… but these were at best accidental.
A ritual should NEVER be moving or touching or effective on accident!
It’s like folks have neither studied their Craft, since SO many of the Pagans in my area seem to be some species of Neo-Wicca – even the ones who steadfastly call themselves Pagan and pay lip service to the idea that other types of Paganism exist – except when putting together something for their communities; nor have they ever looked into how things were ACTUALLY done in ancient times, or for that matter into ancient forms of Paganism.
Its like if it isn’t in Lady Crystal Moon Indigo Childe Bunnythighs Great Big Booke of Shammanic Celtic Crystal Chakra Workout Wicca then it isn’t really Paganism!
I have tried to talk to some folks about this and while a few who agree wholeheartedly with me, I am also getting told I am being too judgmental (cause of course we would want to use judgment now would we….) or demanding or that I just don’t understand how little time folks have…
Well if you don’t have the time then don’t volunteer to do the ritual for others! If you stand up and take responsibility for putting on an event, of any type, then damn well stand up and do your utmost to make it the best event you can. If you are putting on a religious ritual for your community then you are essentially offering a SERVICE to them, volunteering your time and energy to them and to The Holy Powers – however you conceive of them- and you ought to darn well care enough to give your best.
The only way I can think of to spread this idea is to start seeking out some like-minded fellow Pagans and put on some Rites with them that move beyond the lite and basic and fairly disorganized stuff I have seen. Then from there move on to the discussion groups and classes that are currently being offered…
6 thoughts on “GWMP seeks powerful and well thought out ritual”
I really do think that anyone who wants to be an effective ritualist needs to bypass the WooWoo section at Barnes and Noble and head to the Theatre/Dramatics section, or if they can, take an Acting One class or an Intro to Stagecraft.
I had ritualized for years before I started doing theatre, but it wasn’t until I had really worked backstage and onstage in a production that I really *got* what ritual was supposed to accomplish, and how to make the ritual experience better.
Very good point Veles!
Some of the best Priest and Priestess craft I’ve experienced has been by those who have at least dabbled in Theater.
Even things as simple as studying your lines before hand, you don’t need to have them memorized but at least be able to look up from the page once in a while!
And about that page… if you must have your script handy… could we please make it look like something other than a 3 x 5 card or a crumpled computer print out?
And a note here on casting, the people calling the quarters – or inviting whatever Spirit, Ancestor, or God- should probably have some idea of what they are calling and a relationship with whom they are calling, so don’t just hand the note cards out to who-ever at the event itself and say ‘Your calling such and such’ cause it will go right to voice-mail!
Personally, I think this is where full-time, paid, professional pagan clergy comes in. THIS RIGHT HERE is why the pagan world needs that. Otherwise, we’re looking at having semi-trained volunteers doing everything. If someone could earn the kind of salary like what an Episcopal priest earns, and make ceremony and ritual and pastoral services their entire life, then I think things would improve greatly. See, there is the idea that *not everyone out there is cut out to be clergy* as much as some might not want to admit it. Some people are just meant to be laity, and that’s ok. Better to admit this, and be laity, if one really doesn’t have the skill to serve as clergy.
However, part of what having full-time, paid, professional pagan clergy would entail would be an extensive period of education and training – and in order to have THAT, certain other things need to be established, like some minimum level of liturgy, some form of basic doctrine, possibly a delineated canon of “scripture” or stories and myths to base the rites and teachings on, etc. In other words, I think what needs to be in place is -gasp- a TRADITION.
Of course, a lot of pagans would run screaming from that. They’d say, “If we wanted that, we’d still be Christians!” Well, ya know, sometimes they have some good ideas and really effective ways of doing things. It wouldn’t freaking well kill people to take a page out of their book once in a while.
It reminds me of something Fr. Robert Barron mentioned in one of his video clips. In responding to the comment that some Catholics make, namely, “I don’t see any point in going to Mass – I don’t get anything out of it” he says, “Well, think about this – is the point in going to Mass to ‘get something’ out of it? NO!! The purpose of attending Mass is to PRAISE GOD.” And that’s a very good point. You’re not there for yourself; you’re there to edify and praise the Holy Powers. Anything that you ‘get’ out of a rite is secondary. Does any of this make sense?
I think you make a lot of sense here!
PS: Why not volunteer to take over the Pagan Perspectives (formerly Ritual Studies) class? They sure could use some people to lead classes!
I am thinking about it, but I think I need to establish a much better and wider rep in the community first. After all I am the big mean villiany guy who expects people to show professionalism and organization and other “unreasonable expectations”.