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Author Topic: Ritual  (Read 4720 times)
Mithril
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« Topic Start: April 20, 2007, 04:20:35 pm »

I've done one solitray ritual, but I dunno...nothing just seems to click. When I was younger, I believed that spirits come back from the otherworld or something and watch your life kinda like a movie, and I couldn't help but remember that and think how foolish I looked. Needless to say, that wasn't a very magical ritual. How do you get comfortable doing a ritual? Does that just come with time and maturity? Is this a classic case of teenage insecurity? Or does the fact that ritual (no matter how small) makes me feel uncomfortable means that I'm not suited to this path?
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« Reply #1: April 20, 2007, 05:12:11 pm »

I've done one solitray ritual, but I dunno...nothing just seems to click. When I was younger, I believed that spirits come back from the otherworld or something and watch your life kinda like a movie, and I couldn't help but remember that and think how foolish I looked. Needless to say, that wasn't a very magical ritual. How do you get comfortable doing a ritual? Does that just come with time and maturity? Is this a classic case of teenage insecurity? Or does the fact that ritual (no matter how small) makes me feel uncomfortable means that I'm not suited to this path?

What kind of ritual? Was it one you found in a book or online, or did you develop it yourself? I ask because it may just be that the ritual was not right for you, I found when I was first doing ritual (and still do find) that rituals work best for me if I choose what I am aiming to accomplish and then research a number of different rituals with that goal before using ideas from that and my own intuition to develop a ritual that works for me. That said, it may also just be that a) you will get more comfortable as you go along or b) you are not a person for whom ritual is necessary. I only do ritual very infrequently because I tend to feel that life itself is sufficient.
Anyway, just my 2 cents  Smiley .

[Edited for my wonderful spelling Embarrassed ]
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« Reply #2: April 20, 2007, 05:30:43 pm »

Yeah, I got it out of a book (I forgot which). I need to develop my own, I guess. I have to do more research to figure out how, though. If you don't do ritual, what do you do?
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« Reply #3: April 20, 2007, 10:33:41 pm »

How do you get comfortable doing a ritual? Does that just come with time and maturity? Is this a classic case of teenage insecurity? Or does the fact that ritual (no matter how small) makes me feel uncomfortable means that I'm not suited to this path?

Any of these things could be the case.

One of the things that convinced me that I was on the right religious path was that I did rituals and didn't feel like an idiot. :}
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« Reply #4: April 20, 2007, 11:10:06 pm »

Any of these things could be the case.

One of the things that convinced me that I was on the right religious path was that I did rituals and didn't feel like an idiot. :}

That doesn't make me feel any better. Other than that, how can you know for sure? Can you know for sure?
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« Reply #5: April 21, 2007, 12:04:06 am »

That doesn't make me feel any better. Other than that, how can you know for sure? Can you know for sure?

Does it feed you?

Whatever urge it is that drives you towards the divine, does it satisfy that?  Does it make sense -- do the laws it posits for the universe make sense to you, or is there something arbitrary, nonsensical there that you just have to make do with?

Is it beautiful in your sight?
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« Reply #6: April 21, 2007, 01:21:38 am »

Yeah, I got it out of a book (I forgot which). I need to develop my own, I guess. I have to do more research to figure out how, though. If you don't do ritual, what do you do?

I'm not Wiccan, so I don't know if my comments will be helpful, but for what it's worth...

I also had a very hard time feeling comfortable with ritual.  What worked for me was simplification.  I boiled everything down to the bare minimum and made sure I understood exactly what each part meant and why it was part of the ritual structure.  Once you understand what things mean, it's easier to put together a ritual with deep personal meaning.  Then it doesn't feel silly any more.

I no longer do anything that anyone would recognize as ritual.  Actually, what I do *is* ritual in the sense that I do pretty much the same set of actions and words each day around the same time.  My ritual involves candles and words, which I sometimes say out loud and sometimes inside my head if other people are around.  If you were watching me, you'd just thing I was lighting a bunch of candles.  But I know that there's more going on.  And I have a long version and a short version, depending on how late it is when I get home and who is in the room with me.

Other things that I do as rituals involve creating things, like jewelry, that I often give as gifts.

So, I guess what I'm saying, is that "ritual" doesn't have to mean "big production".  Try to simplify it and do what is meaningful for you.  Then build on that.

But, again, I'm not Wiccan, so I don't know if this advice is helpful to you.

Oh, one more thing:  my daughter, who is closer to Wiccan than I am, recommends the book 21st Century Wiccan, by Jennifer Hunter.  It does have a section on ritual in it that might be useful to you.  I believe I've seen this book recommended here before, but I'm sure others who are more knowledgeable will let you know if there are problems with it.
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« Reply #7: April 21, 2007, 01:26:59 am »

Yeah, I got it out of a book (I forgot which). I need to develop my own, I guess. I have to do more research to figure out how, though. If you don't do ritual, what do you do?
When you chose that ritual to do, were you thinking, "Oh, I like this one!  It has X and Y and Z that really speak to me," or were you thinking, "Well, this is what the book says is the right ritual for this purpose"?

Using rituals from books can be helpful for beginners - even if you're not anxious about "what if I do it wrong?" (it's actually pretty hard to do it outright wrong, but most people get worried about that anyway, early on), you'd hardly know where to begin in constructing your own from scratch.  One way to handle all that uncertainty is to start with a "recipe", doing it exactly as it's printed in the book the first time if you don't yet feel comfortable improvising, then making adaptations based on that experience the next time (and so on).  But that won't work very well unless you choose a "recipe" that appeals to you.

Can you put into words what exactly about it didn't work, made you uncomfortable, etc?

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« Reply #8: April 21, 2007, 10:29:13 am »

Does it feed you?

Whatever urge it is that drives you towards the divine, does it satisfy that?  Does it make sense -- do the laws it posits for the universe make sense to you, or is there something arbitrary, nonsensical there that you just have to make do with?

Is it beautiful in your sight?

It *is* beautiful in my sight, and I want to do this, but I don't know if that's enough. I guess the laws make sense to me, or should make sense at any rate, once I know enough to understand them.


I also had a very hard time feeling comfortable with ritual.  What worked for me was simplification.  I boiled everything down to the bare minimum and made sure I understood exactly what each part meant and why it was part of the ritual structure.  Once you understand what things mean, it's easier to put together a ritual with deep personal meaning.  Then it doesn't feel silly any more.
-----

Oh, one more thing:  my daughter, who is closer to Wiccan than I am, recommends the book 21st Century Wiccan, by Jennifer Hunter.  It does have a section on ritual in it that might be useful to you.  I believe I've seen this book recommended here before, but I'm sure others who are more knowledgeable will let you know if there are problems with it.

Thanks! I'll follow all your advice.  Smiley


Can you put into words what exactly about it didn't work, made you uncomfortable, etc?

I guess it just didn't seem to click. It was just like you said, I did it because the book said it was a good ritual for what I wanted to do, and not because it spoke to me.
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« Reply #9: April 21, 2007, 11:16:36 am »

I boiled everything down to the bare minimum and made sure I understood exactly what each part meant and why it was part of the ritual structure.  Once you understand what things mean, it's easier to put together a ritual with deep personal meaning.  Then it doesn't feel silly any more.
I think that's a big part of it - if you do something because you think or are told youshould do it, but you don't know why you're doing it, then it just doesn't (usually) mean as much.

But that won't work very well unless you choose a "recipe" that appeals to you.

And, what she said. Seriously, isn't the right 'recipe' then it isn't. Doesn't mean you can't find a ritual for X purpose, just that that isn't the right one.

And, personally, it took a while to get over feeling 'silly' doing some things Wink
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« Reply #10: April 21, 2007, 11:30:45 am »


not wiccan but based of what darkhawk said...

Does the ritual structure lead you to make further rituals of off the basic one? Do you feel that the rituals are correctly put together independently or as a group?
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« Reply #11: April 21, 2007, 02:10:44 pm »

I've done one solitray ritual, but I dunno...nothing just seems to click. When I was younger, I believed that spirits come back from the otherworld or something and watch your life kinda like a movie, and I couldn't help but remember that and think how foolish I looked. Needless to say, that wasn't a very magical ritual. How do you get comfortable doing a ritual? Does that just come with time and maturity? Is this a classic case of teenage insecurity? Or does the fact that ritual (no matter how small) makes me feel uncomfortable means that I'm not suited to this path?

Others have addressed the important things, like the meaning of the ritual and how significant it feels to you, but I wanted to speak to the 'feeling foolish' aspect.

I also believe that rituals are 'witnessed'.  In fact, some of the set-up specifically 'invites' those witnesses in.  Making every move a thing of beauty, putting on the perfect performance for this audience can be quite empowering, but are you trying for perfection at all times?  These are beings who have a lifetime of observance (when they interact with us, anyway.  Their lives independent of us are for the most part unknown)  Maybe they appreciate a little comedy.

That feeling of foolishness is another kind of energy, another kind of power you can use.  If it provokes the indulgence of the 'others', like a parent watching a toddlers first steps, isn't that still a benefit?  If you are asking for their help, having them give it in amused indulgence is as good as having them give it because they are blown away by your prowess.

Working through the silliness, snickering a bit at yourself, and completing the ritual anyway, can add a whimsy to the energy you raise.  Personally, I get tingles when I feel silly and 'on display'.  I am openhearted during rituals, usually, and laugh at myself at, I think, about the same places my guests are laughing.  That can be powerful in itself.

I'm not feeling very articulate here.  I want to add things about the power of amusement, banishing with laughter, etc., but the words aren't coming properly.  Also, my views may be coloured by the fact that I serve a deity who regularly laughs at everything (not just everything I do, but everything.  I'm lucky I'm not prone to paranoia)  It makes mis-steps and mistakes fairly minor things.

Carrying on through the silliness can also give you, by the end, an appreciation of the depth and reverence of the ritual, as well.  Absurdity is a part of life and, in my view, doesn't detract from the more solemn parts.  In fact, it can throw them into a sharper relief.

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« Reply #12: April 22, 2007, 04:43:19 pm »

If you don't do ritual, what do you do?

Just live, go out on walks in the woods, lay out in the sun, meditate in a storm, whatever feels right to me. Occasionally it feels like a ritual would be fitting in a certain circumstance, but usually life is sacred enough as it is. Does this make sense? And when I do do ritual it is always of my own devising, book rituals do not feel right to me, or at least I have so far never come across one that did.

I hope that you find a course that suits you.
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« Reply #13: April 22, 2007, 10:22:49 pm »

Occasionally it feels like a ritual would be fitting in a certain circumstance, but usually life is sacred enough as it is. Does this make sense?


Maybe my problem is that intellectually, I know life is sacred. It makes sense in my head. I might just need more time to let that really sink in.
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« Reply #14: April 23, 2007, 08:58:06 am »

I've done one solitray ritual, but I dunno...nothing just seems to click. When I was younger, I believed that spirits come back from the otherworld or something and watch your life kinda like a movie, and I couldn't help but remember that and think how foolish I looked. Needless to say, that wasn't a very magical ritual. How do you get comfortable doing a ritual? Does that just come with time and maturity? Is this a classic case of teenage insecurity? Or does the fact that ritual (no matter how small) makes me feel uncomfortable means that I'm not suited to this path?

Here's a thought.

Maybe you're trying too hard and sort of ending up doing something that's "not you"

It's like singing.  Often times you'll find that people don't sing in their speaking voice.  Often these are the people who make you want to cover your ears because they are in a sense effecting a voice that isn't theirs, so instead it comes out like a caricature of someone they are imitating. 

On some level they are uncomfortable.  Whether it's straining vocal cords, can't catch their breath, too high, too low, no emotion (after all, they aren't saying the words, they're pretending to be someone else saying the words, who would say it 'Better')

When you sing in your speaking voice, you often find that it's a heck of a lot lower, less shiny, less shrill, but oh so very much more real.  Much more comfortable too.

When you own the words you're singing then you don't have to second guess where emotion and inflection go, because you've been speaking for years.  You scale it back to someplace where it's comfortable.

I relate in an opposing way to the sacredness factor.  Everyday is equally unimportant.  It's the piles that make history.  It's the accumulation that's sacred.  As a whole.  Sacred as a collective, a basket of rocks as component parts.

So one ritual, one breath, one thought shouldn't be obsessed upon, or given address as if it's the last, since they all are equal.  Otherwise you could make yourself crazy trying to do justice to every moment.  A recipe for OCD and picking yourself raw.



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