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.
Ritual from the Inside Out
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?
(Why not? Because ritual isn't planned the same way that it's performed, from beginning to end. Good ritual grows from the inside out. Much better first questions to ask at a ritual planning meeting would be: What is this ritual about? What is the purpose of this ritual?)
In good, egalitarian Midwestern fashion, we proceed around the circle (deosil, of course).
First Person: In my tradition, we cast the circle with a wand.
Second Person: Well, in my tradition, we cast the circle with an athame.
Posch: (Pause.) Um, well, I don't usually cast circles.
There's a moment of silence. Then we continue around the circle until everyone has spoken.
Priestess: OK, so how do we call the quarters?
First Person: In my tradition, we call Air in the East.
Second Person: Well, in my tradition, we call Fire in the East.
Posch: (Looks at feet.) Um, well, I don't usually call quarters. And I don't work with the four elements.
An even longer pause than before. You don't need to be psychic to hear what's going on in people's heads. Here's this guy that's supposed to be a hot-shot ritualist and a respected community elder, and instead he's just being an obstructionist asshole.
We go around the circle again, and the planning continues.
I heed the silent admonishment. I pull in my horns and let them plan the ritual they want to plan.
Really, Posch, there's a time and a place, and this isn't either.
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