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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in ritual

My apologies to Anne and the crew at Witches and Pagans for being absent for awhile. I started several pieces--one of which is polished and ready to publish, but it still sits in my draft-box. Every time I would start to write something seemingly poignant and important, the world would change with either horror or triumph and would render the piece no longer relevant--at least for now.

Several years ago....

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
To Find My Ancestors

One Pagan's DNA Research

My ancestors are important to my shamanic path. My previous post discusses that and why taking an AncestryDNA test is part of that path for me. 

Today's post discusses my feelings as I waited for the test results, my reactions to the results, and the adventure it put me on as a Pagan. 

An AncestryDNA test predicts ethnicity. Waiting for test results, I wondered if I'd like them. I felt excitement and a bit of trepidation.

I was empowered thinking about the benefits my friends' experienced. One friend learned which regions in Africa her ancestors hailed from. Prior to that, she did not know where in Africa she was from. Another friend uncovered secrets her family had hidden. This freed her from decades of lies.  

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joyce ORourke
    Joyce ORourke says #
    I loved reading about your experience with the DNA testing and your results. Did you ever just know something about yourself since
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Joyce, Thanks for checking out the blog. I am delighted you liked it. And yes, I really hear you about knowing stuff despite any
  • aought
    aought says #
    Yes, I look forward to having my DNA analyzed. Oh, the ancestry that is buried. Raised "English," (Grandma was an English immigran
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    aought, thanks so much for your perspective on this. I am glad that you agree with me that 1) discovering one's ethnicity both doe

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_rise-to-standing.jpgI'm clearing out the clutter in my studio when a scrap of paper pops up with a poem I must have written years ago.

Reading the piece, which sports the title "Forgiveness," I wonder: What does belly wisdom have to do with that?

The Woman's Belly Book: Finding Your True Center for More Energy, Confidence, and Pleasure includes two poems, but this isn't one of them.

Searching my computer for a file that might contain the poem, thinking I could copy and paste the words here for you rather than type them out again, I find files labelled Forgiveness.0, Forgiveness.1, and Forgiveness.2.

Turns out, back in 1995 — twenty years ago — I guided people through a Ritual of Forgiveness in a workshop that was (if I remember correctly) part of a Sufi conference on healing.

The ritual involves moving through the Honoring Your Belly sequence of power-centering gestures — twice, in fact, each time with a different narration.

Apparently I wrote the two narrations for this Ritual of Forgiveness sometime after writing the ones that inform the Rite for Reconsecrating Our Womanhood and the Rite for Invoking the Sacred Feminine. The Reconsecrations voice a sequence of affirmations tracing the heroine's journey; the Invocations present a series of body prayers addressing the Feminine Divine. In each case, the words imbue the 23 gestures they accompany with personal meaning.

Likewise, in the first round of this Ritual of Forgiveness the 23 movement and breathing exercises enact "Decomposing the Old, Conceiving the New." The same gestures, in the second round, animate "Gestating and Generating the New."

Both rounds involve drawing out images emerging from the body's center: first, what we're willing to release; then, what we welcome to take its place.

Twenty years ago, I discovered that energizing the belly and activating its wisdom with movement and breath could contribute mightily to the process of forgiveness. I believe I'm ripe for exploring that connection again.

How are you with forgiveness — needing to forgive, resisting forgiveness, knowing how to forgive — in your life?

Here's the poem that sparked a twenty-year retrospective that, for me, is oh-so-timely today. I hope it's a pleasure for you.


pulls you out of the muck with a pop
sets you on your feet here
where the ground is sturdy
and the footing's firm
turns you around to face the
dawn-rising horizon
brushes you down, proclaims you
good as new
sends you on your way
with a scarlet smudge on your sacrum
and a turkey sandwich on rye
and a note safely pinned to your lapel:
moving forward

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

When my wife and I started the Oak Court (for those of you new to the column, that's the name of our coven, and the street we live on) we weren't setting out to start a coven. Heck, our little gathering didn't even have a name in those early days and certainly wasn't called "The Oak Court." We simply invited a few friends over who weren't involved in any other small-circles or covens and grew from there.  


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  • Ian Phanes
    Ian Phanes says #
    First, I should say that I totally agree with your understanding of coven as chosen family. I tell people that to be in coven with

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_cavepainting.jpgOur ancestors told stories; stories that entertained, that showed people how to live, and that explained how the world was ordered. They sat around campfires, and around the work they were doing at the moment and told stories and sang songs. As People became more numerous, they gathered in cities and the stories got bigger, the presentation more formal and particular. The telling moved beyond just one person and others played roles. The stories of how the world was created were acted out yearly and with precision. On flaw in the performance and the players must start again least the world not function as it should.

The priests would enter bringing with them the sounds of chanting and the smell of incense. What storytelling lost in intimacy, public performance made up for in created spectacle. The grand theatre of the temple, housing statuary, and carved with reliefs of the doings of the gods, the choice of time of day, the smell of the sacrifice, and the sound of human voices raised in praise, all enveloped the participants. It allowed them to step out of ordinary time and join in the creation of the world, the crowning of the god-king, and the sparking of the fertility by which humanity survived. And whether around the fire or in the temple grounds, such participation bonded the people to each other and invested them with meaning and purpose. Such is the definition of ritual.

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Number Crunching, Number Magic

Do you want to live in a world where magic holds sway, or a world restricted by "facts"?

Many of us were taught to "face facts," which is often another way of saying, "Work 24/7, trapped by fear and one-sided "evidence." There's an alternative: Joyful play is powerful magic. Relaxing and enjoying life aligns us with the Divine flow of abundance and power.

In a recent counseling session, I advised someone, who deals with a lot of numbers in his business, to not get bossed around by the numbers. Numbers might suggest limits that ritual can transcend. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • irene boyce
    irene boyce says #
    Hi Francesca, all my life I've known I've been walking a destined path. As a teenager 13/14 ish, I was walking home from school w
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Irene, thank you for going to such great lengths to convey your experiences with numbers. May your days always be blessed with bea
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Been off-line for several weeks, and was happy to see this upon returning. As someone who has dyscalculia (but nobody knew what th
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ted, hi, good to see you! I was wondering where you'd gone to. Thanks so much for reading my blog and for your kind words about it
Ritual Elements Center - The Cauldron in the Center

I've been examining my practices and interactions with the Elements for the past month or so. It's one of the core pieces of magic I teach in the Reclaiming Tradition. Not all magical traditions work I've been part of work with five Elements, some work with three, others work with four. I revisit this work every so often as a teacher and as a student. In my last four articles I've chronicled my explorations with Air, my connections with Firemy dive into Water and my complex dance the Earth.And now I find myself standing in the Center.

The Cauldron of Mystery

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  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Thank you Annika - As my practice has deepened, dare I say matured, I find myself more often in the Center. Although, the moments
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    What a fantastic description of Center, I love it!

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