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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in ritual

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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  • 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!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Mundane Mysticism

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”

From The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

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  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    This is a thought-provoking article. I share your interest in Esoteric Mysticism and I believe the seeking of mystical experience
Effective Feedback: Giving and Receiving (Part 2)

Any leader or rituallist is going to get feedback. In Part 1, I addressed some methods to discern what feedback is useful and what isn't. It's also important to learn how to give good feedback, which is what I'll go into here.

While I love hearing, "That ritual was great!" what this primarily tells me is that this person (or the people telling me this) had a good time. It’s not, however, specific. “I loved the chanting!” or, "I've never experienced a ritual like that, I was able to connect to my ancestors in a way I couldn't ever before," is more specific and thus, more useful. 

I've facilitated rituals where I had an equal number of people tell me, "The energy in that ritual was great!" and, "The energy tonight really kind of sucked." So what makes good feedback?

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Holding a Heathen Ritual Upstairs

Continuing my story of my personal journey on my path, in the late 90s I started holding my own blots and sumbels in my apartment. My local area had neither festivals with public rituals nor any heathen groups I could find to join, so I started holding the holidays myself, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. When I had non-heathen friends over for the holidays of the American holiday calendar, I did my holidays the American way. That eventually grew into my personal practice which I talk about in my book American Celebration. 

When I held specifically Asatru rituals, I usually held a sumbel (toasting ritual) but also sometimes held a blot (blessing) in addition. In preparing to hold a blot or sumbel for the first time, there was a practical consideration: Where do I pour out the blotbolli or horn? At the end of a heathen ritual, there is leftover liquid-- usually mead these days-- in a bowl (for a blot) or a horn (for a sumbel.) This liquid is supposed to be given to the landwights. I would have had to leave ritual space to access the ground, which was a common strip of lawn used by all the neighbors, down a flight of stairs. So I decided to pour the horn or bowl into my potted plants on the balcony, which I called "the hanging gardens of Las Vegas."

Offering through my plants connected my potted garden, in which I grew food, flowers, and small trees, with the land spirit. There is something very primal, very pagan, about gardening. It connected me with the land, the seasons, the weather, and all those gods and beings related to those things: spring maiden and harvest lord, sun and rain, and the spirits of nature.

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