Types of Rituals

Rituals are a set of rites or actions marking a specific purpose.  These can cross to the mundane world (think bedtime) to highly choreographed religious rites.  In the Pagan world, there are several common ones witches come across in their studies:

  • Published: You can buy books full of rituals, examples of personal or a specific craft tradition (see below).  The value of these types of rituals is in their example.  They can be modified as seen fit, to be made more personal.  For example, there’s a ritual in Z Budapest’s The Grandmother of Time that I am modifying called the Self Blessing for Health, Wealth, Love, or Wisdom (p. 137) because I love the intention behind it but cannot obtain mountain ash, which is a key ‘ingredient.’  They can encompass a wide variety of needs and occasions.
  • Craft Tradition:  These rituals, published or learned, are associated with a specific religious community.  An example of these are published in the work of Gerald Gardner (Gardnerian Wicca).
  • Spontaneous: Basically, these are rituals you make up on the spot.  I consider these the most powerful as they channel ideas and energy from a personal place. They cane become part of personal tradition as they are repeated.
  • Lunar:  Associated with the moon cycles, these rituals mark specific points in its energy cycles. These are most commonly done at the new and full moons.  The most famous lunar ritual is Drawing Down the Moon.
  • Solar: Otherwise known as the sabats, the Equinoxes, Solstices, and Cross-Quarters.
  • Magical: Rites performed before, during, or after magical workings or spells.  They vary depending on the activity.  For example, some witches like to cast a circle for every spell while other do that only for specific workings such as divination or calling spirits.

Each of these types of rituals mark different points of reflection with differing emphasis based on traditional or personal preference.  For example, I am much more apt to mark the lunar cycle than the solar.  Each moon, holiday, or season have their own lessons which a witch uses to better themselves through ritual.

In developing personal practice, study a wide variety of rituals (lunar, solar, magical, etc) from a wide variety of traditions (Wiccan, Reconstructionalist, Dianic, Hindu, even Judeo-Christian).  That way you can find a tradition or piece of a tradition that works for you or your group.

© Ariadne Woods

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