Ritual Writing 101

So you’ve been practicing for a few years and are getting sick of using rituals from books or other resources.  Great!  This is a good sign that your practice is progressing in a positive way.  It can be a little difficult at first, so be patient.

The most important thing about ritual writing is to think about it for more than a second.  Ask yourself, what is the purpose of this ritual?  Is it celebrating a sabat?  Or an esbat?  Or something personal?  Even spontaneous rituals need a little forethought and preparation.  If you are completely new to ritual writing, consider working with a resource like this worksheet to help codify your ideas and get you through the process. Once you’ve got one or two under your wing, you’ll find yourself able to quickly think through your ritual aspects.  One point I need to add though is even if you are the kind of person who likes to write down every word of the verbiage, leave room for spontaneity.  Some of the best moments from ritual come from things you could never predict.

Another consideration is timing.  Do you need to do this ritual right now?  Or can you wait for the appropriate moment in the solar and lunar cycles?  Take five minutes of your prep time to imagine doing your ritual at the best of all possible times.  Sometimes it’s right now, other times its in a couple of days.  Work with that instinct, it will make the ritual stronger.

The people involved with the ritual are also key to its planning.  Are you performing this one solo?  Or with your kids?  Or with your coven, grove, or group?  You cannot completely personalize a ritual if you are working with others.  You need to let others fly their Pagan flags in their own way.  It can make writing rituals difficult sometimes.  For example if you have a specific way you Draw Down the Moon but your covenmates don’t respond to it, as tempted as you are to include it in your ritual save that part of your practice for the personal time in the ritual.

Get your shit together.  The incense, the candles, the cakes and ale, the right words, and anything else you need.  Remember though, less it more.  If you don’t absolutely need the tool, then don’t use it.  Not every ritual needs an athame AND a wand AND a bell AND a chalice.

Last but certainly not least, relax.  A ritual is a spiritual practice, not a recital or a concert.  It will be perfect simply because it comes from the Goddess in your heart.

© Ariadne Woods


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