collapse

Author Topic: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question  (Read 1998 times)

JovesChild

Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« on: September 29, 2012, 12:16:02 am »
I was hiking in the woods up the hill from my house with my children, and we came across not just one but THREE obvious ritual sites (circles of stones, a makeshift altar that had spills of some sort, candlewax, one had an amethyst crystal left behind). All were fairly close to each other. I'd say about 300 yards apart? (My spatial intelligence isn't perfect though, to be fair.)

While we did nothing to these areas, simply walked around them, it had me wondering my dear little newbie mind...

I was mulling over if they were all from one group or one person. Why were they so messy and obvious? Wouldn't one spot end up being a favourite site that you'd come back to again and again?

And if it was several groups, what sort of protocol is there in regards to any ceremony/ritual performed outside when you don't live out in "the sticks"? What if there are other people you may not know within possible sight of you? Do you move? How much difficulty do suburban/semi-rural people have with finding locations that aren't elbow-to-elbow? And what sorts of apologies/politeness/respect can one offer on the worst case scenario of unintentional disruption?

I know I asked quite a variety of questions all on one thread. My apologies if these were answered elsewhere. I did a search, but alas, my brain only thought of a few keywords to use. Thoughts much appreciated.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ~ Keller

MadZealot

  • Adept Member
  • ********
  • Join Date: Nov 2011
  • Location: So Cal
  • Posts: 2430
  • Attack: 100
    Defense: 100
    Attack Member
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 140
  • Eye yam tu papi.
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Bitter Clinger. Sith Lord.
Re: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2012, 12:40:02 am »
Quote from: JovesChild;75341
Why were they so messy and obvious?


Could've been young kids dabbling about.
I leave the seat up

Laveth

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Aug 2012
  • Posts: 885
  • Attack: 100
    Defense: 100
    Attack Member
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2012, 12:56:54 am »
Quote from: JovesChild;75341
I was hiking in the woods up the hill from my house with my children, and we came across not just one but THREE obvious ritual sites (circles of stones, a makeshift altar that had spills of some sort, candlewax, one had an amethyst crystal left behind). All were fairly close to each other. I'd say about 300 yards apart? (My spatial intelligence isn't perfect though, to be fair.)

While we did nothing to these areas, simply walked around them, it had me wondering my dear little newbie mind...

I was mulling over if they were all from one group or one person. Why were they so messy and obvious? Wouldn't one spot end up being a favourite site that you'd come back to again and again?

And if it was several groups, what sort of protocol is there in regards to any ceremony/ritual performed outside when you don't live out in "the sticks"? What if there are other people you may not know within possible sight of you? Do you move? How much difficulty do suburban/semi-rural people have with finding locations that aren't elbow-to-elbow? And what sorts of apologies/politeness/respect can one offer on the worst case scenario of unintentional disruption?

I know I asked quite a variety of questions all on one thread. My apologies if these were answered elsewhere. I did a search, but alas, my brain only thought of a few keywords to use. Thoughts much appreciated.

 

It could really be a lot of things. Different people use different methods and techniques, it may not even have looked like anything to an observer. Some people stick to a specific location or two, others wander about and use different places each time. I have seen some ritual 'remains' where each guardian stone had stones, beads, herbs, and various other residues left behind for the elements to take. It's not uncommon.

I can't say about everyone else, but personally, if I was doing something out in pubic domain, it probably wouldn't look like much of anything. So being in sight of someone else isn't really a worry, as long as they just don't try to interact with me (trance work). Even if they were offering an apology, it would do more to distract me than if they just passed by. If they asked or offered apologies afterward, I'd deny anything ever happened (because that's how my tradition works, you walk away and you do not look back or think about it after).

Like I said, can only speak for myself. But maybe it gives you something to ponder. :)

Jenett

  • Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 2978
  • Attack: 100
    Defense: 100
    Attack Member
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 520
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2012, 01:40:25 am »
Quote from: JovesChild;75341

And if it was several groups, what sort of protocol is there in regards to any ceremony/ritual performed outside when you don't live out in "the sticks"? What if there are other people you may not know within possible sight of you? Do you move? How much difficulty do suburban/semi-rural people have with finding locations that aren't elbow-to-elbow? And what sorts of apologies/politeness/respect can one offer on the worst case scenario of unintentional disruption?

 
As others have said, it could be any number of things. People fooling around. People doing small personal ritual - not group work. Groups. Hard to tell without a lot more data.

I do generally think that leaving non-biodegradable offerings outside is *tacky* - my basic rule of thumb is 'leave the ritual site better than I found it'. Candlewax can damage plant and animal life (and it's a huge problem at, say, historic stone circles in the UK - it wears away the stone and rapidly speeds some kinds of permanent damage to the site.) Stones or crystals less of an issue, but non-native plant life can also be problematic, depending.

In general, when I've done work outside in public access spaces, it's been a public park or something similar. (When we were regularly doing ritual in a park in either St. Paul or Minneapolis, one of our regular sites was well off the beaten path for most people in that park, the other was quite public - picnic shelter near parking.

Group ritual has generally had someone appointed to be the interface with curious bystanders/necessary conversations (park police, for example, sometimes will check on group permits.) When I've worked on my own in public-access spaces, I keep it short and to stuff that either isn't that obvious to other people (there are lots of reasons to sit under a tree and close your eyes...) or keep an eye out for approaching footsteps.

The basic guide I've always followed is remembering that public spaces are ... public. There are ways you can make additional arrangements (park use permits, for example, which give a group priority in a given space) but barring that, both common sense and common courtesy (such as they are) suggest that you keep what you do appropriate to the space, and not unduly affecting their use of the space after you're done.
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

JovesChild

Re: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2012, 04:03:33 pm »
Quote from: Laveth;75344
Even if they were offering an apology, it would do more to distract me than if they just passed by.

 
Thank you all for your responses. I personally hold the beliefs of leaving any space better after my interaction with it, so I hadn't even thought of anything being left to the elements or as an offering. Makes sense for part, but not the candle wax.

While I would never disrupt anything, I do worry my own passing by would be terribly loud despite my best efforts. I am glad it wouldn't be something that would automatically cause a confrontation or upset. I shall do my best Pocahontas through the wood, if ever that would happen. :)
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ~ Keller

MadZealot

  • Adept Member
  • ********
  • Join Date: Nov 2011
  • Location: So Cal
  • Posts: 2430
  • Attack: 100
    Defense: 100
    Attack Member
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 140
  • Eye yam tu papi.
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Bitter Clinger. Sith Lord.
Re: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2012, 04:40:28 pm »
Quote from: JovesChild;75399
I hadn't even thought of anything being left to the elements or as an offering. Makes sense for part, but not the candle wax.


That's what made me think it was kids' scraps left about.  I would expect hope that 'grown' ''pagans'' or ritualists would be a little less tacky and a little more respectful of their natural environs.
I leave the seat up

Erinnightwalker

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 221
  • Attack: 100
    Defense: 100
    Attack Member
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
    • http://nightwalkinghedgehog.wordpress.com/
Re: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2012, 11:14:20 pm »
Quote from: MadZealot;75406
That's what made me think it was kids' scraps left about.  I would expect hope that 'grown' ''pagans'' or ritualists would be a little less tacky and a little more respectful of their natural environs.

 
I don't know. There's a monument at a graveyard I frequent that has a large wooden cross, and the steps that lead up to it are covered in old wax and discarded jar candles. Respect is a dying idea, I fear.
The Nightwalking Hedgehog
I make ceramic art and am currently taking commissions. Have dream altar ware you\'ve always wanted, or a statue for a deity or spirit that you could never find? PM or email me and I\'ll see what I can do ;)

MadZealot

  • Adept Member
  • ********
  • Join Date: Nov 2011
  • Location: So Cal
  • Posts: 2430
  • Attack: 100
    Defense: 100
    Attack Member
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 140
  • Eye yam tu papi.
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Bitter Clinger. Sith Lord.
Re: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2012, 03:47:39 am »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;75436
I don't know. There's a monument at a graveyard I frequent that has a large wooden cross, and the steps that lead up to it are covered in old wax and discarded jar candles. Respect is a dying idea, I fear.


Seeing that in a graveyard wouldn't bother me as much for some reason.  Maybe because it's expected there... mementos and leavings and such.  Ymmv I guess.
I leave the seat up

Naomi J

  • Grand Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Aug 2012
  • Location: London, UK
  • Posts: 1967
  • Attack: 100
    Defense: 100
    Attack Member
  • Country: gb
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
    • http://leithincluan.wordpress.com/
  • Religion: Gaelic polytheism, modern druidry, rather attached to Cailleach Bhearra, Narnian heretic...
  • Preferred Pronouns: They or she
Re: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2012, 04:11:37 am »
Quote from: MadZealot;75441
Seeing that in a graveyard wouldn't bother me as much for some reason.  Maybe because it's expected there... mementos and leavings and such.  Ymmv I guess.

Yeah, I think that would depend on context and what's around other graves, as well as how frequently the graves are tended. At my family graveyard in Ireland, people leave dozens of mementos - photos, candles that are sometimes lit, water etc. It doesn't happen so much at the British graveyards I've been to. (Although, in any case, you'd think people would be polite enough to clean up their mess, at least, if wax fell onto graves they don't tend.)

I get very annoyed when I visit an ancient site and people have left things there. I went to Wayland's Smithy this summer, and scratched into the stones were not only ritual symbols but blatant graffiti, along with crystals left behind. It's like, people - we've managed to keep these places much as they always were, for centuries. We can't do that for a bit longer? :ashamed:

Edited to add: I just noticed the irony - my user icon is a picture of offerings left in Brigid's fire temple in Kildare. The difference being that there are people who tidy those up, and it's an Irish/Catholic tradition to leave votive offerings at certain holy sites.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 04:15:08 am by Naomi J »
"We're all stories, in the end. Make it a good one, eh?"
- Doctor Who

Stone Onto Sand

RandallS

  • Administrator
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: NE Ohio
  • Posts: 10023
  • Attack: 100
    Defense: 100
    Attack Member
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 213
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Hellenic Pagan
Re: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2012, 08:34:01 am »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;75436
I don't know. There's a monument at a graveyard I frequent that has a large wooden cross, and the steps that lead up to it are covered in old wax and discarded jar candles. Respect is a dying idea, I fear.

In some cultures, leaving such things at a graveside is a way of honoring the dead. Removing them might even considered disrespectful.
Randall
RetroRoleplaying [Blog]: Microlite74/75/78/81, BX Advanced, and Other Old School Tabletop RPGs
Microlite20: Lots of Rules Lite Tabletop RPGs -- Many Free
OSR.SPACE: Old School Tabletop RPG Community

Erinnightwalker

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 221
  • Attack: 100
    Defense: 100
    Attack Member
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
    • http://nightwalkinghedgehog.wordpress.com/
Re: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2012, 01:05:04 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;75455
In some cultures, leaving such things at a graveside is a way of honoring the dead. Removing them might even considered disrespectful.


The steps up to it are edged in stone, but the surface of the step is grass. And the dribbly wax covers the grass and makes nasty dying patches. I just wish that people would keep their candleburning to the stone portions.... and maybe stop smashing previous people's empty jars and leaving the busted glass in the grass.
The Nightwalking Hedgehog
I make ceramic art and am currently taking commissions. Have dream altar ware you\'ve always wanted, or a statue for a deity or spirit that you could never find? PM or email me and I\'ll see what I can do ;)

River Moonwolf

Re: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2012, 10:56:47 am »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;75490
The steps up to it are edged in stone, but the surface of the step is grass. And the dribbly wax covers the grass and makes nasty dying patches. I just wish that people would keep their candleburning to the stone portions.... and maybe stop smashing previous people's empty jars and leaving the busted glass in the grass.

 
That's horrible! :eek:  I have never done that, although I've seen candles left in some pretty out of the way areas. It's sad, really.  So many places, been here so long, and we can't take care of it.  I don't hold out too much hope for the next generation.....
The above post is entirely the opinion of the poster, and should be treated as such, unless, of course, it\'s right.  :D:

Wind

Re: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2012, 03:25:50 pm »
Quote from: JovesChild;75341
I was hiking in the woods up the hill from my house with my children, and we came across not just one but THREE obvious ritual sites (circles of stones, a makeshift altar that had spills of some sort, candlewax, one had an amethyst crystal left behind). All were fairly close to each other. I'd say about 300 yards apart? (My spatial intelligence isn't perfect though, to be fair.)

 
I consider finding magical stuff spookier than any other religions relics. That because who the heck knows what the ritual they were doing was for. I don't want to walk around some area where someone that was calling up demons just left. Of course, odds are, it was benign. Still, hopefully this person(s) will learn to respect the environment more. I like to see unadultrated nature when I'm hiking. Cans and garbage are an annoyance. A magical circle isn't really what I come out hoping to run into. I'd have left it alone too. But still, I'd have been annoyed.

Elementalist

  • Sr. Apprentice
  • ****
  • Join Date: Oct 2012
  • Posts: 59
  • Attack: 100
    Defense: 100
    Attack Member
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2012, 09:02:49 pm »
Quote from: JovesChild;75341

Wouldn't one spot end up being a favourite site that you'd come back to again and again?


Not necessarily, I would choose the spot appropriate to the individual working. A space between trees for example may not be the best to perform a water working for example, unless you wanted them to influence the working strongly. Then again if you  find a particular spot resonates with you in many ways you may prefer it time and again.

Quote from: JovesChild;75341

Regards to any ceremony/ritual performed outside when you don't live out in "the sticks"? What if there are other people you may not know within possible sight of you?  ...or the worst case scenario of unintentional disruption?


When you choose to work in a public area unintentional distraction can and may happen. I train myself to notice outside influence but not necessarily be distracted by it. It wasn't a conscious effort on my behalf but early on in my studies my cats decided meditation time was the perfect time to get into the kitchen bin, yowl and do all manner of naughty things. I was taught to allow the noises to happen without allowing them to take your mind to them. And sure enough, in time I became less easily distracted.

If I was out minding my own business and stumbled upon one or several person's doing something ritualist I'd just mind my business and keep moving. The less time I linger the less likely my presence will disturb. I think apologies and the like would just be awkward and create a bigger disturbance. We all share the same planet so it's not as if we ever have a moment when no-one else's energy ever mingles with our own.

Vitkyng

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Oct 2012
  • Posts: 105
  • Attack: 100
    Defense: 100
    Attack Member
  • Total likes: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Stumbling Upon Ritual-In-Progress, a hypothetical question
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2012, 08:46:36 am »
Quote from: JovesChild;75341
I was hiking in the woods up the hill from my house with my children, and we came across not just one but THREE obvious ritual sites (circles of stones, a makeshift altar that had spills of some sort, candlewax, one had an amethyst crystal left behind). All were fairly close to each other. I'd say about 300 yards apart? (My spatial intelligence isn't perfect though, to be fair.)

While we did nothing to these areas, simply walked around them, it had me wondering my dear little newbie mind...

I was mulling over if they were all from one group or one person. Why were they so messy and obvious? Wouldn't one spot end up being a favourite site that you'd come back to again and again?

And if it was several groups, what sort of protocol is there in regards to any ceremony/ritual performed outside when you don't live out in "the sticks"? What if there are other people you may not know within possible sight of you? Do you move? How much difficulty do suburban/semi-rural people have with finding locations that aren't elbow-to-elbow? And what sorts of apologies/politeness/respect can one offer on the worst case scenario of unintentional disruption?

I know I asked quite a variety of questions all on one thread. My apologies if these were answered elsewhere. I did a search, but alas, my brain only thought of a few keywords to use. Thoughts much appreciated.

There is a group near here in Toronto that meet regularly for ritual. They have their own temple space, but during the warmer months prefer to hold their rites outdoors.

These rituals are open, so people are welcome to join before circle is cast, or to observe otherwise. They have a method of crowd-control built right into the hierarchy of the Tradition. Just as in many traditions women aspiring to priesthood will serve as Handmaidens, assisting the HPS in ritual, this tradition has men that will serve as Summoners, who will assist the HP. One of the tasks of a Summoner is to stay just outside circle and serve as guardian, which is aided by the fact that a Summoner's sign of office is a staff.

Now not many people are going to harass 50+ wiccans in a park at night, but it helps when there are men with staves standing watch who will politely approach onlookers to quietly explain what is going on and ask for it to be respected.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 08:49:58 am by Vitkyng »

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
4 Replies
1175 Views
Last post July 22, 2011, 05:16:44 am
by EJay
9 Replies
2415 Views
Last post May 03, 2013, 08:00:27 am
by RandallS
2 Replies
1049 Views
Last post August 02, 2012, 11:14:09 am
by monsnoleedra
8 Replies
760 Views
Last post January 14, 2014, 10:33:23 pm
by SheepsKnuckle
15 Replies
3445 Views
Last post October 01, 2016, 04:49:50 pm
by Born Again Pagan

Beginner Area

Warning: You are currently in a Beginner Friendly area of the message board.

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 29
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 1
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Co-Hosts:
LyricFox & Randall

Senior Staff:
Darkhawk

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Sunflower

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Board Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, HarpingHawke, Jenett, Morag, rocquelaire, Sefiru

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Reserve Staff:
Aisling

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Cauldron Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]

Site Assistants
[Non-Staff Positions]
Webmaster:
Randall