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Author Topic: Remote and together - what're you doing that's working?  (Read 2407 times)

Noctua

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Re: Remote and together - what're you doing that's working?
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2020, 04:40:02 pm »
Religious groups of all kinds and sizes are going virtual, so I'm interested (especially as someone in the process of figuring out what works for my own coven) in what you're seeing in groups you're part of or aware of, and what you think is working and what isn't.

(I thought about calling this thread "Covens in the time of Covid-19" but of course I'm not just interested in covens here!)

So the Blue Star grove I participate in has done a few classes online, first using Google hangouts and more recently in Zoom (one of our grove members now has a Zoom account they can borrow from their spouse). Our last discussion was actually on how we would work out doing a ritual together online, so we were all in agreement on what changes we would make to our standard ritual format (which needs four people) in order to make it work solo and make sure we're all doing things the same because that way we're echoing and reinforcing each other's work.

To sum up basically what we agreed was that we'd all set up our electronic devices in the SE portion of the circle (this was an unanimously agreed upon compromise between those of us who saw the internet as a tool of Fire,  being an extension of our Will, and a tool of Air, being a tool of communication, plus electricity which they run on is a meeting between Air and Fire). We would then each set up and run the ritual independently, building our own circles until the point where we would then start the Work of the Circle, at which time we'd signal to the call we were ready and wait for everyone to do the same. From then on we can sorta meld our circles together astrally, do the Work together, finish out the ritual, and transition to Feast together.

I can't say yet if or how it works because we have yet to DO it (plan is to try on next full moon, which I may miss due to kid's new school having a mandatory Zoom orientation being scheduled for that time) but I can give updates later. At the very least it was a fun and very productive brainstorming session on how to transition a fundamentally group practice into solo work while still being "together" in what ways we can.

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Re: Remote and together - what're you doing that's working?
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2020, 07:54:30 pm »
I can't say yet if or how it works because we have yet to DO it (plan is to try on next full moon, which I may miss due to kid's new school having a mandatory Zoom orientation being scheduled for that time) but I can give updates later. At the very least it was a fun and very productive brainstorming session on how to transition a fundamentally group practice into solo work while still being "together" in what ways we can.

Thanks for writing that up - it's fascinating to see how different groups are doing things.

We did our first group ritual by Zoom last Saturday (for Beltane). My Dedicants are all still in the process of learning our circle casting, so I wanted to do something that could help reinforce it.

In the end, I set up my laptop so they could see me, set up a very basic altar, and muted them, having them follow along saying and doing as much of the circle cast as they felt would be energetically meaningful for them, which seemed to work okay. (The muting was to avoid the awful cacophany that is people on Zoom trying to say things in unison with the time lag.)

Then we got everyone unmuted, and I did a meditation, and then we charged a food item I'd asked people to have handy (in this case, something living or transformed: bread, yogurt, honey, wine/beer/mead were all things I suggested. Given the current state of groceries, I didn't want to get super specific, and I gave everyone three weeks warning on what to have.) We spent a little time talking, then repeated the mute-and-follow-along for the circle opening.

It would be a lot easier if I had a co-host handy to do the muting and unmuting, and we might try that next time, and I'd like to get ways to have them do more of the circle setup, but we were at a somewhat nebulous stage for that before starting physical distancing.
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Noctua

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Re: Remote and together - what're you doing that's working?
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2020, 01:23:41 pm »
Thanks for writing that up - it's fascinating to see how different groups are doing things.

We did our first group ritual by Zoom last Saturday (for Beltane). My Dedicants are all still in the process of learning our circle casting, so I wanted to do something that could help reinforce it.

In the end, I set up my laptop so they could see me, set up a very basic altar, and muted them, having them follow along saying and doing as much of the circle cast as they felt would be energetically meaningful for them, which seemed to work okay. (The muting was to avoid the awful cacophany that is people on Zoom trying to say things in unison with the time lag.)

Then we got everyone unmuted, and I did a meditation, and then we charged a food item I'd asked people to have handy (in this case, something living or transformed: bread, yogurt, honey, wine/beer/mead were all things I suggested. Given the current state of groceries, I didn't want to get super specific, and I gave everyone three weeks warning on what to have.) We spent a little time talking, then repeated the mute-and-follow-along for the circle opening.

It would be a lot easier if I had a co-host handy to do the muting and unmuting, and we might try that next time, and I'd like to get ways to have them do more of the circle setup, but we were at a somewhat nebulous stage for that before starting physical distancing.

We did our Zoom ritual last night and the muting/unmuting thing was something that we also had come to the same conclusion on. We tried to do some of the call and responses and it was a hot mess, we ended up deciding that it would be better to have just two people (the designated P/Ps) doing the call and response and the rest of us either muted or just "thinking it hard" lol.

Ritual was a mixed bag. A lot of us felt like it was really hard to feel the same connection remotely as we do together, and with that piece missing it didn't feel like we were gaining anything over just doing things solo. Part of this may have been the work we did as well; we tried to do a meditation that included a chant and it was definitely hampered by not being able to hear everyone doing the chant together. Others felt like even though is was kinda a cluster it was still good to have the accountability to each other to make sure they actually are doing the thing. We're still in discussion over whether we're going to save online ritual for Sabbats only or whether we'll be trying more often.

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Re: Remote and together - what're you doing that's working?
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2020, 01:31:33 pm »
Ritual was a mixed bag. A lot of us felt like it was really hard to feel the same connection remotely as we do together, and with that piece missing it didn't feel like we were gaining anything over just doing things solo. Part of this may have been the work we did as well; we tried to do a meditation that included a chant and it was definitely hampered by not being able to hear everyone doing the chant together. Others felt like even though is was kinda a cluster it was still good to have the accountability to each other to make sure they actually are doing the thing. We're still in discussion over whether we're going to save online ritual for Sabbats only or whether we'll be trying more often.

One thing I tried on the chant front was playing a video from YouTube with the chant, muting everyone, but it meant there was something to sing along with/chant with. (If someone's willing to muck with some simple sound software, you could do the same thing with your own recordings, too.)

One of the things I've thought about is "Everyone does X ritual in a timespan before Y chat, then we talk about it communally together" but for various reasons the logistics are a little tricky because of single parenting and kids, and so on.
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Re: Remote and together - what're you doing that's working?
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2020, 06:26:32 pm »
One thing I tried on the chant front was playing a video from YouTube with the chant, muting everyone,

As I learned in a recent work team meeting, if you're going to do this, test the video sharing beforehand. (first try: video only. second try: audio only. third try: screensharing didn't work and we all watched our team lead watching the video. After that we gave up.)

Noctua

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Re: Remote and together - what're you doing that's working?
« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2020, 04:12:21 pm »
One thing I tried on the chant front was playing a video from YouTube with the chant, muting everyone, but it meant there was something to sing along with/chant with. (If someone's willing to muck with some simple sound software, you could do the same thing with your own recordings, too.)


Yeah the issue seemed to be less of the "not everyone can hear" variety and more of the "we can't hear everyone" because we're not all together and voicechat platforms don't allow for simultaneous speaking. I think it's particularly hard for our tradition and our grove in particular, since so much of what we do involves music and singing/chanting together (heck Harmony is one of our seven tenets of faith) so a lot of us were really missing that particular piece, and it really can't be replicated via current remote communications systems that are available.

I know the hardest part for me was singing the gathering song, because normally I'd be doing that hand in hand with my grovemates and we'd all find ourselves swaying in time together, which really is how we build that immediate magical connection in the circle. To not have that piece hit me hard, and made me real . . . I guess homesick would be the best word for it.

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Re: Remote and together - what're you doing that's working?
« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2020, 10:49:23 am »
I know the hardest part for me was singing the gathering song, because normally I'd be doing that hand in hand with my grovemates and we'd all find ourselves swaying in time together, which really is how we build that immediate magical connection in the circle. To not have that piece hit me hard, and made me real . . . I guess homesick would be the best word for it.

This is a thing that would need someone with enough tech skills, and some trial and error to synchronise things, but I'm wondering if you could take a leaf from some of the online music projects (which mostly involve people recording their own piece of it, and someone mixing them together at the end.) There's free software (Audacity, for example) that will pull the individual files together, the trick is getting everyone to be working to the same beat.

What might work is having someone record it and then use that as the pacing for everyone else, then remix with the tracks sent in by everyone individually. Then you could have that playing, hear everyone's voices (and get the harmonies) but have everyone muted on the actual call so you are singing along with the assembled voices without echo. Not ideal, but better than going totally without, maybe?

Homesick is totally the right word for it. (I still have the same thing on the occasions when I'm in a circle cast by the HP who trained me, which doesn't happen often anymore, since I'm half a continent away. I am perfectly capable of doing my ritual work on my own, but that one is special.)
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Re: Remote and together - what're you doing that's working?
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2020, 01:06:26 pm »

There's a roundup of posts on the Patheos Pagan Channel about dealing with Covid-19 - if anyone else out there is looking at how other people and groups are handling things, it's got a bunch of bits to look at. (I'm still reading through)
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