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Author Topic: Structuring a Ritual  (Read 2766 times)

HarpingHawke

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Structuring a Ritual
« on: February 12, 2015, 01:53:20 pm »
What are some of the ways you structure your rituals? I'm mostly informal in my practice, which works well for me, but I feel like it might be a good idea to incorporate some structure there.

Do you write your own? What are some of the things you find to be important during ritual?

I look forward to reading your replies!
"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." - Hemingway

Valeria Crowe

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Re: Structuring a Ritual
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2015, 02:00:34 pm »
Quote from: HarpingHawke;170898
What are some of the ways you structure your rituals? I'm mostly informal in my practice, which works well for me, but I feel like it might be a good idea to incorporate some structure there.

Do you write your own? What are some of the things you find to be important during ritual?

I look forward to reading your replies!

 
I usually start with a banishing, just to serve as a start of ritual marker. Then, usually some sort of recitation of Satan's (or occasionally other deities) attributes. Then some sort of offering, be it incense, music, etc (when I invoke Slaanesh I offer a dance, a sort of knife-dance), ask what I wish or meditate, than turn on the lights, break the circle, douse any candles and offer a bow.

A flexible sort of structure.
"This is a sorrow-spider. Which end do you hold it by? TRICK QUESTION!"

Aiwelin

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Re: Structuring a Ritual
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2015, 02:35:16 pm »
Quote from: HarpingHawke;170898
What are some of the ways you structure your rituals? I'm mostly informal in my practice, which works well for me, but I feel like it might be a good idea to incorporate some structure there.

Do you write your own? What are some of the things you find to be important during ritual?

I look forward to reading your replies!

 
Interesting question!  I've been struggling with this lately.. in my own practice, I don't use a lot of structure for most things, just a prayer and an offering.  In writing group rituals, I've stuck to ADF's Core Order of Ritual since I mostly write for an ADF grove.

Now though, I'm working on a new set of liturgy that isn't strictly personal or affiliated with ADF, so I've been doing some exploring.  I want simple, daily rituals that include some sort of ritual action as well as prayer and an offering, but I'm not sure what to go with there.  I also am working on more elaborate rituals for holidays; but really the basic structure is the same: "invite participants - give offerings - seasonal custom or other action - thanks and goodbyes".  For me, those are the bare bones that make a ritual a ritual, and though it has some structure it's also very easy to do informally.

I'm also looking forward to hearing from others, I think the structure of ritual is one of the more interesting and discussable differences between various stripes of Paganism.
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Riverwolf

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Re: Structuring a Ritual
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2015, 07:13:07 pm »
Quote from: HarpingHawke;170898
What are some of the ways you structure your rituals? I'm mostly informal in my practice, which works well for me, but I feel like it might be a good idea to incorporate some structure there.

Do you write your own? What are some of the things you find to be important during ritual?

I look forward to reading your replies!

 
I conceive of rituals as effectively a symbolic recreation of a relevant myth. As a result, that's the sort of stance I take when analyzing or designing rituals of my own.

...or at least it will be once I actually start doing so.

So, if I were to design a solo ritual to Woden, with an intention of invoking wisdom, the story I'd model would be his journey around the world searching for Knowledge. Just off the top of my head, some things I might do would be to cover one of my eyes before sipping some Mead, reciting an offering of physical sight for insight. I would probably then recite pleas for wisdom on various topics, before spending some time in some kind of upside-down position. I might recite the Elder Futhark during that, or whatever Futhark I'm learning at a given time (maybe nine times), and then finishing the ritual by writing down various insights gained during the ritual and thank Woden, offering some Mead in return.
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Tom

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Re: Structuring a Ritual
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2015, 08:14:51 pm »
Quote from: Riverwolf;170909
I conceive of rituals as effectively a symbolic recreation of a relevant myth. As a result, that's the sort of stance I take when analyzing or designing rituals of my own.

...or at least it will be once I actually start doing so.

So, if I were to design a solo ritual to Woden, with an intention of invoking wisdom, the story I'd model would be his journey around the world searching for Knowledge. Just off the top of my head, some things I might do would be to cover one of my eyes before sipping some Mead, reciting an offering of physical sight for insight. I would probably then recite pleas for wisdom on various topics, before spending some time in some kind of upside-down position. I might recite the Elder Futhark during that, or whatever Futhark I'm learning at a given time (maybe nine times), and then finishing the ritual by writing down various insights gained during the ritual and thank Woden, offering some Mead in return.

 
As I skimmed through this, apparently my head decided to give me the image of one offering Odin or Woden a peeled grape in exchange for insight in lieu of a real eye. I suppose that could work though it may be a bit impious for some.

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Re: Structuring a Ritual
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2015, 11:21:50 am »
Quote from: HarpingHawke;170898
What are some of the ways you structure your rituals? I'm mostly informal in my practice, which works well for me, but I feel like it might be a good idea to incorporate some structure there.

Do you write your own? What are some of the things you find to be important during ritual?

 
Something with heavy bass that I can turn down so I dont hear the lyrics, but can feel/hear the "heartbeat" going on.  I find that it helps keep me focused.  

Fire.  I find that using fire as a focus is the best thing.  Candle, torch, campfire... whatever, its the flames that matter.

Beyond that, anything else is fluid and can change throughout the course of the ritual.
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Jainarayan

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Re: Structuring a Ritual
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2015, 03:44:27 pm »
Quote from: HarpingHawke;170898
Do you write your own? What are some of the things you find to be important during ritual?

 
I sort of made up my own.

  • I light a candle and incense.
  • I say some invocations to Thor and the All-Father.
  • I pour a horn of mead or beer and offer it to the Gods, spirits and ancestors.
  • I say some prayers to the Gods and Goddesses.
  • I finish the horn and spend a little time at the altar in silence.
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Altair

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Re: Structuring a Ritual
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2015, 04:41:58 pm »
Quote from: HarpingHawke;170898
What are some of the ways you structure your rituals? I'm mostly informal in my practice, which works well for me, but I feel like it might be a good idea to incorporate some structure there.



As with you, my practice is very informal. But when I'm doing something ritualistic, no matter how informal, I find the preparation is important to me: mostly grooming myself head to toe right beforehand. Somehow, it puts me in the right frame of mind...like I'm doing something special, not ordinary.

That's not structure *during* ritual, but maybe it will help.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
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Riverwolf

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Re: Structuring a Ritual
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2015, 04:43:20 pm »
Quote from: Tom;170912
As I skimmed through this, apparently my head decided to give me the image of one offering Odin or Woden a peeled grape in exchange for insight in lieu of a real eye. I suppose that could work though it may be a bit impious for some.

And now I wonder if Woden's sense of humor is comparable to his Blood Brother's. ^_^

I don't think I'd do that, not because of impiety, but because the ritual is more about ideas than physical aspects. Sacrificing a real eye is obviously kinda impractical, but the idea is hindering outward sight for inward sight. So covering one eye during the ritual (and maybe for the rest of the day, even, depending on the occasion for the ritual) is pretty much the next best thing.

Heck, in one version of Dungeons and Dragons' Deities and Demigods book, Odin's priests are described as always having one eye covered regardless of how good it is.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 04:43:32 pm by Riverwolf »
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Sobekemiti

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Re: Structuring a Ritual
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2015, 10:28:09 am »
Quote from: HarpingHawke;170898
What are some of the ways you structure your rituals? I'm mostly informal in my practice, which works well for me, but I feel like it might be a good idea to incorporate some structure there.

Do you write your own? What are some of the things you find to be important during ritual?

I look forward to reading your replies!


My practice is rather informal too, in the sense that my rituals are short and not that formal in structure. I do mostly write them myself, though sometimes I'll borrow from other sources, like ADF rites, and adapt them for what I want to do.

I do need some sort of structure, though, even if it's a short 5 minute libation ritual, like my daily devotions are. They're structured off longer solitary Kemetic rituals I wrote, and contain a very cut down version of that ritual structure.

And for daily devotions in particular, it's important for them to be short, and able to be done by me when I'm half-asleep in my pyjamas. I think I went through several much longer daily ritual structures before I settled on the ones I'm currently using, because they're the only ones that work for me as a habit I've kept up for more than a few weeks.

For longer rituals, eh, it kind of depends. I will generally follow established structures, just because it's easier for me, and I don't have to think about it. The more I do them, the more they get ingrained in my mind, so I get used to what's coming up next and how well they flow.

Never underestimate the importance of repetition in your rituals; that's something I took many years to really understand. I used to dismiss it as something that didn't work for me because I thought I was better with informal short rituals. But even something simple, like lighting a candle, offering water, and saying a prayer can work as repetition, if you do it the same way every time. It might not be a grand ritual structure, but it's still a structure, and if it works for you, so be it.
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Liadine (dragonflyeyes)

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Re: Structuring a Ritual
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2015, 03:56:02 pm »
Quote from: Sobekemiti;170981
Never underestimate the importance of repetition in your rituals; that's something I took many years to really understand. I used to dismiss it as something that didn't work for me because I thought I was better with informal short rituals. But even something simple, like lighting a candle, offering water, and saying a prayer can work as repetition, if you do it the same way every time. It might not be a grand ritual structure, but it's still a structure, and if it works for you, so be it.

 
Agreed. I've felt much more secure in doing rituals now that I have some constants - they work better for my deities, and they work better for me.

No matter which deity (or deities) I'm worshiping with a particular ritual, I always begin with an invocation (the same one every time for the most part, though on certain occasions I might add additional verses) and an offering (always a candle, often a drink of some kind as well). When I finish, I ritually extinguish the candles and say a short prayer. Whatever happens in-between is usually much less structured, but by beginning and ending with ritual behaviour I find it much easier to get into the proper state of mind.

If I'm worshiping Persephone or Hekate, I always begin with purification as well - of myself (with khernips) and of the altar (with khernips and barley). It's non-negotiable, but I've come to really love it as well, and sometime I wish that I had similar purification rituals for Himself and Brighid. (I could create some, but they've made it clear that they don't particularly care either way, which takes some of the strength out of it for me.)
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Re: Structuring a Ritual
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2015, 04:43:09 pm »
Quote from: Sobekemiti;170981
Never underestimate the importance of repetition in your rituals


Yes, I'm starting to understand that too :)  I had an interesting experience where as a beginner I read lots of books and did rituals in a bunch of different formats and mixed lots of things up and couldn't ever remember how to do it "right"... then I fell out of practice for about a year and a half, and when I came back... I just remembered everything that I needed, and it all fell out in a way that made sense to me.  I still fiddle with details sometimes, but routine has been very important in establishing a sense of significance for my rituals.

I am pretty structured I guess, but exact words are all improvised and different each time.  I take most of my ritual structure from Wicca, which is what I learned on, although I've been gradually moving away from Wicca (and towards... a hodgepodge saturated with my preferences I guess?).

I self cleanse first, then bustle around doing last minute setup, like finishing up cooking food offerings, bringing everything up to the ritual space, lighting incense, and doing any necessary cleaning in that room; I definitely think of that as being part of the process.  Then I turn out the lights (I do the first part in the dark, although I live in the city so it's not alllll that dark), leave the room, and ground and center before coming back in to start officially.

First I make a statement of purpose in front of my altar, cast my circle, call the quarters, then invoke the relevant goddesses and gods (and I light candles as part of that).  Usually at this point, I will have written a poem or prayer that I then read aloud from my book of shadows (which for me is mostly a poetry collection).  And then I will dance or meditate or divine, depending on what seems relevant to the event.  Then I relax and eat part of my food offering, and finally thank those present and break the circle.

Red Vulture

Re: Structuring a Ritual
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2015, 04:38:26 am »
Quote from: HarpingHawke;170898
What are some of the ways you structure your rituals? I'm mostly informal in my practice, which works well for me, but I feel like it might be a good idea to incorporate some structure there.

Do you write your own? What are some of the things you find to be important during ritual?

I look forward to reading your replies!


I don't know if this helps, but I detailed a simple ritual of mine in this blog post: https://redvultureblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/doctor-sleep/

ObsidianTea

Re: Structuring a Ritual
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2015, 11:36:00 pm »
Quote from: HarpingHawke;170898
What are some of the ways you structure your rituals? I'm mostly informal in my practice, which works well for me, but I feel like it might be a good idea to incorporate some structure there.

Do you write your own? What are some of the things you find to be important during ritual?

I look forward to reading your replies!

 


I definitely find it helpful to have a lot of associations with my senses- for example, a certain incense to invoke a memory of past ritual which gets me into an altered mindset, ritual baths, i always cleanse with Florida Water and things like that. As far as ritual itself goes, I'm very meditation based, and tend to do a lot of astral journeying as the main body of the ritual. I will then usually do some automatic writing/ write poetry and read it as an offering. Then I will do some form of divination to connect with the spirits present, and after that I will give offerings as I feel appropriate. It's really important for me to have room to be intuitive, spontaneous and flexible however, which is why I find sensual associations so helpful in maintaining ritual mindset despite discrepancies in what actually takes place in the ritual.
"To Eros, you burn us."- Sappho

Lana288

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Re: Structuring a Ritual
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2015, 01:43:45 pm »
Quote from: HarpingHawke;170898
What are some of the ways you structure your rituals? I'm mostly informal in my practice, which works well for me, but I feel like it might be a good idea to incorporate some structure there.

Do you write your own? What are some of the things you find to be important during ritual?

I look forward to reading your replies!


I think that the most important thing for me is the cleaning before hand. I'm a bit paranoid about showing up to the Gods "dirty", so I spend a couple minutes before all of my rituals cleaning up- first with hot water, and then with cold. (Not sure why I do it that way. Cold water feels just feels 'cleaner' to me.)

The rituals themselves tend to be very basic. I say a prayer and leave an offering, or I light a candle and say a prayer. Not terribly detailed. :P

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