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Open Public Rituals - What do you like to see?

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  • Open Public Rituals - What do you like to see?

    I am planning an open public ritual for Mabon this year. I'm hoping that at least 50 attend it. Planning larger rituals is a challenge, especially when you don't know the energies of those who are coming. It tends to be chaotic, but lots of fun.

    My question is, if you were going to attend a ritual like this (or if you have attended public rituals before) what are some of the things you'd like to see? What works well and what doesn't? What did you enjoy about the ritual(s) you attend(ed)?

    Thanks for the help!
    :fpraise: All hail the mighty SEARCH function! :fpraiseyo

    See the completed cards from the MW Tarot Project @ the link below:


    If "a gentle touch speaks volumes" imagine what a bitch-slap can do! ~ me

  • #2
    The big thing in my book is to make sure that everyone's involved. You want them to be active participants. But take into consideration individual needs. One year, we had a group of ladies who couldn't participate in any of the dancing, so we gave them the drums. It was a lot of fun.

    Believe it or not, it helps to look into stage directions: because you want to make sure that everyone can hear you, and a lot of theatre planning is based on making sure of just that.

    I'm sure it's going to a be a great ritual.

    Oh! and make sure that someone can check those who are new to open rituals get greeted, and that someone makes sure they get grounded afterwards, even if it's just shoving cookies and juice at them.
    Each man performs his service to the Holy according to what he is, not according to what he is not; after all, the sacrifice must not surpass the proper measure of the worshiper. - Iamblichus



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    • #3
      Good luck! I'd like to see something that really has meaning for the ritual!

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      • #4
        For anyone else who might be planning, Rites of Worship by Bonewits is an EXCELLENT resource. I've taken alot of my cues from him when planning.
        :fpraise: All hail the mighty SEARCH function! :fpraiseyo

        See the completed cards from the MW Tarot Project @ the link below:


        If "a gentle touch speaks volumes" imagine what a bitch-slap can do! ~ me

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        • #5
          Originally posted by LiaWifeMother
          Good luck! I'd like to see something that really has meaning for the ritual!
          I know what you mean. I hope we can acheive that. I really do. The hard part is, how much can all the participants give of themselves. "Perfect Love and Perfect Trust" is all fine and dandy, but not very likely to happen in a circle with people you've never met before. My first thought was that it would be lovely to do a bit of shadow work, but that is very personal and also very individual and so, not very suited to a "public" ritual.

          The best I'm hoping for at this ritual is that everyone walks away happy or at least content and that we have a chance to give back to the pagan community and the community at large. Part of what we are planning is to make this a canned food drive.
          :fpraise: All hail the mighty SEARCH function! :fpraiseyo

          See the completed cards from the MW Tarot Project @ the link below:


          If "a gentle touch speaks volumes" imagine what a bitch-slap can do! ~ me

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Zephyrstorm
            The big thing in my book is to make sure that everyone's involved. You want them to be active participants.
            Yes! I totally agree. I don't like going to rituals where I feel like I'm part of the "audience" and not part of the "ritual". One of the ways I like to avoid that is by using Litanies (call & response prayers). I'm going to try to make as many of the essential parts of the ritual (quarter & deity calls, etc.) call and response as I can.

            I love the idea of the drums. We are planning a drumming circle, but I don't think we had planned any dances. We certainly won't stop peolpe if they do dance though!
            :fpraise: All hail the mighty SEARCH function! :fpraiseyo

            See the completed cards from the MW Tarot Project @ the link below:


            If "a gentle touch speaks volumes" imagine what a bitch-slap can do! ~ me

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            • #7
              First of all I must say that I love your Eris avatar. Anyway I would be prepaired to plan for potential problems. I have a bit of a horror story. I was in a circle and a pregnant woman became ill. She wasn't a witch but there for the curiosity. She was nice though. Anyway, The high priestess ( who was very rude about it) was very angry that she had to leave without cutting a doorway. I suppose vomiting on the circle would be better! Anyway I am not accusng you of anything but my point is that problems can happen and one should try to plan for things that could go wrong.
              ___________________________________________________



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              • #8
                Sage,
                how awful for that pregnant girl!
                It's hard enough to be pregnant - you never know what your gonna get. to have a HPS get upset with you for something completely outside your control like that.

                And good advice - something will go wrong - even if you're the only one who notices.

                A more humorous story: a friend of mine was hosting a circle, and he bought an incense burner just for the occasion - it was a wolf and you set the cone incense up its "butt" when it was lit and the smoke was supposed to come out its mouth...
                well, he decided to set the cone just before the ceremony, but neglected to light the incense first... only to have the cone get stuck.
                He was so upset - because it was all going so well until then. Thus we have the story of getting incense stuck up the wolf's "butt". heh.

                Z
                Each man performs his service to the Holy according to what he is, not according to what he is not; after all, the sacrifice must not surpass the proper measure of the worshiper. - Iamblichus



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                • #9
                  That is a shame that the HPS wasn't more forgiving. Things like that happen and you can't expect everything to go perfectly. I love the wolf butt story! LOL

                  I think our biggest challenge will be children. I'm thinking of setting up a children's area so that they'll be occupied while the parents have ritual. Some of the people attending are breeders and some aren't. (I'm a breeder) So, I want to try to work out a ritual that doesn't cater too much to one or the other. I've had people say that they didn't want to "dumb down" a ritual to a child's level and while I think it's a bit harsh, I also can't help but agree.

                  Still working on all of it....
                  :fpraise: All hail the mighty SEARCH function! :fpraiseyo

                  See the completed cards from the MW Tarot Project @ the link below:


                  If "a gentle touch speaks volumes" imagine what a bitch-slap can do! ~ me

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                  • #10
                    I went to a big ritual for Imbolc one year and it was great. I think the key is to get everyone involved and feel like they are part of the ritual. Give everyone an object or token they can keep, help imbue with power etc. I loved the spiral dance that everyone got together to do and I think it is a great way to channel the energy of the ritual. Keep the beginners in mind and try to explain as much of whats going on as you can, with some background or story to reinforce it.
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                    • #11
                      I think it's definitely a good idea to have a children's area and have an activity or a story-teller there--it's not just the 'dumbing-down' factor; having a small comet whizzzz through the circle or start commenting on the HP's attributes in a solemn moment is distracting.

                      The public rituals I have enjoyed all employed participation-- call-and-responce is good. Also handing something around the circle--tying a knot in a cord, adding an object to a bowl, something that emphasizes the creation of group unity. If your planning resources can stretch to giving away an object, fine. Maybe you can detail someone to collect a bunch of acorns/pine cones/seed pods/pebbles for free.

                      GoodWishing your ritual success!
                      *I am a mystic and work through Imbas rather than re-constructive archeology. Lore, history, and research are vital tools and permit us to validate and amplify communications we recieve. Disagreement and referencing of materials are also welcome benchmarks. What I say is not the 'Truth' but only my perception/opinion/belief and I am happy to give the same consideration to everyone else's point of view.*

                      http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/duty_calls.png

                      "everyone [is] entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." Stephen Colbert

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                      • #12
                        The hard part is, how much can all the participants give of themselves. "Perfect Love and Perfect Trust" is all fine and dandy, but not very likely to happen in a circle with people you've never met before. My first thought was that it would be lovely to do a bit of shadow work, but that is very personal and also very individual and so, not very suited to a "public" ritual.
                        The way we look at it is that we *don't* expect perfect love and perfect trust in public/open rituals. It just doesn't make sense to do so - you have people who don't know each other. You quite possibly have people who are brand new to Wicca or Paganism or whatever, and don't know that part of it. You may also have people who really do have substantial concerns about another.

                        What we go for is "Willing to set aside external concerns for the good of the ritual goal." However, this really works best when you have a very clear ritual goal, and one that different people will find meaningful for their own reasons.

                        We did a public ritual for Beltane this year. We publicised the general goal in the announcement (3 sentence explanation, so people had a general idea.) We talked about it more in the pre-ritual introduction, etc.

                        In general, here's stuff I look for:

                        1) Is there a reason to do X besides "Gee, it looks cool!" - the ritual should fit together well, have a clear purpose, etc. The ritual setup stuff should flow well, and not take too long, too, as it's an easy place for people to get bored, lose focus, etc.

                        2) Stuff that works with 10 people often doesn't work with 50 - a big issue here is something where every person does something - it just takes too long.

                        3) Location, location, location - a meditation or more reflective thing may not work with a lot of people outside, because it can be really hard to hear. Such things are often done better with fewer people in an enclosed space, where the sound can bounce off nearby walls.

                        4) Consideration for potential needs - incense allergies, mobility concerns, someone being hard of hearing, etc. all are more likely as you have more people. If it's a public ritual, you probably won't know in advance which people may have which concerns.

                        5) Can you hear? *Everyone* with a speaking role needs to be able to project their voice or figure out some way to make sure that what they say is heard. Otherwise, figure out alternatives, where hearing what is said is not an issue.

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                        • #13
                          1. 'Pagan Standard Time' is a slap in the face to everyone who takes the effort to be there on time. It is also hugely disrespectful to the Gods and to the people who have organized the ritual. if the notices said that it starts at 7;30 Pm, then make damn sure that it starts at 7:30 PM, not a minute later or sooner, and too damn bad for everyone who thought they could take their time to get there.
                          2. For the love of God, ORGANIZE. Make 100% sure that the clergy and temple staff are going to be there. Make 100% sure that you have everything ready BEFORE the ritual.
                          3. PRACTICE YOUR CHANT BEFOREHAND. Even if this is ten minutes before ritual starts, it helps to be sure that everyone knows the tune, metre, and words of the chant. It can also help people get in the proper headspace.
                          4. Kids. I've been to rituals where the kids were no problem and, in fact,m a joy to have around. I've also been to rituals where I wanted to take them, split them open, and sprinkle their blood around the altar and anoint the four corners of the altar of incense with their blood. If you can't control your kids, then don't bring them.
                          5. Speak loudly enough that everyone can hear you.
                          6. Do a practice run before hand if you've never done this particular tiaul before, or if it's complicated. It never hurts to make sure.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Silverfire Darkmoon
                            1. 'Pagan Standard Time' is a slap in the face to everyone who takes the effort to be there on time. It is also hugely disrespectful to the Gods and to the people who have organized the ritual. if the notices said that it starts at 7;30 Pm, then make damn sure that it starts at 7:30 PM, not a minute later or sooner, and too damn bad for everyone who thought they could take their time to get there.
                            Thank you!!
                            I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees this 'Pagan Standard Time' nonsense as disrespectful!!
                            In memory of my brother.
                            July 12 1965-July 7 2005.
                            May you find peace on your journey.

                            "To be a man you must have honor, honor and a penis!"
                            ~ Shin Chan ~

                            Tormentor of Fairywolf!

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                            • #15
                              To address the whole "I can't hear what they're saying!" issue, I would suggest printing out a little half-page or one-page "program" for the ritual and passing it around about 20 minutes before ritual starts. That way, everyone knows what the litanies are going to be, even if they *can't* hear you. Also, it lets newbies get an idea of what's going to be going on, how things are going to flow, etc. People can tell you before hand if there's something that they can't handle, such as allergies, issues with disabilities, etc. Also, I think it would be a good idea to include a little bit maybe about yourself or how your group operates or the history of the holiday. Lots of people come into a public ritual, thinking they're there for one reason, when the group directing the ritual takes it another direction (for example, some poeple think Lughnassadh is about Lugh's wedding and a group could emphasize that aspect, whereas I would think I'm coming to a harvest festival....does that make sense?).
                              To help include people, you could have a large amount of single-food items, such as muffins or cookies, etc., and have the circle pass them around to one another, saying something like "May you always be nourished" or something like that for the Cakes&Ale portion.
                              I totally agree about starting on time. MY group never starts on time and it bugs me, lol. With so many people to wrangle, staying on top of the schedule is essential. I would suggest maybe ringing a loud bell or something to signify the start and end of the ritual, something that would carry (barring a bullhorn, lol).
                              There's always room for humor!!! If someone flubs, forgets a line, the gods understand. If someone freaks out angrily over that, the crowd will pick up on it and the tension may ruin the energies. People will walk away only talking about that as what they remember - glossing over with a little joke or a laugh goes a long way.

                              That's all I can think of for now....hope this inspires.
                              ~NITEFALLE~
                              Pagan Tart, High Priestess of the Soli-Tarty Path

                              My heroes have always been cowboys, and they still are, it seems
                              Always in search of, and one step in back of,
                              Themselves and their slow-movin' dreams
                              ~Willie Nelson~

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