There are eight times a year where I take a day off from work (a luxury that many people don’t have the option of) and plan a way to devote most of my time to my spiritual practice. These days are of course the eight holidays on the Pagan Wheel of the Year: Winter and Summer Solstice, Spring and Autumn Equinox, Imbolc, Beltane,Lughnasadh, and Samhain. One of the ways I tap into the energy of these holidays is by spending time in ritual.
For me ritual is way to create and use sacred space to recognize and honor the energies of that season. It’s a way for me to devote time to really important magics. It’s a time to connect to my ancestors and the spirits of the place that I live in. Since I almost only use dedicated ritual during the eight Pagan holidays, it is a very special, sacred time that lives outside of my daily mediation and spiritual practices. Ritual is also a solitary time for me. I don’t work with a local grove (although that might be nice sometimes). I’ve only ever had one person sit in at one of my rituals. It’s not something I have practice sharing, yet. Maybe someday it will be easier to do ritual with others.
Ritual in Druidry is similar in many ways to ritual in any other spiritual practice. There is an opening which includes casting a circle. There is the body of ritual or the rite which might include readings, music, art, magic, or meditation. Finally the close reverse the opening and inspires us to take the messages of the rite into our daily lives. I usually follow the pattern and script found in OBOD’s seasonal ritual booklets. The pattern of those booklets allows me to just flow with the energy raised in ritual. I suppose being raised Catholic also influences my acceptance of a pattern to ritual. It is comforting in many ways.
One of my favorite parts of ritual is found in the opening. After the Druid’s Prayer, you are encouraged to chant a few Awens. Chanting is a beautiful and powerful way of tuning into the ritual. It centers and enlivens me all at the same time. I love the idea that everything can vibrate at the same frequency. It’s a very physical way of sensing the energy being used in ritual.
In what ways does ritual enrich your life? When do you engage in ritual?