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What is Ritual?
We engage in ritual every day. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a ritual is “a set of actions or words performed in a regular way, often as part of a religious ceremony.” This includes the series of tasks we take every morning or at night before bed and certain acts we do without even thinking about them. Of course, this is a Wiccan-leaning Pagan blog, and so I’ll stick to that in this post.
In Wicca, one can find rituals for just about anything. We have rituals for each of our holidays, called Sabbats, as well as to celebrate the full moon, which we call Esbats. Most Wiccan rituals include some form of Grounding and Centering, as well as Calling the Quarters—but they can be as simple or complex as we desire.
Why do we perform Ritual?
Ritual allows us to focus our intentions and provides a source of comfort in the familiar. The repetitive actions form a sort of anchor that’s important when performing any kind of magick work. This anchor frees us from distractions so that we can work in a relatively “pure” space.
The reasons differ for every ritual, but they are almost always meant to mark a specific occasion as a special one. Whether it’s to celebrate a commitment to our partner or to prepare for a big presentation, rituals remind us that we are entering a unique phase and that we should remain aware. They allow us to focus deeply on our goals, strengthening the power of our intentions.
Pagan rituals come in hundreds of variations, depending on the practitioner/s and their tradition. We use ritual to connect with nature, with our Higher Selves, and with Deity. We use ritual to celebrate joyous events and to recognize solemn events with a show of respect. Many of us even imbue our mundane, morning routine with a little magick, making it yet another ritual that helps us connect with the Divine.
What’s a Dramatic Ritual?
One of my favorite types of ritual is also one I have yet to try. That is the Dramatic ritual—a ritual that is performed in the style of a play. Most Pagan rituals have a certain level of drama to them, with our candles and robes and intricate altar tools. But the Dramatic ritual is a full-on performance—with stage directions, lines, and actors.
What makes this different from a normal play is the content of the story being told, the worship-based activities, and the participation of everyone in attendance. These plays tend to feature coven-members and often have some form of trance/meditation for all involved as part of the performance.
Personally, I’ve always felt a sort of magick when performing, so the idea of bringing that into my personal practice just rings a bell for me. It seems like an ideal and fun way to worship. It also seems like an amazing bonding exercise for coven members. The Dramatic ritual is certainly at the top of my ritual bucket list, along with many others.
Whatever kind of ritual you prefer, I think every Pagan can agree that ritual is an important and beautiful part of our various practices. Ritual can be found in just about every tradition, because it speaks to a basic human need. It allows us not only to connect with the Divine, but with others as well in group ritual. It gives us community experience and a trigger to deepen our focus.
What, if any, rituals do you do every day? Is ritual an important part of your practice? If not, why not? What do you do to stay connected to the Divine/your spiritual self?
Send me your responses or comments!
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA
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