Most of the time, I want to do ritual with other people. I long for a physical religious community. I try to build it as best I can (stumbling along the way). Community is important to me.
But some rituals are just better in private.
I’m the type of person that is constantly working. I’m either writing or reading or praying or putting together charms or whatever else is on the list for that day. I rarely give myself an actual break where I’m not doing or thinking anything. But yesterday I took a break and decided to relax. I still managed to make it work, of course – rather than just a simple bath I had to take a super intense cleansing bath with various incense, herbs, oils, salts, and candles – but it was nice to have that time.
To not worry about how to make a prayer just right or how to tinker with a ritual. To not worry about getting the phrasing on a story just so or conveying the proper way to approach the gods and spirits. Taking some time to myself was nice.
During that time I still ended up fervently praying as I scrubbed my skin red. I mumbled and growled out certain phrases, exclaiming others clearly, before finally being able to fall peacefully into bed. It was, at its core, a cleansing ritual, and one that had to be done in private. It would have lost power if it had been shared with another human.
There are other rituals that I do in private. Some with the Dierne aren’t meant to be shared with others. My possession work with the Laetha is very private; where I can discuss the specifics of most of my practices even if people aren’t allowed to join in on some of them, I can’t discuss the setup of the Laetha’s possession work. I can discuss the feelings it brings on, what happens in-possession, but not what occurs before. I can’t share the symbols associated with it.
There’s much I can or could take pictures of for other parts of my work, rituals I could video tape and share. There are some which are going into an Otherfaith ritual book. Yet there are still others that should be given only through oral information, only face to face. And that, it seems, is the norm. Even open traditions and religions have their specifics, their shared rituals that only those in the local group truly know.
So I’m taking this time to be thankful for my solitude. It isn’t something I often enjoy, religiously, but it is something to be grateful for in moments like these.
Are people excited for National Novel Writing Month next month? I am! I’ll be taking November to work even more intensively on the mythos book of the Otherfaith, which will hopefully be the final push before it is ready to be published.
Also exciting is Halloween. Halloween for me is a holiday of sweets and thrills. I’ve made little charms celebrating the more cutesy side of Halloween for my shop, and I’m already planning what movie I’ll go see once Halloween rolls around. I’ll write up a little bit about Halloween in the Otherfaith – it isn’t a day of ancestral worship for us, nor do I celebrate Samhain. The end of October marks my favorite time of year, though, so the holiday does have important meaning in my life.
In other news – I’m participating in the 40 Days to Keep Abortion Legal prayer & ritual movement. I highly encourage others to be involved as well. Yes, I will be writing a longer post about this. How much of the Otherfaith will be mentioned in regards to abortion is debatable – we’ll see.