One of the items on the House of Danu Gorsedd agenda that caught my attention was the workshop on ecstatic ritual. I consider myself a good ritualist, but the rituals I compose and present tend to be introspective, worshipful, and/or celebratory. Ecstatic ritual is one of my weak points… quite possibly because ecstasy requires giving up control, and that is something I find very difficult to do.
Thorn Coyle led the workshop and the Lughnasadh ritual the next day. She said she was trying to cover in two hours what she normally covers in a full weekend. That’s simply not possible, but I learned – and experienced – a lot in a short period of time.
I took a few notes. The first was that good ritual connects with us on three levels: the animal level (intuition, emotion), the human level (intellect) and the divine level (gods and goddesses). It requires that everyone is fully present and contributing. And it requires something to get people energized: chanting, drumming, dancing, toning, etc.
I can’t overemphasize the importance of having everyone engaged. Not only does this add to the overall energy of the working, it helps minimize distractions. Knowing that there are no distractions and that everyone is taking things seriously makes it easier to turn loose of some of that control and let the gods come through. If you can see that everyone is singing and dancing and getting into the ritual, you’ll be less worried about looking stupid – you’re more confident that others understand what you’re doing and why.
This is real, first-hand religion. This isn’t some academic speculation on the implication of the nature of God, this is (and was) a direct experience of God/dess. Or in this case, the direct experience of a specific god: Lugh.
It was one of the strongest religious experiences I’ve ever had. And it wasn’t just some spiritual high (though it was most certainly that!) – it contained real wisdom and real direction and some real answers to some very real questions I’ve been struggling with.
Thanks to Lugh for speaking to me. Thanks to Thorn for facilitating the experience. And thanks to everyone at the Gorsedd for participating and for creating an environment where I felt safe enough to lower the shields and let the magic flow.