There’s this illusion that rituals, and all types of spiritual growth, are free from anything dirty or unattractive. It’s time we talk about what really happens when the ritual ends, when things can get really messy. After the candles have been extinguished, the offerings are looking a bit sad, and we’ve cried all the tears possible. There’s dripped wax on the carpet, tissues everywhere and holes in the altar cloth from who knows what. Internally, we often feel the same way. True spiritual growth is a very messy process that really begins after the ritual is over.
After the ritual ends, we may feel energized or exhausted, experience blinding clarity or the numbness symptomatic of deep change. During the ritual we may have been intimately connected with our spirits, so much so that we feel sad upon returning to our normal state of being. Or we can emerge drenched in the love of the goddess. Our task is to lean into these states of being so we can consume that magickal medicine we sought.
Rituals have a life of their own.
Sometimes during the performance of the ritual, we may even feel disconnected or things can go in an entirely different direction than what we had planned. While we are the most important part of any ritual, when we seek transformation through Hekate and spirits, they will impart their medicine upon us in ways that may seem completely unsensible or they may not have even seemed to have shown up. Hekate was there. Perhaps not how you expected her to be. She’s like that.
Plan. Prepare. Then let it happen how it will.
I dropped the aster bath bombs I’d made into the steaming tub, lit the bundle of juniper, rosemary and wormwood, then carefully arranged the candles I made. I’d been feeling jittery all day, so I was excited about the sweet relief in Hekate’s warm, wet womb. Nope. Instead my hyper awareness ramped up even more. It was as though I could feel everyone who was doing the Death Walking Ritual of Release. I fiercely worked my body with the black salt scrub, but still no calmness.
Mugwort oil was my next attempt. Drenched in charcoal, salt and mugwort, I was still receiving all this input from what felt like thousands of witches. I needed to bury myself outside, but it was freezing and raining. Undaunted, I submerged my head several times. The only message that came through that I was to stop trying to hold onto all the energy coming at me. Hekate said that I was merely the conduit between her and all of them.
But all I wanted was to be with her. Alone.
It wasn’t until my early morning journey to release my offering the next day that the teaching that Hekate had bestowed on me during my ritual was potent medicine. She had showed me how I am inspiring thousands to seek her mysteries and their own deeper selves. What more could any witch ask for? During the ritual I had recommitted to her, saying that I will do her bidding. It had been like trying to talk to someone at a rock concert. But in the stillness of the morning, I could finally listen to her. That’s when I was nourished by her medicine. Magick is medicine, and it works at its own pace.