Can it be done? Can it work?
This is the modern world, and it is imperfect
Ideally, it’s best to be in the same physical space for group ritual. But that doesn’t always occur! Things happen, it’s just the nature of the world. Scheduling conflicts can occur, people can get sick, etc.
There have been many incidents prior to COVID-19 where there were people not physically present but wanted to attend the rite. In such incidents, video chat and a laptop was introduced and people read their parts from their disparate locations.
While it’s easy to mix both those who are physically present and those who are not, the question then becomes “What if ALL are remote?”
Remote group ritual? We have the technology for that!
Everyone dialed in and doing their lines and individual work remotely? You can do that! I participated in such a rite recently for Ostara that aired live on the Pagans Tonight Radio Network. This collaborative effort by a number of people demonstrated how it CAN be done with a little creativity.
Another possibility is video chat software. Zoom is highly recommended, and very easy to use even for people who aren’t ordinarily technical. They’ve increased their limit for free plans to 100 participants so people can make sure of their tools during the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone from educators to health professionals is using it right now.
Are there exceptions to spiritual remote work, or can everything be done remotely?
I think that for initiations, doing things remotely is impractical since so much of the experience for the initiate is more than just what people are saying or doing. Initiations will have to wait until all participants can be in the same room again. Obviously for matters such as Reiki attunements and other such modalities, remote work is just fine. Otherwise for rites that absolutely depend greatly upon the physical experience, these workarounds likely won’t be feasible.
Otherwise, for celebrating holidays such as sabbats and esbats it’s still very doable. Same with group magical work.
What are the various techniques you can use in order to do a remote group ritual?
Aside from each person saying their part as they officiate during any rite, there are certain actions that can be done in unison. You can prepare cakes and wine in advance, for instance, at each individual’s location and then each person can partake of them during the rite. Doing the Great Rite this way can be tricky, however. Different lineages may have different ideas on how to do the thing, and in each case the High Priestess and High Priest should decide what is best.
The good thing about video chat software vs by audio alone is the ability to make eye contact with participants. This can go a long way towards assisting with ritual flow and making the necessary connections.
Have you done remote group ritual successfully, and if so what were your thoughts on the experience? Share your ideas in the comments!