The Language of Ritual

The Language of Ritual October 7, 2019

I was just reading some prose a friend posted on social media. The lines of writing were beautiful and evocative. It read like an invocation, a ritual, a spell. The words conjured up magick in my belly and whipped up the energy in my neurons. Reading them left me slightly breathless; like the first inhale after a long kiss from a lover. In my soul I felt a reverberating response, a call, a longing, a yes.

Reading for me has always been an escape from the mundane and when I started to write rituals they became that too. I really love writing rituals, but I’ve always been hesitant in sharing them. The rituals I write are revealing and personal. Putting them out there makes me feel vulnerable. When I read them with a critical eye they feel too dramatic, too full of flowery language, too much.

Rather than face my fears, I soften the words of my rituals, dumbing them down; making them simpler and bland. This is only because I can’t handle the idea of anyone thinking that I might be silly or frilly or romantic. I’m a serious Witch after all!

In one of my traditions (the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft) all rituals are improvisational. There isn’t any written litany or any words to memorize. It’s a rare thing to find ritual details written down in the Reclaiming Tradition. You might get an outline or markers on a map, but there is no specific prose to remember. It’s easy to simplify a ritual when no one has an expectation of having words to recite. There is safety for me in this form.

There are times when I read or hear the words from other traditions – the rhyming, the romance, the drama of it speaks to my essence. I long for rituals where the romantic and dramatic words are the magick. A ritual with flowery language and a verbal seduction of the spirits is exactly what I need. I want to be wrapped up in prose, weak in the knees, and confused as to where the ritual ends and my skin begins.

Rituals can be boring and/or overly complicated and/or confusing. I’m looking forward to more rituals with drama, ecstatic celebration, and spoken words that sing to the marrow in my bones. Rituals that wake me up, shake me up, and remind me of beauty. Yes, more of this.

The language of rituals matters. The right words in the right order make your skin break out in goose flesh and send a chill up your spine. The right words in the right order elicit mystery and call forth magick.

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