July 18, 2018

  There is a difference between being a Priestess or Priest and being a clergy person in a temple. In the first case a person is in a relationship with the gods, in the second they are in service to a community. There is overlap, and a clergy person needs to be a Priest/ess first, but public groups need to train their clergy people in different skills. This training outline, which I developed for the Congregationalist Wiccan Association, is based… Read more

July 16, 2018

During the course of working through this series of posts, and through the various rituals that you have observed, created and participated in, you will have accumulated a set of ideas, behaviours, and a set of associations with ritual. These are the most important ritual tools that you will get. Material objects used in the performance of particular rituals or types of rituals – material tools like candles, robes, regalia, tables, and the rest of it – are props which may help in creating an atmosphere or in triggering useful associations for the participants in a ritual but they are not important in themselves. Other items could be substituted and given the very same significance and associations. But the habits of thought, the quality of ritualized attention and behaviour, the general associations of the ritual performance are highly significant. These are gained with some time and effort and cannot easily be done without. Read more

July 11, 2018

Groups that consciously choose to create on the spiritual level together and that exercise their creative emotional and spiritual force toward the ends of shaping and worshipping deity can have a stronger and more clear effect as a result, a Guardian that expresses and enhances their spiritual power, hopes, and personal capacity for wonder over a lifetime or longer. Read more

July 10, 2018

Ritual takes memory out of our heads and our individual subjectivity and creates a collective and communal subjectivity – a shared experience, whose elements are selected for the effect desired by the ritual leaders (often community elders) and which is equally a fiction. It also, as soon as the ritual is experienced, is endlessly modified through the individual memories and subjectivities of each of the ritual participants. Read more

July 4, 2018

Complementarian theology which argues that women and men have “separate but equal” roles in society and in life, is prominent in some conservative Christian groups. It is also, found in Wiccan groups that are strongly polarity oriented, with specific roles only for females or males, and essentialist Dianic groups. Read more

July 2, 2018

Power relationships in ritual are explicit during their performance – some have leading roles and others do not, some write the rituals and others do not, and the issues that they deal with and the conclusions that they reach are selective. The use of ritual and symbolic action is often also a way to let off steam and prevent more effective political action … Implicit in ritual, though, are limitations on power – so long as the ritual is needed, then power passes from the Gods or the people to the ruler and she is dependent on them for her authority, and the people have the right to question or revoke their ritual agreements. Read more

June 28, 2018

  I usually only head out to my temple’s members-only religious retreat in July and the local community retreat Panfest in August, but this year it’ll be a busy summer of visiting around. Last weekend was the friendly local Saskatchewan festival, “Toon Town’s Pagan Summer Festival” near Saskatoon. When most people think of Saskatchewan they think boring flat land and farms. And that’s partly true, just like Iowa (whose Lammasfest invited me to be a guest of honour this summer,… Read more

June 25, 2018

Rituals of life stages, often called rites of transition or rites of passage are the ones that mark significant changes in people’s lives. They are very frequently seen as the “ideal” ritual, and as the pattern that other rituals should follow. … One unfortunate fact of modern Western-European-origin cultures is the lack of such passage rituals. This is something that we can hope will be revived or revitalized by the waves of immigrants. Read more

June 20, 2018

How can we build lasting religious community, except by beginning with a solid foundation? We must begin by understanding ourselves in the chain of generations, in the present but growing from the past and extending to the future, not forever tied to this place and time. We must also begin with connection and relationship, with community. Community that includes difference, hospitality, kindness, the virtues. It is not the raw power of the oppressor that builds nourishing community, but the power of kindness and of love. Read more

June 19, 2018

In ritual we take an ordinary time and place, and place it outside of time and space, and then we bring it back again. Ritual action can cause changes in the participants and in the world they live in through switching between frames of reference that both fit together well, and that don’t fit under the usual rules of our lives. Ritual that works dances between the symbolic and infinite and the mundane, expressing conflicting qualities of our experience. Read more

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