Archive | February 16, 2012

Okay, You’re here at your first ritual, Now what?

Introduce yourself to as many people as makes you comfortable. Dark and brooding standing in the corner is not a way to get yourself invited to other rituals. People will just ask each other, “who is the weirdo in the corner?” The key is to make friends and you may be looking for a teacher so make nice. Even if you are shy speak up. No one knows you here. They don’t know what you are like outside of Circle. This is a chance to be a newborn creature. Nobody cares if you were the weirdo AV guy or a nerd in high school. They probably were also. The Craft seems to attract more than its share of interestingly odd people. You may even be one of them but there is a difference between interestingly odd and serial murder scary. Most people in the Craft can be called eccentric at best. We are usually more well-read than the mundane world and we don’t take the world at face value. We tend to have an open mind and to be tolerant of others.

But for Pete’s sake do not refer to male witches as warlocks, especially if you happen to be male. The term “warlock” means traitor or betrayer and was said to have referred to the men who infiltrated covens during the “Burning Times”. (This may or may not be true.) If you want some one to lose interest in knowing you fast that would be the way to go about it. Just the thought of it makes Miss Kat testy because YOU look like a pompous unprepared doofus.

Remember the talk your mother gave you about strangers? If this is a large public gathering you might want to recall that talk. New pagans often shine like bright shiny new pennies and there are predators out there who are attracted to the shine. If something or someone makes you uncomfortable, pay attention and take action and find another person to talk with there. Unfortunately, bad people sometimes are out there ready to manipulate and to do harm. If you listen you will know who they are. Of course if they announce they were Grand High Priest of Atlantis and he needs you to follow him and him alone you should get a pretty good idea to RUN! But most people aren’t that blatant. And, by the way anyone who tells you sex is required in their coven is not a reputable or trustful source of the Craft.

Ask if you can help set up or if they will need help clearing the space afterward. This will make you big Brownie points and endear you for life to the powers that be, running the gathering. It won’t hurt you either. Anyone can put chairs up or serve food or clean a few pots. Many hands get the Priestesses in bed before the dawn comes.

Watch what everyone else seems to be doing. Follow their lead within reason. Do not bother harassed looking people and insist on discussing what the latest book you read told you about ritual. If you bug the High Priestess or High Priest when they are following some inner checklist they will not be happy. For your first few times being quiet and attentive is as the Goddess Martha Stewart says: “It’s a good thing”.

You do not necessarily want them to remember you when you come to the next ritual. We humans tend to remember the people who annoy us or did something fantastic. The first ritual you attend and participate in, you won’t be perfect at so try not to join the annoying category. There will always be something unexpected and you may wind up sitting when everyone else is standing or in the wrong part of the circle (like the middle), relax.

Ritual tools

Do not bring your brand shiny out-of-the-box new tools to ritual. Leave them at home on your altar. This is where they are best used. If you really want to make a good impression, take matches or one of those really cool fire starters lovingly referred to in our coven as the Sacred Bic, (or the flying fickle finger of flame) to ritual. A flashlight isn’t a bad idea either. Now that everyone has quit smoking, matches or a lighter are a hot commodity. See prior ritual kit idea.

Ask to see if will be appropriate to use your athame in Circle. Sometimes only the Quarter Callers, Circle Casters or whatever they are calling them this week are allowed to use athames and/or swords. Another reason to request whether using pointy objects is allowed is could be the size of the ritual space. If it’s a small space the person in front of you may not be into kinky things like pierced vertebrae or keesters and could reciprocate.

If you are in charge of blessing and purifying the space and you are using incense, respect the fact that some people are allergic to it. Waving a stick of incense in somebody’s face that doesn’t wish it could get that stick of incense placed where the sun doesn’t generally shine.

Please do not pick up anything on the altar without asking permission. Some people are very picky about their tools and besides it could be loaded.