Archive | February 21, 2012

The ritual is starting. Pay attention!

Always follow the High Priestess’s lead. Let her invoke the deity. You may invoke an incompatible deity. Wait to be invited to participate. Invoking Kali and Loki to the same Circle would probably not be what the HP has in mind, unless this is a Discordian circle, of course. Miss Kat has attended Circles where East was called in all four directions and they wondered why everything blew away?? Indoors???

Please do not sing or chant louder than anyone else. It’s not nice and the Priestess may have been planning something different than you expect or have a change in words.

Please do not point out – “ That’s not the way my tradition does it!” No one cares and you aren’t HP.

Some traditions use different elements for the 4 corners and some traditions only use 3 elements. Some traditions don’t dismiss the corners because they feel it’s rude. How would you like to be invited to a party and then be told to leave? Is that anyway to treat a deity? Please be respectful. They know their traditions.

Do not invoke the God in a Dianic Circle.

If you are Dianic and find yourself a guest in a mixed circle do not rescue the Chalice from the Athame during the simulation of the Great Rite.

If you have to leave after the Circle is cast make sure someone cuts you out of the Circle or cut yourself out. The direction to leave in is usually East and/or Air and is usually announced before the Circle begins. Reasons to leave can be to answer the call of nature, uncontrollable coughing or laughing or having your comfort level exceeded. If they start yelling things like “Death to the Scientists!” this is a good time to leave. Especially if you are a scientist, Miss Kat has her degree in a scientific discipline and crawled in the corner during one of those circles and that kind of negativity is not necessary or good in the Craft and scared the whatsis out of her. Then they proceeded to ground the energy into the Earth! Mama gets enough garbage without that kind of junk!

Miss Kat doesn’t care if some traditions insist that once you are there you have to stay. If you are uncomfortable or scared, GO! After cutting yourself out of the Circle, please.

Always move Deosil (clockwise) around the Circle unless instructed differently. Some groups get their knickers in a twist if you move widdershins (counter-clockwise) around the Circle.

Do not snore during the guided meditation. Snoring with your mouth open is an invitation to trouble. Who knows what could take up residence there? Or what someone else could be tempted to do to you?

When involved in a Spiral Dance, do not indiscriminately drag people into the Dance. They may have a disability that keeps them from participating much as they might like to. Being kicked by a leg brace or hit with a cane is not cause for ecstatic dancing. Also don’t start ecstatic dancing if no one else is dancing. You will look like an idiot. There is a time and a place for everything.

Some rituals have an interpretive dance done by a talented member and only they get to dance. Depending on the talent level of the dancer this can be when Miss Kat gets up and leaves while trying to stifle hysterical giggles.

Passing the tongue with the ritual kiss could get you bit, at the very least and at the most, part of your anatomy could become an impromptu sacrifice. This happened to Miss Kat at one of her first public events and she was beyond flustered and furious and if the gentleman in question hadn’t left immediately she would have hurt him. She had never seen him before or since and she didn’t go to a mixed ritual for a very long time after that.

Do not hog or over-indulge in the Cakes and Ale. The corollary to that is don’t backwash in the Chalice. That’s just gross.

After the ritual:

Thank your hosts. A thank you note is not amiss here, people, even if you do it by email. People like to know the work they do in the community is appreciated and the burn out rate in a pagan groups that do public ritual is quite high. If you want to keep going let them know you appreciate it.

If outside in a park, leave the place cleaner than you found it. Doing this in someone’s house is usually not appreciated. Unless, as a apprentice your all powerful High Priestess has instructed you to do so.

On Beltane, Sex in the bushes after public ritual is frowned on as you could:

A. Have a sponsor lose the use of the place you are holding ritual. This is not fun and gets your group a bad name in the community and the next pagan group may not be rented to because of some people’s lack of self-control.

B. Get a disease; ritually contracted syphilis or AIDS is not anymore comfortable than the mundane version.

C. Find poison oak, ticks and rattlesnakes – Nuff said?

D. Use you own bed it is more comfortable.
Congratulations! you just made it through your first public ritual.

Finding your ritual tools or it costs how much????

When you start in the Craft you get all excited and want run out and buy every tool but you don’t need to do that. The best way is to take your time and find the right tools. Where? In the places you sometimes least expect them. Keep your eyes and ears open and pray to Zelda the goddess of shopping and you will be surprised at the places you can find things.

Yes, going to an occult store is fun and sometimes necessary and by all means support your local community store but if you are on a limited budget there are other ways to obtain them. And yes, the Pyramid Collection catalog and Ancient Ways website are addicting to look at but so can shopping at thrift stores and swap meets. And some pagan stores cultivate an atmosphere that is down right scary, if it scares you than that isn’t where you need to buy your magickal goods. Unless you are really into having to cleanse your tools in a real big way then go right ahead. There are some pagan stores Miss Kat has walked into and walked right back out again because they have oppressive auras and nasty things for sale. Find a store that doesn’t cater to the Necromicron crowd.

The best pagan stores feel bright and open. They have friendly people who don’t ignore you and make you feel like you walked into a secret meeting of a terrorist cell. They don’t try to impress you with how much they know and you don’t, especially if they have no clue who you are and what your experience level. If you local metaphysical shop is reputable and feels good please use them and support them but sometimes you need more than they can carry and then its time to explore.

I’ve met some shopkeepers who would ignore Starhawk because she didn’t impress them. More fool them! My personal favorite places to look are my local Scottish Highland Games and the various Renaissance Faires in my area. In your area there are probably lots of different cultural events go and cruise the booths. Even in the most isolated areas there will be some type of Craft Faire. You may have to drive a ways to get there but day trips are always adventures. Sometimes you can even find thing by the side of the road. One of my first coven sisters got the urge to drive out in the rural parts of our area when we were supposed to be getting the materials for our coven cords and when she felt something tell her to stop, she did. There by the side of the road under the oaks was a ball of yarn in the right color. One never knows, does one?

You can also make many of your tools. Take a ceramics class and make your chalice. Take some silver-smithing classes and you can make your whole coven jewelry just for them. Investigate the Extension and Adult Education classes at your local college or university. They are usually inexpensive and fun. It gives you the opportunity to try something and see if you good at it without a huge investment or embarrassment. Who knows you may find something to do that takes you the next step on your path.

In the search you may find your personal tools are not what you expected them to be. Your athame and wand may be far different from the so-called “norm”. If gardening is your passion then your tools may be a shovel, a trowel, garden shears and pots. Buy the best quality tools for this and they will last you forever. Who knew Home Depot and Loews carried ritual tools? There is nothing wrong with a potting bench as an altar.

If you become a smith of any sort your tools may be pliers, hammers, cutters, a torch for fire ( well duh?) and your pentacle is an anvil. If you love sewing your machine, your needle and thread, scissors and pincushion are your tools.

There is nothing wrong with having your tools suit you. You are your own Priest or Priestess and your tools should reflect that passion because where your passion is there will be your magic. Who knows? Miss Gulch may really have been using that bicycle in the Wizard of Oz for a ritual tool?

Look for the supplies you need in your daily practice of the Craft in the Yellow pages. There is nothing wrong with finding a factory outlet to buy your candles for instance, in the Los Angeles area there is General Wax and Candle. A lot of the candles you find in stores are made in their factory and they have a store attached. You can buy a case for very reasonable amounts. They also are on the web and have a catalog.

You can hit your local Ikea for bags of a hundred tealights if you are planning a large ritual and want everyone to light a candle. Cost Plus World Markets, Pier One Imports, Joanne’s Fabrics and Target are wonderful sources of magickal tools. Check out the seasonal departments around Halloween; the garden departments for gazing globes and garden gnomes.

We all need baskets and fun ritual foods for Cakes and Ale. Michael’s Craft stores are very dangerous places. Miss Kat can never go in there for just one thing. You can get concrete and molds with glass mosaic pieces and make corner stones for elements to place in your garden. Your local Nurseries may carry all kinds of fairies to come bless your garden along with all the basic herbs and plants a hedge-witch would ever need.

Need ritual jewelry? I have yet to meet a witch who wasn’t a magpie with a weakness for sparkly things. Your local bead store is a very fun place. They may even teach classes in thing like beading, glass work, gourd crafts, silver or tin-smithing, wirework and metal casting. Your local rock hounds may put on a Gem and jewelry show. Every large city has bigger Gem and Jewelry shows, sometimes several times a year.

And then there are the catalogues. If you start ordering from one you will soon get lots of others. Try Fire Mountain Gems or Rio Grande for jewelry supplies. They have reasonably priced goddesses, totem animals, and wonderful assortments or different kinds of beads and semi-precious stones.

Toscano is a fun catalogue for Egyptian and some goddess things. Sacred Source is a catalogue with more deities than any pagan could ever dream of. And those are just a few.

Herbs can be found in the spice aisle or at a health foods store or from places like Red Rose Farm or Herb Products if you can’t grow you own.

Half the fun is the hunt, you can even get fun things besides books on Amazon.com. Miss Kat who never liked Barbies while growing up has to admit to having a bunch of Barbie goddess dolls on an altar. What’s not to like about having Brighid, Kwan Yin, Freya, Isis and the Faerie Queen for $19.99?Tools can be found everywhere all you need to do is be open and look for them.