Last Sunday’s ritual for Laura even though it was supposed to be done by other people and ended up being done by us instead was the best for me. I don’t know if it was because it turned out to be basically in the style of my coven, Comma or just that it was done with good friends who were sincere in their wish to honour Laura and ego wasn’t involved about who got which part.
Or both reasons.
My coven has a rather unique style due to a fortuitous accident in our first year. We started out scripting everything because that was the way I was trained and so was the one other trained person in the coven when we started. We did ritual with one hand on the Spiral Dance by Starhawk and the other on our wands. One night no one could find their copy of the book and we decided to wing it from our hearts and that worked better than anything else we had tried and we never went back. We still planned our rituals but it was more, lets ask A to call East and B to call South, A guided meditation by one of the priestess pair putting on that ritual and an arts and crafts project like Bake a Goddess, etc. with everyone writing their own parts or making them up as the spirit moved them. And it’s worked for us for 27 years.
We don’t have an HP, we never have had. We always split up rituals into pairs of facilitators for the whole year in November and unless something happens the pair designated plans the ritual and they are the HPs for the night.
Laura’s service was the same way. It more scripted because we used poetry written by Laura and divided up the lines to be read out loud but we were all equals. We did do a little re-writing in the middle when Diana realized we had 2 of us repeating stanzas because we forgot Linda and deTraci when we first decided to put 7 Selves that hadn’t been in the ritual of the week before and we really liked it. So Di and I gave our copies to Linda and deTraci to read the 2 extra stanzas and being the consummate experienced priestesses they are, they read them as if it had been planned. I could see Laura smiling at this as we did it.
TOILA tends to be a little more scripted than Comma simply because there are more of us in a public ritual and Comma doesn’t do public ritual any more but corner calls and calling the Goddess is up to the assigned priestess.
The key to winging it as we do is trust in each other and being grounded in the moment to be in sacred space. The old “Be here now” thing. You have to be completely willing to give yourself up to your sisters and trust and sometimes that can be incredibly difficult. And sometimes we have failed and failed rather spectacularly but most of the time it has worked and it’s the way we do it.