Tag Archive | circle

Circle Etiquette

ImageaIt’s the season that the newbies descend on public rituals for the first time. 

Miss Kat’s School of Genteel Witchcraft
The Etiquette Lesson –
Do’s and Don’ts in Circle:

  • Always inquire as to the proper dress – it may not be appropriate to come in full ritual drag if the ritual is public.
    • Always ask before deciding whether you should be skyclad, you may be the only person in deshabile’ and not everyone may want to see your lovely corporeal form.
  • Follow your High Priestess’s lead – Let her do the invoking of the deity. You may invoke an incompatible Deity. Wait to be invited to participate.
  • When involved in a Spiral Dance, do not indiscriminately drag people in to the Dance – They may be disabled, and being kicked with a leg brace is not grounds for ecstatic dancing.
  • Ask to see if it will be appropriate to use your own athame – Sometimes only the Quarter casters are allowed to use tools. Another reason to request whether using pointy things is appropriate, is because you may be in a small space and the person in front of you may not be into kinky things like piercings.
  • If you have to leave after the Circle is cast make sure someone cuts you out of the Circle or cut yourself out. Reasons may include the call of Nature or uncontrollable coughing or laughing. It also may include having your comfort level exceeded.
  • Don’t sing or chant louder than everyone else – Its not nice and the Priestess may have been planning something different than you expect or have a change of words.
  • Don’t point out -” THAT’S NOT THE WAY MY TRADITION DOES IT!” No one cares and you aren’t H.P.
  • Don’t hog or over-indulge in the Cakes and Ale.
    • Do Not backwash in the Chalice!
  • Please always move deosil (clockwise) around Circle unless instructed otherwise.
  • If you are in charge of blessing and purifying and you are using incense, respect the fact that some people are allergic to it. Waving a stick of incense in someone’s face who doesn’t wish it, could get that stick placed where things don’t generally burn well.
  • Do NOT invoke the God in a Dianic Circle.
  • If outside in a park, leave the place cleaner than you found it, doing this in some one’s house is usually not appreciated. Unless, as Apprentice, your all powerful H.P. has instructed you to do so.
  • During guided meditation snoring with your mouth open is a dangerous prospect.
  • If you are Dianic and find yourself in a mixed Circle it is not appropriate to rescue the Chalice from the Athame during the simulation of the Great Rite.
  • Sex in the bushes after a public ritual is frowned upon as you could:
    • have the sponsor lose the use of the place you are having ritual.
    • get a disease; ritually contracted syphilis or AIDS is not anymore comfortable than the garden variety version.
    • find poison oak, ticks, and rattlesnakes – Nuff said?
    • use your own bed; it’s more comfortable.
  • 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.
  • It is Always appropriate to ritually bathe before going to a public ritual. This also includes those attending large outdoor Festivals. Not every one appreciates your dark musky aura (odora), Nature Boy/Girl.
  • 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 impromtu sacrifice.
  • Wearing the largest pentagram you can find will get you pegged as a novice faster than you can say “ LaurieCabot’.
  • Have Respect!!!!! for yourself and for the people around you. If you don’t, Trust me, the Priestess will remember you. And that’s not necessarily a good thing.
  • Be on time! You may get locked out and Pagan Standard Time (P.S.T.) is just plain rude!


R is for Reality

R is for Reality

Or in this case – Magical Reality. Reality is mutable. It depends on the person’s viewpoint and if in a group, the group’s agreed upon on reality. The dictionary definition defines reality as the state or quality of being real but we all have an idea about what is real and what is not real. A synonym is verisimilitude and that is closer to what I think the definition is. Versimilitude is the appearance or semblance of truth.

An example of unique reality is whether you know or see ghosts. I know ghosts exist and they are part of my reality because I have seen them. There was a man who used to stand by my bed as a child and just watch me sleep. The man is also part of my sister’s reality because he also stood by her bed. We knew it wasn’t my dad because my dad snored louder than a Lear jet and we could hear him down the hall. However, he never stood by my brother’s bed downstairs so he wasn’t part of my little brother’s reality. We figured out who he was as adults. The original owner’s husband who had two daughters. We think he thought he was watching his daughters. My mom wouldn’t believe us but my dad did.

The same can occur at a coven or other magical group’s workings or even at a public ritual. TOILA used to put on large public Samhain rituals and the first time one of the priestesses brought her kids to ritual things happened. One kid freaked out because when we called the spirits of the dead, he saw them come and D came and got me to talk to M and her youngest daughter just thought she was at a really cool Halloween Party since she had been warded before she ever got there in case she went home and told where she had been to the ex-husband. Two separate but very real worlds on the same plane.

The majority of our coven shared a large house when we started but one pair bought a house in a neighboring city and were moving on November 1. So part of our Hallows ritual was to clean house of all the magical workings we had done. The house was always a little strange. The TV went on and off by itself. If you were in one bedroom asleep on the bed someone non corporeal would come and bounce on the end of your bed and when you turned the light on no one would be there. Lights came on and off by themselves in the middle of the night.

So we started at the top of the house with brooms sweeping the energy and singing and it quickly became apparent that someone was running in front of us and they were getting angry. Two of us could see her and the rest could feel her anger. When we were done we sat in the circle in the living room and it felt like we were being watched from an outside window and then from the living room rafters and that there was a lot of anger involved so we started singing calming songs. Someone came in the front door which we had left open and sat in an opening in circle between K and I and I could see her. She was in an early 20th century blue cotton flowered dress and seemed to be a bit slow or developmentally disabled. It was clear she thought that we had been playing once she had calmed down and was bouncing up and down like a small child that wanted to play. She was adult sized but her demeanour was very child-like. We tried to make clear to her that it was time for her to go and that we were leaving. I’m not sure if we got through because every time I go by that house it’s for sale, again.

She was very real to me and I ended up grabbing a piece of paper and drawing her for the others so that they could see what I saw. She then became part of their reality as she hadn’t been before except energetically.

So, where am I going with this?

Do not assume that your experience in circle or in any magical working is the same as the person next to you. It isn’t. It can’t be because we all have different degrees of openness, experience and training. If you aren’t open to it, things may or may not happen and different people’s senses. My reality may contain a priestess calling down the goddess and it may also contain the goddess she drew down or there may be nothing there at all. And that is okay. We all see/know/believe what is essential to us at the time. And someone who says they saw something may also be lying. Such as some people who after a guided meditation have elaborate stories about what happened on the meditation and they are flat out story-telling and trying to make themselves important and the person next to them had a very profound experience and chooses to say nothing because it was personal or so overwhelming they need to process it.

It’s all alright. We each do what we need to do to create the reality we desire and the person with the elaborate story may have nowhere else in their life where they can stand out. In their mind, they have found some place they feel they can be important and it’s alright. It’s still creating a reality that is real to them, maybe not to you but it’s real to them for that moment even if it’s just a momentary ego boost in an otherwise dull life.

So what is your reality as you walk through the world? Did you see the raven from the tree observing you? Did you see your totem dragonfly buzz you to get your attention? Do you live in your “real” world or someone else’s? Are you someone else’s creator of reality? Are you real, Velveteen Rabbit?