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!
We had an absolutely glorious day and ritual on the beach celebrating Isis’ birthday and honouring our Hieromum. Some of us got there early to set up when the marine layer hadn’t quite dissipated. We set up the altar on the sand and then four of us that were setting up went down to the water and called the dolphins to come.
And then every one started to arrive in dressed in the colours of the ocean that reflected back the sea and sky. This is the first Iseum and Lyceum’s birthday ritual too so we call the Sisters of the sea that we started by, Mari, Isis, Nepthys, Brighid, Yemaya, Quan Yin, Aphrodite and then the dolphins came and danced in the waves for us much to our and the surfers who were there’s delight and then they were gone. D had created a beautiful new song from one of Laura’s poems that made our hair stand on end. It will be lovely at Laura’s memorial. We asked our traditional question “Isis, how old are you?” and opened heaven’s Gate.
We built our traditional mermaid and offering to the sea. We sang the knot of Isis and were bid farewell to the goddesses and made offerings to the sea and enjoyed each other’s company. We always do this in the early morning because more people aren’t there and it’s fairly quiet. Not that quiet as Isis’ beach is Isadore Dockweiler beach and that just happens to be directly under the flight path at LAX so we just shake our sistrums and rattles when the planes take off overhead.
After ritual and enjoying the beach we adjourned to Hurry Currie in Venice and had lunch. I was excited to see that not only do the carry Indian grocery items, they carry all kinds of British items like Bisto and barley water and my vice, Smarties. No bacon crisps, though. L I drawn the line at prawn and beef and onion, ick.
We know Laura was there because it went so smoothly and she brought the dolphins. Wonderful day.
We had the best ritual last night. It was supposed rain and we were competing with at least two other big rituals so the crowd was small but it was nice. I always lead the singing and I think it was the best group for singing we have ever had and I’ve been doing this for at least 10 years now. They sounded wonderful. It made my little heart happy.
We have our ritual at the Unitarian Church and they had decorated it beautifully. Before the ritual we had met the gentleman in charge of the high school group at the church and he was getting ready to put the kids Christmas pageant on and he was labeling the costume bags. I have no idea what they are doing but the costume bags alone are going to make it interesting. He had bags labeled Romans, More Romans, Jesus (pick one robe), English people ( Lord of misrule) Yule Celebrators, Scrooge and Tiny Tim and Queen Victoria. I have no idea how those are going to go together but it amused the hell out of me.
Ritual wasn’t long. It was just the perfect length. Corners, a welcome, Lucina lighing her crown and having every one light their candle, The Spirit of Darkness speaking about her role and asking people to think about the things they need to leave to the dark and then The Spirit of Light talking about lights within and asking them to think about things that need to grow in the light. Then they were supposed to write them down and we went out to the girls, (2 huge cauldrons) and burned them and sang some more. and that pretty much was it with food and conviviality following.
I was the Spirit of Light. For some reason from the very beginning I got it into my head that it was the Child of Light and Friday’s somehow solidified it. I had a whole thing planned and Friday blew it all away and then I got there last night and it all changed again. And to be truthful I have no clue pretty much what I did say except that if felt right and people seemed to respond to it positively. I know I said something about knowing the difference between dark and light and what that can mean because I was born blind. And I was asked about that afterward and I know I said something about the children who were killed were now lights in the sky and that their light continues, I think but anything else, nope.
We only had one bad spot. One person that came that I wish really wouldn’t and I’m afraid I was ungracious to say the least. She is someone who has no clue how she affects people and one of those people who you try to your best to get away from and you try to rescue anybody caught in her clutches. She is one of those people who is a psychic vampire and will go up to people, often the people she perceives to be “weak” in some way and tell you she can help you because she’s had some sort of vision and then proceed to tell you whatever it is she thinks you need to fix and volunteer to “help” you. It can leave the unprepared who don’t know her left in a puddle but there wasn’t any one for her to glom on to last night so she started on me with a fake compliment on leading the singing and then to allegedly tell me the history of one of the songs I lead and imply she was some how responsible for the song being spread and when I corrected her she got really mad and to avoid telling her exactly what I thought of her I told her she was incorrect and walked off. I happened to know a little bit about the song because I always try to know where things came from and This Little Light of Mine was written 1920 not in the 50’s in a church of Religious Science and it’s treated pretty much as a spiritual. Anyway she told one of my sister priestesses she thought I was rude for blowing her off. It was that or I was going to verbally eviserate her for her behaviour past and present. She’s gone after good friends before I it infuriates me.
I guess she came last night to try and join the group because she thought the Heiromum wouldn’t be there so we would fall for her happy horseshit. She wants badly to join the group because she perceives us as having status and she seems always trying to raise hers by making herself “helpful.” She may be blond but she is anything but a spirit of light like my sister priestess are most of the time. But we had a great time, excluding her. She had tried to get at me before ritual and I ignored her then too and I’m glad I did.
Anyone who approaches a priestess before a ritual with that kind of attitude needs to be taken out and spanked and is proving her insensitivity as far as I’m concerned. You can do a little chit chat before but if you are getting ready to do ritual you are usually wide open and that kind of psychic energy telegraphs itself a mile off with a warning placard saying “DANGER!”.
I’m sorry she’s unhappy with us but not sorry we leave her alone. She told poor A that she badly wanted to help us and join us but no one ever returns her calls. And we are never going to and she better hope no one ever does because she will hear things about herself she will not like. She had a very nice friend with her I felt sorry for and I wondered how badly she was going to need help after her exposure to the Blond.
But it was a lovely night and we missed the Heiromum badly but it went off with out any hitches and the energy minus one dark hole was wonderful and I got home before it started to rain. It takes about an hour at that time of night with less traffic.
Public ritual is always a crapshoot but when it goes well it’s lovely.
I got home wired from the ritual and the driving and it took until after midnight to ground enough to sleep. Now I is a sleepy bunny and we have tickets to the 2d version of the Hobbit so I hopefully won’t get sick.
I have a confession to make. I miss things like the Doxology and hymns from church when I was a kid. Pagan don’t really have any good hymns except bastardized hymns like “Heretic Heart” which when I was a kid was “I sing the almighty power of God” and I always have to shift mental gears to sing it.
But I really miss my three favourite hymns, “For the Beauty of the Earth”, This is my Father’s World” and “Be Thou My Vision.” You can sort of sing all three as a pagan with substitution of certain words like Mother for Father but for someone who grew up singing every Sunday in a church choir once we got to a certain age it’s a hard thing to miss. I started in church choir in 3rd grade but I didn’t sing every Sunday until I got to 6th grade and joined Wylie Chapel Choir. Wylie Chapel Choir was the choir that sang in Junior Church. Junior Church was a kids service that happened every Sunday led my Pastor Jim. The kids that went to it were the kids whose parents had to be in second service like Elders, the adult choir, ushers, minister’s kids, parents in adult Sunday School who went to the 1st service in big church.
Junior church was exactly like big church in liturgy but with kid friendly sermons and a choir full of imps that were mostly the children of the afore mentioned adults. I guess it kept us from doing our summer activities year round. Things like climbing the belfry, getting up behind the organ pipes in the attic and peering over into church during the service and playing hide and seek in the basement. It didn’t stop me from taking out a loose nail in the choir pew and nailing Jerry’s cotta to the pew during the service because he was annoying the crap out of me. They just thought he’d caught it on a nail when the big ripping sound went. Not that I had quite carefully removed it and put it back through the material all while he sat there oblivious and unless he reads my blog he will never know. And I’m not sorry because he was being a pill that day.
I loved Junior Church. Pastor Jim had the coolest sermons and if you could answer a question you got cool prizes like a weather balloon or the bullfrog I was exceedingly delighted to win, mom not so much. Pastor Jim was the worst practical joker I ever met as a kid and gave me all sorts of ideas when I became a camp staff. He got me in the commission of many crimes as a kid. He said he could think like us. Although once he caught me and didn’t realize we were in the commission of a crime and we still ended up locked out and having to wake someone to let us in.
But back to hymns, I miss them. There is something about singing hymns that pagans haven’t gotten yet and may never because a lot of pagans have no church background. So I sing “This is my Mother’s World” in the car. I remember being delighted that “Song of the Soul” by Cris Williamson started with one of my childhood hymns and none of the other dykes knew it. “Open my eyes, that I may see.” It felt like Cris and my secret.