Last night, as I mentioned, was the first ritual for my new group. While I want to keep the details private, I do want to talk about the process a bit.
Ritual for 2 people is different: We paid attention to this in our planning, but as we all know, plans and reality are not the same thing. This isn’t to say things flopped – just that there are things we want to continue adjusting.
Both of us, obviously, have group experience (in sizes ranging from about 5 to 20). We both have personal ritual experience. This was somewhere in the middle: a need to say things outloud, because there’s another person who doesn’t know all the details of what’s inside your head.
But at the same time, not needing to play things large enough that someone across the room can see and follow intimately, because we were rarely more than an arm-length away. Most of it worked just fine (especially if taken in the “Some of this is slightly silly for two people, but is a good habit for when there are more”, which we were.)
But we did have a couple of notes: despite it being somewhat silly to have two chalices on the altar (one of which, in our practice, is drained by the high priestess after the Great Rite, and one of which is shared as part of Cakes and Ale), we actually wanted to do that next time (this time, we had one, and split it.) Never say that energy doesn’t make a difference… It also takes a certain amount of just going ahead and doing things (like singing) even though they are not quite ideal for 2 people. Once we started, we were fine, though.
Naming and blessing: For the actual “There is now a group” naming part, we borrowed something out of an idea in Judy Harrow’s Wicca Covens, which goes like this:
- Take a pitcher of suitable liquid, enough to fill the cups of everyone present.
- Pour out a cup of liquid for each person.
- Each person, in turn, names something they want to have be a part of the group, and pours a little bit of liquid from their cup back to the pitcher.
- When your cups are empty, pour back out of the pitcher (the mingled hopes for the group) into each cup. Drink.
We did a couple of slight variations on this.
- We used mead – after some discussion of best liquid choice, and we liked it a lot for this use (for the sweetness, the symbology that comes with honey and bees, of effort and practicality, and for the condensed light that’s so present in it.)
- We had a little extra in the pitcher, which then went into the cup for the Great Rite.
- We echoed the other person’s phrase as they poured.
- We ended with two general statements intended to cover anything we’d managed to leave out somehow.
- I wrote down the items as we said them: the list is a full length of notebook paper, so there’s 20+ things listed.
The other part of our work was preparatory for some tradition specific things we intend to do in early March. This bit is totally irrelevant to people not in the group, but there’s one bit I want to talk about.
I have, through the years, developed the useful talent of being able to write while in a meditative trance state. I find it most useful for doing astral work or shared meditation work. (There are times I can’t do it, but I’ve done it in .. oh, 95% of my personal meditation work over the last 3 years.) This has the handy benefit of producing a written record that can be transcribed later, which is particularly useful when forming something that you want to have last and grow. (And yet, meant we didn’t have to stop after ritual and try to get down all the details immediately: I just quickly checked my notes to make sure they were sufficiently legible.)
The trick, of course, is that you need to be able to write sufficiently legibly with your eyes closed (which is what I do), or theoretically, stay in trance with your eyes open (which I suppose is possible, but not a talent I have: blinking tends to disrupt me.) I can actually manage to do basic sketches, as well. I go through a number of sheets of paper (stuff that’s been printed on one side would be a fine thing: you just need to be able to turn the page when you think you’ve run out of space.) I write down words, phrases, quick arrows, and aim for “will trigger more specific memories when I look at them”.
This is a talent I discovered the first time I played a party game called Cranium, which asks people to do various tasks (one of which is drawing with your eyes closed). My point is not necessarily that you should pick up *this* skill (though it’s handy, I have no idea how to teach it to anyone), but to figure out how to apply the skills you have.