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Ares Hearthfire



Sprucing up Ritual
by Ares Hearthfire

One thing about being in a coven is knowing that you will havemany other people involved in your rituals and reading out of the same book.  However, this can still be very dry and at times boring or routine.  Some groups do not take advantage of the great possibilities that ritual awards them.  Ritual is not just a time to honor the deities, it is a time to be creative and have fun. 

In our coven, The Coven of the Sacred Chalice, all rituals in our Book of Shadows are all unique works written by covenmembers.  Rituals written by individuals and not copied take a lot of work and time, but they are very rewarding.  In addition, thismakes your coven different from any other coven on earth, plus it willmake your traditionmore varied and ever growing.  As long as people have ideas, the Book of Shadows will become Books of Shadows and you can create a history that will be interesting to track years later. 

Many people new to the coven ritual format have trouble writing rituals.  I havemet solitaries that did write their own rituals out, but when it came down to writing a ritual to involve others they were at a loss.  “It all sounds like they are saying the same thing” one person has said tome recently.  There are several ways tomake your rituals fun and diverse. 

        Create a guided meditation 

Not all of your rituals need to have people talking constantly.  Sometimes just sitting and thinking as a group can help spice things up.  Meditationsmay not be physically active, but they can give yourmind a workout.  Simply have everyone sit in the circle and one person can lead an exercise.  You can think of yourself as trees and feel yourselves becoming one with the earth.  Or feel your bodies washed away in water…without even being outside and beingmiles from water!  Nothing can travelmore than yourmind!  The possibilities are endless.  This is a good way to break the normal monotony of reciting lines that always seem to be the same. 

         Write a play 

Anyone can do this!  A short play based on a seasonalmyth is always entertaining.  It is a good way to get those shy people in the group out of their shell a bit and everyone can shine.  Creative persons can design costumes and the entire group can put on a play like they were in any theater.  Give those old robes a break and put on a costume.  Even if you are in a coven of one gender this is no problem!  The ancient Greeks had plays with one gender portraying another; this should not be a drawback.  It can be fun! Once I was the onlymale in a coven and during a battle with the Oak and Holly King, I played both and killedmyself with a husk of corn!  I can still hear the others laughing.  Nothing ismore fun than pretending to be something else, and this can be a great way of honoring the seasons and the deities. 

         Switch your coven location 

If you find that you always use the same covenstead a change of location can be a way to spice things up.  Getting some new scenery and scentsmay help energize the coven and get rid of the same old feelings.  Take in the energy of a new location, the trees, the rocks or even someone else’s furniture can give you new feelings to work with.  Youmay even notice that an old ritual feels different when acted out in a new place.  It can be a grand experience. 

         Whose line is it anyway? Ritual 

Have you ever seen the show on television?  Inserting something like this can be a lot of fun during a ritual, especially during a festive celebration.  You can line up the covenmembers and have them come up with quick one liners…such as having them each come up with the world’s worst thing to say during a particular Sabbat or Handfasting, etc.  This can be fun and spontaneous.  The laughter will surely raise some energy and spirits also. 

         The Mime ritual 

This ritual can be done for enjoyment or for a specific purpose.  Doing a whole ritual in silence and letting yourmovements replace any words can be thrilling.  Because your body is in constantmotion you constantly release energy.  Magick work can be greatly enhanced because of this bodymovement, the silence enables you to concentrate and combined can create an altered state of consciousness.  Rituals done in silence can also be great if any part of the ritual is spellwork for a deaf individual or if there is a deaf individual present.  Since their world is one of silence, doing a ritual in such a way would undoubtedlymake a stronger connection to them.  There are those in our community that are deaf and it should be remembered that they are important individuals also. 

The Backwards Ritual 

This is a ritual I often suggest for those that want to do banishing rituals or work during the waning phase of themoon.  I suggest that circle be opened and closed in the correct order tomaintain the sacred space, but the actual body of the ritual itself be done in reverse.  Itmay seem confusing to those that never tried to work their ritual backward before, but you are still expressing the same goals and by doing the work in reverse will have the same effect.  Not just are you asking for something to not exist, you are literally rewinding your request to show what youmean.  Itmay be silly, but youmay find it refreshing once in a while. 

There aremany ways to conduct a ritual.  We all know the seven steps in putting a ritual together.  However, this does notmean that each ritual you havemust be conducted in the same manner.  There aremany things covens can do other than chant and recite words.  You can spice up your spell work, Sabbat and Esbat gatherings and even rites of passage with just unique ideas.  I am not saying to do these types of things all the time, indeed we allmust have some level of comfort in doing our usual fare.  Justmixing it up with something out of the ordinary can be entertaining, fun, refreshing and will give everyone something to talk about in the future.  Do not let your coven’s rituals get stale.  Doing something new once a year can spice up the coven and keep the excitement about the gatherings from diminishing for a long time to come.

Bio:  Ares Hearthfire is the cofounder of the Coven of the Sacred Chalice located inNew York City.  He has been a practicing Wiccan for over 8 years.  He works in the insurance field in his every day world.