I've said it before... but now I'll add the caveat: All ritual is magick ritual.... if it's done right.
Ritual magick doesn't just happen. It happens because certain criteria are met -- by design or spontaneously. In other words, ritual is not only a matter of what you do and when you do it. It is, more than anything, a matter of HOW you do it.
You've probably experienced both kinds of ritual. Sometimes a ritual will fall flat, feeling empty and weak, leaving you dissatisfied and untransformed.
What makes the difference?
Here's what you need to know to make your ritual magick powerful, satisfying, and truly magickal.
Magick Starts In Your Heart
The first thing to ritual magick is your starting point. How do you approach ritual? What is it about, to you? What is your function in ritual?
I find that if you begin with your head and your heart on the right track, ritual magick is a natural result, virtually guaranteed.
So let's think about it for a minute. What is Wiccan ritual really for?
If you go to ritual wanting to GET something, you are likely to get nothing. It's one of those pesky Law-of-the-Universe things. You get out what you put in.
Or, to put it another way, if you're focused on what you gain, you're in ego-mode, which makes it unlikely that you will contribute to making the ritual a magick one, and also unlikely that you will be open to receiving whatever benefits arise.
On the other hand, if you go to ritual to GIVE, you are likely to receive riches!
Ritual is really a form of service. That's why religions ceremonies are called services. It serves...
If you go into ritual with an intent to be in service, you will bring energy to it that will make it powerful and magickal.
This is particularly true if you are leading the ritual, because the leaders set the standard of participation.
But it is just as true if you have no given role in the ritual but your presence. If you bring your full attention, intention, energy, and enthusiasm to the ritual, you can set it on its wings.
So we start here: with an intention to be of service, as well as we can.
Contribute What You Can
Wiccan Ritual is not a spectator sport!
Imagine a van that's stuck in the mud. If everyone gets out and pushes, you can free the van and get on the road. But if only 2 people are pushing, and 5 people are just sitting in the car waiting for it to get rolling, it's not going to get very far at all.
Every person who does not contribute to the energy of the ritual is a dead-weight on the whole group. I don't mean to sound harsh, but this is simply the fact.
For every ritual-hanger-on, every person who sits back and waits for the ritual to come to them rather than to make it happen, the energy of the entire Circle is depleted, and the poor diamond bird is shackled to the ground.
There is no room for onlookers in ritual. Everyone there must contribute.
You must go into it with full energy and enthusiasm, and make it happen.
If others are dragging, try to inspire them with your example and encouragement. Help get them involved.
Another critical ingredient in making a ritual magickal is sincerity.
You can't pretend in ritual. By definition, ritual accesses your deepest self, your truth. You must be yourself.
Authenticity is vital. If you can't bring your true self to ritual, then you have nothing to bring... because ritual and magick are all about Truth. Not "truth" as in a limited human perspective or belief, but TRUTH as in ultimate reality, a law of the Universe that can't be altered or bent or broken.
In action, this means that everything you say and do must be real.
You can't fake out the Divine. You are either really there, really honest, and really powerful, or you aren't.
And that makes all the difference, in all the worlds.
Now, we also must accept that absolute authenticity is an Ideal, more than a possibility.
We are all in process of becoming more real, more authentic, more transparent to Divine Reality.
So we can resolve to be as authentic as possible, in each moment.
Fake It Til You Make It
There's also the little catch that ritual and magick and spiritual power are new to many of us, and that our culture insists they don't exist.
If you are imagining that you are drawing a line of light around the Circle, authenticity does not require that you "admit" that it's not real.
Authenticity requires that you reach deep inside yourself to the level of wisdom that knows that energy work IS real!
And, until you really know that, just trust in it, and accept the possibility that everything quantum physics and spiritual geniuses tell us ...
What we call magick IS real, and it is MORE real than the floor you are standing on.
Let Go, and Let Goddess
Don't get hung up on things. If people aren't singing the song "properly," or the ritual has gone in an unexpected direction, or whatever....
Being between the worlds is being fully in the present moment.
Thoughts about how things are supposed to be different takes you out of the experience of presence, and puts you in your head. Most unfortunately, magick doesn't happen in our heads.
Your ritual will be magick to the extent you can let go of "you-ness" and judgements and thoughts, and submerge yourself in the presence of the Divine.
Let the Goddess handle the details. If you're having trouble letting go, offer it to the Goddess. Trust the Divine to guide the ritual in the best possible way. It may not be perfect, but it will be the best that is possible in the moment.
How To Be An Effective Ritual Leader (Even if you are not leading, read this for tips that will help you as a ritual participant.)
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