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Planning An Engaging Pagan Ritual
When you're planning a Pagan ritual, perhaps of the most important task is to get others involved in the ritual.
After all, if people aren't involved, then you as the ritual leader are doing everything yourself, including raising all the energy and working all the magick.
That signifies an exhausted ritual leader, a bored Grove / Coven / Circle, and an ineffectual ritual!
Pagan rituals, unlike some other religious rituals, are meant to be interactive.
So here are some tips to help you engage all the participants.
As Ritual Leader, Plan To Get People Involved
WITCH TIP: Even if you're not leading the ritual, check out these points anyway!
These tips will help empower you to make ritual that really is magick.
If you are leading a Pagan ritual, plan how you can let people feel involved in the ritual.
How can you make it personal for them? How can you engage their emotions?
And how can you make room for them to contribute something to the process?
- Have them bring something to the ritual: an altar object, something for a spell, an intention, a feeling.... (Let them know in advance if it's a give-away object.)
- Do something with these objects; incorporate them into the ritual.
- If they are unfamiliar with Pagan ritual, explain (very briefly!) what they'll be doing and what they need to know.
- Make sure they understand beforehand the goals and actions in the ritual (this is why an introduction is so important, either before the ritual starts or by phone/email contact a day ahead).
- Lead everyone in practicing the songs before the ritual begins, so they will be able to join in during the ritual.
- Also, keep the songs appropriate to the group: beginners will do best with simple chants; experienced practioners can do some more involved songs. But everyone does better with songs they are familiar with.
- Arrange for simple percussion instruments, like shakers and zils, and encourage people to play with them or clap along.
- Make sure everyone understands that it's important to join in however they can.
- Give people permission to play, and even mess up! Let their inner child have some fun, and put that old critical judge to bed. People hold back because they're nervous or shy or afraid of making mistakes. Make it okay to experiment.
- Let go of any attachment to the "agenda." I've seen more than one wonderful Pagan ritual ruined because the leaders insisted on things being done a certain way, when the energy was building instinctively for the whole group in another direction.
Generally you want to stay with the program more or less, and allow some openness for spontaneous magick.
The real trick here is, as a leader of a Pagan ritual, to keep a finger on the pulse of the group. If the magick is working, the agenda doesn't really matter. This is a sign that the group soul is needing something a little different from what's been planned. But if the magick is drooping, bring the group back on track.
- Be aware of what you want participants to take with them when they go: their altar object now magickally-charged, exchanged gifts or altar objects, a new idea, a more positive feeling....
Sometimes a talking circle during ritual can help solidify the more intangible gifts. Before closing the ritual, allow time for people to briefly share what they've experienced during the ritual. This can help anchor the transformation.
No matter what type of Pagan ritual you are leading, it will be most effective and most rewarding when you engage all the participants as much as possible.
Creating a ritual with this in mind will set you, and your group, up for ritual success.
Be sure to also read this article on How To Be An Effective Ritual Leader.
With Brightest Blessings,
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Planning a Pagan Ritual