Fundamental Rites

"Ritual maybe manmade in the sense that human hands fashioned it. But what inspired those hands to do their work is the Divine influence" —Ben Zion Boksar, Perspectives on a Troubled Decade

^Eh^J^ ritual is a prescribed event or particular cer-^BP^ emony that is built up by tradition and carries a great amount of energy, light-force, and impact. It is a systematic procedure designed to achieve a particular effect on human consciousness. When repeated with the same intention, sacramental techniques, and working methods, ritual makes an impression — the results of which are the manifestation of desire.

Formalized ritual is the way most Wiccans approach divinity, align with the forces of nature, and celebrate seasonal cycles. Ritual is an important part of the Wiccan religion because it helps elevate the consciousness of the practitioner or group to a higher level of spiritual awareness.

For any ritual to have meaning, it must have Intention. This means there should be a reason for doing it, even if the reason is as simple as a thank you for a blessing received. The intention should be decided upon before the rite takes place and then adhered to. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve results if motives and methods are constantly changing. The person conducting the ritual should know what to do and when to do it. When the details of a ritual have a purpose and are properly carried out, the energy flows and the connection with deity is made.

There are three reasons for doing a ritual. The first is alignment with divinity, elevating the spiritual focus or consciousness of the practitioner. The second is to celebrate a special day, time, or event, such as a Sabbat, full moon, or personal transition. The third is to create or manifest a goal through magic and spell-crafting.

Once the reason for the ritual has been determined, the ceremony is then constructed. All rituals have five separate, though related, segments. No single segment constitutes a ritual, but when they are combined they create a working spiritual arrangement.

The first segment of a formal Wiccan ritual is the Creation of Sacred Space, discussed in Chapter 8. When sacred space has been created, the practitioner will invite the God and/or Goddess into the space through prayer, or Invocation. Once the deity is present, the Intention, or reason for doing the rite, is expressed through some sort of physical action, such as a seasonal drama, an awe-inspiring dance, the rendering of a myth, or a guided meditation. Following the intention comes the Rite of Union, during which cakes and wine are blessed. The final segment of the ritual is the Closing, which brings the ritual to an end, and dismantles the sacred space.

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