I Simple Wiccan Rites

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You're excited about an upcoming trip. Then you realize that your travel plans will interfere with the celebration of a Sabbat or Esbat. Since it wouldn't be practical (or advisable) to take along all your ritual tools, what can you do?

On other occasions, the desire or need for a ritual may suddenly occur. When this occurs there's little or no time for preparation. You may hear that a friend is in the hospital; that someone you love is in danger. Again, what are the options?

The answer lies in simplified Wiccan rites. In certain circumstances, a magical working (such as folk magic) may be more appropriate. For strictly spiritual occasions, even less complex rituals can produce powerful changes of consciousness and satisfying connection with the Goddess and God.

Ritual tools (athame, wand, cup, censer, incense, water and salt) are assistants to ritual. They aren't necessary, but when we're beginning to learn Wicca they're of invaluable help in creating ritual consciousness, defining and purifying sacred space, and invoking the Goddess and God. Once we've mastered the basics, such tools are always welcomed, but aren't necessary. Simplified ritual consists, as you might have guessed, of rites performed with a minimum of tools and ritual movements.

I've performed rituals with a paper packet of salt (such as is provided in some restaurants), a small paper cup of water, a birthday cake candle and a regular table knife. With the salt and water I consecrated the general area.

I used the knife to cast a small circle, and lit the candle to the Goddess and God. This was a satisfactory rite, though I'd had no ritual bath, few tools and little time to prepare.

Once, a few friends and I did an extremely simplified healing rite in a hospital room for a sick friend. I've chanted in the stillness of alien hotel rooms far from home and performed simple moon rites when I happened to see the moon peeking through the trees.

Then too, I've performed ritual with only the tools of nature, whether I was indoors or out. The earth beneath me; the water gushing before me; the air and the fiery force of the sun above. I've most often relied solely on my mind, emotions and magical visualization abilities to perform simplified Wiccan rituals.

I began practicing Wicca when I was still underage and living at home. This forced me to use simplified rituals: lighting candles and softly chanting; staring into the fire on the Sabbats; whispering full moon incantations while sitting on the window sill as I gazed up at the lunar globe.

Simply put, though the ritual tools and forms of Wicca are important because they, in part, define our religion, they're not necessary. Effective ritual isn't dependent upon the number of tools that you can pile onto the altar; it begins within you and continues from there. The tools and memorized chants are outward expressions of inward changes (such as the shift to ritual consciousness). They can assist us in creating these inner transformations, but they aren't prerequisite.

Below I present the suggested steps of all extemporaneous or greatly simplified Wiccan rites. Consider this as a pattern after which you can develop your own. The need for such rites may arise at any time, usually when you're away from home and books aren't available. To be prepared for such emergencies, think in advance of some ways in which you can per form simple yet effective Wiccan rituals at any time, and at any place, with few tools.

The following information is suitable for use during both emergency situations as well as when away from home (and tools) on the Sabbats and Esbats.

casting a circle

Stand, sit or lie, according to the situation. Raise energy by tightening your muscles. Visualize it glowing as a ball of purplish-blue flame within you. Using your protective hand, direct this energy out from you into a small magic circle. (The hand acts as the energy director). Alternately, send out the energy in a clockwise circle around you without moving your hand. Feel the circle shimmering and pulsing, (if desired and possible, sprinkle salt and/or water around you to bless the area before creating the circle.)

invoking the goddess and god

Prayers that you've memorized may feel right. Simply say what you feel. Remember to focus on your connections with Them while praying. If circumstances don't permit you to speak out loud, think your words. You might use something like this formula: Mother Goddess, be here with me. Father God, be here with me.

Then explain the situation or say words in celebration of the ritual occasion. These don't have to be lengthy. Here's a suggested format:

o State the reason for the rite: recognition of a Sabbat (if so, which one), full moon, or a special need.

o State something about the occasion or ask for Their assistance, if appropriate.

o Thank the Goddess and God for their attentions. An example of this for, say, Yule might be something like this:

I come before you tonight (or today) to celebrate Yule. The sun is reborn of the Goddess.

Light is growing. The promise of spring has begun.

Meditate upon the meaning of the occasion for a few moments, then say:

Goddess and God, thank you for attending my simple circle. Hail and farewell.

You may also wish to recite memorized invocations, or say many more words. Follow your intuition.

closing the rite

After thanking the Goddess and God, take up the energy with which you created the circle. If at all possible, eat something directly following the circle (if nothing else, taste a bit of salt). Your simplified rite has ended.

If you whisper and internalize your actions, such rituals can be performed in crowded rooms, in the presence of others, without their knowledge. You can truthfully state that you wish to pray for a few moments and in no way reveal to whom you're praying.

There's no reason to miss ritual just because you're physically distant from your tools, or have had no warning. This is one of the great advantages of Solitary Wicca: you don't have to call up the other members for ritual, nor do you have to feel that you simply can't do a ritual by yourself. You can - by using simplified Wiccan ritual.

ine your circle after finishing it. Give it a white glove test. Answer the questions mentioned above, then determine whether you feel different within the circle's boundaries. That's one of the clues. If you do find problems, close the circle and begin again with more attention to what you're doing.

We must never become sloppy in our circle constructions. Creating the circle is similar to building a cathedral or raising the megaliths of Stonehenge: we're building a temple, our temple, in which we'll worship our deities. It deserves every bit of our time, energy and attention.

raising energy in the ci rcle

This form of magic should also be familiar. A need is visualized. While visualizing, the Wiccan raises energy from within her or his body and, through the visualization, imprints this need onto the energy. The power is then released.

Unfortunately, Solitary Wiccans have few energy-raising methods available to them. The first: you're sitting before the altar. You begin to slowly chant a statement of purpose, such as 'heal her' or 'protect me'. You slowly increase the speed of the chant, never wavering in your visualization. You begin tightening the muscles all over your body (this raises physical energy, even when you're still). The power builds within you and threatens to spill over. You release it.

Another method is far more physical. You begin a slow clockwise dance (or walk) around the altar while visualizing and/or chanting the need. The dance increases in speed. When you release the power, you may fall dramatically to the floor.

Yet a third method utilizes breathing techniques which tighten the muscles and raise energy.

And that, fellow Solitaries, is just about it. There are a few other methods, but they require the presence of several other persons and are, thus, limited to covens.

sending the energy

In coven magical workings, power is raised by any one of a number of methods. This continues for some time until the power that's been raised reaches its peak. At this point the participants let go of the power; they may drop to the floor, completely relaxing their muscles, while pushing out the power. Those present and participating in this process can, for our purposes, be termed Energy Raisers.

Usually, but not always, this power is then directed and released through the circle by a single person - often the High Priestess. (Sometimes the energy is sent into a physical obj ect within the circle itself.) This person, whom I'll here call the Energy sender, has the ability to take all this energy within herself and direct it outward toward its goal. (Some covens work differently. Each member may send out her or his energy. Still, the Sender is there to direct any stray energies and to control the energy-raising process that proceeds this release.)

As Solitary Wiccans, we must always be both the Energy Raiser and the Energy Sender. This demands practice and control.

The method used by coven members to release energy mentioned above is the one that we use. When it's time, simply push it out. Relax your muscles - all at once. With visualization, direct the energy outward from your hand or athame.

Some find this difficult at first. The Wiccan may feel the energy, and attempt to send it out, but may question whether it reaches its goal. Many new Solitary Wiccans also wonder how the energy penetrates the circle and actually exits, when one of the circle's functions is to retain precisely this energy.

The perfect ability to raise and send energy is one of the challenges of solitary Wicca, and will come with time. When you've properly cast a circle, you've sent energy from your body for a specific purpose, and that purpose has been achieved. Thus, you've performed a magical working.

Once you've achieved this, the next step is to raise more energy (through one of the techniques mentioned above) and then to send it a bit further, through the circle and out toward its goal.

Don't worry about the circle somehow blocking the exit of the energy. It's somewhat akin to a door. You're inside the structure, and sending energy through it opens the door. Like doors, circles don't need their functions explained to them during magic. The circle 'knows' that one of its functions is to release energy. (The door automatically shuts once the energy has left.)

Okay, you might be saying, so the circle is like a room in which we stand, and we can send energy out from it. Fine. But why doesn't the energy leak out before we're ready to send it? Because we haven't sent enough energy to open the door. Simply grasping a doorknob won't cause it to open. We must exert force and pressure in the correct combination to remove the obstacle. This is true of magic as well: only a concentrated, directed stream of energy is strong enough to punch a temporary hole in the circle and travel outside its boundaries.

A coven can raise energy over an extended period of time, certainly up to half an hour or longer, through ring dances, chanting and other techniques. During this time, the coveners will of necessity release some of their energy prior to the let-it-all-out moment which is determined by the High Priestess. The circle retains this energy until such time as the combined force of all the coveners, directed by the High Priestess, opens the door.

Solitary Wiccans also raise power within the circle. And yes, we may release a bit of energy too early. Still, it's important that we hold in the energy until the last possible moment. A single energy release is most effective.

Push the energy out of you. Feel it exploding away in a focused beam of energy, shooting from you, through the circle, and out to its goal. Visualize and feel any excess energy lying around the circle as joining the main stream of energy.

Since you don't have a second person directing the energy, you must do this yourself. Fortunately, with practice, it's really quite simple. Visualize!

After every Wiccan rite, especially those that have involved magic, some energy will naturally be retained within the circle. This energy can be subtly distracting so it's usual to earth it by consuming food after each ritual. Protein foods (such as beans and corn, dairy products, and so on) are ideal. Eating shifts the consciousness back to this reality, and also replenishes some of the energy lost during magic.

These, then, have been some specifics of Solitary Wiccan magical workings. At one time they were closely-held secrets. Today, all can share in this knowledge and utilize it to improve the quality of their lives.

A few further words are perhaps appropriate. Wiccan magic must, by its performance within a circle, be for positive change. Negative magic has no place in Wicca, and doing such a working within a magic circle may immediately backfire upon the perpetrator.

Energy raised within sacred space (the circle) is directly attuned to the Goddess and God. Send Them negative energy and you're likely to instantaneously receive it back - threefold.

Over the years, many well-meaning Wiccans have warned of the 'danger' of Solitary Wicca. They've argued that a coven can act as a safety valve, defusing a covener in a volatile state of mind who wants the coven to perform a negative magical working. (No covens would perform truly negative magic.)

This argument, which on the surface seems quite satisfactory, doesn't hold water. A moral person is a moral person. Anyone who accepts the primary tenet of Wicca (harm none) won't be tempted to perform a negative magical working, whether they're a coven member or a Solitary.

It can't be stated too often - harming none means harming none, in any way, including yourself. ('Harming' should be thought of as interference with or the manipulation of the lives of others, and includes hexing, cursing and person-specific love spells.) Once this tenet has been accepted, and it should be by all who profess to be Wiccans, the imaginary dangers of Solitary Wiccan magic vanish.

part three

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