Well, while I’ve been unsuccessful at reading one of these a week, I have been skimming them a bit here and there. When I read the two on rituals, I had to shake my head. This is one of those topics that became a huge debate between me and other Pagans in college, and I’m glad I stuck to my guns and kept at things my own way.
There seems to be this idea in general modern Paganism that the rituals done need to be elaborate, encompassing many steps, and need to have a set structure to follow. I’m sorry, but if I had wanted to have such strict rules and regulations control my religious practices, I would have stuck to a religion such as Catholicism or Judaism. Part of what drew me into investigating Paganism when I was in middle school was the concept that the religious practices therein where very flexible. If you were one that needed a rigid structure, you could have it, but if you craved freedom and flexibility, that was also there. To go into college in hopes of meeting fellow Pagans only for a generous amount of them to tell you your ideas about worship and practice are wrong is a very trying experience that I hope never to repeat.
My idea of what Ritual is focuses now more than ever on the here and now. How can I make Yule special? What have we not eaten for a while that’s one of our favorite dishes? What activity do we never do that we can have fun with today? Holidays become a chance for me to put more thought into my home and to be thankful for the opportunity that the Lord and Lady have blessed me with while doing each thing throughout the day (which isn’t much different than my normal days), and tend to include some solitude time in front of my altar with journal and pen in hand to think about and connect with the divine.
I try to strive for mini rituals each day. These stretch from cooking a meal with will and intent (being a Kitchen Witch, this comes naturally), to knitting meditatively. Somedays I may need an extra walk in the woods to get a closer feel to the divine. However, if I go the day without touching the divine, I know that there is something I’m missing and I focus on finding out what that is an how to repair it.
Why do we need to be roped into this belief that we need special outfits or to go skyclad to worship? Is there any real reason that we need to cast a circle, call the Gods and Goddesses, partake the in the Five Fold Kiss, and be led around by a Priest or Priestess like a donkey on a string?
Worship, regardless of the religion, should be a daily occurence that does not interfere with your life. If you feel as though you need to drop everything in order to spend time with your divine being, and doing so is stressful, than it may be time to take a look at what you need from ritual and worship. You might be surprised with how much you’re complicating things.