One of the reasons for creating sacred space is with the intent of using that space as a working container for magick. And, the act of ritual is honoring and celebrating the threads of energy and magickal working that are interwoven in our lives and abundant within a dedicated sacred space. Establishing sacred space for a ritual is saying to those entities and energies seen and unseen that you are ready to do the work of the Divine. It is at once part and the whole of the process; just as a swimmer would not rise to victory without a source of water in which to swim, or a doctor would be hard pressed to do surgery in a setting that was less than sterile and conducive to concentration.
There are many types of rituals that can be crafted. The most commonly known are those that celebrate the cycles of the Great Wheel of the Year. These are largely celebratory in nature rather than focused on a specific working. Lunar rituals are often used in support of magickal workings, such as healing, prosperity and initiations to name a few.
The Cycles of the Wheel
There are several cycles that can be used to describe the energy of the movement of the Wheel and how it aligns with the natural world. All are occurring simultaneously, even though it may appear that in a particular ritual one or another may be more apparent. Below is a brief listing of a few of these cycles:
Cycle of Goddess….. passes through triplicity
Cycle of God… birth, sacred union, maturity, death, rebirth
Cycle of the Growing Year
Cycle of the Hunting/Gathering Year
Cycle of the Seasonal Tides
Tide of Sowing
Spring Equinox through Summer Solstice
Tide of Harvest
Summer Solstice through Autumn Equinox
Tide of Reflection (Moving Within)
Autumn Equinox through Winter Solstice
Tide of Turning Overs (Beginning Anew and Quickening)
Winter Solstice through Spring Equinox
The Equinoxes and the Solstices
Equinoxes: A time of balance between light/dark
Vernal Equinox – Spring and the season of rebirth. All things are now in their phase of growth, having passed through the periods of quickening and ripening.
Autumnal Equinox – Autumn and the season of release and harvest. All things have now passed their peak and what has been gathered makes way for what will be planted later.
Solstices: Time of Transition
Marks the point of the longest night and the hope of the sun’s return as the days’ become longer from here forward until the
Marks the point of the longest day and the beginning of the winter and dark months ahead until the Winter Solstice begins the cycle once again
The ritual of Initiation is one that marks the spiritual growth of the witch along his or her Path. It is a time of trial and test, courage and faith that propels us forward along the Path towards one of greater service and devotion. It can be likened to a spiritual rebirth and the you that emerges on the other side of that rebirth is transformed.
Rituals for healing are specifically designed to incorporate those components that will be lasting and durable in nature. New moon workings to begin a healing process and reinforcement and bolstering at the Full moon is one way to accomplish this. A word of note regarding the ethics and practical considerations of magickal working. As Wiccans we honor and respect all of life, inclusive of the decisions by free will that life may make. Doing a working of healing for someone without their express permission is unethical and a breach of their free will to make the decision yes or no that they wish outside assistance.
The same is true of sending energy to someone you perceive to be in need. Without their consent and knowledge you have intruded on their right to say no. And, lastly it cannot be stressed enough that doing a healing ritual for someone who clearly needs medical assistance and attention in lieu of them seeking that medical attention is irresponsible and foolhardy. Miraculous healings do and have happened on very rare occasions, but one should never allow ego to replace sound judgment in assuming that theirs is the magick that will cure.
So, what would you use a healing ritual for? We have used healing rituals in our coven to help remove negative energies that may have built within membership around a specific issue. I have used healing rituals for myself to help mend an old and non-constructive way of thinking or hanging onto old wounds that have kept me from further growth. With my mother’s permission, I have used healing ritual to help with recovery from her knee replacement surgery.
We took a look at a ritual last month to cleanse and prepare our magickal tools. This can also take the form of rededicating a tool that has not been used for a long period of time of cleansing one that has been used to remove large amounts of negativity and may have built up unhealthy residue.
Rituals that celebrate the turning of the seasons within ourselves are some of the most joyous rituals. Wiccanings celebrate and bless a new child’s birth. Coming of Age rites for young men and women celebrate the fertility and potential for creation and embrace the movement towards adulthood. Handfastings celebrate the married union and pledges of love that a couple makes to one another in the presence of the Great Ones. Cronings (Women) and Sagings (Men) mark the time of wisdom from year’s of experience and often coincide for the woman with the holding of the blood within or menopause. And, finally as the turn nears the point of return, Rites of Crossing Over celebrate and honor the life that was lived in this incarnation, the return to the loving arms of the Goddess and the time of awaiting new birth.
NOTE: As we continue through the course I will be adding rituals that you can do yourself and add to the Book of Shadows we will create in Lesson 7.
The Components of Ritual