Developing a Ritual
Posted on January 6, 2017 at 2:20 PM
I’ve been asked how I develop a ritual, so I thought I would blog about that process.
Imbolc is less than 4 weeks away and I am starting to think of a theme for an Imbolc ritual. Imbolc seems to bring out the creativity in me. In the past, I have done rituals on ideas around Bridget, as a healer, as a fire goddess and as a smith, where we created amulets (out of polymer clay, not out of metal, but the idea was being a creator). I have also done cleansing rituals to remove worries or clean your mind of old, useless ways of thinking. I have done rituals on new ways of thinking… about infinity or life paths. And we have done the traditional ritual of drawing down the moon.
So, what aspect of Bridget should I honor? Or should I shake up some thinking? Perhaps dancing? I like dancing, but I am constrained by my space. I am writing this on the first snowfall of the year and looking out at the snow, so perhaps something on looking forward to the end of winter.
I find inspiration by looking around me, at the snow or the night sky or the golden tones of sunset. Nature is a good jumping off point for a ritual. Perhaps an ritual on snow melting and looking forward to the spring?
I also may look at an object and think “I could design a ritual around brooms or marbles or garbage cans.” We did a very effective ritual using mini brooms to brush our worries into small garbage cans. It sounds funny and it was, but it worked.
What I am trying to achieve is an interactive event with some drama, some humor, some uplifting moments. Perhaps this brings a participant a new idea or new way of thinking. Perhaps they find themselves calmer or more alert. Perhaps, occasionally, someone comes to an “AHA” moment, which is what ritual is all about.
After consideration and consultation with my circle, I have decided to design a ritual around making something. Imbolc is the Festival of Bridget and making something would honor Bridget as the patron of smiths. The structure of such a ritual is simple. We create something at the kitchen table, move to the living room for a more formal ritual where we bless the creations and return to the kitchen for dinner and, if we are using polymer clay, to bake the created objects.
The idea is to find something that takes about a ½ hour to create and doesn’t required a lot of artistic skills, since while we are all artists, some of us excel more in poetry, massage or dance than visual art. You also want something that can be put on the altar right away rather than waiting for it to dry and perhaps be ironed.
There are lots of options on what could be created. Amulets, either polymer clay objects or tiny bottles containing herbs or other objects. Polymer clay could be used to make dishes for incense or candle holders. We could paint fabric for use as altar cloths. In this case, I would probably use fabric markers instead of paint, since we don’t want to wait through the drying time.
Once I decide on the object we will be making, I will post the preparations on the object and the writing of the ritual.
I did not get a chance to complete my record of preparations for Imbolc, so I'll do that now and then write about the ritual.
The ritual is to honor Bridget as the patron of smiths. What could we make that would be a magical tool and give us the mindset that we are "makers"? Wands!
My husband showed me some dowels he was working with and I had an idea that they would make wonderful wands. I looked around the internet for shapes and provided him with some ideas. He shaped them into "blanks". I assembled a collection of polymer clay, crystals, beads, feathers, ribbons, and other craft supplies for use.
I developed a ritual that started with a "pre-ritual" where we each selected a blank wand and decorated it to reflect our inner selves. The next step was to write a ritual to bless the wands. I decided on drumming to raise the energy needed to empower the wands.
So, now I have a structure to write into: first, we will create our wands, then we will have a ritual with drumming to raise the power, then we will bless the wands."