First, let me start with a huge disclaimer:
There is no one right way to do a ritual. Find what works for you and Aphrodite!
I’ve waited a long time to write this post because I had serious reservations about it. I’ve posted samples of my rituals on this blog before, but I have never written a guide on how to build your own ritual. I firmly believe that everyone’s spiritual practice is different, and thus the rituals you construct to connect to the Divine will be just as diverse and beautiful.
As I discussed in my post on Why I Quit Caring About Formal Ritual, early on in my practice, I relied way too much on what I read in the limited books I had available on Paganism and Witchcraft. I thought I needed to do everything perfectly each time I did ritual and follow all of the steps in the correct order to be a good Pagan/Witch. This created a lot of anxiety and resulted in me almost never actually doing a ritual. I was so caught up in doing the right things and saying the right words that it took away from my actual purpose for doing ritual: to connect to the Divine and to experience the joy that first drew me to my Pagan spirituality.
I didn’t write this post earlier because I did not want the same thing to happen to you. I didn’t want anyone to get so stuck in my way of doing rituals that they never explored and experimented for themselves. This process of discovery is where the magick happens! A ritual that you write yourself is going to be so much more powerful than anything you copy from someone else.
However, I’ve come to realize that the way I was able to open up and explore my relationship to ritual was to be exposed to others’ methods and magick. With my Pagan group, I got to participate in a wide variety of rituals from many different traditions with diverse Deities and a myriad of ways of approaching the Divine. From these experiences, I was able to figure out what resonated with me, what worked best to connect me with Deity, and what truly captured that essence of wonder and joy.
I was then able to adapt these practices for my own use, weaving in the different elements to create the tapestry of my eclectic spirituality and rituals. I saw so much diversity in the creative ways that people call in the elements that I was inspired to tailor my own quarter calls to each individual ritual, based on my ritual’s purpose. To create my circle casting incantation, I riffed off of the verse that one of my friends uses (with permission), and created my own lengthier version with different words that is a better fit for my spiritual practice. There were techniques for leading group rituals that I apply in both my solo and community practices. Basically, if something resonated with me, I tried to figure out exactly why it resonated, take that essential bit and then embellish it and make it my own.
So, I’ve decided to share with you a very general template that I loosely follow to create my rituals. I encourage you to personalize this! Try out different aspects of it. Keep what works and throw out what doesn’t! Your relationship to Aphrodite and the Divine is unique to you. Your rituals will reflect that. These are just some suggestions to help you get started or to reinvigorate a ritual practice that feels stagnant.
Don’t feel like you have to do something for every step, especially not all the time! I’ve had incredibly powerful rituals that spontaneously happened with no preparation, where Deity showed up without being called, where I forgot a step or missed a quarter call – and they were still wonderful experiences!
The absolute best thing you can do to develop your ritual practice is to just do more of them! And this doesn’t mean to recite your rote quarter calls more or write out every single word of every ritual you do. Try new and different things. Be spontaneous! Follow your heart.
Remember that the purpose of ritual is to connect you to the Divine. Anything that does this is good progress and practice. This includes impromptu prayers, doing magick when you need it regardless of what phase the moon is in, and speaking deep from your soul without a script. Sometimes an elaborate hour-long ritual is what you need, but sometimes you simply just need to sing in the shower for Aphrodite.
A Simple Ritual Template
- Creating Sacred Space
- Returning to the Here and Now
I will be writing posts that go more in depth on each of these topics in the coming weeks! In the meantime, I encourage you to think about what role ritual currently plays in your practice. What has your experience with ritual been like? How often do you do ritual? Are your rituals usually planned or spontaneous? What was the most powerful ritual you have participated in? What about it was meaningful to you?
Bright blessings to you on your journey!