In a previous article, Ritual Construction, we covered the basic steps common to most Wiccan rituals, be they celebratory or magickal. These steps can be used as the basic framework or outline for crafting your own ritual. But, before you can begin fleshing these steps out and working on the details, there are a few things to think about to ensure greater success in your ritual.
The first thing to ask yourself is what type of ritual are you trying to write. For example, is this a Sabbat or Esbat celebration, a magickal working, or a Rite of Passage? This factor will set the tone of the entire ritual, so it helps to be certain of what you are trying to achieve.
Consider how much time you have to devote to this ritual. If you’re unable to spend more than an hour, it may be more practical to forego an elaborate outdoor altar setup in order to devote more time to communion with your Gods or the magickal working and proper grounding afterwards.
Next, you want to figure out who will be attending the ritual. If you are composing a solitary ritual, then this isn’t a concern, but when composing a group ritual, what you can successfully do with a group of four varies greatly from what you can do with a group of 30.
For larger groups, and smaller groups where you aren’t familiar with everyone who will be attending, expect to have varying levels of experience and ability within the group. It will make things more comfortable for everyone attending if the ritual isn’t overly complicated and if the intent is clear.
Also, a great way to make the ritual meaningful to everyone present is to have everyone involved and participating. This can be especially hard to achieve with larger groups where it’s easy for someone to stand in the back and be silent and thus overlooked. So something that requires everyone to participate, like the Spiral Dance, is a great way to avoid that and make everyone feel comfortable with being an active player in the ritual.
Keeping these four points in mind, you can now work on the details of the ritual, e.g. manner in which the Circle will be cast, what spiritual entities or Gods you will be working with, etc. While it’s good to use tried and true ritual components, don’t be afraid to be creative and try something new. You may find something that works really well for you or something that really helps the others attending make the proper spiritual and energetic connection and thus attain the most from the ritual. And, in the end, that is the most important thing about a ritual, not how well you incorporated all the traditional steps, but that the people involved, even if it is just you, recognize their connection to Spirit and leave the ritual forever changed.