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Appalachian Pagan Alliance newsletter Sept. 2003

SEPTEMBER 2003 newsletter

EDITRESS: Ginger Strivelli

HAPPY EQUINOX to Y'all! We of the APA are getting ready for 
the busy Samhain, Harvest, then Yuletide seasons, and 
have been planning our events for the season.
We have also much enjoyed our usual Daily net working 
'chit chat' on the yahoogroups list, as it is so 
refreshing to have such a sense of community and 
connection with our Pagan peers daily in that way. 
We have discussed a wide varied range of topics this 
month on the list as usual…had a few heated debates 
also as usual, and been a bit silly at times, 
and strayed on topic even every now and then 
to discuss religion, magic, and such…again 
with the as usual.

---------RITUAL 101 By Marcia Tillison
Please remember this is VERY basic and is an all purpose set up.  
Not all groups or traditions are going to do everything 
in exactly the same way or for the same reasons.  
I was CUUPS trained, which means it’s as eclectic as 
it gets.  Our goal was to make sure that no one was 
offended, that everyone’s physical restrictions were 
observed, that we kept to the purpose of the Circle 
and that as many people as possible had a positive 
----Set Purpose:  What is the purpose of the Circle?  
This will determine everything!  Think carefully 
and attempt to stay focused. Whatever you do, do 
NOT pick something that is a huge task to work on 
for your first attempt.  A simple full moon gathering 
of thanks is a good always a good start.
----Guests:  Who do you want to invite to join you?
----Pick your space:  You don’t really need too much 
room with a small group.  Your Living Room will do.  
It’s always nice to be able to clear the center of 
whatever space you choose.  Whenever you are 
working on this you should also decide whether you 
wish for everyone to stand or sit.  If you want to 
sit then you need to figure enough room for the 
chairs.  You’ll also need enough room for the 
small altars and/or center altar.  
---Time for set up!:  Clear your room.  
This is a good time to also “cleanse” your space.  
I’ve always liked to do that before anyone else comes 
into the room and I have a bit of quiet time to walk 
around and spritz and wave the nice smells and sweep 
and chant.  It makes for a nice moment of focusing.  
Here’s the part where you start to think about trads 
and such.  If you do set up small altars you are going 
to want to set up possibly a small center altar and 
Quarter tables.  Those can be on the floor or on 
tables it doesn’t matter.  Remember you are the 
one doing the main energy work here so if you aren’t 
working within a set mode then you must use whatever 
you feel the most energy from.  
---Choosing what is on your altars:  That is entirely 
up to you!  I’ve been something we called “The Man Circle” 
where they put pictures of Keanu and Johnny Depp on 
altars to make the women happy (which by the way 
worked very nicely indeed).  Some people honor 
Totem animals, some honor elements, for some it is 
color and aroma only.  Part of the altar set up can 
also be a decision as to whether you include your 
“cakes and ale” inside of the Circle and make it an 
integral part of our Circle.  I’ve done them both ways.
---(Time to finish those last touches, take a deep 
breath and invite your attendees in and lead them to 
the places you have chosen for them.)  
---Time for you entrance: Here again the way you 
enter a Circle can depend on the Tradition you 
follow or the energy you wish to promote.  The 
standard is for the facilitator to enter in at 
one point of the outer circle and walk or cast 
your circle in a Doesil direction.  You can hold a 
wand, a athame, a candle, incense, raise your arms.. 
whatever you are most comfortable with.  As you walk 
you can picture a light or flame or colored swirl 
enclosing your friends and family in a safe space 
to begin your work.  
---The Circle begins:  Now that you are in a safe 
space, you can call your Quarter, Triads, etc.  
This is a place that you may have your friends help out.  
You could choose someone to stand at each altarplace 
and “Call”.  How that call is done is up to yourself 
and them and the purpose of the Circle (remember you 
were supposed to be focusing on that).  After the 
Quarters, Triads etc are called you can take your 
place in the center and continue.  
---The moment of truth: Purpose and manifestation. 
As you stand in the center take a moment to breathe 
and set your purpose in your mind.  Let the energy 
go round yourself and those gathered.  Now you will 
begin to speak.  You can actually do spellwork, say 
a prayer, talk of the Lord and Lady or whichever 
Deity you are working with. (Note:  Always remember 
that your goal is to remember Deity when you are 
in that center.  You are the one relaying 
that purpose and are the conduit of Deity energy.)  
I’ve had people do the 
most amazing Pagan sermons to remind us all of how 
to care for one another during this time.  As you 
speak you can direct your attendees to begin to 
manifest the purpose of the gathering.  An easy 
thing to do is to write on small pieces of paper 
wishes, hopes, needs, and prayers. Whatever goes 
with the purpose of the Circle.
---Here’s a bit that is interchangeable: After 
you have struck the purpose of the Circle into 
the hearts and minds of those gathered you may 
chose to either raise energy OR share cake and ale.  
I’ve seen it done either way to a wonderful effect.  
When you do raise energy, my personal preference 
includes music. drums, voices, canned music.. something.  
I led one that I had everyone bring rattles too.  
We moved and rattled and chanted.. It was very powerful.  
I’ve been to a Circle where a guided meditation 
and silence was used to raise the energy reminding 
us all that moments of quiet can be as energizing 
in our busy lives as any thing else. During energy 
raising it is a perfect time to complete the 
manifestation.  Time to really concentrate and put 
your energy into what you written or created. 
It is up to the facilitator what will be done 
with the writing or object that has been worked with.  
Usual practices are to burn, sleep with, charge 
up and take home.  The ways to work with the object 
is diverse. The common practice after an energy 
raising is to ground the energy by lying down, 
sitting down, somehow attaching your body to a 
point closer to the ground.  I like to sneak a bit 
out of that and send it up and out and share it too.  
When cakes and ale are served it is polite for the 
facilitator to offer drink and a bite of food to 
each participant.  The common thing to say is 
“may you never hunger” then “may you never thirst”, 
not everyone says this, but it is important to 
remember to say something kind and thoughtful 
as you serve your guests.
---Time to close:  Now you’ve all grounded, eaten, 
taken a breath.  Direct your guests to return to 
their beginning positions in the Circle.  Did you 
have them take positions at altars?  Did you have 
them sit in chairs or stand at cross-quarters?  
The way you begin the Circle is basically the way 
you are going to end it, only in reverse order.  
The facilitator can thank them all for attending 
and remind them once again, very briefly of their 
purpose there and what to take home with them.  
At each of the smaller altars you will thank the 
Deities, Elementals etc. for joining you and adding 
their energies to your work, wish them well and say 
goodbye.  Open the Circle back up.  You can walk 
back around taking your energy back to yourself or 
you can verbally open it.  Let the guests know that 
they may leave the Circle. 
(A SHORT section this month due to Marcia's Long-windedness!) 
Written By Ginger Strivelli

In Honor of the Harvest season, we need to remember that 
any all gardens and farms are in deed holy ground and 
sacred sites. They are Temples to Mother Nature's fertility. 
Such as the Egyptian, Roman, and Greek Temples honoring 
one's own motherhood, fertility, and child bearing called; 
A Mammisi temple. Cleopatra had a famous elaborate 
Mammisi built after the birth of her child. Hers 
survived up until about 1900. These temples are sadly 
almost extinct now, though some of us modern Pagan 
Moms do have little household altar Mammisis. Thusly 
we need to celebrate not only our own person 
Mammisi, and those of the Goddesses, but also, 
Mother Nature's Mammisi gardens and crop fields.

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