APPALACHIAN PAGAN ALLIANCE 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. FROM OUR BOOK OF SHADOWS; ---------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 experience. ----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. ----------------------------------------------- SACRED PLACES SECTION: (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.