Ritual Basics

How to do ritual is not carved in stone, but there are some general components that you will find in most Wiccan rituals.  If you belong to a coven, you will learn from others how to do rituals and likely how to write your own. How rituals are organized and performed will differ from tradition to tradition, and from coven to coven. If you are a solitary, then it is up to you to learn about doing ritual.

You can just limit yourself to pre-written rituals, but you will likely want to start creating your own at some point. Even the pre-written ones can seem intimidating until you grasp the overall basic strucutre of a Wiccan ritual. Not all rituals need to have all these components, but this is a good outline for a basic ritual.

Cast the Circle
The first thing you need to do is cast your circle. The space within your circle is sacred, and considered to be ‘between the worlds’. Not only does your circle keep out unwanted energy, it also serves to keep your energy in. You may want to cleanse your space with a ritual sweeping or with some incense before you begin.

Call the Quarters
The Quarters (also sometimes called Watchtowers) are the guardians of your circle. They are usually directional and/or elemental in nature. The exact wording on how to call the quarters is varied, and can be adapted to your needs. You might consider these Watchtowers to be the solid corner-posts of your circle.

Invoke Deity
If you are not familiar with any specific Gods or Goddesses, you can always just call on the Lord and/or Lady. Over time, you can research the various pantheons and learn about the different Deities out there. You may invoke certain Deities just get to know them better, or choose Deities that represent the energies you want for your ritual. You should always be respectful, and ask Deities to join you.

Raise Energy
If you are performing this ritual with a specific goal in mind (a spell), then you need to raise energy before you do that spell. It’s your energy and will that drives a spell. If your ritual is to celebrate the Sabbats or to give thanks to the Gods, then you may not feel the need to raise any power. Methods for raising energy could be dancing or chanting.

Purpose of Ritual
This is the central part of the ritual process. If you are working a specific spell, now is when you do that, using the energy that you’ve raised. Worship, celebration or giving thanks could also be part of your ritual.

Ground Your Energy.
You raised energy earlier, and now you must ground it. Release the remaining energy down through your body and out into the Earth. Even if you are indoors, and your feet aren’t truly touching the Earth, you can still visualize your energy dispersing this way. Depending on the nature of your spell, you may find that most of the energy is used up in your spellwork.

Cakes and Ale-
It’s traditional to eat after ritual, and this can be a social part of the ritual if you are working in a group. It doesn’t have to literally be ‘cakes and ale’. You may choose to use foods that suit the nature of the ritual. (YOU DON’T HAVE TO DRINK WINE!)Some use milk and cookies– grape juice and small almond cakes—  just have something “sweet”. This is another aspect of the grounding you did earlier. By eating and drinking, you can focus yourself back to the physical world.

(After the cakes & ale- if you’re in a GROUP- now is the time for socializing or making announcements)

Thank Deity
I’m sure this part is obvious. If you’ve asked a Deity to join you in your circle, you must then thank them when the ritual is complete.

Release the Quarters
Similar to thanking the Deities. You’ve called the Quarters to assist you, and when you are done, you should thank them and release them.

Release the Circle
The step will return your ritual area back to ‘normal space’. Most circle casting techniques that you will find are written with both an opening and closing portion to the text.

—-)O(—-)O(—-)O(—-)O(—-)O(—-)O(—-

This is only an outline, to help you put the features of a ritual into context. You can find more details in our Circle Casting section, on how to call the Quarters and cast the circle.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to be creative and to experiment. The best way to become comfortable in ritual is to “just do it”.

JUST REMEMBER THAT THERE IS NO “ONE” RIGHT WAY

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