hth: (Hth the 2nd)
[personal profile] hth
Other than some dilettanting with other groups and on our own, A. and I have primarily practiced in the ADF tradition, and part of its foundational values is open and public ritual. ADF groves are required to hold public ritual on the customary neo-pagan 8 Wheel-of-the-Year holidays, but for the many years since we left the Atlanta area and our former Grove there, we've chosen to uphold the tradition in our small way by making it known to our pagan and pagan-friendly friends that anyone is welcome to come along with us for any High Day they like. We usually have our friend Lisa in attendance -- Lisa isn't pagan herself, but enjoys the High Day energy and faithfully serves as our Grove Photographer, taking amazing pictures on her trusty iPhone. (One of these days, I'll post some of our back catalog; Lisa has an amazing eye for composition, and she makes our ritual spaces look much artsier than they really are!) Sometimes we have another person or two, a newbie pagan or someone from a different tradition who wants to See What We Do, but traditionally Bull Moon rituals have been "public" in theory and hearth-centered in fact.

A couple of years ago, A. started doing what I think of as public ritual 2.0 -- not a ritual where people are invited to join us necessarily, but rituals that take place *in public.* Her inner Roman/city girl locates civic spaces as holy ground, and she's done some amazing work in developing ritual that can be performed in public space. I'm trying to get her to post some details here about her Ludi Plebeii experiences in Durham's City Plaza, and she and our Wiccan HPS friend Amanda have collaborated to bring some ritual blessings to the Moral Monday protests at the capitol in Raleigh.

Now all of a sudden I feel like we're launching into 3.0 -- actual-facts ritual for the public. I'm writing a new autumn equinox ritual for Gaia's Circle, the community ritual group that we sometimes attend. We hosted one ritual for Gaia's Circle previously, but just by inviting folks to join our regular ADF-style Imbolc ritual; this is the first time I've designed something specifically for Gaia's Circle, with an eye toward making it satisfying for the eclectic membership. Now that our grove liturgy has pretty well stabilized, I haven't had any need to write new rituals from scratch for quite some time, and I'm having a lot of fun with it, finding ways to marry the design principles of California Eclectic Wicca with the polytheist devotional work that's Bull Moon's wheelhouse. We've also been invited to present an evening ritual at Thaumaturgy 777, our friendly neighborhood occult store/botanica. That'll probably happen in October, and will be a "working ritual" designed to bring people into greater awareness of the spiritual dimensions of our local landscape, and hopefully to make initial contact with some well-disposed local landspirits. I'm working off of a base of the "spirit art" rituals designed by Ian Corrigan, who has definitely been a major influence on my magical style, inasmuch as I have such a thing.

I feel like this is a big leap into a new world for us. We've talked a lot about wanting to be there for the pagan community in Durham -- and about wanting there to be a pagan community in Durham that can be there for others -- and after a lot of semi-patient prodding by the Gods and the Ungods, I think we're finally moving toward it in small but measurable ways. I'm having to learn and relearn a lot about building ritual and scaling it up effectively. Maybe someday we'll be able to put on full-on community ritual theater here in Durham. (Not saying that ritual in particular does it for me personally, but great muppety Zeus, you have to be in awe of the love and labor that went into it. On that level, it's deeply inspiring.)

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Bull Moon Hearth

October 2013

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