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January 11th, 2011


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04:23 pm - Ritual Studies comes to the Liturgy Meetings
Last night, I finally received the draft of the Ritual Studies Journal I put together for the Grove. It looks nice, it's got plenty of space for omen-keeping, and it's got the essential writing-prompts that I want to make use of built in. Plus, it has my drawings of different ritual configurations (based on my "Theatre for Ritual" studies) so that I can explain things with a bit more visual information.

I experimented with a lower quality of paper for this book in order to keep the price low, and it seems to have worked out alright. There are some priting mishaps on the paper, but generally speaking, everything is legible and appears to work just fine. The thing I was most concerned with was the durability of the book: I want people using these for about a year, and one can put a lot of wear-and-tear on a book over the course of a year if you're dragging it to outdoor rituals and writing about your omens and experiences. So far, so good, though: I think it will hold up nicely.

Our liturgy meetings have generally been about the upcoming ritual, but I've come around to the notion that we shouldn't focus on "the next rite" so much as on "ensuring the practice."

Let me explain:

You might think of High Days, rites of passage, and other major rituals as "desserts." Yes, you could live off those alone, but imagine getting "enough to eat" from cheesecake alone, and you see the issue: "special" and "seasonal" rites must be the treats and the joy of our lives, not the staples: they are no longer as sweet if they are all we eat, after all.

What, then, provides the staple of our religious selves? That is the meditation, daily prayer, and devotional work that we do. Our morning prayers are our eggs, toast, and bacon; our afternoon mediations are our chips and sandwich; and our evening devotional rites are our steak and potatoes. These are the things that feed our souls, not the sugary treats we often enjoy.

Keeping up the daily rites, the moderate worship, and the mindful prayer ensures that the "special" rites remain special. I would be willing to argue that if the High Days have lost their lustre in your life, you likely aren't keeping up with the daily work you know you should be doing.

At our last ritual (Rivros), I asked a simple question before assigning parts: "Who has done work at their shrine in the past week?" Only 4 people raised their hands, and I gave the parts to those people. . . for they had been practicing. It didn't matter that they had not been practicing the specific part I gave them, or that they hadn't finished their DP, or that there were other people who had more experience than they did. What mattered is that they weren't depending on the experience provided by the Grove to get their work in. They weren't interested in *only* eating cheesecake. . . they also wanted rice and beans so that when they had the cheesecake, it tasted sweet.

They could, through their experience of the sweetness, pass it along to others.

And that is what a good ritualist does.

So, the liturgy meetings will begin to become more about the staples than about the desserts. Sure, we'll still talk about the upcoming High Day, but the liturgy meetings will involve practice more than talk. We will learn about the ritual process by doing it rather than by letting it settle upon us and rot our spiritual teeth.

At least, that's the aim.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: coldcold
Current Music: "Ballad of Spider John", -JB

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[User Picture]
From:avngrdnpriestes
Date:January 11th, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
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This is where the post lost me, while before I found it quite lovely:

"What, then, provides the staple of our religious selves? That is the meditation, daily prayer, and devotional work that we do. Our morning prayers are our eggs, toast, and bacon; our afternoon mediations are our chips and sandwich; and our evening devotional rites are our steak and potatoes. These are the things that feed our souls, not the sugary treats we often enjoy.

Keeping up the daily rites, the moderate worship, and the mindful prayer ensures that the "special" rites remain special. I would be willing to argue that if the High Days have lost their lustre in your life, you likely aren't keeping up with the daily work you know you should be doing."

First, insinuating that I 'should be doing' daily prayer work and rites is a concept that I affiliate with the xtian church. Now, I understand that my experience with xtians may be different than others. Mine is mostly negative. I have nothing against them practicing their faith as long as they do not tell me how to practice mine. I do have a problem with anyone trying to mold my faith to resemble someone else's.

I am not saying that the idea of daily work is a bad one. Or that personal devotionals are bad. On the contrary, if they work for you by all means do them. There are times where I will feel a need to do something everyday for a couple of weeks. Then I will not feel that necessity. Not because I practice my faith any less but that the closeness I feel with what I believe doesn't have to be stated over and over again everyday. I walk within it.

My thoughts are that each person is going to be different, and the way they practice is going to be different. Not everyone is going to pray multiple times a day or stop and do a rite daily or several times a day. The implication that that is something that we 'should do' in order to be allowed to take on a role in a rite, whether druid moon or high day is what I object to. I am no less a Druid if I do not do these like this. If when I clean I offer the labor to Frigg isn't enough, or as I write an invocation I offer up the words to whomever I am speaking of then why bother at all? I do not like the idea of anyone telling me or even giving the slightest implication that I am not eligible or even worthy to take on a role for a high day or druid moon that I am celebrating and possibly helping with just because I do not pray or practice as they do. That my dear is my experience with the xtian church. THAT is why I am concerned by Mike's wording.

I do not think this is what he is trying to say. I simply want to point out the possible perception.

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