January 11th, 2011
|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: cold
Current Music: "Ballad of Spider John", -JB
And I would say that your piety doesn't necessarily mirror my own. My shrine can be any number of things, and there are plenty of times that it exists only within.
I may not always get something out of high days. It doesn't mean that my devotion or practice is sub-par because I didn't do devotionals. It may just mean that the liturgy that was written and used didn't call to me. I may not have a connection with a particular deity or hearth and so I simply enjoy the fact that I am there.
I don't tell anyone how they do their personal work. It's personal for a reason and none of my business. Much like mine is no one's business unless I make it so. I also don't like the idea of picturing the rite as a 'show'. I see where it can often feel or appear that way as we get lost in presenting a good ritual for the Folk. But it shouldn't. When I write liturgy of any kind, it isn't for show. It is what the kindreds inspire me with in order to commune better with the people that choose to gather.
I know that my idea of this isn't going to be a popular one and I am sure I will get the proverbial smack down by more than one. That's okay. We have different opinions and ways of doing things.
and this is not a 'verbal smackdown' but you're arguing the same point as Mike. The question "Did you do your home spiritual work" (to paraphrase) means exactly that. Did you do YOUR stuff? Not my stuff or not your stuff the way I think you should do it. But YOUR stuff.