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
I wish I could make it to meetings, but unfortunately being on a work-night, it's not feasible most times. The new direction for liturgy meetings sounds wonderful. Just curious, would it be possible to set up skype (or similar) video conferencing for meetings?
Anyways, on a more positive note (and maybe slightly off-topic of your original post, but related to personal practice), I've noticed that having moved and not being able to make it to smaller Crane gatherings as often (whether social or not) has caused me to increase my personal work. I wish I could find ways to write about it more, because that in the past has been the best way for me to process and remember, but in any case, I feel like I've ben more spiritual since the move. I have my home shrine in a place where I can get to it easily and more importantly feel comfortable working at it. I think part of this is simply due to the new apartment and having more room, but it is also feeling as though I need more of that connection now, and so have adapted my practice to match that. While I miss being able to be at the Crane events, and see people more often, I do think in some ways being away has been god for my practice.
All in all, being enmeshed with the Grove was excellent for watching and learning and practicing in a group, but now being some what of a solitary (even though, or maybe because of it being not by choice) has deepened the connection I feel to the Gods, and made me more confident in my spiritual work, and allowed me to branch out and try new ways of talking with them and working with them. And while I am still sad that I don't get to spend as much time with the Grove and doing Grove work, I think I've benefited from being on my own and developing/learning the ways that worshiping work best for me and my relationship with the Gods.
I don't see why we wouldn't set up Skype, but I can tell you directly that you won't be able to participate in certain things remotely, including the first exercise of every course. But you may be able to manage some of the other ones, and the discussions may, in many cases, help even without exercises and interaction (the first meeting will cover "Circles of Concentration," which you should get something from, at least).
I don't have a Skype account, though, nor a laptop that can generally broadcast via Skype. Someone else may, though.
It is easy to rely on the Grove for the totality of one's practice, so I'm glad that you've found a benefit to being further away in the form of increased Sol work. I'm especially pleased to hear that your home shrine is getting use :) Gotta keep those home fires a-burnin'!
We miss you, too. Remember that no matter how far you travel, you're always welcome at our good fire.