Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Charm School: Miss Manners for the Pointy Hat Crowd
Article ID: 13886
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,372
Times Read: 4,041
RSS Views: 15,210
Posted: June 6th. 2010
Times Viewed: 4,041
Did you know that there are delicate matters of etiquette and protocol you are expected to know and abide by when attending a ritual, even an open, public one? Are you aware of what is expected of you as a guest to someone's covenstead and circle, so you don't make an embarrassing faux pas or accidentally insult your hosts? Some of these tips below are common sense and a few are requisites for the more traditional type circle arrangements, but it doesn’t hurt to err on the side of decorum even if attending a non-specific ritual gathering.
Should the ritual you plan to attend not advise you of these things by word of mouth or as a part of the written or online open invitation, it is in your best interests to contact the hosts in advance to make inquiries BEFORE the event. Chances are they will be busy on the day of and may not have time to answer you properly or fully, so be contentious and ask them well ahead of time.
Ask permission before bringing outsiders with you. The reason for this is two-fold: unless otherwise stated in the invitation, it may extend only to you because of your relationship with the hosts. Outsiders, even spouses or family members may need to be cleared with the hosts or the other participants first. The second reason is that the hosts may be using the RSVP’s to their invite for a head count so they have enough supplies for the ritual or enough food for the feast.
Don’t come empty handed. This is, foremost, a hospitable ‘thank you’ to your hosts for all their planning and gracious use of space. A dish for the potluck feast, a bottle of wine or mead, flowers for the altar…. all are wonderful gestures. Additionally, some invitations cite that the host group may be collecting canned goods, clothing or other items to give to charity. Or that they may accept, or even require, a monetary contribution to cover the expenses of materials used or the space rental if in a large forum. Sometimes these monetary contributions are on a sliding scale, but don’t be so gauche as to expect to not pay anything at all if the hosts have alerted you about this up front. Springing a “pass the hat” on you without prior warning, however, is tacky on their part.
Have robe, will travel. Most invitations will state whether or not street clothing is acceptable. And it is pretty darn unlikely that a semi-public or public event will be skyclad. For the most part, it is customary to have your own ritual robe to wear while in circle. Some hosts may have a spare for guests to use in a pinch, but don’t assume they will have one set aside for you…. or that it will fit! If you don’t own a robe, usually Ren wear or all-black attire is a good choice for a substitute. Do not wear anything with monstrous logos --- save your Dickies shirt or your favorite sports team jersey for your own time!!
Bring your own personal working tools. Just like the robe, you should have your own personal working tools with you and not expect them to be provided. It goes without saying that you cannot expect to borrow any old athame! Should you find yourself without yours, just use your finger. Be aware that in some traditions, female witches are also “required” to wear a necklace of some sort. If you don’t have one, ask the hosts to borrow something.
A simple, yet powerful word: Hygiene. It may sound ridiculous to have to put this on the list, but I can attest to having been in some public circles where this should have been on the loudspeaker. Brushing one’s teeth and bathing are mandatory. Some covensteads may offer facilities to freshen up if you’ve traveled some distance to attend, but don’t rely the hosts giving you a place to take a full-on shower if you’re coming to circle straight from your workout or whatever. Please arrive clean and groomed. Also be very sparing with your cologne/perfume; better to skip it entirely. I’ve been to rites where the person next to me was so overwhelming as to distract or clash with the incense. Please know that eau de parfum is not a substitute for soap and deodorant!!
Let your hair down. Again, according to myth, folklore and what is mandatory to some traditions, your hair should not be plaited or bound during ritual. Some say it is the work of the faery; some say it knots up the personal magic; some say it tangles the energy of the circle. Whatever the reason, it is nice to be completely unfettered during the rite…just be careful if you’ve got waist-length locks and are dancing near the quarter candles!!
Be on time…. or if you’re unavoidably running late, do the courteous thing and CALL. I cannot stress enough how completely obnoxious it is for people to use that lame-ass excuse of “Pagan Standard Time.” It is unaccountably rude to your hosts and the other attendees who have managed to arrive on time to have to alter their schedules to wait around for you. It may be that the ritual itself has a time-sensitive component, which cannot be halted because you got caught in traffic, couldn’t find your keys or whatever. If you’re running late or have a flat tire, please be mindful that the universe does not revolve solely around you and call your hosts. Allow them the option of continuing to wait for you, to start the rite and cut you into circle late or else ask that you skip the rite this time.
Make your own babysitting arrangements. Do not assume that it is ok for you to bring your kids or pets to the hosts’ home and that they will find something to keep them occupied while the adults are in circle. Either find a babysitter or call to ask the hosts if it is all right to bring your children. If you are allowed to bring them, you are responsible for their behavior and responsible for keeping them busy/occupied during the circle. Don’t expect that your hosts will have entertainment set aside for them or allow constant interruptions of the rite to cut you in and out of circle to attend to your children’s needs.
No talking or giggling during circle. You would think it obvious that folks who attend the ritual would want to pay attention and participate fully, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, there are always a few who think it is playtime and who find that if the attention isn’t on them, that it is appropriate to make comments under their breath, make sound effects, start giggling or goofing around or otherwise draw attention to themselves. If you cannot control your borderline ADHD behaviors, perhaps you should rethink your participation in a group setting. For all intents and purposes, you are like a visiting dignitary in someone else’s kingdom.
Treat the hosts with respect and you will be treated likewise. Do not critique the ritual while it is in progress; besides, most folks don’t want to hear “in my group, we do it this way” sorts of feedback. Even if you have something nice to say, please save it for private disclosure after the rite.
No drugs or alcohol prior to the rite. This too goes along with being responsible for your behavior… Hello! Rede anyone? Intoxicants and hallucinogenics alter your cognition and perceptions. Those around you in circle who come to expect a certain level of perfect love and perfect trust from their fellow attendees cannot be confident that you will behave accordingly if you are drunk, disorderly or spaced out. If the objective of most rituals is to get everyone on the same mental/emotional/spiritual plane, it is immensely difficult to do if a participant is whacked out on something. This may also include the ingestion of some over-the-counter cold or allergy medicines too. So if the warning label says “do not drive or operate heavy machinery, ” chances are it is probably not good for you to take prior to ritual.
If you’re sick, do not share in the communal cup or do not attend the ritual. Please don’t spread your illness to others, especially in light of this latest round of cold and flu season! If you’re sick, stay home. If you’re recovering from being sick, please be considerate and not partake of the communal cup. Asks the hosts to give you your libation in a separate vessel or else just “kiss the cup (at the base) ” when it is passed ‘round the circle to you but do not imbibe.
Find your own transport. Kindly make your own arrangements to get to and from the ritual site. It is not the responsibility of the hosts to retrieve you from the airport or the train station. If you don’t have your own vehicle, call a cab or share a ride with other attendees, etc.
Disclose any allergies. This may seem a bit silly, but it is practical. Outdoor rituals have the episode of bee or wasp stings. Some indoor rituals are hosted in homes that have pets and if you’re allergic to fur, feather or other pet dander you could be in for a sneezy night! Same goes for food allergies. Best to know up front if you should skip partaking in the ritual cakes if they might contain tree nuts or other ingredients which would make you need a trip to the ER. Doesn’t hurt to ask.
When proper, do not disclose real names of participants. Out of respect for privacy, there are some events where the participants may wish to be known by a pseudonym or “circle name” only. Do not “out” anyone by their real-world name if you happen to know it unless you have permission to address them as such.
Always move deosil in circle, unless expressly directed to do so by HP/HPS. A good way to remember this is always walk with your right side facing the center of the circle. Perhaps it is a superstition, but for some traditions, this idea is further extended in that you are not to do any ritual movements or gestures using your left hand (even if you are left handed) . You may want to either ask the hosts or just observe what is customary for that group and follow along.
Try to stand in alternating ‘Male-Female-Male-Female’ while in circle. Again, this may be a strict rule for some groups and an ideal situation but not mandatory for others. When in doubt, it seems best for energetic purposes to position participants in this manner. Take a cue from the host group as to whether or not they observe this custom.
Go to the bathroom beforehand. Just like when you leave for a long car ride, please take care of your private business before things get underway. It is disruptive to the circle’s energy to have to cut people in and out of the sacred space for potty breaks. Pregnant women do get special dispensation for this though. *grin*
Shut off your cell phone, Bluetooth, iPod or other electronic device. It is all about not disrupting the flow of energy folks. Not only should you NOT have such electronic device with you in circle, but please turn them on mute or completely off during the rite. Nothing shatters group concentration like hearing your annoying ringtone or the rhythmic buzz of your cell in the background of a meditation or during a pinnacle point of the ritual.
Be aware of any “home court” rules. Different covens or groups have their own local preferences. For example, if they put their altar in the East and you’re used to working with yours in the North or the Center, you have to abide by their local customs while on their turf. Do not expect to impose the version of ritual style you may be used to working in someone else’s ritual space. If you fear something may be so distracting or abhorrent to you that you do not wish to participate, ask to be cut out of the circle and quietly, peaceably leave the ritual. Do not wage a formal protest in the middle of the circle.
Lastly, say 'Thank You!' A little courtesy is worth a lot these days. Showing appreciation for the amount of time and effort your hosts have put into the event is gratifying...and may garner you more invites in the future!
Copyright: Contents © "Albiana" (M.F.S.) 2008-2010; Material MAY NOT be copied, re-posted or forwarded, in whole or in part, without the author's express, written permission. Please have the courtesy to email me and ask --I don't bite! email@example.com All legal and karmic retribution will be employed, to the fullest extent, against any who think to steal the intellectual property of others. May the Gods preserve the Craft!
Location: Romeoville, Illinois
Author's Profile: To learn more about Albiana - Click HERE
Other Articles: Albiana has posted 3 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Albiana... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).