Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]

Views: 20,955,276

June 29th. 2018 ...

A Little Magickal History

Understanding the Unseen

Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion

Men and the Goddess

Kitchen Magic and Memories

Why the Faeries?

An Open Fire: Healing from Within

On Preconceived Pagan/Wiccan Political Affiliations

Elements of Magic

Gudrun of the Victory Gods

Ares and Athena

La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength

The Lady on the Stairs

May 29th. 2018 ...

Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess

Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces

Magic in Daily Life

Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light

The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives

April 20th. 2018 ...

Nazis Made Us Change Our Name

November 15th. 2017 ...


September 30th. 2017 ...


August 31st. 2017 ...

The White Goddess: A Seminal Work in the Neo-Wiccan Movement.

July 31st. 2017 ...

Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers

July 2nd. 2017 ...

A Distant Thunder: Should You Care?

On Cursing: Politics and Ethos

June 1st. 2017 ...

Herbal Astrology

The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions

April 30th. 2017 ...

Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles

March 30th. 2017 ...

The East and West of Wiccan Magick

Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords

January 10th. 2017 ...

The Gray of 'Tween

Becoming a Sacred Dancer

December 9th. 2016 ...

A Child's First Yule

November 10th. 2016 ...

What Exactly Is Witchcraft?

A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities

On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans

What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)

September 3rd. 2016 ...

Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?

What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?

August 12th. 2016 ...

Hungarian Belief in Fairies

Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament

Past Midnight

July 13th. 2016 ...

What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses

Magic With A Flick of my Finger

Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum

An Open Mind and Heart

June 13th. 2016 ...

Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia

My Father, My First God

May 15th. 2016 ...

Wiccan Spirituality

Faery Guided Journey

Working with the Elements

April 2nd. 2016 ...

The Fear of Witchcraft

Magic in Sentences

March 28th. 2016 ...

Revisiting The Spiral

Still Practicing

January 22nd. 2016 ...

Coming Out of the Broom Closet

December 20th. 2015 ...

Magia y Wicca

October 24th. 2015 ...

The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans

Feeling the Pulse of Autumn

October 16th. 2015 ...

Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts

September 30th. 2015 ...

The Other-Side

September 16th. 2015 ...

Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate

August 6th. 2015 ...

Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale

July 9th. 2015 ...

Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Magic of Weather

June 7th. 2015 ...

A Pagan Altar

A Minority of a Minority of a Minority

The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?

May 6th. 2015 ...

13 Keys: The Crown of Kether

March 29th. 2015 ...

A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft

March 28th. 2015 ...

On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations

March 1st. 2015 ...

Choosing to Write a Shadow Book

January 1st. 2015 ...

Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft

Pagans All Around Us

Broomstick to the Emerald City

October 20th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits

October 5th. 2014 ...

The History of the Sacred Circle

Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots

September 28th. 2014 ...

Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials

Creating a Healing Temple

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 15402

VoxAcct: 164010

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 1,842

Times Read: 3,015

RSS Views: 16,289
Planning A Ritual

Author: Janice Van Cleve
Posted: June 30th. 2013
Times Viewed: 3,015

It is 11:00 on a Sunday morning and the women begin gathering at a private home. Immediately coats go on the couch, tea and cocoa are served in the kitchen, and happy chatter fills the room. It is a very relaxed and cozy mood among good friends, and in this atmosphere newcomers blend in effortlessly. We talk about just anything – our lives, our projects, relationships, health issues, children, jobs, politics, dogs, food or whatever. We laugh and joke. There is no structure to this at all – yet in reality this is the beginning of the weaving of our upcoming ritual.

For in the process of this girl talk, magical things are happening. We are reconnecting with those we have not seen since the last Sabbat. We are rebonding in sisterhood. We are “dumping our buckets” to get out of our minds and off our shoulders things that might distract us from the work at hand. Sometimes it just helps to get things out there so they don’t bubble and brew within us unspoken. Besides, we also listen to each other. Ever stop to think how few times in this world people actually look right at us and listen to us with both ears? Attentive listening is one of the greatest gifts we give each other. Through all this we are weaving the strands of our lives and our concerns together into meaningful themes, which we can later express in song, activities, and especially in our intention for the magical workings we will write into our ritual.

We move into the living room. Around the coffee table are flyers and scripts from previous rituals. We have been at this for 23 years so we have quite a deep reservoir of ritual history upon which to draw. Some of our rituals, such as Candlemas, are fairly structured, for at that time we make our dedications to the Goddess and to the Circle. Others, such as Samhain, are laden with heavy purpose and our intentions and mood are already directed toward a known end. Yet even for these Sabbats, our process promotes creativity and meaningfulness for the here and now.

This is because we start from the baseline that every Sabbat will occur whether we do anything or not. We do not turn the Wheel of the Year. The Wheel was turning just fine before we showed up and it will continue to turn long after we are gone. Our goal is to catch the rising energy of the Sabbat with our intentions, to magnify the effect of our rituals and thereby leverage our magical work. It’s like surfing. We seek to catch the wave at its rise. Besides the fact we get more women on the weekend, this is the reason we schedule our rituals on the Sunday of, or before, the actual Sabbat date.

As our chatter continues, we begin to discern general themes that capture where our energies are at this moment. We do not draw our rituals from medieval practices or liturgical recipe books. We are urban Pagans. We don’t shear sheep, run cattle between bonfires, burn straw figures, or harvest grains. Our concerns and motivations – that is, the energies alive and present within us right now – are things that are relevant in our lives today. This is energy already present. We capitalize on this energy by folding it into our intention and the rest of our script.

Intention is everything. Without a clear, concise, and purposeful intention there can be no magic. Too many ritual intentions are vague, vapid, or cobbled together into mishmash that confuses the focus of the energy. We confine ourselves to a statement of intent that has only one verb after “We work our magic to . . ..” This gives us a definite target at which to aim.

Of course not all the concerns active in the group can be incorporated into one intention statement. We take the secondary concerns and weave them into the songs and activities, meditations, trance journeys, etc. that will be written into the script. Yet even so, these concerns will be directed to assisting the principle intention. All voices are welcome in this process from newcomers as well as veterans. No one has a monopoly on good ideas!

The seasons certainly play a major role in the construction and appearance of the ritual. We like to do our rituals outdoors when we can. We try to incorporate seasonal attributes. We also use a color code to fit the season and promote unity and harmony for our magical work. Winter solstice is deep rich colors like magenta, purple, etc. Candlemas is white. Spring equinox is green. Beltane is red. Summer solstice is generally blue. Lammas is yellow. Autumn equinox is oranges, browns, and olives. Samhain is black. They usually don’t have to be formal robes or cloaks. Jeans and t-shirts that show some effort was put into choosing the color is enough. Preparing our clothes itself sets apart our ritual from the mundane and even raises some energy!

In the process of this good-natured banter, the woman designated as the scribe begins to write down the general themes. Sometimes we can wordsmith an intention first thing. Other times it is the activities or energy raising that takes shape first. It is an organic process but it works every time. Our preliminary conversations have moved us into a mindset where the juices are flowing and words and ideas leap out, coalesce, merge and blossom into something beautiful.

Another reason that this organic ritual planning process works is that we already know our 5 C’s and 5 B’s. The 5 C’s are: Clear the area, Cast the circle, Consecrate the circle, Call the directions, and Crystallize the intention. The 5 B’s end the ritual in reverse order: Benediction, Bid farewell, Bring down the rampart, Broaden the circle, and Back to the mundane. There is a lot of background behind each of these, but that must wait for another article. Suffice it to say that these standard practices are the wood, the intention is the cauldron, and our activities and energy raising cook the soup inside.

Our planning meetings have a fixed time. We always meet two Sundays before the ritual date. The whole process takes about two hours. There is no “Pagan standard time” here. We start on time and we end on time. Nothing makes a meeting more effective than knowing for sure when it will start and when it will end. It is a sign of respect for those who show up, it gives us a specific target range in which to accomplish our work, and it allows us to plan other activities for the rest of the day. Meetings that drag on with no end in sight are dull, inefficient, and don’t bring people back.

One last note: our planning meetings are also final exams for our initiates. After a year and a day of training, practicing roles, reading, etc. the initiate becomes the scribe for the meeting and writes the next ritual. At that ritual, she will be inducted into full membership by the facilitators in a special ceremony. It is a fitting celebration of her efforts and a demonstration of her mastery of our process.

By 1:00 pm we are done and the scribe goes off to transform her notes into flyers for the general attendees and scripts for the cast. We feel energized and renewed by the work we have done, the sisters with whom we’ve renewed our bonds, and our imaginations perked with excitement for the ritual to come.

Copyright: Janice Van Cleve; Copyright 2013.


Janice Van Cleve

Location: Seattle, Washington


Author's Profile: To learn more about Janice Van Cleve - Click HERE

Bio: Janice Van Cleve is a priestess with the Women Of The Goddess Circle, a Dianic Wiccan circle located in Seattle. The website is Copyright 2013.

Other Articles: Janice Van Cleve has posted 29 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE

Email Janice Van Cleve... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)

To send a private message to Janice Van Cleve ...

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2018 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, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ 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.
Witches, Pagans
of The World

Search Articles

 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide

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).