The first ritual I ever led was with my brothers. We'd taken a book that outlined a Catholic mass and we went through the entire script.
If you've ever been to a mass, you'll know there is a priest who leads everything and a few altar boys (yes, just boys in my time).
You have a few people who read the readings, maybe one for each, but the priest is the one who is in charge of keeping things moving.
And you might have a singer or a choir director, depending on how 'important' that mass was.
Distinct separate parts that fit into an outline. You do this when ________ does that.
So with three brothers, it was obvious who was going to be the priest.
In fact, if memory serves, I think I took on all of the roles because I didn't think my brothers were up to the tasks. Sure, they could take communion and listen to the amazing homily from me, but they were to be observers in my ritual guidance.
Oh my. How times have changed.
I remember the early days of my journey into Witchcraft and how I longed for a high priest and priestess. I wanted someone to tell me what to do, how to move, and how to connect.
Just like the priest would.
I wanted someone to just tell me I was doing it right if I just _____________.
I didn't want the responsibility of it all. I also didn't want to share in that responsibility.
Today, I still have a fondness for structure. I still appreciate scripts and roles and outlines. But sometimes, I think you need to get out of the way to let magick do what it wants to do.
I don't think magick wants to be contained or managed or bound in rhymes.
I do think spontaneous, whole-hearted devotion can take on many forms. I think it can take a shortcut mid-ritual, and it can lead to the very places we hesitate to travel.
And I don't think we need to be alone in this journey.
I crave side-by-side, hand in hand magick. The kind of magick that stands up and steps back to make room.
I have found this type of magick in Reclaiming, but it's certainly not the only way.
Hand in hand. Heart to heart.
What is your way?
"Surrounded by Deity" -- upcoming Witches & Pagans issue