There is a specific kind of beauty in each ritual form. It is not a matter of which ritual or type of ritual is superior, but which one serves the purpose of achieving what you want, and people want a lot of things. It is not even a matter of preference because you may enjoy a group setting just as you may enjoy working alone. In my many years of dancing with the wind and walking the pagan path, I’ve done more rituals than I can, honestly, remember. I’ve created my own solitary ones, and I’ve also participated in various group rituals from only a few to over fifty people. Each and every one was special, and each and every one brought joy to my heart. Choosing between them and picking my favorite is an impossible task, but there were those which were slightly better and those that have room for progress. The debate between which one is better is a debate on which one is more powerful. The answer, as always, depends on you and only you.
The power of creative freedom
A ritual should never be a working task that you feel you must do. It should never be a burden or an obligation, and you are always free to choose whether you want or don’t want to take part in something. Performing a ritual just because you think you have to defies the logic of the ritual practice. Rituals are performed because they are a physical manifestation of our will and energetic work towards achieving a certain goal. They are the vessels of our desires on which we flow towards the future as we want it to be. If you are participating in a ritual you have no wish to be a part of, what are you actually doing? And more importantly, why are you doing it? When participating in group rituals, you should always read the ritual before you take part in it and decide whether, indeed, it is something that agrees with your own spiritual path. If it doesn’t, politely decline.
Solitary rituals and group rituals in which you had participated when it comes to their writing will have a part of you in them, and there lies a certain power in creative freedom. Doing something that we didn’t create is only good if it agrees with our inner being and is something that we would’ve created on our own anyway.
You are not a sheep, and you need not blindly follow where others want to lead you. You are a divine spark and should rejoice in co-creating with souls that vibrate on a similar frequency.
If you are only participating and were not involved in creating the group ritual, then your solitary ritual will definitely have more of your creativity in it. This doesn’t mean that the group ritual will be in any way bad or that it will be something you don’t agree with. On the contrary, it just might be amazing and written in a beautiful way. It might be along the lines of what you would’ve done or even better, and you might enjoy it with your body, mind, and soul. Your creativity does have power, but it should not be an excuse when refusing to participate in something that you didn’t personally create. Read the ritual, and talk with those who created it if you have any questions. It just might surprise you how magnificent the power of their creative freedom is. Surround yourself with people whom you trust and who will have your best interest at heart. They will never fail you intentionally. And if you ever have any issues with their work, speak out.
Dangerous egos of leaders
Covens and pagan groups are not led by robots. They are led by people, and all people, pagan or not, have their egos. It is a very thin line that teachers walk on between education and indoctrination, and some of them may from time to time fall into the trap of controlling and slowing down the spiritual growth of those who listen to them instead of empowering them and protecting along the way. Their intentions may be pure and guided by various wants to achieve perfection, but some of them may get lost in their own views of what the world and everyone in it should look like.
Groups of pagans working together, and covens especially, need to be very careful when it comes to education. This can often get a bit tricky because we want to create a certain standard when it comes to ritual practice and follow certain rules, but we also don’t want to forget that rules aren’t there to limit or control the growth but to focus it and guide it in the right direction. Then again, what is the right direction anyway, and who gets to decide? The purpose of covens and groups is to magnify the power by collective focus and group effort. There is always strength in numbers. But what happens when you are pushing those little numbers away from you instead of welcoming them in? A healthy environment is one in which everyone works together, is listened to, and feels comfortable. A sick environment is where dictatorship rules apply.
If you are, in any way, helping someone, are you creating a follower or a friend?
With two beautiful images from Александр Раскольников above, I’ve tried to bring a clear distinction between two types of teachers. When we are on our spiritual path, there will be those who will want to help us. Some of them will do it in a way that is empowering. They will educate us and protect us at the same time. They will recognize our needs, listen to us, and encourage our growth, even if it moves away from their path. The other kind will try to indoctrinate us by controlling our growth and shaping it in a way that fits their own.
“A spiritual organization with a hierarchical structure can convey only the consciousness of estrangement, regardless of what teachings or deep inspirations are at its root. The structure itself reinforces the idea that some people are inherently more worthy than others.”– Starhawk
There is great strength in numbers
If you are lucky enough to have found a group of people whom you trust, love, and have similar interests and desires with, use that to your advantage. If you feel safe and comfortable around them, grow together and be amazed at just how magnificent things you can accomplish together. Provide help when it is needed and accept it when it is offered. Co-create the reality you want to live and thrive in.
Group rituals can be wonderful when all participants share a common goal and are focused in the same direction. The energy rises exponentially, and all benefit from it. The spirit of the source rejoices in the expansion of itself in all directions, for it is brought upon by friendship and collaboration of those who know what power arises from familiar souls vibrating on the same frequency.
There is not only beauty but great results that come from group effort. Never underestimate the power of numbers.
Raising energy in rituals can be much easier and better achieved with more people participating. This can be done by chants, dance, song, or shared meditative experience. From healing to creating abundance in all aspects of your life, group effort will always bring results. This doesn’t mean that you can’t work on your own if you so desire. Each approach has its benefits, and you need to figure out what you are more comfortable with because results from group rituals will come only if they give you a certain degree of pleasure. You cannot expect a positive outcome if you are not attuned with it, and how will you be attuned with it if you are not comfortable?
To read details about pagan rituals, what they consist of, and how they could be performed, click here: Pagan Rituals.
Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again my dear pagan soul. Rejoice in life, and life will rejoice in you. May God and Goddess bless you in everything you do and spirit guides follow you wherever you go.
In love and light,