ritual

Creating Balance and Harmony in Ritual

You Must Have Balance

Ever since I started learning witchcraft, just about every book I’ve read has emphasized the importance of balance. You must have balance for your workings to be successful. I agree with this, but as I’ve spent time actually doing the work, I’ve learned a thing or two that wasn’t in books- wasn’t in articles online.

This push for balance comes from the Hermetic Principles, which are outlined in The Kybalion. The Fourth Principle, the Principle of Polarity, states: 

Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its’ pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.  

Wiccans have drawn many of their ways from this little book. When they applied this Principle, they also apply it to the Deities. You must invoke the God and the Goddess, you must have a Matron and Patron deity. This implies that the God and Goddess – no matter which ones – are polar opposites and that you need both to learn the ‘truths’. Hmm…nope. Don’t think so, sorry! I’m sure this principle applies to other things, but I don’t think it can be applied to humans based on gender. 


Duality and Deity

I started writing this blog Saturday night, after having an epiphany. ButI knew it wouldn’t be a very good article if I just shared my discovery without doing a little background research. One of the books I went to was Silver Ravenwolf’s To Ride a Silver Broomstick. Now, I like Ravenwolf as an author – she’s a good writer. But I don’t like how she states her believes as dogma – I wouldn’t like that even if I believed what she does, but I really don’t like it because she has very different beliefs from me. For example, she states that deities exist to help humans.  I was talking with a friend (who happens to be an amazing author) about this and she said that Ravenwolf’s point of view is that “humans ate the center of the universe”. (literally laughed out loud at this). But I digress… the point is she and many other authors hold this believe that male and female deities represent certain things and they both must be  present in order to bring a balance of power to the ritual. I haven’t been practicing as long as Ravenwolf or any other author that makes this claim, but I’ve learned from experience that the deities are all very different from one another, and some deities possess qualities that are said to belong only to the opposite sex. So I decided to try something different.

Calling The Three

I created a talisman for my bedroom, and as I was setting up my altar, something in me said to call upon the three deities that have the most presence in my life: the Morrigan, the Cailleach, and Lugh. I affectionately call them “the Three”. I thought about what they represent, most prominently anyways, and I thought of the elements.  Not the four elements of traditional witchcraft but the elements as the Celts saw it: Land, Sea, and sky. So I arranged the candles I have dedicated to each deity in a triangle. I raised my hands in goddess position and called the Morrigan and asked her to bring the power of land – the strength of stone and stability of trees. I called to Cailleach and asked her to bring with her crashing waves of wisdom, and then asked Lugh come to my circle as rays of light come in through my window in the early morning hours. And it was incredible. The Morrigan came on a mist and rose like the standing stones she used to stop a retreating army once. Cailleach came in on a crashing wave –  I could almost smell the salt and felt that unique chill you get when you stand on a beach. When Lugh came in I felt the gentle warmth of the sun and I could feel the flames of passion spark inside me as if gas was poured onto the fire. I said the words and gave the offerings. I left the talisman on the altar to scribble down everything I said and did, as it was impromptu and I didn’t want to forget what I said or what I felt. A few minutes later I returned to my altar, thanked the Three, and bid them farewell. When I went to pick up the talisman- I shit you not it was vibrating with power. I could feel the energy buzzing from it when my hand was about an inch away from it. Even though it may seem like it’s not a big deal, it was one of the freakiest and most amazing things I have ever experienced. After I hung it on my wall I pulled out my computer and started this article to share my story. I suggest giving it a try – instead of routinely calling a god and goddess, really think about the deities you work with and think about their personalities, the lessons they teach, the elements they favor and call on them based on those qualities. That would create true balance. If you don’t like it, then no harm done, right? But you could have an incredible ritual because of it, so just try it out. 

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Thoughtful Thursdays: Devotional Practice

Thoughtful Thursday Presents: Devotional Practice

A lot of thought must go into developing a devotional practice, so I thought this would be the perfect topic for this weeks Thoughtful Thursday post. First I would like to apologize this is going up so late! I took the day off yesterday and the day before to spend time on my devotional practice- preparing and celebrating Lughnasadh. 

Devotional Practice for Hekate

At the end of every month, I perform a ritual for Hekate. She is the Queen of the Underworld, the Torch Bearer, the Keep of the Keys to All Realms. Her torches light the way to the path you must take to reach the next phase in life. She is found in liminal locations, that is places that are in two places at once – putting it simply. She is older than time, and people have been leaving offerings to her at crossroads and intersections for centuries. The ritual I perform is an adaptation of the deipnon. 
The Deipnon, meaning “evening meal” and it was how the Athenians honored Hekate each month. A portion of the last meal of the day was placed out for Hekate and the restless dead. This offering was to purify the household, atoning for any misdeed a person of the household may have committed. It also was given to gain Hekate’s favor, as well as appease the vengeance of any spirits residing with her. People would place meals at crossroads or in shrines dedicated to her outside the entranceways to the home. This was done on the last day of the Athenian calendar, and many modern devotees, like myself, have adopted it as a monthly practice honoring her. The Athenian calendar, or the Attic calendar, followed the lunar cycles. The new moon marked the end of each month, which is when they would perform this ritual. So, modern devotees may perform this at the end of the calendar month or on the new moon. 
Because of the reasons behind my offering, I perform the deipnon on the last day of each month. I give offerings to thank Her for guiding me through the month, lighting the paths I needed to take to meet my goals and to ask her to do the same for the month to come. I also give offering to ask Her to protect my home – to lend me her hounds to scare away anyone or anything that means me harm. I create my own black salt which I pour in front of the threshold to keep nasty spirits and entities from wandering inside. 

Relationship Building

Devotional practice is how you build and maintain relationships with the gods. As the Morrigan is my Matron goddess, I go to her altar at least once a day to give her an offering and to communicate with her. I talk with her all throughout the day, but I make sure to go to her altar and give her my undivided attention at least once a day. If I don’t have anything in particular  to ask her about I will just go and count my blessings. Gratitude is a major component of my witchcraft practice. I believe gratitude empowers much of my magickal workings. I will recognize the blessings I know/feel were from the Morrigan and tell her how they helped me. Of course, she knows this already but it’s important to say so. 
I work with Lugh and Cerridwen quite often as well, so I make sure I honor them regularly as well. I have three altars – one is my Morrigan Priestess altar, and the other is my working altar. On that altar, I have a candle and offering dish for Lugh and Cerridwen. These are both in my ‘witchy room’ – where I meditate, cast spells, hold ritual, and store my herbs, crystals, wands, cauldrons, staff – you get the idea. Outside I have a makeshift altar for Hekate – a tree stump on the corner bu the corner of my home. It’s where I leave the food for the deipnon. 
If you are polytheistic like I am I hope that you put time and thought into your devotional practice. The gods are not magickal vending machines! If you only talk to them to request their blessing on your spell or rite, they will get fed up and stop coming around when you call. I believe they love us, but I also believe they can get annoyed, even pissed off, with us at times. I know the Morrigan gets pissed when people litter! Being a people pleaser I feel compelled to pick up litter whenever I see it. The Morrigan is not the most convenient Matron goddess but it has been rewarding and fulfilling to have her in my life. All of the gods have become rewarding and fulfilling parts of my life, and I think having a regular devotional practice has made all the difference.
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