About Open Rituals : What to Expect

Open Rituals : What to expect

The Open seasonal Rituals are friendly and informal, catering for both beginners and experienced pagans. Each ritual is different, often giving an insight into the variety of pagan religions and paths. There is usually a participation aspect to these rituals – but it is entirely voluntary. Beginner may wish to attend a few and observe, make friends before they become comfortable in full participation. You will usually have time afterwards to socialise with others, while enjoying the feast (food & drinks). Feel free to bring some food/drinks to share.  All people with an interest in Paganism are welcome to attend.
Bringing Children/others: Some events are suitable for children, if accompanied by a parent or responsible guardian (please check publicity for which events are suitable- before coming).

General outline of what happens in an Open ritual

  • Arrive at a meeting point /  publicised venue;  Meet n greet and wait for announcements and ceremony to start. Any food & drinks collected for ceremony;  Fees collected; Sometimes notes/ talismans/ leafelets handed to attendees.
  • Attendees enter the ritual space – it’s pre-set and arranged by organisers , usually with an altar, a food area, a bag & coats area (if indoors).   There may be music playing (CD or instruments/ drums/  singing/ chanting);
  • scene setting: ceremony begins with an opening announcement, attunement, short meditation.
  • Ritual : ceremony continues with consecration / purification, sacred space/ circle, calling elements/ quarters then some form of God & Goddess aspects.  It is done like a play, and key Priests/  Priestesses in ritual cloths/ robes/ masks will take on roles and speak words, poetry and enact ritual myths/ story telling.
  • Participation:  At certain points in ritual, attendees will be invited to come to the altar or a Priest/ Priestess and interact/  make an offering (pre-arranged) or receive a blessing.
  • Ritual concluded with some form of blessing Cakes, Wine, food – which is passed to all in a circle.  The sacred space is closed ritually by the team.
  • Feasting & Socialising – continues afterwards with all the food & drinks that attendees brought.  These are laid out on tables or on the ground on sheets.  Organisers & Ritual team will pack all altar/ ritual items; They will aoso change back into their normal outdoor cloths; They may pose for photos; They’ll be accessible for you to go and chat about your experiences of the ritual, or interests in their ritual group etc.
  • Venues close and all leave– to carry on socialising at local pub/ cafe;  If outdoors, socials continue, and people leave when they feel ready.
Indoor Open Rituals :

are usually organised by established Pagan Organisations or experienced Ritualists/  groups, who come together to provide these as a service for the community. These are held in a hired hall, or room in  local city/ area.  They have restrictions on start and end time, as well as noise level, use of candles/incense/ fire etc (set by the venue owners).  There is often an entrance fee involved, to cover the venue hire cost & the cost of putting the ritual together.

Examples:  

  • Pagan Federation London Rituals – take place at each seasonal points (8 festivals of Paganism).  Each ritual is facilitated by a separate experienced Ritual group that the Pagan Federation officers pre-arrange.   As a result, each ritual will tend to showcase a different pagan path – Druids, Wicca, Heathenry, Greek, Egyptian and so on. These are held indoors  on a nearest Thursday.  at Conway Hall, Holborn, London,  7.30pm for 8pm start.  Fees: £6/ £5 conc.
  • South London Wicca meetup – These are organised by private individuals and held in a private house.  They are more wicca based.  However their meetup is open to all to join.  By attending their pub moots (Nova Stella presents) you can get to know their organiser, and be in a position to seek an invitation to their private seasonal rituals.
  • Witchfest/  Children of Artemis – organises annual camp & conferences – But these are now outside London,
  • London Wicca Meetup group – established in 2012 (This is 2nd largest Wicca meetup in London) – They run a full set of eight Sabbats. Four are public rites (held indoors or outdoors) and four are social meetups in pub with training for new members. These can be attended by any member or friend.
Outdoor /  woodland Rituals:

These are great opportunities for anyone interested in doing rituals in natural environment and attuning to nature more often.  These are held in public woods, parks, or riversides.   Usually the organisers set up a meeting point at a nearby key public location/  venue, such as a tube station or a Pub. Once everyone has been gathered, and  after a little social meet & greet, attendees are led (walking involved).  Disability/ access/  toilet restrictions:  Due to the varied/  rough landscape, some venues do not have public toilets, car parks, coffee shops, and are NOT suitable for small children, or adults with disability/ walking/ breathing difficulties or with medical conditions.  So attendees must take full responsibility for their own safety, and in addition, the organisers may also stipulate some conditions for sake of safety of the whole group.

Examples:

  • London Woodland Witches & Outdoor Pagans –  This is a collective meetup Group (largest Wicca meetup in London!) ,  started in  Spring 2014, by us (Pagan Frontiers of London).  It holds 8 seasonal Wicca woodland rituals, several shamanic rituals, River-thames-side Isis rituals, Earth-Day/ Eco events and more – taking place in Wimbledon, Croydon, Richmond, Trent Park, Queen’s Woods, Central London parks and more.  All the rituals previously facilitated under the groups Hern’s Tribe, Tamesa London Circle, Gaian Times now come under these.
  • Hern’s Tribe Rituals – Inspired by Robin of Sherwood’  (TV show) and established in 2004 . Shamanic & eclectic ceremonies in the Croydon area.  Also events held in Richmond Park, Windsor Great Park. Hern’s Tribe is a group of like-minded people who have become friends, and also arrange day trips.  During the winter months, Ht meets as a private group, but in spring/ summer/  autumn months, their rituals are open to all- and held in a variety of London woods / parks. These are now included in `London woodland Witches & Outdoor Pagans- meetup group’
  • Loose association of Druids  –  Seasonal Festivals at Primrose Hill, London. These Seasonal Druid rituals are a part of a series of open rituals celebrated throughout the Celtic year on the Sunday nearest the appropriate date under the Aegis of the Loose Association of Druids. They gather in the Hawthorne Grove between 12.30 & 12.45pm in order to select the concelebrants & to prepare the Site ready for a prompt 1 o’clock start. Nearest Tube: Chalk Farm or Swiss Cottage. Nearest Overground: South Hampstead or Chalk Farm.
  • Tamesa London Circle / Thames-Isis Rituals:   Started in 2006 and held regular seasonal rituals on the banks of river Thames in central London, regular Full moon/  eclipse ceremonies.   In 2013, this group began organising Thames-Isis rituals.  These still continue..and are now included in `London Woodland Witches meetup group’

More info will be updated here regularly

-Mani 20/3/17 

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