I’m very excited to announce the release of the Pagan Leadership Anthology. Taylor Ellwood invited me to co-edit this anthology with him almost two years ago, and it has finally come to fruition! Helping grow more resources for Pagan leaders is a passion of mine, and this anthology is priceless for all the collected wisdom it offers from many different leaders, many different traditions, and many different perspectives. Continue reading
As I’ll be teaching a number of workshops on ritual facilitation at Pantheacon, ConVocation, and Paganicon, I thought I’d offer up one of my articles on leading rituals that is included in my book, Ritual Facilitation.
I’ve also created a Facebook group with the intention of discussing and teaching techniques for leading more potent rituals. Feel free to join up if you like!
Raising the Sacred Fire: How to Build and Move Energy in Ritual
Together we are singing, moving, dancing, chanting, and drumming around the fire in the center of the circle. The energy builds and slows then rises up again. I move the drum beat, and the drum beat moves me. We draw closer; I look into the firelit eyes of people around me and we smile as we sing. We drop the chant down to a whisper, then bring it back up again. Our song is a prayer for transformation, a prayer for our individual gifts to be transformed on Brigid’s Forge into their highest potential. I am singing for my gift, and for the gifts of everyone there. Our prayer is singing, movement, rhythm, and our shared intention. The chant moves into a tone that rises and falls like a fire at the bellows until we hold the silence together.
Should Pagan teachers charge? How are we going to pay for all the Pagan events and initiatives out there? I see those questions come up a lot. I also see some Pagans viciously attack anyone who charges for classes or events.
Context is important, and I’d offer that there’s a range of what we mean when we say, charging for classes and services.
I charge for what I do. I travel and teach, I host events. There’s a cost–a hard cost (venue rental, gas money) and a soft cost (time).
I charge for readings too. But, I also do rather a lot for free. In fact, most of the time even when I’m charging, I’d say I ultimately end up at a financial loss.
Many Pagan groups have a story, a myth. “Pagans are broke,” Pagans will tell me sagely. And…they are right and they are wrong. I’ve run Pagan events that make money. And, I’ve run Pagan events that didn’t break even.
I’ve posted about Pagans, money, and paying for community events before, but it’s a topic that begs further exploration. As an event planner, and as a traveling teacher, this is quite honestly a maddening process.
And, if you’ve ever planned an event, you know that it’s not easy.
Even when it’s a simple event, there are challenges that your participants don’t see. Heck, there are challenges in planning and promoting an event like an open Pagan ritual that even many of my organizers and volunteers don’t see unless they are volunteering for that particular area. For instance, how much work goes into promoting an event even just by posting it on Facebook or via email. Or one of my least favorite things–waiting for people to pre-register. I am so often on pins and needles, waiting for people to register for an event so that I know it’ll cover costs, and people wait til the last minute. It’s nerve wracking.
“I live in ____, and there are no Pagans around here.” I hear this a lot; either people asking me directly for networking assistance, or just people posting on Facebook or on email lists. In fact, I talk to Pagans all over the country who are sure there are no Pagans nearby to them. They’re often surprised when I rattle off 3 or 4 local groups near them when I live hundreds of miles away.
Hi, I’m Shauna, and I’m a nerd for Pagan networking. See, long ago, I started traveling and teaching.
I used to think that it was just because I’m a terrible procrastinator and had too much to get done before the event. But, having had experiences where everything was done and buttoned up, I still can’t sleep before an event. I lay there in bed with my leg jiggling, unable to drift off, wondering with 30 “Yes” RSVP’s and 40 “Maybe” RSVPs, how many people will show up, will we be able to pay for the space, the supplies.
Why do we do ritual? What is the purpose? Why is ritual so important to us? I have to say I’m in agreement with some things that mythologist Joseph Campbell referred to. Ritual is important and it is often missing from our lives; I believe that rituals can help us with healing from things like break ups, keep us in touch with the seasons, and that in general, ritual is something that people do and must continue to do.
On the other hand, as one person put it on an email list, a lot of ancient rituals probably looked a lot more like a kegger than any formal ceremony, and many of our ancestors seemed to like to party.
The recipe for most Pagan groups–and indeed, most small grassroots or activist groups–is, a strong personality with a vision comes forth, puts for the time, effort, and money to get a group started, and recruits (and sometimes strong-arms) friends and like-minded folks into making the effort of the group happen.
Over time, various kinds of volunteers become part of the grassroots organization. There are both unskilled/low motivation volunteers–people who want to help but aren’t sure how–and either highly skilled or highly motivated volunteers who want to get things done.
I think with any ritual, so much is based upon the intention of the ritual work. And rituals rarely have just one intention. Is the ritual to do an act of magic, to honor the gods, to acknowledge the season, to do personal growth/transformative work, to build community, to acknowledge a rite of passage, to facilitate a grieving process.