I had several maybes. I had several "Oh yes, we'll definitely be there". I had a few nos, but thanks for asking.
I planned and wrote a ritual. It was quite a deep and transformative ritual while being terribly simple. One of those things that sinks in later, days or weeks later. It was about recognising that darkness happens and light follows in endless cycles. We know and accept this in our night and day. We know and accept this in our yearly seasons. But we don't seem to know or accept this in ourselves. The dark times are something wrong that needs treating. Or sometimes it just needs a little of someone else's light to remind us that the light is still there. The ritual also contained being able to say something nice about yourself. Something positive, something you are proud of. Without any embarrassment, without comparisons (well, you should have seen me last year or you should see my sisters), without any projections (she just said she was smart, thinks she's smarter than us) and without any justifications. To just be able to stand forward and say "I am smart, I am funny, I am strong" whatever it was that you are and to have that be supported by everyone else. It was a phenomenal ritual.
It's just a shame that we never did it.
I've spent the last couple of years struggling with ritual. Doing battle with ritual. Ritual has almost grown into a larger than life nemesis for me. No, I take that back, I can do ritual fine when it's someone else's ritual. I can take a role and do that fine. I can judge their rituals in the armchair comfort of my own head and pull apart what I would have done differently (and therefore better of course) and what worked for me. What I am doing battle with is leading ritual for others.
I thought that by telling enough people that I was planning one, I'd be able to force myself into actually taking that step and doing it.
Now I have all sorts of justifications and reasons rolling around in my head as to why I didn't do it.
- A lot of those 'maybes' and 'definitely be theres' bailed out and weren't there.
- I really didn't feel this ritual would be right or well received or taken seriously with the people who were present.
- I was disorganised and didn't give a clear start time so by the time I was ready for ritual, many others were drunk, going to sleep or heading home.
- I should have planned to do the ritual first and dinner stuff after.
- Sabbat celebrations are more about the gathering of people for me.
- I'd woken up that morning with a dreadful migraine and been taking medication all day to keep it at bay so I just felt tired and sore and brain full of fuzz.
All of this is true and none of it is - all at the same time.
I did still love the gathering. I loved the mix of people and feel glad that some new people came along, as well as some people from many years ago. I enjoy the pot luck dinner. I enjoy sitting outside around our bonfire on the longest darkest night of the year. Having one side toasty warm and the other feeling the cold. I love that we get a different mix of people every year but don't seem to have any dramas with them.
I also love the next morning. Sitting in the cold weak winter sunshine in my pyjamas with a cup of coffee and a great group of friends.
I am both grateful and a bit pissy that no one mentioned the lack of ritual.