Wicca Basics: Your First Solitary Ritual
Wiccan Ritual for Beginners
Are you ready for your very first solitary Wiccan ritual? Congratulations! This is certainly a milestone on your new path! You’re probably both very nervous and very excited at the same time. It’s easy to get yourself worked up a bit, as learning so much new information is overwhelming. Putting it into practice for the first time can be a bit intimidating.
There are people of other religions who try to drill into our heads that Wicca is some kind of “gateway” to all you've ever seen in bad horror movies. This is just not true. There are no evil spirits out to get us, no demons haunting or possessing us. We don’t tend to believe in such things, which is why you hear little mention of them in Wiccan books. Try to get it out of your head that some kind of boogie man is going to jump out at you or the power of your own imagination might kick in.
Here are some things about your first ritual you should know. Knowledge is power, so hopefully knowing these things will help calm your nerves so you can get through it and enjoy it for the beautiful spiritual experience that it is.
Don't Be Scared of Ritual
Don't Worry About Doing it "Wrong"
Another thing some people are afraid of is doing it ‘wrong’. What if you make a mistake? What if you accidentally do something disrespectful? What if you turn into a complete klutz and knock over the ritual juice or sneeze out a candle?
Don’t worry about it. The Gods have a sense of humor, and they also have a sense of understanding and compassion. They’re not going to punish you for mistakes. Your frame of mind is what's most important, so take everything else in stride.
KISS: Keep it Simple, Sweetie
Even simple rituals can keep you on your toes. When you’re venturing into uncharted waters alone for the first time, it’s best to keep things as simple as possible. Don't worry about making it elaborate in the beginning. You don’t need to run out and buy a bunch of tools you never used and don’t understand yet. You don’t need to form a lot of procedures and ritual drama that you have only read about.
You might simply do the following:
- bless the space
- invoke the Gods
- say a few prayers or read some poetry
- meditate for a little while
- bless some juice and cookies
- thank the Gods and be on your way
That is a good enough ritual, really. You can always add things to your ritual later as you get more comfortable doing them—but in the beginning, pare it down to the basics and stick to that.
I myself recommend the simple solitary rituals found in Scott Cunningham’s book, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner in his Book of Shadows section.
Save Advanced Practices for Later
Whatever type of ritual you do end up settling on, you should probably put any advanced practices on hold. Focus on the essential parts of the ritual… your first Wiccan solitary ritual is not the best time to try something like Drawing Down the Moon or blood magic. Even if you’re adept at Witchcraft already, if you’re new to Wiccan religious practices then let them be the focus of the ritual until you grow comfortable with it.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Setting up your altar and making sure you have all your altar supplies ahead of time, and on hand when the ritual begins, can be a major component of success. Realizing when you set up that you forgot to buy candles can be disheartening. And realizing in the middle of the ritual that you forgot to bring matches into the circle or you left the ritual chalice on the kitchen counter can be very distracting.
This is why you should check your list twice. Write down everything—down to the matches, the notes and radio and MP3 player if you plan to involve meditation music—and collect it all by the day before. Check off your list. Then, just before you begin your ritual, set it up and go through your check list again.
Your ritual will run a lot smoother if you are not running around in the middle trying to get things you’ve forgotten.
Some Things You Could Use If You Don't Have Tools:
To Represent God or Goddess
an image (print one from online); candles; small figurines of animals associated with them (for example, an owl for Athena; a goat for Pan; etc.)
In place of Athames, swords and knives
letter openers; wands; terminated crystals; your finger.
In place of wands
stick; dowel; terminated quartz; your finger.
In place of a chalice
Any cup will do.
In place of a pentacle
flat stone; slice of tree stump; paper or wood circle with symbols drawn on it.
In place of a censer
heat-proof bowl full of sand (good for cones or incense coals); a cup full of sand or salt (to stick incense sticks in)
In place of incense
An herbal sachet; a basket of potpourri; an oil diffuser; a small dish with a cotton ball dabbed with essential oils.
In place of candles
Just leave the lights on or do the ritual in the daytime. You could also use small electric lights, lanterns, holiday string lights, battery-powered 'candles', etc.
In place of a cauldron
Any heat-proof pot will do
To represent the Element of Air
A feather; a fan; a statue/image of a flying creature (birds, butterflies, etc.).
To represent the Element of Earth
A stone; a bowl of salt; a potted plant; an image or figure of a land animal (bull; deer; earthworm; etc.)
To represent the Element of Fire
A pumice stone; a lava stone; an animal image or statue associated with fire (phoenix; fireflies; lions; etc.)
Don’t Sweat It
Try not to let mishaps get to you. If you do forget the ritual juice or if you ran out of candles—so what? It’s not a big deal. You can do a ritual with nothing but yourself and your Gods. Or you can stop, ‘cut a doorway’ in your circle (if you bothered to cast one), get what you need, return and reinforce the circle.
Also don’t get nervous if you forget a part—just omit it, or go back and do it then proceed. Don’t worry if you stumble over your words or forget what you want to say—wing it if you must. Don’t freak out if you knock over something. Just pick it up.
Again, mistakes won’t anger the Gods or cause anything bad to happen. All they’ll do is let you psyche yourself out and distract you from actually getting into the ritual. So just brush off mistakes with an “oops” and proceed. Don’t let them get to you.
Remember—it’ll take time to really get familiar with your ritual format or procedures, but you will grow into them. For now, just enjoy being in the presence of your Gods and celebrating what you hold sacred. After all, the real purpose of ritual is not how you would look or sound, or how perfect you can be, but what you personally get out of the experience, so just enjoy it no matter what.
Just What Is a Wiccan Ritual?
© 2013 Mackenzie Sage Wright