Ritual 2.0: Fire Inside

I’m starting up a new series of entries on my LiveJournal related to ritual. I’m calling this Ritual2.0

The last night at SpiritFire, we the participants were asked, “how will you take this fire circle home with you in your hearts, and keep it burning all the year?” That may not be how the question was phrased exactly, but it was the essence of it, and it’s been burning in me the last two weeks.

A lot of folks (OK, five) have suggested to me that they’d be interested in being part of a group that did relatively short but intense ritual work once a month for the coming year. The group would be gender-mixed, small (under 10 people), and would probably meet in at least two locations. It’s also possible that there would be two or more groups doing parallel work in multiple areas, including northeast Connecticut and central Massachusetts. I/we don’t know what this would look like yet.

What this is, is an RFC (Request For Comment):

1) would you be interested in such a group?

2) would you commit to participating in such a group for twelve sessions?

3) What ritual elements would need to be present in such a group?

4) what practical elements would need to be present in such a group?

If you can see this post, you are one of a small number of people who are being asked to contribute to the discussion on this particular post. I ask that you comment anonymously, if you do, so that your ideas can be considered separately from whatever drama may currently attach to your name or livejournal handle.

if you would like to be taken out of this particular filter and not included in future discussions related to what I’m calling here, Ritual 2.0, please let me know, as well, and I’ll leave you out of future posts on this subject.

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10 comments

  1. This is a little hodgepodge but here goes…

    My whole body started buzzing in excitement as I read the proposal so, yes, I’m interested in such a group.

    I would need to be really clear about scheduling and expectations before I would commit – especially given other obligations. But, if I agreed, I’d dedicate the time on my calendar and in my spirit.

    My biggest questions are about the character of these rituals. What is the meaning? goal? tradition? group understanding? I assume an under girding desire for connection with Spirit but how are we coming at that? I’ve participated in rituals spanning the gamut from every week Christian services to Maypole rituals to Passover Seders to Tibetan Fire Ritual and so on. I’m comfortable with many different frameworks but want a little more definition here.

    I’d be more comfortable with a limited number of locations. One of my personal issue buttons is locating new places. Admittedly that could be something this could force me to work on, but it would mean I would have a very different level of being open to the ritual (or not!).

    Comfort level with other participants is also important. Could also be read as low-drama level. I’d throw no/very limited guests in that category as well. If I’m going to “go deep” I need to feel secure and trusting of the people and environment around me. I’d suggest having some “hash it out” e-mail sessions or in-person meeting before we actually commit. That pre-process might self correct issues before they happen. An understanding of confidentially would be important too.

    I’d second the rotating leadership plan. Same leadership each time can create ruts. That said, my caveat is that if I’m to lead at some point, I would prefer to do so as a co-leader and not until I get a good handle on what we’re doing. (I am a great behind-the-scenes person though so I’d be willing to shoulder some extra logistics as a trade off!)

    I think ongoing communication between ritual times is a good idea too. I’d prefer e-mail/message journals to conference calls.

    What were you envisioning for private/individual preparation? Although that sounds generally ok to me, scope of that expectation could be an issue.

    I’m absolutely willing to contribute monetarily or materially.

    “g) chant, frame drums/small music, some dance/motion, limited in-ritual explanation” all fine with me.

    One thing I find I don’t get enough of in supported/sacred/ritual space is silence. I’d like to incorporate sonic empty space in the ritual as well.

    I’d also want to have some sort of shared/sharing component during ritual. That may be some sort of food (cakes & ale/communion-ish), blessings, co-creation of altar, distribution of symbolic doo-dads or whatever. Also, I think I’d like to have some decompression time afterward. Not so much that socializing comes to take priority over ritual, but rather safe, still focused, non-ritual time/space to work through initial deep reactions if needed.

    I’m not sure it works into this model, but I love and usually can’t get enough of guided meditation.

    I hope that all makes sense. Thanks for the discussion however it evolves!

  2. This is a little hodgepodge but here goes…

    My whole body started buzzing in excitement as I read the proposal so, yes, I’m interested in such a group.

    I would need to be really clear about scheduling and expectations before I would commit – especially given other obligations. But, if I agreed, I’d dedicate the time on my calendar and in my spirit.

    My biggest questions are about the character of these rituals. What is the meaning? goal? tradition? group understanding? I assume an under girding desire for connection with Spirit but how are we coming at that? I’ve participated in rituals spanning the gamut from every week Christian services to Maypole rituals to Passover Seders to Tibetan Fire Ritual and so on. I’m comfortable with many different frameworks but want a little more definition here.

    I’d be more comfortable with a limited number of locations. One of my personal issue buttons is locating new places. Admittedly that could be something this could force me to work on, but it would mean I would have a very different level of being open to the ritual (or not!).

    Comfort level with other participants is also important. Could also be read as low-drama level. I’d throw no/very limited guests in that category as well. If I’m going to “go deep” I need to feel secure and trusting of the people and environment around me. I’d suggest having some “hash it out” e-mail sessions or in-person meeting before we actually commit. That pre-process might self correct issues before they happen. An understanding of confidentially would be important too.

    I’d second the rotating leadership plan. Same leadership each time can create ruts. That said, my caveat is that if I’m to lead at some point, I would prefer to do so as a co-leader and not until I get a good handle on what we’re doing. (I am a great behind-the-scenes person though so I’d be willing to shoulder some extra logistics as a trade off!)

    I think ongoing communication between ritual times is a good idea too. I’d prefer e-mail/message journals to conference calls.

    What were you envisioning for private/individual preparation? Although that sounds generally ok to me, scope of that expectation could be an issue.

    I’m absolutely willing to contribute monetarily or materially.

    “g) chant, frame drums/small music, some dance/motion, limited in-ritual explanation” all fine with me.

    One thing I find I don’t get enough of in supported/sacred/ritual space is silence. I’d like to incorporate sonic empty space in the ritual as well.

    I’d also want to have some sort of shared/sharing component during ritual. That may be some sort of food (cakes & ale/communion-ish), blessings, co-creation of altar, distribution of symbolic doo-dads or whatever. Also, I think I’d like to have some decompression time afterward. Not so much that socializing comes to take priority over ritual, but rather safe, still focused, non-ritual time/space to work through initial deep reactions if needed.

    I’m not sure it works into this model, but I love and usually can’t get enough of guided meditation.

    I hope that all makes sense. Thanks for the discussion however it evolves!

  3. I would be interested and would commit to 12 sessions, assuming the whole group had a say in the dates. I have never done formal group work, but have been feeling the urge for the last year.

  4. I would be interested and would commit to 12 sessions, assuming the whole group had a say in the dates. I have never done formal group work, but have been feeling the urge for the last year.

  5. 1) would you be interested in such a group?
    I would be VERY interested. Our only problem is what to do with Logan. I know Jay would be interested too…we may have to switch off

    2) would you commit to participating in such a group for twelve sessions? I could be…if Jay would be home with the baby. Otherwise I’m not sure how we’d handle it

    3) What ritual elements would need to be present in such a group?
    Hmmmmmm…I have to think on this for a while…

    4) what practical elements would need to be present in such a group?
    Trust…a sense of familiarity with the rest of the group (no one should feel uncomfortable). Dedication. I’ll think of more after I put the baby down who is trying to type right now 😉

  6. 1) would you be interested in such a group?
    I would be VERY interested. Our only problem is what to do with Logan. I know Jay would be interested too…we may have to switch off

    2) would you commit to participating in such a group for twelve sessions? I could be…if Jay would be home with the baby. Otherwise I’m not sure how we’d handle it

    3) What ritual elements would need to be present in such a group?
    Hmmmmmm…I have to think on this for a while…

    4) what practical elements would need to be present in such a group?
    Trust…a sense of familiarity with the rest of the group (no one should feel uncomfortable). Dedication. I’ll think of more after I put the baby down who is trying to type right now 😉

  7. sillly me… you can’t respond anonymously to a protected entry. Oh, well.

    Here are my answers…

    1. Yes.
    2. Yes.
    3. a) clearly defined ritual space
    b) commitment from a specific number of participants
    c) rotating leadership or principal organizers
    d) strong covenant-style rules or principles to guide members for a year.
    e) expectation of private/individual work done apart from circle to prepare for group work.
    f) limited number or no guests
    g) chant, frame drums/small music, some dance/motion, limited in-ritual explanation
    4) a) low drama quotient
    b) participation in e-mail list / conference call 2xmonth?
    c) willingness to prepare for leadership in group work
    d) small ($5 or less) contribution to group-work fund
    e) ‘contribution/share’ of specific magical/spiritual objects or tools for at least 12 meetings.

  8. sillly me… you can’t respond anonymously to a protected entry. Oh, well.

    Here are my answers…

    1. Yes.
    2. Yes.
    3. a) clearly defined ritual space
    b) commitment from a specific number of participants
    c) rotating leadership or principal organizers
    d) strong covenant-style rules or principles to guide members for a year.
    e) expectation of private/individual work done apart from circle to prepare for group work.
    f) limited number or no guests
    g) chant, frame drums/small music, some dance/motion, limited in-ritual explanation
    4) a) low drama quotient
    b) participation in e-mail list / conference call 2xmonth?
    c) willingness to prepare for leadership in group work
    d) small ($5 or less) contribution to group-work fund
    e) ‘contribution/share’ of specific magical/spiritual objects or tools for at least 12 meetings.

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