Simple Wiccan Rites - Practice

Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner - Scott Cunningham 1993

Simple Wiccan Rites

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT an upcoming trip. Then you realize that your travel plans will interfere with the celebration of a sabbat or esbat. Since it wouldn’t be practical (or advisable) to take along all your ritual tools, what can you do?

On other occasions, the desire or need for a ritual may suddenly occur. When this occurs, there’s little or no time for preparation. You may hear that a friend is in the hospital or that someone you love is in danger. Again, what are the options?

The answer lies in simplified Wiccan rites. In certain circumstances, a magical working (such as folk magic) may be more appropriate. For strictly spiritual occasions, even less complex rituals can produce powerful changes of consciousness and a satisfying connection with the Goddess and God.

Ritual tools (athame, wand, cup, censer, incense, water, and salt) are assistants to ritual. They aren’t necessary, but when we’re beginning to learn Wicca, they’re of invaluable help in creating ritual consciousness, defining and purifying sacred space, and invoking the Goddess and God. Once we’ve mastered the basics, such tools are always welcomed, but aren’t necessary. Simplified ritual consists, as you might have guessed, of rites performed with a minimum of tools and ritual movements.

I’ve performed rituals with a paper packet of salt (such as is provided in some restaurants), a small paper cup of water, a birthday-cake candle, and a regular table knife. With the salt and water, I consecrated the general area. I used the knife to cast a small circle, and lit the candle to the Goddess and God. This was a satisfactory rite, though I’d had no ritual bath, few tools, and little time to prepare.

Once, a few friends and I did an extremely simplified healing rite in a hospital room for a sick friend. I’ve chanted in the stillness of alien hotel rooms far from home and performed simple moon rites when I happened to see the moon peeking through the trees.

Then too, I’ve performed ritual with only the tools of nature, whether I was indoors or out. The earth beneath me; the water gushing before me; the air and the fiery force of the sun above. I’ve most often relied solely on my mind, emotions, and magical visualization abilities to perform simplified Wiccan rituals.

I began practicing Wicca when I was still underage and living at home. This forced me to use simplified rituals: lighting candles and softly chanting; staring into the fire on the sabbats; whispering full moon incantations while sitting on the windowsill as I gazed up at the lunar globe.

Simply put, though the ritual tools and forms of Wicca are important because they, in part, define our religion, they’re not necessary. Effective ritual isn’t dependent upon the number of tools that you can pile onto the altar; it begins within you and continues from there. The tools and memorized chants are outward expressions of inward changes (such as the shift to ritual consciousness). They can assist us in creating these inner transformations, but they aren’t prerequisites.

Below, I present the suggested steps of all extemporaneous or greatly simplified Wiccan rites. Consider this as a pattern after which you can develop your own. The need for such rites may arise at any time, usually when you’re away from home and books aren’t available. To be prepared for such emergencies, think in advance of some ways in which you can perform simple yet effective Wiccan rituals at any time, and at any place, with few tools. The following information is suitable for use during both emergency situations as well as when away from home (and tools) on the sabbats and esbats.

Casting a Circle

Stand, sit, or lie down, according to the situation. Raise energy by tightening your muscles. Visualize the energy glowing as a ball of purplish-blue flame within you. Using your protective hand, direct this energy out from you into a small magic circle. (The hand acts as the energy director). Alternately, send out the energy in a clockwise circle around you without moving your hand. Feel the circle shimmering and pulsing. (If desired and possible, sprinkle salt and/or water around you to bless the area before creating the circle.)

Invoking the Goddess and God

Prayers that you’ve memorized may feel right. Simply say what you feel. Remember to focus on your connections with them while praying. If circumstances don’t permit you to speak out loud, think your words. You might use something like this formula:

Mother Goddess, be here with me.

Father God, be here with me.

Then explain the situation or say words in celebration of the ritual occasion. These don’t have to be lengthy. Here’s a suggested format:

• State the reason for the rite: recognition of a sabbat (if so, which one), full moon, or a special need.

• State something about the occasion or ask for their assistance, if appropriate.

• Thank the Goddess and God for their attentions. An example of this for, say, Yule might be something like this:

I come before you tonight (or today) to celebrate Yule. The sun is reborn of the Goddess.

Light is growing. The promise of spring has begun.

Meditate upon the meaning of the occasion for a few moments, then say:

Goddess and God, thank you for attending my simple circle. Hail and farewell.

You may also wish to recite memorized invocations, or say many more words. Follow your intuition.

Closing the Rite

After thanking the Goddess and God, take up the energy with which you created the circle. If at all possible, eat something directly following the circle (if nothing else, taste a bit of salt). Your simplified rite has ended.

If you whisper and internalize your actions, such rituals can be performed in crowded rooms, in the presence of others, without their knowledge. You can truthfully state that you wish to pray for a few moments and in no way reveal to whom you’re praying.

There’s no reason to miss ritual just because you’re physically distant from your tools, or have had no warning. This is one of the great advantages of solitary Wicca: you don’t have to call up the other members for ritual, nor do you have to feel that you simply can’t do a ritual by yourself. You can—by using simplified Wiccan ritual.