I’m going to try to get caught up on the missing Ritual Calendar posts for April through August over the next few weeks, as time permits. April is a difficult one to outline in specifics, as it focuses entirely on my own work and path. I’m just going to sketch out the generalities of what I do with some suggestions if you want to adapt this to your own practice.
April Ritual -Honoring the Work
- Any time during the month is fine. I usually try for the end of the month, as this is a ritual to be balanced with my work in late October.
- Reflect on work done over last twelve months
- Rededicate self to one’s work
- Recognize any and all helpers in that work
- Gather supplies as needed. At minimum, offerings for the helpers, candles, etc.
- Because this is my next-to-the-most-important ritual of the year, I tend to put a bit more advanced preparation into demarcating the ritual space, doing purification rituals, and choosing appropriate clothing and offerings.
- Reaffirm my commitment to do death/threshold work. Provide offerings for deities and other helpers in that work. (As this is one of the ‘big’ rituals for me, minimalist version will only be used in extreme circumstances).
- Create ritual space, using at both an inner and outer circle. After closing the outer circle, set out a candle and offering for each deity and helper who has assisted with my work (or wishes to in future). Close the inner circle, placing myself within it. Light a candle to represent my work, allowing it to burn during the full ritual.
- Invite attendees (i.e., deities and other helpers past and present) one at a time, turning to face their candle/offering vessel.
- Declare myself and my purpose. Typically it goes something like this “I, Aisling Faa, born (name), called (nicknames/common monikers), devotee to Isis, child of (parents names), of the families of (insert family names), stand today to honor and affirm the work that has been chosen for me.”
- Acknowledge any assistance relieved in the past year.
- State what I believe to be my ‘work’ and await for confirmation from my patron deity.
- Once confirmed, ask that any helpers not wishing to provide future assistance in doing this work make their feelings known. Allow them time to withdraw.
- In the event that there is a helper whom I’ve chosen not to work with again, thank them for their past help and ask them to take their leave.
- Affirm my desire to continue the work with an oath and libations.
- Thank those still present for their continued assistance.
- Break the inner circle and light the candle of each of the helpers.
- Recenter self in the middle of the circle and open myself to any messages that the helpers would like to impart. Remain in circle until the helpers’ candles have all extinguished themselves. Break circle, carrying my own candle with me and allow it to burn until self-extinguished.
Modifications and Notes
I’m going to start by saying that, unless you’re at least somewhat seasoned with rituals involving multiple deities/entities, do not try this one at home. Start small if this is something beyond the scope of your experience. If you have a patron, get a feel for working with them alone over a number of rituals before inviting others into the space. Allow them to guide you on who it is and is not appropriate to invite into circle and when you should begin doing so. Work up to more complex rituals.
In the event that you do decide to take this one on, know that there is a lot of flexibility in how you handle this. However, I do recommend that you make a practice of confirming with your patron deity the nature of the work that’s expected of you prior to affirming your willingness to do it. Know that you can say “Gee, I think I’ll pass on that” but be prepared to offer up some idea of what you’d be willing to do instead. If there is specific work that you want to do, you can petition to be allowed to do that. You may or may not be allowed to pursue your interest (or it may be tacked on to whatever the gods already have in mind for you).
Depending on who you work with, you may not need to set up a double circle… or you may want to keep both circles closed through the entire ritual (in which case, you’ll need to light the helper’s candles prior to closing the inner circle). In my work, I prefer to keep the inner circle intact until I’m as certain as I can be of the intent of those present. While I’ve not had a problem with anyone refusing to leave, I’d suggest familiarity with at least one banishing ritual in the event that someone’s idea of ‘help’ might not be in line with yours.