Neopagan Rites: A Guide to Creating Public Rituals that Work

Overview

Practical and engaging, this guide represents the best practices from Isaac Bonewits' over thirty-five years of experience creating, attending, and leading public ceremonies as a Neopagan priest and magician. Ideal for Earth-centered spiritual movements and other liberal religious traditions, Neopagan Rites explains how to design powerful and effective rites of worship for small groups or large crowds.

With his trademark humor and candor, Bonewits covers every important aspect ...

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Overview

Practical and engaging, this guide represents the best practices from Isaac Bonewits' over thirty-five years of experience creating, attending, and leading public ceremonies as a Neopagan priest and magician. Ideal for Earth-centered spiritual movements and other liberal religious traditions, Neopagan Rites explains how to design powerful and effective rites of worship for small groups or large crowds.

With his trademark humor and candor, Bonewits covers every important aspect of creating and performing a public ritual that inspires and unifies the participants, and fulfills its intended purpose. You'll learn how to:

Determine the purpose of your ritual
Create a basic ritual format that can be customized for different events
Choose the optimal time and location for your event
Enhance your ceremony with music, singing, poetry, and dance
Add visual drama with costumes and altar decorations
Include people with special needs in your ceremony
Raise, channel, and send energy to your ritual's deity or cause

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738711997
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 12/1/2007
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

A practicing Neopagan priest, scholar, teacher, bard, and polytheologian for over 35 years, Isaac Bonewits is one of North America's leading experts on ancient and modern Druidism, Witchcraft, magic and the occult, and the rapidly growing Earth Religions movement. He is the author of numerous books including Real Magic; The Pagan Man: Priests, Warriors, Hunters and Drummers; Real Energy (co-authored with his wife, Phaedra Bonewits) and Neopagan Rites.

Isaac Bonewits is the Founder and an Archdruid Emeritus of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, a 3° Druid within the United Ancient Order of Druids, a retired High Priest in both the Gardnerian  and the N.R.O.O.G.D. traditions of Wicca, an initiate of Santeria and the "Caliphate Line" of the Ordo Templi Orientis, as well as a member of other Neopagan and Mesopagan Druid orders. He has also been a member of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) for several years.


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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     xiii
Preface     xv
Liturgies: The Good, the Bad, and the Annoying     xv
Why This Book?     xvi
A Note on Usages     xviii
Abbreviations Used in This Work     xviii
Defining Our Terms     1
The Importance of Clear Definitions     1
A Garden of -Isms and -Ologies     2
Paleo-, Meso-, and Neopaganism     4
Some Mystical Terms     6
Religion and Ritual     8
Liturgy     11
The Polytheology of Worship     13
A Warning     13
The Nature of Deities and Vice Versa     14
But What About the Supreme Being?     16
The Worship Bargain     18
Invocation and Evocation     20
A Common Worship Pattern     23
Five Phases of Liturgy     23
Preliminary Steps     24
Starting the Rite     25
Re-creating the Cosmos     30
The Major Gifting of Mana     34
Receiving and Using the Returned Power     35
Ending the Ceremony     40
After the Rite     46
People Factors in Liturgical Design     47
Liturgical Variables     47
Organizational Structure, Leadership, and Agendas     48
The Number of People Involved     55
Intra-Group Familiarity     56
Familiarity with the Liturgy     58
Shared Worldview, Mythology, and Poly/theology     59
Other Aspects of Group Homogeneity     60
Psychic Skills Available     63
Non-Psychic Skills Available     64
The Needs and Expectations of All Participants     66
People with Special Needs     71
Varieties of Participatory Handicaps     71
Physical Challenges     73
Sensory Challenges     76
Mental Challenges     77
Emotional Challenges     78
Dealing with Spiritual Emergencies     80
What, Where, When     83
The Nature of the Occasion     83
Location, Location, Location     84
Costumes and Props     88
Altars     90
Fire     92
Timing     95
How, Mundane     99
Formality vs. Informality     99
Verbal Mode     101
Movement Mode     103
Dramatic Tension, Humor, Play, and Pacing      104
Aesthetic, Psychological, and Cultural Themes     107
Liturgical Languages     110
How, Musical     115
Poetry     116
Improving Your Chants     117
Call and Response     120
Musical Instruments and Styles     121
Repetition and Refrain     123
Teaching Songs     128
How, Magical     133
Religious Magic and Magical Religions     133
Targets and Goals     134
Raising and Focusing Mana     137
Sacrifices     141
"Lend Your Aid Unto the Spell": Channeling Energy     144
Cones of Power and Working Through the Center     148
Masculine vs. Feminine Spell/Prayer Casting     151
When Not to Raise Power or Do Magic     152
A Modular Approach to Liturgical Design     155
A Cybernetic Metaphor     155
Examples of Modular Liturgical Design     158
The Advantages of Repeating Patterns/Motifs     159
The Importance of Contingency Planning     160
Orthodoxy vs. Creativity     161
Preparing for a Ritual     163
Planning Sessions     153
Casting      164
Diet and Drugs     166
Site Preparation     167
Ritual Tools     169
Food and Drink Utensils     169
Rehearsals     172
Ceremonial Baths     173
Individual Emotional States     174
Social Factors     175
Pre-Ritual Meditations     176
Pre-Ritual Briefings and Warmups     176
Some Tips for Effective Ritual Performance     179
Giving the Gods a Good Show     179
Making Yourself Visible     180
Voice Control     181
Safe and Effective Use of Props     182
The Importance of Passion     183
When Things Go Wrong     184
Let Go and Let Goddess     187
Post-Ritual Cleanup and Critiques     188
Afterword     191
Linguistic and Historical Background     195
Bibliography     213
Endnotes     217
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