Guidelines for Creating Ceremonies

PREPLANNING

What is the purpose of the ceremony or ritual?

Having a clear intention provides the basic focus from which to begin
Ask for clarity and guidance by finding a quiet space/place, light a candle and be open to intuitive ideas
Make a statement of your intent out loud
If it doesn’t ring true, sit quietly again and see what else come to you

Who is the ceremony for and who is attending?

Are you on your own – are you inviting others
Do you want the other people to witness or participate

May effect what you want to do and why

  • Like minded
  • Friend
  • Relatives
  • Joe public
  • Mixed cultures
  • Mixed religions

Do you want some people to take a particular role or responsibility?

Make sure you are well supported

Where is the best place for this type of ceremony?

Take into account noise, size, privacy, accessibility, type and suitability of space

For example
There is no point planning a wordy ceremony on a noisy windy cliff top where no one can hear

Can you hold sacred space there?

Can you keep it focused without interruption

Would somewhere neutral be better

  • In your home
  • In someone else’s home
  • Village hall or function room
  • Outside
  • Time of year
  • Access to basic facilities
  • Place in nature
  • A spring
  • Stone circle
  • River
  • Forest
  • Hilltop
  • Cave
  • Sea

When is the best time of day for this ceremony?

When are participants, guests available?

An astrological moment or a significant date

Does a cultural or social aspect need any consideration

  • Daytime, night time
  • In the day or night
  • Full moon, new moon
  • Sabbat
  • Weekend

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

Give thought to following

Do participants need to contribute money

Fees

Booking venue

Are there venue costs

Dress requirement

What things, props, and ritual items do you need

Is food needed for the ritual, ceremony or to share afterwards

Things for participants to bring, food, offerings etc

Sending out the invitations with relevant information

  • Date
  • Time
  • Place
  • Intent
  • Special food to share?
  • Anything special for the ceremony’
  • Any special dress/ mask etc

Go through the running order or a ceremony in detail

If you are prepared it will go more smoothly

Maybe talk it over with someone

Keep it simple – don’t try to do too much, especially with a large inexperienced gathering

Make a checklist of things you might need

  • Lighting
  • Lights
  • Candles/ lanterns/ nightlights
  • Jars, matches, table lamps
  • Fire
  • Fuel
  • Matches, lighter
  • Brazier
  • Heating
  • Insect repellent
  • Altar items
  • Centrepiece/ shrine
  • Crystals, stones,
  • Wood, Flowers, greenery,
  • Waterbowl
  • Special candle
  • Feathers,
  • Athame
  • Decorations
  • Cloths, scarves, hangings,
  • flowers, greenery, cushions, mats
  • Incense
  • Charcoal, oils, burner
  • Smudge stick, feathers, shell
  • Offerings
  • Clothing
  • Extra clothes, wet weather gear/ sensible shoes
  • Music
  • Food /Drink

GET THE VENUE READY

Allow time for getting the venue ready

Enlist help

Cleanse

Creating Sacred Space

Create a space so you can hold in the physical, emotional and spiritual sense. There are many myths around who is entitled to lead a ceremony and how everyone must act however the real secret to running a ceremony is holding a clear space in which it can play out the magic.

Creating an atmosphere makes a ceremony more successful. People need to feel safe enough to share. A good ceremony holds the space for people to make the shift of mindset from daily life to sacred space. When you achieve this you create something profound.

Clearing and Protecting

A ritual or ceremony needs a clear safe environment

Prepare before hand

Smudge

Ring out

Use Sprinkles

Sweep with besom

Use sound

Use an elements

– perhaps pertaining to the ritual

Air

Open windows

Clap loudly

Ring bell

Singing bowl

Chant or tone

Fire

Light candles

Light a fire

Burn incense

Water

Wash space

Spray

Place bowls of spring water

Earth

Place stones crystals

Use salt – remove before it goes stagnant

Beat the Earth

Spirit

Ask

Helps of guardians, Spirit of place

Decorate the space if necessary and possible

Considering the purpose of the ceremony use decorations to create atmosphere and wonder

Use different lighting

Lanterns candles

Nightlights

Table lamps

Drape fabric

Hangings scarves

Bring in Flowers

Greenery

Branches

Stones

Shells

Crystals

Mobiles

Make something special – painting

A scared hoop

A banner

A mandala

Open fire

Marking Out Space

If not using a pre-delineated space, it helps people know where they have to go.

It may be necessary to mark the entrance to facilitate appropriate movement through the space.

Stone Circle or grove

Patio

Forming a circle of people

Drawing a line in the sand or with chalk

Let people know what they are supposed to do

If appropriate prepare key players before the ritual

Meditation, chanting, dancing, ritual bathing, etc

Advise everybody to switch off mobile phones

Observe a pause before the ceremony

Make some time at the beginning of ceremony

To check in with yourself

Smudge participants

Create inner sacred space

You need to focus your intention to create this in yourself

You need to help participants to do the same

OPENING THE CEREMONY

The beginning

Begin by creating a change in atmosphere

Maybe planned or spontaneous

Drumming, shaking rattles

Music

Chanting

Circle dance

Spiral Dance

Lighting candles

State the reason for the gathering

Tell people a bit about what is about to happen. State the intention of the ritual

Make cleansing part of the opening of the ceremony

Start with a moment’s pause and a grounding exercise

Some examples

Visualise yourself as a tree with a strong trunk and branched reaching up to the sky. Feel your roots going deeply into the earth. Feel you’re self-anchored strongly into the earth

Visualise climbing down some steps to your still centre, come back up by climbing up steps to your present physical body

Visualise your roots going down to the centre through the bedrock, deep into the earth’s core. Feel a connection to the fire in the centre. This is an unlimited source of energy

Cast a circle to create a magical space

Can be done by one person or by several

Call the Quarters if part of the ceremony

Lay out or activate altar to the for directions

Call the quarters and activate the central altar

THE WORK OF THE CEREMONY

Plan an activity

Plan one or two activities

Depending on what the ceremony is for, how much time you have, who is present and where you are

Are you going to have others join in?

Meditation, Visualisation, Guided Journey

Making blessing, stating intentions. Making affirmations

Candles lit as you speak

Blessing Tree

Letting Go, Releasing, Cutting the ties that bind – through air, fire, water and earth, spirit or a symbol

Transformations – Calling in the changes you wish for

Clearing and cleansing

Place or person – Purify and revitalise the energy

Making sacred object for many reasons

Draw towards

Hugs touch sharing

Creating a shrine or altar for an occasion

Consecration

Healing – absent or present

Anointing with oils, water etc.

Making vows

Ritual food and drink

Giving gifts maybe as part of a joining

Dedication planting, stones, plaques, space

Dancing, singing

Spiral, labyrinth, infinity symbol

Sound bath

Plan nothing and see what happens

CLOSING A CEREMONY

Close the ritual space

Dismiss the Quarters

Whatever has been opened must be closed. Circles closed etc

You need to take a decision as to whether you close the space after the central work or leave it open for the festivities

Mark the end of the ceremony with a whoopee,

a hooray

a “So be it

a proclamation

Give thanks to Participants

If you are a host of the ceremony then thank people for attending

Make a clear declaration as to what will happen next. Feasting etc

Allow for dismantling

Leave some time before dismantling the energy for the participants to savour the atmosphere

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