Rituals are very misunderstood as a whole. A lot of people associate rituals with sacrifices and stuff like that. Every religion has rituals though and, unless you’re in some horrible cult, has nothing to do with sacrifices. Some religious rituals are things such as weddings, funerals, baptism, communion, bar mitzvah, circumcision, baby showers, and stuff like that.
If a Wiccan practices in a coven (a group of wiccans/witches) they tend to have specific rituals they do throughout the year that are tradition. Some bigger ones like initiation which is like a baptism (it is your dedication to the gods/goddesses) and handfasting (which is a pagan marriage and typically not legally binding).
But there are a lot of Wiccans who practice on their own and like I’ve said before we don’t have a church equivalent to go to so we typically worship on our own at our altars. One of our favourite ways to worship is to do a ritual. We tend to do rituals for different esbats (phases of the moon) and sabbats(holidays) but you can do them whenever you want. Rituals can be as simplistic or as complex as you want. I personally like simple rituals so I will write up an example of my favourite ritual I have done.
Wish Box Beltane Ritual:
Firstly you need a small wooden box, some paper, a pen, and anything you want to use to decorate your wooden box. If you have a cauldron use that but I don’t so I used a metal bucket with a small t-light candle in it. You also need herbs that correspond with what results you want.
I did this in my bathtub but you can do this at your altar or anywhere really. So to start you can by casting a circle if you’d like. You can mediate or do anything to prepare but once you are ready and your candles are lit you can call for your gods and goddesses. Because this was for Beltane I do this ritual for Pan and Demeter. You can also call any elements or other spirits now too. An example of calling them is to say something like “May Demeter, Pan, fire and earth elements assist me in this ritual”.
Next I put herbs in the fire (which is in your cauldron or bucket) and spoke while doing so.
Basil: may my life always be balanced
Cinnamon: may my business blossom and money come my way
Peppermint: may positive changes and restful sleep become part of my life
Thyme: may renewed energy and health come into my life
Savory: may creativity flow through me
Cumin: may peace and harmony be welcome in my life
Salt: may my soul, mind, and body be cleansed.
Then I took my wishes that I wanted to happen fast and wrote them on paper and burned them. As they were burning I said “with harm to none may these wishes come quickly to those who write them. By power of three, so mote it be” I then took my wishes I wanted to be long lasting and put it in the box I decorated and I put a sprig of babies breath in it and before I closed it said
“May the words contained come to pass, and celestial bodies lend their hand. By moon, stars, and sun as well, may wish be granted as spelled. Unless removed, the wish shall hold, and with harm to none, my request is done”.
I thanked the gods for what they do and for helping my ritual. For example
” I give thanks to Demeter for the earth, agriculture, and fertility. I give thanks to Pan for agriculture and spring fertility. I thank you both and earth and fire for assisting me in this ritual. May any spirits that assisted be released”
Lastly I put out the fire with some bath water and this is when you can end the sacred circle.
You can find rituals online or you can make them up yourself. One of the great things I’ve learned about rituals is no matter how badly you screw it up (I set the smoke detector off once) the gods and goddesses still appreciate the work you put into it.
So that’s a little bit about rituals. As always I encourage you to comment with any thoughts or questions you may have. Merry Meet and Blessed Be!