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Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:33 pm
by IrishStrong
Okay, so first off, hopefully this is in the right section. If not, I'm really sorry! I looked under a lot of them and decided that this might be the best of my options.

I am very new to Wicca, and have been reading the book, Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft in order to better inform myself of the basics. In the book, the authors give many descriptions on how to complete a proper ritual. In this, they say that you are to take a spiritual bath, have all different kinds of tools, and do a whole bunch of other stuff leading up to the actual ritual.

My question is, is this all really necessary, or am I free to do the rituals in the ways that I choose? Part of my problem is that I live in a college dorm, where candles and incense are not permitted, and there is no access to bath tubs, only showers.

Also, to add to that, I haven't actually done any rhyming spell rituals. I simply draw energy and talk to the Goddess and the deity.

So...I guess in short I am asking if it's okay to do things differently, or if things need to be followed by the book.

Thank you!

Re: Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:43 pm
by Psychedelic-Feline
Hey!
I think as you read more books and get more feedback, it truly is different for everyone. It's good to understand the basics, but I don't believe you need to follow any one way word for word. Simple works for a lot of people, while other like things more elaborate and traditional. I would say experiment with it until you find something that fits you :)

Re: Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:10 pm
by Heartsong
Psychedelic-Feline wrote:Hey!
I think as you read more books and get more feedback, it truly is different for everyone. It's good to understand the basics, but I don't believe you need to follow any one way word for word. Simple works for a lot of people, while other like things more elaborate and traditional. I would say experiment with it until you find something that fits you :)


I think that's excellent advice. :)

No two witches are going to prepare for a ritual in the same way, because what makes them feel ready for and open to magical energy is often very different. In short, what works for one person may not work for everyone. The same principle can be applied to the tools witches you in casting or ritual work. To me, it's about what makes you feel comfortable and receptive to either magical energy or the deities you invoke. While some witches feel that they have to have exactly what this book said they had to have in order for their spell to work and for the God and Goddess to hear them. For others, they feel the need for no more than focused thoughts and moonlight.

Tools, in my opinion, are focal points that assist the witch in concentrating their intent and channeling their magic. So what items could help you do the same? Many spells, however, do call for incense and candles, but there are alternatives. Could you use a flame less tea light, for example, as a stand in, for lack of a better term, for a candle? Or use an electric oil warmer with scented oils instead of incense? Lighting a candle is symbolic in many ways, invoking and inviting the element of fire to assist you in your work. If a spell calls for you to burn paper, you could alter the spell yourself where you could instead use the element of earth and bury the paper. What's far more significant in spellwork than having the right tools is that the spell resonates with you.

Writing your own spells and working in these items is one of the best ways I can think of to get you started, because you pour so much of your own creative energy that it. A spell designed around your needs and possible limitations is going to be more effective, I think, because, again, you are at the heart of it, and it is your energy that is being channeled in order to work with the natural magical energy around us.

Also, just a side note, I only have showers in my house, so what I like to do if I feel the need for a 'ritual bath' is fill a small muslin pouch with the herbs I need or like and either tie them around the shower head so that the bag hangs in the flow of the water or I use one of several homemade soap bars with specific herbs blended into them to wash with. Another alternative is to use a bit of essential oil to rub on your skin, 'washing' yourself in the essence of the desired herb. :flyingwitch:

Re: Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:18 pm
by Garnetsun
Hello !

Well, I think the answer to your question is quite easy. Wicca, and many other Pagan paths, are highly individual, in the way we practice and view it, about the relation we can have with Divinity, our Patron Deities, and all supernatural beings we choose to believe in. It is what makes this faith both a blessin and a curse (aha). It can be difficult to stray from what we read in books, or in people's view; but we may also find it difficult to agree on them.

You needn't worry about "proper" practice. While it helps many to follow rituals by the letter, or directly from a book; some may decide to change this or that; or just take the correspondances need for the intent, and make their own rituals and spells. Or they just can take many things and smash them together, because it feels right to do so for them.
Or well, because fire is a hazard, especially in dorms, and that some of us don't have access to a yard, a bathtub and the right tools.
There are always alternatives, that you invent, or pick up alon the community. And we have a lot of those !
For the tools, well, you can find some in nature Herself. A wooden branch, picken from the soil may be good if you feel like it, your favorite kitchen knife that served you well and made you awesome meals may work as a athame, and so on.

But anyway, you don't have to do any spell rituals (or just rituals) to be considered, or consider yourself as a Wiccan. Tallking to the Lord and Lady, and drawing energy are a good way of connecting with them and to learn how to work with them too.
Wicca is a long road, that we have to make ourselves, take your time in your practice, and question everything you read if it doesn't feel right. You may change your opinion on subjects you were sure about, and such shifts in your faith. You needn't jump right into the "full" rituals and spells if you are not ready, or if you think you'd prefer have all the right tools before entering the ring (or well, the circle -so full of pun-)!
Like Feline said, experimentation is the key ! Wether in your spell work, in your readings, or in your faith itself !

Re: Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:16 pm
by syngerin
I agree with what the others have already written: everyone has her own way to do spells and rituals, so what books may offer you are different ways to focus on what you need to do.
And just to add my two cents, have you considered ribbon magic? It is quite safe in comparison with candles, and doesn't require much room. Also, ribbons come with different colors, another element that may replace the use of candles in your spells:)

Re: Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:46 am
by Philomena
I agree that there is no set way of doing ritual or spell work for that matter. For example, I don't cast circles, I work in sacred space (I consider my room which I routinely cleanse). A lot of witches work well with casting circles, it just has not been for me. Either way is right depending on which works best for that individual person. This is the case with most practices. Try different things/variations and see what your most comfortable with :)

Re: Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:16 am
by Alatoru
IrishStrong wrote:Okay, so first off, hopefully this is in the right section. If not, I'm really sorry! I looked under a lot of them and decided that this might be the best of my options.

I am very new to Wicca, and have been reading the book, Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft in order to better inform myself of the basics. In the book, the authors give many descriptions on how to complete a proper ritual. In this, they say that you are to take a spiritual bath, have all different kinds of tools, and do a whole bunch of other stuff leading up to the actual ritual.

My question is, is this all really necessary, or am I free to do the rituals in the ways that I choose? Part of my problem is that I live in a college dorm, where candles and incense are not permitted, and there is no access to bath tubs, only showers.

Also, to add to that, I haven't actually done any rhyming spell rituals. I simply draw energy and talk to the Goddess and the deity.

So...I guess in short I am asking if it's okay to do things differently, or if things need to be followed by the book.

Thank you!

I'll try to answer from my perspective of view. All rituals someone else did you can do as well, and repeat them in the way the did it. But of course, you can change something because ritual itself is not about tools you use, you can do it even without tools if you want. It's about energy you put into it, it's about strength of your faith. Since there is law of attraction where your thoughts bring back to you what you think. If you have positive thoughts, positive will be returned, if you have negative thoughts, negative energy will be returned. So, rituals with tools are just medium to make your faith into something happening stronger. I hope I helped somehow. =)

Re: Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:20 pm
by IrishStrong
Thank you all sooooo much for your wonderful replies! I feel so much better in knowing that what I've been doing is alright. You've all been a wonderful help to me (:

And to be honest...the individuality is what I really love about this faith. I originally come from Christianity, where there are so many rules to conform to, or else you aren't doing it right and you'll burn in Hell. I suppose that is what made me a little nervous about the way that I was practicing. Of course, not the Hell part, but displeasing the Goddess and Deity, certainly.

I also love the ideas that have been thrown out :) Again, I thank you all very very much, and Blessed Be!

Re: Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:58 am
by Holdasown
Best advice on spell craft and rituals: follow your gut. I will say on ritual baths I have been doing them every day. I put the vinegar and salt with water in a bucket. I pour it over me then rinse in the shower. You could get one for your shower stuff and no one would think twice. The baths have made a huge difference. Good luck.

Re: Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:34 pm
by SnowCat
I used to do a lot with candles. I kind of backed off after one of my cats at the time set his tail on fire. I use a lot of visualization now. The intent and belief feel more important to me than the tools and the rituals.

I was raised Catholic, with the threat of going to hell hanging over me. I finally got tired of the guilt trips and became who I was meant to be.

For anyone more artistic than me, which is 90% of the population, a good alternative to candles, insence and other no-no items, might be to draw an altar with the candles and tools. Scented markers used in the art could substitute for insence. Drinking a large glass of ice water could substitute for a bath. It would be like an internal bath. Just some thoughts.

Frosty

Re: Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:48 pm
by Echo_of_shadows
I don't believe in a "proper" or "right and wrong" wrong way of doing rituals, but there are some books out there that give a general ritual outline. These are good to follow along with when writing your own rituals, but they are suggestions. I think quite a few things we find in books on Wicca can be looked at as suggestion since not all of us are going to have to same wants, needs and materials at our disposal. Wiccan books aren't very personalized. There are some books aimed at specific types of Wiccans, such as teens, those practicing certain traditions, those who work as solitaries, etc. But that's about as personalized as it gets. Imagine how easy life would be if the Lord and Lady showed up at our door with a book entitled "All the Things (Magickal Name) Could Ever Want and/or Need to Know About (his/her) Spiritual Path." In a way, we have to write our own book like that, in our Books of Shadows.
A lot of us find out what works for us, and what doesn't work, by way of trial and error. This is where our creative sides shine through and we do things like use battery operated candles, potpourri sachets, letter openers, and sea shells in ritual to replace those sometimes costly and occasionally impractical things books tell us have to be part of rituals.
In short, do what you can do and what feels right to you. After all, it's you there in the circle and not you and Katherine Gleason, Scott Cunningham and Silver RavenWolf. :wink:

Re: Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:25 pm
by PurplePixie
I started learning Wicca when I was 12 from my neighbor and she said the one thing to remember is always continue learning. You will find the right way to practice for you that will help you connect with the goddess. So keep reading and exploring everything you can and you will find what works for you.

Re: Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:39 pm
by IrishStrong
Again, thank you all SO much for the positive replies. I can tell you that it for sure makes me feel 100000000.99% better. I have gotten a bit braver and purchased things like battery operated candles and stuff like that. I even made a personal connection with the Goddess and Athena during my very first ritual, which I found exhilarating!!

Bottom line, support definitely helps, though. It has definitely done me good to join this community of like-minded spirits :)

Re: Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:40 pm
by Lillady
Everyone is different in how to walk into Wicca, Paganism, Witchcraft etc. Typically there is not a wrong way. You make the choice, research how to do various things, practice etc. Even with spell work many witches use tools, others do not. Magick is all you. What works for you. Use your energy and listen to your deity and you pretty much have it. Many use tools, yes but it is more or less a personal preference. The power is within you and your own energies. Feel free to ask any questions. WE are here to help one another in our spiritiual journies. Good luck and Blessed Be.

Re: Question on Proper Practice

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:14 pm
by SpiritTalker
We are truly free as humans to adopt any practice & do what suits us but I'd hope we'd do it with informed knowledge of what is being replaced or discarded & why. Obviously no one way is more right than another & there's always 47 ways to do a thing. I get concerned when newBs are advised to do-what-feels-right because, being new, they may not recognize the vibe of gut feelings or know what to do with it. That's why they're asking.

I'll be the stick in the mud & present a different view that the structure makes a practice a path. If someone wants to be Wiccan then they'd practice using Wiccan-structure such as knowing when to use the magical altar arrangement (even if 90% of the time they do otherwise), they'd hopefully learn when it's beneficial to use the basic rituals (i.e., circle casting for religious observances or crafting, coven initiation or self-dedication & others as needed) along with knowing the meaning & uses of the Wiccan tools (even if they chose not to use 'em), know the dates & reasons for honoring holidays & full Moon's (even when not participating) & recognize the significance of both a goddess & a god energy not either-or (no matter what names) even if they're secular. No one can dictate what a person must believe of course.

Wiccan methods are flexible within the basic framework of cycles of Nature, perceptions of deity & reworking rituals which allows wiggle room for individual preferences. Obviously if structure makes you choke you'd find another method. We have to try on different methods to find out what fits. I think the attraction of folk witchcraft is the lack of structure & yet there are regional practices that have become popular enough to be recognized trade-marks. I'm just thinking that it seems senseless to decide to be Wiccan & then be so vague about Wiccan structure right from the get-go. Wicca is not an easy path at all & we each decide over time how deep we care to go.

Re: the original Q on the necessity of ritual preparation - look for the reason why these steps are done; what's the symbolic meaning & physical benefit of full emersion bath, shower, wipe-down or a hand washing? how useful is it to you personally to separate from the mundane concerns before stepping into the mind-set needed for what you want to accomplish in that session? in the time frame you've got to work in? I think Corbin once said that a ritual circle acts out a functional universe. Ritual to me is setting the stage for a defined experience.

Re: by the book or improvise - responsibly written books give the "ideal" situation to accomplish a task. If we understand the significance of the book method used for instruction then we can improvise with comfort & not doubts. So let the books be a guide & step out on your own with caution. Be alert to energy changes because, as mentioned elsewhere, it's about energy & we all feel that in unique ways. It's a bit like "insert flap A into slot B" if you want your project to resemble the diagram in the book. There's no guide for free-lancing.