“On the fly”, impromptu, unplanned rituals and magickal spells have a certain energy which lends a wildness to any working. There is something primal in relying on intuition and being guided by spirit/personal gnosis. That being said, spending many days researching a rite, investigating backgrounds, practicing and re-reading incantations, finding appropriate herbs, flowers... all the time invested in the preparedness of a working can also have an intensity. Building up the anticipation is much more focused and alive than keeping one's heart and Will in a place of liminality. I think and ponder this days before I am to lead my first public ritual since moving to the Bay Area two years ago.
I used to live in the mountains of Northern California proper... and was a big fish in an otherwise small Pagan pond. My experience in facilitating and organizing public rituals, meetups, leading public panels/forums, workshops, creating and perpetuating monthly women's circles... all the expanse of my 20 years of being a Pagan witch. After the birth of my daughter, I finally had enough and burned out after a public stint in my Druidry. I wanted to go back to the roots of my spirituality, when it was just me with my Gods and Beloved Spirits. Taking baths, walking to my personal shrine, spending as long as I like sitting in trance or simple meditation, without worrying if people were uncomfortable or having to lead guided meditations. When my family relocated, it seemed a good opportunity to take some time off. There is such a HUGE amount of events, rituals, workshops, circles, and private events going on all OVER the San Francisco Bay Area... people here have no idea how blessed they truly are! I have been able to stay incognito, be small and sometimes quiet as I listen, learn, and stay neutral.
Why then am I so nervous? I find as I make my list of supplies needed, music compiled and copies made there are butterflies in my tummy which used to never be there. My past experience should make this second nature to me, but I don't feel like that same person any more. I am a small fish in a BIG pond, surrounded by spiritual giants and people I still get a little starstruck around (I hope I shield it properly); they have that spiritual “shininess” which makes them so popular in our little niche community. What's the worst that could happen, really? I will either get gobbled up by a bigger fish, grow into a big fish too, or (my favourite option) grow legs and leave the pond entirely. It's not running away with tail between legs, but more like retreating into a cave... letting those who seek my spirit to find ME instead of me reaching out to them. I have no desire to teach, lead or even work with the community on a regular basis. But I do want to make available my talents, lend some of my own “shininess” to the otherwise larger glowing beacon of hope and acceptance for those who seek out this path.
*** I will be a guest facilitator at the Temple of Aphrodite services this Sunday from 11 am to Noon at The Sacred Well in Oakland, California. This is a public devotional service for all: "Men and women of all backgrounds are invited to participate in monthly rituals and activities dedicated to the benevolent Lady of Love. These services help you tap into the ever-flowing fountain of love within, and to connect that love with your personal practices, work, relationships, and activities in the world".