Ritual Workshop: 2004 Open House
Written by: Michelle Belanger
At the 2004 Spring Open House, the three Caste Elders of House Kheperu presented a workshop on energy in ritual. Although we do not have a direct transcript of the workshop, for those who are curious and were unable to attend, we have compiled and formatted the notes that were used for this workshop. Further details on the four aspects of ritual can be found elsewhere on this site under The Four Pillars of Ritual.
Energy in Ritual Workshop
April 30, 2004
presented by Michelle Belanger, Andrea Brantelli, and Jason B. Crutchfield
The Four Pillars of Ritual:
--Contains the sacred and symbolic content that has meaning for the entire community
--Typically the reason for holding ritual in the first place
--Takes the beliefs and symbols of the group and makes these meaningful to the individual.
--If missing, it becomes just a symbolic framework with no direct meaning for those present.
--The wording of the rite, but it is also how those words are delivered.
--If the person leading the ritual does not take it seriously or if they do not have confidence in what they are doing, then the participants are likely to lose focus.
--Is one of the most important - and most overlooked aspect of ritual work.
--Establishes the ritual environment: sacred space
--Connects the participants on a numinous level
--Directs the group focus toward a specific goal
Knowing how to manipulate the energies of yourself and the surrounding area is a vital aspect of the Energetic Level of ritual.
It is easy to perceive the dramatic aspect of ritual in action. The sacred and psychological aspects are also easy to perceive when compared to the aspect of ritual that takes place purely in the energy moved and shared by the people participating in the rite. But without this crucial aspect of ritual, the rite lacks power -- it's just pretty words and motions that can be uplifting to the spirit but yet will accomplish little outside of that.
This workshop is intended to introduce you to the energetic aspect of ritual. We will discuss the three main ways in which people tend to conduct energy. We will then discuss what kind of energy work takes place within ritual and how the three main conductor-types perform their roles. Then we'll take a little time to practice with energy to see where each of your strengths lie and finally we'll break into small groups and perform ritual work that his been stripped down to nothing but the energetic aspect of things.
The three main conductor types:
clearing/grounding (compares to Warrior Caste)
connecting/cycling (compares to Counselor Castes)
taking/directing (compares to Priest Caste)
Steps in Ritual:
Preparing the Space:
Note: Many of these steps are not overt and take place on an unspoken, internal level. Many are also often combined into one obvious step and/or action. We've broken them down as minutely and specifically as possible so you can see everything that goes into establishing ritual space.
1. Clearing the space (Warriors/grounders):
Includes clearing/cleansing existing energies
Removing stagnant or blocked energy
Removing unwanted entities
2. Defining the boundaries (Warriors/grounders):
May include setting up wards
May include calling quarters/watchtowers
3. Creating a heightened state within the circle (Counselors/connectors):
Filling the space with new/raw energy
Heightening/refining this energy
4. Establishing connections between all in the circle (Counselors/connectors):
Weaving energy between all participants
Maintaining this connectedness throughout the ritual
5. Erecting the temple (Priests/directors):
Reinforcing the walls
6. Focusing group intent (Priests/directors):
Harnessing all combined energies in the circle
Establishing shape, form, direction
Often includes actively leading the ritual to focus the attention of the group
During the body of the ritual:
Maintain the boundaries
Ground so nothing short circuits
Balance and stabilize the energy
(now, you're raising energy in a ritual, so why ground some of it out? Same reason you want to make sure your computer is always grounded -- there is such a thing as too much, and the energy needs to remain stable and balanced or else the participants can become overwhelmed.)
Maintain the connections between people
Cycle, refine, and continue to build more energy
Harness the building energy, giving focus and shape
Gather all combined energy and direct it toward a goal
What you have are building blocks between these three roles in ritual:
Warriors/grounders are the foundation of the building.
Counselors/connectors are the bricks and the mortar.
Priests/directors are the spire on top, directing everything up and out.
Special Notes to Emphasize:
- These three basic roles are not exclusive to Kheprians or the castes.
- Everyone has an inherent capacity to conduct energy at least one of these three ways.
- Everyone has one role they're naturally better at and have a preference for.
And that's what we're going to address now: Which way does your energy flow?
Split into groups of at least two Grounders, at least two Directors, and at least two Connectors. Direct energy toward healing within each group. Discuss.