M is for… Mess

My rituals, like my beliefs and my rooms, tend to be a bit messy. There’s often an underlying structure, whether it’s the beginning, middle and end format of any good ritual or story, or the clothes here/books there plan of a room – but when you use things, they get muddled up.

Solitary rituals in particular don’t always suffer by being less than perfectly planned. They need a plan, but I prefer not to pre-script every word. I’ll use a mix of memorised formulations – especially in openings, as I settle into a ritual mindset, and in closings, where they seem comforting – and improvisation. I try and plan enough to have all the things I need to hand (remember the matches!), but if I find that I’ve forgotten something, I have no qualms about cutting a door in the circle and going to fetch it. (Unless it’ll take me ages, like if I need to go into town and buy it… then I’ll generally improvise using something else or a visualisation, or put that ritual action off for next time.)

In my academic work I am often concerned about whether people’s beliefs, including my own, really make sense when they’re thought through properly. In ritual and in religious communities, I try and set that aside (even when the scholarly voice at the back of my mind is muttering, ‘but it doesn’t follow… how can that all be the case at once… isn’t that a trifle presumptive?’). Generally I succeed, with the exception of cases where the implication of set of beliefs is personally offensive to me.

Mess has been a theme in my life this week because I’m packing and cleaning in preparation of moving house. I haven’t had much time, or energy, or kit for Pagan doings; and yet this is still as much a sacred part of life as any other.

Oh Goddess of Hearth and Home, please bless this mess!

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