I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

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kresta
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I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby kresta » 21 Feb 2015, 08:46

Hi everyone,

I've been 'reflecting' on my practice lately. Reading books and trying to get more ‘organised’ as far as my practice is concerned (given my circumstances) and it has just dawned on me that I feel like a total t**t when it comes to performing rituals.

I’d like to perform rituals because I feel they’d give me a 'rithm' in my daily life and somehow sanctify what I’m doing, or where I am, etc… I feel they’d ‘organise’ my faith (if that makes sense). Rather than running in all sorts of directions, they’d bind me to the here and now and in our case, they would make me feel part of a community.

But for the life of me, everytime the moment comes to try and perfmorm anything resembling a ritual, my mind just goes “What the hell are you doing???” and I feel like the Universe is laughing at me and I’m like… mh.. ok… :shrug: I give up


I mean, I feel like a complete idiot. I don’t know why. It feels like a big joke. It feels that whatever I’m doing has no meaning because “I’m nobody, who do I think I am? I’m just pretending to be something that I’m not. There are people that do this for real and you don’t have a clue as to what you are doing.

And to be honest while “I can feel it a bit more” when I’m with others (although it has been a while since I’ve been part of a group), it’s not that much better. I sort of hide behind the others while my mind goes “You guys are all freaks…” and the sad thing is, a part of me genuinly believes that…

Something doesn’t work for me. I mean do you have to feel something? Or it is just a matter of will-power? Or is it just a formality, like checking-in at work? Is it just a matter of performance? Should I care?

I understand that it is *only* my mind, but is it worth repeatedly trying when “it doesn’t work”? And is it just me??? I know that letting go is not my strong suit as I tend to rationalise too much….

Thanks
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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby DJ Droood » 21 Feb 2015, 09:10

I'm a total t**t too....high 5! :hiya:
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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby ShadowCat » 21 Feb 2015, 11:34

I remember being at a shamanic gathering and people where sitting around a table talking about all their whoes and sorrows and all of a sudden my mind went "This is just another f*cking selfhelpgroup..." :oops: It was this same group (of wonderful people and we got together on a wonderful piece of land around a lake, so I loved it, despite what you might think from these snippets) where there were several folks always "really seeing otherkin" and things like that, eliciting from me the phrase: "The day I see them about with my physical eyes is the day I get a brain-scan."

So being selfconsious and to a degree, sceptical, about ritual is recognisable to me, truly.

For me, an answer was found in equal measures working through uncomfortable feelings when they stemmed from old trauma, and finding a way to work with ritual that suits me. For instance just as an example, instead of the elaborate thanking of deity/all/spirit I often thank in a ritual by a silent raising of my cup of mead (and if outside, pouring some on the ground). A simple gesture, that in me sparks a deep feeling of gratitude and connection. In essence, I apply the KISS principle to ritual too.
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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby Reuils » 21 Feb 2015, 11:54

Kresta ,when I first started ,I was a bit like you doing the rituals alone and thinking what the blazes am I doing and why ? Then I went to a gathering of Druids at Samhain and suddenly I could see the relevance and importance of ritual.
Since then I have been lucky enough to be involved in the setting up of a Seedgroup .We did our first ritual together (only 5 of us) at Alban Arthan,it was a clear starlit night with just a touch of frost...........and it was amazing.
So hang on in there !
I don't know where home is for you but if ever you get to the UK ,try to get to one of Penny Billington's courses on ritual,friends who have been say they make it all clear .

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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby Bracken » 21 Feb 2015, 12:51

Kresta, I absolutely did too, at first. My first couple of group rituals made me doubt my own sanity, and my solo rituals just felt stupid. But there was something in it that kept me going back. Now, ritual is the mainstay of my life. I can't put it any stronger than that.
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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby DaRC » 21 Feb 2015, 13:12

Yep I know that feeling, the little voice stating that it's all fake, phoney baloney (which brings to mind the themes of the Catcher in the Rye).
Then there's the other warning voice that it's just my inner negativity and poor self worth dragging me back
So between these poles where's my truth?
The rituals that have meaning?
These are the simple nod or toast of beer as thanks, like shadowcat says, for a good day.
My celebratory salute, to my patron deities, at the end of a cycle commute home to give thanks that I am home safely.
The pattern of casting a circle before a grove meditation took a long while to get beyond the phoney feeling but now it's embedded into my practice much like a dog or cat circling its bed before settling down to sleep.
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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby Aphritha » 21 Feb 2015, 17:31

I read something the other day that spoke to me; though it was about magic, I think it applies in this case as well. Basically, it said that to practice magic(or in this case, ritual) was just like practicing anything else: you start with little knowledge, and repeat with the intent to get better at it. I don't know about you, but the first time I've ever picked up an instrument, I usually stink. Nothing even close to resembling music comes out, but if I stick with it, I can usually get things going after a bit. I think its the same with ritual. You can't pick up a paintbrush for the first time [/quote]and paint a masterpiece. Similarly, you probably won't do your first solitary ritual and walk away feeling like Merlin.
But for the life of me, everytime the moment comes to try and perfmorm anything resembling a ritual, my mind just goes “What the hell are you doing???” and I feel like the Universe is laughing at me and I’m like… mh.. ok… :shrug: I give up


I mean, I feel like a complete idiot. I don’t know why. It feels like a big joke. It feels that whatever I’m doing has no meaning because “I’m nobody, who do I think I am? I’m just pretending to be something that I’m not. There are people that do this for real and you don’t have a clue as to what you are doing.

Remember those people who "do this for real" had to start somewhere, too. I wouldn't call yourself "nobody" or imply that who you are isn't good enough for ritual, because that's not true at all. If its something you want to do, and you're willing to put forth the effort, there is no reason you can't do ritual(and someday, even, do it well).
I think it's pretty normal to "feel it more" with others in many aspects of life. For many of us, its more fun to do mundane things with others as well; I'd much rather get groceries with my husband than do it myself, and its always more fun to picnic with a group(for me) than to take a lunch to the park and eat it alone. Often, others make life feel more 'alive'. Enjoying alone time is something that alot of people have to learn how to do. Same goes with performing solo rituals.
I had this trouble for a long time. Sometimes I still just don't 'get it'. But I find there are enough times that I do, so its worth the risk. I also tend to be overly analytical, so I did my best to answer my own questions. Some of mine were: what do I have to gain? In my case, it was a sense of connection, both to myself, nature, and the community. What did I have to lose? Possibly, 5-20 minutes, depending on the ritual. What else did I have biding for that relatively small amount of time? I can always use a reason to procrastinate doing the dishes...
I don't think letting go is easy for any of us, but when we do is usually when we're able to move on to better things. :)


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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby Whitemane » 21 Feb 2015, 18:34

I felt the same at first too, and I bet a lot of others did.

You're tense. You are breaking with the dominant society, and what you're trying is very different in style and content from any ritual you have experienced before, e.g, christening, wedding, funeral, graduation, so you are out there on your own.

Take small steps, you will need to work on the Sacred Grove and Light Body exercises. Practice them, maybe as part of your morning or bedtime routine. When you are comfortable with them, prep. for the next ritual, and maybe practice parts of it first.

Relax, and if you feel something happening, let it flow. If nothing seems to be happening, stay loose, if you get tense you can inhibit the magic, or the energy flow, or whatever you want to call it. If nothing much happens at first, don't worry. You are expressing love for nature and our mother. She is a good mother and will return that love in kind.
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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby treegod » 21 Feb 2015, 18:42

I'm a total t**t too....high 5! :hiya:
Dude, me too. :hiya:

I say that feeling the idiocy and accepting it can make it fun, then I just giggle and I'm a kid playing make believe, and it becomes a game. And then I take it seriously cos self consciousness is shed, and I just play... seriously.

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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby Sciethe » 22 Feb 2015, 01:40

"The day I see them about with my physical eyes is the day I get a brain-scan."
:-) :-) :-)
Genius. A truly great acid test. If you get me.

You'll find (I expect) that as you continue you'll start crafting the ritual side of things to actions and ways that mean something to you. It will come right, like driving a car or riding a bike it's never going to feel natural to start with. But it's worth persevering. :old:
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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby MountainGnome » 22 Feb 2015, 01:44

I used to feel the same way. Rituals seemed very interesting until I wanted to do one, then I just felt silly. So I forgot about them for years.

I eventually realized that the real purpose of a ritual is to help put you into an altered state of consciousness, and in that way also into an altered state of reality. You can do this with rituals that are totally your own every day without having to even think about it. If someone has to have their cup of coffee every morning to feel right for the rest of the day (like my dad) then that is also an important ritual. And you would feel worse by not doing, if this was your habit. Whatever your habits are, just bring more presence, awareness of the present moment, more consciousness in general, and it will naturally be transformed into a ritual.

More elaborate rituals are just ancient tools for conjuring more specific and esoteric states of consciousness, and if they make you feel silly then they just aren't working for you, and that's not a problem. There are lots of spiritual practices designed for these things if you're interested in them, like intense breathing exercises or fasting or specific meditations or plant teachers or lucid dreaming...

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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby ShadowCat » 22 Feb 2015, 07:20

Very valuable responses all above, that really get me thinking too...

I'd like to add something to my earlier response: For me, after years of both simple ritualistic work and being a guest at fullblown rituals with all the bells and whistles (which I love and where I'm always at my best behaviour, because I'm a guest and behave that way), this clean and simple approach for solitary rituals has become a second nature to the degree that ritual and daily life merge. When stressed, holding a warm mug of herbal tea and sniffing the steam coming of it, can take me into wild woods for a moment of peace and cleansing. While cooking, I thank the organic chicken and am aware of the whole downline of hands and workers that have brought her to me in my kitchen, the stirring motion becoming a magic circle. In essence, it's my inner kitchenwitch that got more space to be. And in private ritual, I'm not above cracking a joke and drinking beer from a bottle.

So what I really want to say it that it is useful when starting to practice form, but once you get a gist of the function behind the form, feel free to change the form to suit your personality, at least in solitary work.
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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby Reuils » 22 Feb 2015, 11:27

I have to agree with ShadowCat.
Having felt completely phony when initially doing solo rituals,experiencing group rituals has deepend my understanding of ritual,so that now my individual efforts have real value and simple everyday actions have meaning.
Keep trying ,because once it "clicks" it will give you so much

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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby kresta » 23 Feb 2015, 06:57

Hi everyone and thanks for the support (and the high fives :hiya: )

Druidry has been part of my life for many years now and it has informed many of the choices I've made.

For some reason I've come to the point where I want to make it a more 'official' part of my life and this whole 'ritual' business was really bugging me. I wouldn't say I'm trying to lead a more 'spiritual' life, but maybe a life which is more 'aware' of the spiritual choices I make (if that makes sense?).

I've just joined the order and I think the whole "Oh I need to make rituals now!" just looked a bit daunting... :D

I realise that I already have a lot of little 'rituals' in my daily life (we all have them) and I guess being more 'mindful' is a good start. (But I do realise now the importance of community and how much more powerful things are when shared).

Thanks again and... all the best for the Year of the Sheep/Goat! (which is supposed to bring good luck...) :fireworks:

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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby Dathi » 25 Feb 2015, 21:29

Altogether a brilliant little thread. The best of DHP rolled into one. Humour, common sense, reverence and irreverence, personal experiences. And "handy hints" too. Thanks.
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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby MoonPryderi » 22 Jun 2015, 23:43

i dont feel uncomfortable doing lone rituals as i have done them at various times in my life before starting this course and have always felt a great benefit BUT i always made them up myself instinctively (so very similar to Druid ones in fact because my intent was the same) and now i am struggling a little because I want to use the right words (following what i am being taught) but i cant recall all the words and trying to remember them exactly distracts me and so its harder for my imagination to play its part. Not sure right now how to resolve this - either get a better memory or say what i feel, but which?

I do eventually want to take part in group rituals so perhaps i had better work on my memory
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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby ShadowCat » 23 Jun 2015, 07:35

Not sure right now how to resolve this - either get a better memory or say what i feel, but which?
I'd say, use a cheatsheet. Keep the booklet with you, or write keywords on your hand. Whatever jogs your memory. You can still try to work from memory,but knowing that you can glance at a picece of paper will calm your nerves (and thus free up more of your mind to really enjoy and be fully present in the ritual).

I've struggled with the same and it wasn't until I attended the Art of Celebrancy weekend a few months back with PCG and JJ Middleway that I really accepted that there is nothing wrong with refering to notes. Even they do it ;)
I do eventually want to take part in group rituals so perhaps i had better work on my memory
Don't wait to experience group ritual until you feel "worthy". Just ask a copy of the ritual upfront and keep it with you. Generally folks are very open and accepting, and from frantic improvisation sometimes the most wonderful of insights stem. Your nervous babbling might contain just the words someone else needs to hear at that time. There is wonderful magic in our little woopsies...
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the callings of the universe

Golden Harps are like cookies, you can never have just one
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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby MoonPryderi » 25 Jun 2015, 17:40

hahahaa yes there is magic in whoopsies :)
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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby sarahd » 28 Jun 2015, 23:23

I kind of feel the same way. Some times I feel like I am going through the motions. Other times it feels like a really big deal. Even at those times, to me, it's very subtle. I'm so very new at this but I try everything. It all seems so disorganized to me since I don't know when I'm supposed to be doing everything. Every Monday? It is time for the Summer-time one yet? I don't know. Some of them need to become a habit. I'll look for tips on ways to make the ones I should be doing more often a habit.

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Re: I feel like a total idiot when it comes to rituals?

Postby malcolmb » 29 Jun 2015, 10:51

I must admit I felt rather like Kresta and others in this thread when I first started in Druidry. A bit of an idiot doing "Ritual". Hmmmm. When I then thought about it, I decided it was a dreadful word! "A solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order." My conclusion was that we are all different and what is meaningful to one person is not to another. My words within my rituals may well be meaningless to some - but they have meaning to me. So I now always make my own ritual, I do not perform someone else's. Make it personal and you cease to feel an idiot!

We need to ask ourselves first why we are doing the ritual. "Because the 'Gwers' told me to"! "It's that time of the year"! "It's Monday"! Wrong! You do ritual because you want to, because you feel the need.

Ask yourself what you want from the ritual. If the ritual does not have purpose for you, then don't do it!

Formality is fine for some. I quite like it. Putting on a robe, setting up an altar, they all start the process of focus; gets you in the mood! But you can just as easily do a ritual on a bus, closing your eyes, saying a silent prayer, chanting in your mind, opening yourself within your personal private Grove to your Spirit friends and guides (just be careful not to miss your stop!).

Ritual can be complex or simple, long or short. Some of my best personal rituals take just a few minutes. I also write the rituals for my Grove's gatherings for our eight ceremonies of the year. These can take up to an hour to perform with every Grove member having a scripted part (yes, they read the script; I once had a memory but I lost it somewhere!). But I send the script to all Grove members before the ceremony and they can adapt their parts as they feel necessary. All about making it personal.

One final suggestion. Always start your ritual with a few standard words that you remember. It gets you started. Once you get over that first minute, you get caught up in the ritual and it flows.

Lastly, I have never worried about feeling a bit of an idiot. A regular occurrence in my lifetime! I take comfort in the fact that the majority of the great thinkers and innovators in history (of which I am not one :grin: ) were once called idiots!
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