Great Rewards Come in Small Ways

A little over a year ago, I joined effortswick-altar.jpg with a small group of people to form a new coven.  We came to name our coven The Wick, inspired by the song we play in the background while we prepare ourselves for ritual.  (I hope the songwriter doesn’t mind.)  Tonight, we led our first public ritual at Psychic’s Thyme as a way to connect with and give back to our greater community.  It was a wonderful experience, and had several people participate with us.

While highly enjoyable and well worth it, planning and leading public rituals takes a bit of work.  Our coven spent the past few business meetings working out details and revising our normal ritual structure to account for working with a larger group and people unfamiliar with the way we do things.  (We use a very different method for casting a circle, for example.)

Tonight, I was given an incredible reminder why that effort is so worthwhile in the long run.  My friend, Cari, attended tonight’s ritual an brought her two stepsons, ages nine and eleven.  In a conversation on Facebook, Cari had the following to say (quoted here with permission) about the experience:

On no the whole group was amazing and VERY informative, and patient with
my boys. They will never forget tonight and you all I have to thank.
Please pass it on to your other members. Colin is now making his own
Alter now.

I can think of no greater praise or reward than to know that the work that my coven-mates and I put into tonight’s ritual helped excite two young boys and even inspire one of them to start working on his own altar.  I don’t know where they’re spiritual journeys will lead these boys in the long run, but knowing that our efforts have helped move them along that path in any way is a great joy.  It’s the sort of thing that makes me want to do more such rituals in the futures.

May the gods be praised.  And may the gods be served.  And may those around us prosper as a result.

The picture in this blog show’s the coven’s basic altar set-up.  The song “We Are the Wick” can be found on Castalia’s second CD, Hidden.

8 thoughts on “Great Rewards Come in Small Ways”

  1. So how much of your coven’s way was presented to the public, and how much did you have to change to keep some of it “for initiate’s eyes only”?

  2. Actually, we didn’t change anything for the sake of secrecy. While I’m a strong defender of traditions who choose to keep some aspects of their rituals private, I do not believe that the reasons for such privacy/secrecy really apply to our coven and have been a strong advocate of keeping such details public. Of course, our coven is still quite young and my opinion may change as we grow and develop (assuming it survives, of course). But for now, secrecy in terms of ritual format is not one of our practices. 😉

    Our changes were far more practical, like having one person offering incense to the God and Goddess for the whole group rather than having everyone make their own offering of incense. Doing the latter would have simply taken too much time, caused the ritual to drag too much (in our opinion at least), and possibly generated enough smoke to set off the fire alarm in the shop. 😉

  3. Good observation, Matt! Yes, that is a fundamental difference in our liturgy when compared to the more commonly known Wiccan liturgies. In our circle, we do not call Quarters or invoke the elements. (We do invoke the elements as part of our pre-ritual purification process, though.) The three candles you see on the altar actually represent the virtues of balance, power, and love. (They also represent the fourth, fifth, and sixth spheres of the Kabbalah, which is important those in our coven who are major Kabbalists. ;))

    And in case you’re wondering, the three crystal balls represent the One, God, and Goddess (spheres one, two, and three).

  4. I am a member of Jarred’s group and would like to comment further on secrecy. Much in our ritual and altar setup refers to the great mysteries that no one can put into words. Each member and member-to-be uses the symbols to deepen their own understanding. We felt that Divine, the Universe, holds the secrets as Mystery. And our work is to connect the Mystery to meaning in our lives. We help each other understand, rather than hiding anything as secrets.

  5. Jarred,

    Chesed, Gevurah and Tiferet?

    Particularly taken by your reference to the One, God, and Goddess. Not least because ‘the One’ sounds much closer to what I call God than ‘the God’, and I think this language difference is where much misunderstanding could potentially arise. What I call God is gender neutral and reflected in both women and men, such that it becomes nonsensical to speak of God needing a consort. As such, I’d be particularly interested to hear what you have to say about the One.

    Balance, power, and love. I like that

  6. Yes Matt, spheres four, five, and six are the ones you name. I’d say that your comments regarding the One and the important language difference are spot on. As the “hard polytheist” (actually, I fall somewhere between “hard polytheism” and “soft polytheism” but am definitely closer to the former end of the spectrum) of the coven, I consider the nature of deity(ies) and how they differ from most monotheistic understandings of God is an important matter that needs to be more clearly understood by most people.

    As for The One, I’m actually inclined to let Jenna and/or another one of my coven members speak to that topic, as they are the Kabbalists of the group and probably have a much closer understanding of and draw to The One. At this point, I’m open to the idea that there is probably some great Source from which all things flow and of which all things are ultimate a part, which would be what I would consider “The One.” However, I also don’t consider it to be a being with persona/personality (which would again make my understanding different from that which you call God). But like I said, that’s an area of my own theology that I’d consider greatly underdeveloped at this time.

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