Last weekend UU-Pagan ritual was celebrated again at First UU of Austin, facilitated by yours truly. Thirteen of us cast the circle in a grove just south of the sanctuary. We drummed, chanted, shared poetry and storytelling, honored ancestors, and tasted (Minister Meg’s wonderful homemade) apple sauce from the Cauldron of Changes on the Isle of Apples.
More than two years had passed, since Pagans circled at First UU with our previous group, Yew Grove Pagan Interfaith. The facilitator of that group circled with us last Sunday and thanked me afterwards, which meant the world.
I’m on a steep learning curve for facilitating public ritual, and I’m already reflecting on ways to improve and deepen this particular ritual for next year. Practical improvements are obvious and easy, like well-organized supplies for the crafting piece of the ritual. I think we could boost attendance by choosing our date and time well in advance, and by making sure that they don’t conflict with the meetings of other groups, especially those with overlapping interests. Several people who passed by the grove on their way inside to an Alphabet Soup meeting looked interested in what we were doing, for example. Oops.
A variety of experience levels and ritual backgrounds were represented in our circle, including Reclaiming Witchcraft, Goddess-centered Spirituality, Heathenism, Appalachian Granny Magic, and neo-shamanism. Facilitating ritual that’s accessible and meaningful to such a diverse bunch, in which we can raise energy toward a shared intention without being too wordy with explanation, will be an ongoing challenge. I’m proud to report that we neither read much from paper nor succumbed to long-winded prose in our circle last weekend. There was touching, smelling, tasting, singing. The circle was cast and the magic worked; that’s first-circle success in my book o shadows.
Now to pack up for Tejas Web’s Dandelion Gathering this weekend, and next to plan another First UU circle for Winter Solstice.
Happy Samhain, y’all, however you keep it!