Some of the customs of the craft may not be obvious to newcomers or visitors. We hope this list of guidelines will be helpful.
- Since traditional lore teaches that a consecrated object easily absorbs energy (becomes charge), we do not touch such items without the owner’s explicit permission. This would apply
especially, although not exclusively, to such items as Tarot cards, the Tools (athame, wand, chalice, etc.), ritual jewelry and other regalia.
- Craft work often generates a lot of physical heat. For this reason, when a
gathering is held indoors, open windows should be left open for ventilation.
- Your ritual bath should normally be taken before you depart for the gathering. Unless a group’s particular tradition includes a ritual bath as part of the group preparation for the rites, bathing facilities are not normally available at open Craft and Pagan gatherings.
- A Circle is a religious rite and all participants should conduct themselves in a manner respectful of the Goddess. Your conduct is a reflection upon yourself and your people. Once the pre-rite grounding begins, the time for socializing and chit-chat is over. The time for silence, spiritual focus and magical concentration begins. When moving around within a circle, unless directed otherwise, always move clockwise.
- If you are drunk, stoned, drugged or on very strong prescription medication, you don’t
belong in Circle. Excuse yourself and leave. Else the High Priest/ess or deputy may have someone escort you out and suggest that you not bother ever to return.
- Once the Circle is cast, no one leaves it until it ends, including for bathroom breaks; to do so would disrupt the energy of the circle. If you feel faint, simply let one of the priest/esses know, and they will take care of you. In an extreme emergency, the priest/ess may cut a special door in the Circle and escort you out.
- A Circle is not for observers. A Circle is participatory. If you are not ready to focus and contribute your attention and efforts to the ceremony, you do not belong in Circle. If you do not wish to participate, you should excuse yourself before the pre-rite grounding begins, and leave the area. Do not watch from
outside, as your presence will be distracting and disruptive. Find something else to occupy your attention, elsewhere.
- Once the rite begins, focus your attention on it. Talking, joking, laughing etc. are extremely rude and break the concentration and continuity of the ceremony. Such behavior is disrespectful of the occasion and is grounds for permanent expulsion from Circles.
- Many groups, perhaps most, have an informal segment of the rite, usually after both chalice and cakes have been around the Circle once. Everyone relaxes and enjoys. This is a time for discussion of magical topics, planning of events, announcements, and fun. It is NOT a time for horseplay, however. PARENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE AT ALL TIMES FOR THEIR CHILDREN’S BEHAVIOR.
- Craft groups are not inviolably solemn, but they are serious in central purpose. If you are not serious about spiritual development or expression, the Craft is not for you.
If what you really want is “Sex’n'Drugs’n'Rock’n'Roll”, the Craft, again, is not for you. If you are seeking such things, you might consider consulting a therapist, the Seattle Sex Information Line (206) 328-7711, or the personal ads of an appropriate periodical.
We are of many traditions, ages, genders, orientations, etc. meeting together under the traditional Circle passwords:
Perfect Love and Perfect Trust
This article was adapted from PAGANA Magazine.