A Lock & Load Ritual
May 19, 2005

A "Lock & Load" or Spontaneous Ritual, is one we do at Study Group
without scripts or rehearsal. We come together with a selected HPS
and HP, we reach among our participants for a common purpose and
assign parts. Then we go outside, light a bonfire, and do it.
Perhaps the HPS and HP have some ideas, if the rest of the group is
slow to respond.

The participants in our open rituals would rather not just stand
silently and listen to long speeches. They like to have things to
do. Folks are encouraged to be MOVED to hoot and holler, chant and
prance, explore their playful aspects: as the goddess LOVES

Moreover, we connect most readily to the divine through our
non-censured "child self." Thus the HPS and HP are there to feel
the energy and guide the group with stage directions, while all the
time still leading. 

Such a Ritual is perhaps also a dance between the HPS and HP. One
picks up what the other drops. And we are among friends. Study
Group is for practice. Samhain is where we perform. Whatever
happens, they respond to it, and it becomes part of the ritual.

The HPS and HP might visualize themselves as a pair of large birds,
condors, soaring upon the winds.

The HPS and HP can get to feel like Wiccan square dance callers:
"Athames high, allemande right."

We assign parts: fire tender, circle caster, four quarter callers,
and lead drummer. We might also select a story teller.

We hold our outline in our heads and we begin:

Call to Circle - Including something like, "Be humble for you
             are of the earth, be noble for you are of the stars."
Cast the Circle
Invite the Directions/Elemental Powers
Invite the Goddesses
Invite the Gods
The Working Magick
Thank the Gods
Thank the Goddesses
Thank the Directions/Elemental Powers
Announce that "the Circle is open, but unbroken."

The Working Magick is where we get creative.

It is more appealing to the ear when the HPS and HP alternate
lines. This is especially effective when they fall into a rhythm.
If one leaves something out, the other picks it up.

In a small group, HPS and HP would circle the fire 180 degrees
apart. With a bigger group, or fire, they stay closer together
while circling so that they remain connected. If they are drumming,
they stay close to the other drummers to keep them all together.

After leading several rituals, formal or otherwise, the HPS and HP
begin to acquire stock phrases to insert at each step of the

We start with a statement of purpose for the Ritual from either HPS
or HP.

Perhaps we tell a Story of the Season, HP, HPS or preselected
"Sabbat Sage."

HPS and HP go around the Circle anointing everyone. 
"You are a Child of the Goddess."
HP does women, HPS does men. (This is easier than doing odd/even.)

We may do the Seven Fold Blessing.
  Blessed be my feet, that take me on my path.
  Blessed be my knees, that support me before the Divine.
  Blessed be my abdomen, that gives me inner strength.
  Blessed be my breast, that holds my heart true to them.
  Blessed be my lips, that speak the secret names.
  Blessed be my eyes, that see the beauty of their love.
  Blessed be my mind, that seeks their knowledge and wisdom.

We might draw down the Goddess into the HPS for a special sharing.

HPS & HP invite the group to share wishes.

We might then imprint our wishes onto scraps of paper that we will
throw into the fire. We might pick up a twig, leaf, rock, whatever
we find from the ground and hold it while casting and throughout
ritual, putting their individual healing energies into that thing
- which will later be thrown into the fire. 

We might delicate tools or special objects.

Chants have to be very simple: only one line or two.

We use a drumming chant to raise energy: nine beats and one word:
    1,2,3, 1,2,3, 1,2,3,  heal!
Start slow and soft and end fast.

Sometimes a spiral dance will work here. Make sure the ground is
free of obstructions.

Or we might, while holding and swinging hands, take turns in saying
a power word three times.

We might do some variation of cakes and ale.

Whatever we do, we use stage directions throughout the Ritual. For
example, to invoke the Quarters:

HP: "Now we call the Quarters, starting with the East."
HPS: "Let the drums sound" (Drummers drum.)
HP; "Let the words be spoken" (Drums stop.)
         (Speaker speaks the invitation.)
HPS, HP & Group: "Blessed be! So mote it be!"
HPS "Moving on to the South, let the drums sound."
         (And so on.)

The idea is that the HPS and HP stay in touch with the group and
whatever happens. Even distractions, like barking neighborhood dog,
are incorporated into the ritual.

I have heard it said that a ritual performed perfectly will speed
the end of time. So far, in our "Lock & Loads," time has not been

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