Formal group-ritual has often been open to the criticism that it is often somewhat dull, unimaginative and uninspiring.
One the years several occult practitioners have sought to address this issue in a variety of ways but at the end of the day the core framework for ritual work has remained much the same.
Sacred Ritual – Community Magic
Among those who have worked to improve the group ritual experience and though their efforts are inspired to advance a new generation of Pagan initiates are Nelsinho Linde and Judith E Olson-Linde.
Their reputation for offering this type of spiritual work is notable for together they have been active as ritualisers at the Pagan Spirit Gathering, Heartland, and the Sacred Harvest Festival.
A Guide for Initiators
In their book ‘Taking Sacred Back’ the Lindes have collected together their many years of experience creating and working group rituals into an easy to understand manual designed to aid other ritual leaders.
Within its pages they offer a wealth of helpful advice to anyone who is seeking some expert guidance regarding the organisation and running any form of ritual ceremony.
The book opens with an exploration of the way in which many Neopagan religions embraced group or community meetings as an important part of the personal initiatory process.
They emphasise that the best ceremonies rely upon pre-planning and for any successful meeting to take place all leaders need to have great organisational skills, a good sense of drama and a dose of leadership qualities.
With these characteristics it becomes possible to initiate deep spiritual changes in any ritual attendees.
In their book the Lindes explain in depth how through ritual deep connections are made to unseen supernatural elements – any or all of which can initiate deep psychospiritual change in those involved. This has, of course, always been the case throughout the history of humanity but in our modern era the increased sophistication of today’s well-designed and properly staged events has meant that group experiences like music festivals, raves and other similar events have become popular substitutions for the initiatory process.
They have a lot of exciting competition!
Taking Sacred Back features specific guidelines on a wide variety of group rituals. Each one has been structured by the authors in quite specific ways. They take the following form.
Ritual context – the circumstances in which the Lindes used the ritual
Ritual intent – the expectations of the result for the ritual
Ritual description – a brief explanation of what the ritual involves
Ritual setup and supplies – what the ritual requires to operate it
Ritual team members – highlights those required to lead the ceremony
Ritual script – the details of how the ritual is worked through
Path-working details description – the specifics of the way the ritual is worked
In later chapters the authors feature the various tools and props that are required by some rituals along with specific plans on how to obtain or make them for low cost. The book finally closes with a bibliography and an index.
Our Review of ‘Taking Sacred Back’ by Nels and Judy Linde
The rituals outlined in this book are intriguing. Whilst each of them have the practice of what one might loosely call magic at their heart most of them are more like the physical enactments of traditional path-working practices.
Some of them are extra-ordinarily complex in their structure and do require some forethought in how they are executed. However the authors have included plans depicting their layout as well as photographs of some of the required tools.
As for the styling of the rituals: they are in essence not restricted to Pagan or Wiccan worship but are designed to be used within many disciplines of the Western Magical Tradition.
For example, Some of the rituals have been specifically designed to work with the archetypes of the Tarot and the paths of the Tree of Life. In this regard the book is certainly multidenominational.
Taking Sacred Back is undeniably a unique publication. The attention to detail; including the photographs, plans and line-drawings makes this a fascinating read for anyone who is interested in group ritual or community ceremony.
For those who are drawn towards taking on the role of group leaders or ritual conductors it will prove to be an absolutely indispensable guide.