1. Wiccan etiquette:
Most "Wiccan etiquette" is just plain common sense just as etiquette is in general. There are a few areas you may find unfamiliar though, so it helps to have some guidelines to avoid social and magical faux pas.
a. Circle etiquette:
This is covered in the: "Guide to Circle Etiquette", so we'll just add a few things here:
We like to wash away all the physical reminders of the mundane world. A clean robe and clean body shows courtesy to others and reverence for the Gods. The Ritual bath is not for cleansing the body - it is for purifying the mind so please bathe ahead of time. An ritual bath complete with incense, candles and magical oil may be provided. Other types of ritual cleansing that may be provided are a handbath, finger bowl or smudging. These are not substitutes for physical cleansing. While it is not proper to wear strong smelling perfumes or oils to circle which can overpower the incense there is no rule against deodorant (some how this rumor has gotten loose in the pagan community)
There should be no gossiping about others or other negative talk before circle. If you have a problem with someone else, talk to them or the Priest or Priestess privately. No talking while waiting for your turn at the ritual bath. This is the time to begin centering and grounding.
When in doubt about anything ask the HPS or HP of the circle before the ritual starts.
b. Jewelry, Tools, Etc.:
Please ask (and wait for an answer) before touching anyone else's jewelry or magical tools or Tarot Cards. It is tempting to touch when a friend shows up with a pretty new necklace or chalice, but remember: they may have gone to a great deal of trouble cleansing and charging it for a particular purpose and may have to do it all over again if anyone (even a friend) touches it.
While the only hard and past rule in Wicca is "An it harm none - do what you will", most pagans ascribe to the rule: "Don't haggle for magical tools". This is a natural extension of "Harm None". When you haggle the seller may feel compelled, against his or her own will, to drop the price.
d. Driving & Bumper Stickers:
Bumper Stickers are wonderful ways of letting the world know who we are and how we feel about things. Display your, "Born Again Pagan" and "The Goddess is Alive and Magic is Afoot" proudly. BUT, please think twice about giving rude hand gestures, or allowing others in your vehicle to (even to deserving jerks), while you are declaring your "paganness" to the world. Like it or not, when you are openly pagan, you represent all of us. Please do it with pride AND decorum.
2. Centering and grounding:
To "center" stand or sit with your back very straight. Do not cross your legs or lean on anything unless it helps you keep your spine straight. Keep your head straight and face forward. This is an essential first step in all meditation and trance work.
To "ground" visualize all of the stress flowing out of your body and feel strength coming up to your from the Earth so that you begin to feel a connection with the Earth.
"The roots of me go down and down - O Mother Earth in
Thee I ground" - from Ariadne's Thread by Shekhinah Mountainwater
We will practice centering in class with a guided meditation from the "Spiral Dance" by Starhawk. p. 58 Exercise 5
3. Meditation and visualization:
Being able to relax and block out interference is essential to working magic. Meditation comes easily to some, others must really work at it. Start all meditations with centering and grounding. Spend a moment thinking about your last meditation session. "To recall trance, is to achieve trance" - meaning that just thinking about it speeds up the process of getting back into trance each time.
Most people find a meditation involving visualization much easier than trying to empty or clear their mind. Even in Zen meditation emptying the mind is a process not the beginning. Pick a particular object on which to meditate and hold that in your mind's eye. Practice turning the object around in your mind and viewing it from every possible angle. Feel it, smell it, taste it - try to use all of your senses on your visualized object.
Feel free to use audio or video tapes to assist you if you have trouble in the beginning. See our web page on "Meditation"
4. Astral projection:
Astral projection involves separating your astral body from your physical body, in meditation or while dreaming, to achieve travel to another location. Rather than attempting to travel to another state or country, concentrate on building your "astral temple". Your astral temple is a place where you can go to relax and communicate with the gods. It can be a familiar place to do ritual in when you are away from home and/or do not have your magical tools with you. The astral temple can be a room, a clearing in the woods, a temple, a henge, a place from your favorite fantasy novel, any place you feel safe and happy. See our web page on "Astral Projection"
Spent some time practicing grounding and centering at home each day, especially just before you come to class. We will do a guided meditation which takes approximately one hour. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing.