Each coven or circle has its own attendance guidelines. If
the circle is publicly advertised then follow the guidelines in
the advertisement or call the phone number provided if you have
questions. If you are personally invited to a circle do not
assume it is O.K. to bring anyone else. If you have a friend,
relative, child or significant other whom you would like to bring
please ask the High Priest or High Priestess first. Some covens
are more open than others but please respect the decision of the
HPS or HP. Also, we do have freedom of religion in this country,
but there are those who, out of ignorance, still deny us the right
to worship as we choose.
If you have been invited to a Circle which is not publicly
advertised please do not discuss it with anyone
without checking with the HP or HPS first. Private circles are
by invitation only and it is never good to assume who the other
attendees of a particular circle will be. Respect the privacy
of those in the circle and never mention who was there to anyone.
See this page for a detailed explanation of the importance of
of Secrecy in Wicca.
Also: Please do not attend circle while under the influence
of drugs or alcohol and NEVER bring drugs onto the property of
any person or group holding a ritual.
When accepting an invitation:
- Ask what time you should be there AND what time the ritual
will begin. This way you can be there in plenty of time to relax,
center and group before ritual. And, conversely, if you are unexpectedly
detained, you will avoid walking in on the ritual already in
progress which is usually not acceptable. Ask what to do if you
should arrive late. There may be the option of waiting in a certain
area and joining everyone for refreshments or feasting afterward.
- This may should harsh, but if you need to be somewhere else
at a particular time following the ritual - do not plan to attend
the ritual. When we enter a circle we are between worlds and
beyond time and space. Rituals take as long as they take. Two
hours is probably average, but they can be shorter or much longer.
We have found in the past that if someone has a time constraint
it is extremely distracting and disrupts the energy flow.
- Ask what you can or should bring. There may be a small fee
covering site rental, candles, refreshments, etc. Some groups
ask each attendee to bring a non-perishable item to donate to
a local charitable organization. If there is a feast before or
after the ritual you may be asked to bring a covered dish or
some other food item to share. If you bring food its a nice gesture
to label it with a list of ingredients so that those with special
diet requirements won't have to track you down and ask what is
in it.You should also ask if it is appropriate to bring your
own athame or chalice to use in ritual and/or dishes and utensils
for the feast. If you are able, you could also volunteer to bring
wine, juice, or candles. These may be supplied by the coven sponsoring
the circle, but it is nice to ask.
- If food will be served and you have special food requirements,
either bring your own food or talk with the host/hostess as far
in advance as possible to arrange for appropriate food.
Ask what the mode of dress is for the circle you will be attending.
At large pagan gatherings you are liable to see elaborate costumes,
simple robes, street clothing or nothing at all (skyclad) in the
At smaller public rituals robes are nice but street clothes
are acceptable. If you wear street clothing, make it something
loose and comfortable so you have no distractions.
And please, no t-shirts with pictures or messages which may
be distracting to others.
If you are invited to a non-public circle be sure to ask what
to wear. Some covens may require participants to be skyclad, but
robes are more common and may be required. Some groups have not
allow certain colors of robes so be sure to ask. Also, certain
types of jewelry may not be appropriate. For example, a triple-moon
head-dress or an amber and jet necklace is usually worn only by
a High Priestess. If you wear one of these to a large public ritual
and you are not a High Priestess you may find yourself being asked
to perform some duty for which you are not prepared. Generally
- when in doubt - ask.
If the ritual will be held outdoors please dress accordingly.
- If you have a request for healing or other magical work please
talk to the HP or HPS privately before circle.
- Do not touch jewelry or magical tools belonging to another
person without asking. Many people go to great lengths to consecrate
and charge their belongings, and this may have to be completely
re-done if the object is touched.
- Please visit the restroom before circle. Although you may
leave the circle in an emergency, it can be distracting-and you
might miss something!
- Please remove hats, watches, beepers and any jewelry and/or
ferrous metals which do not have a spiritual or medical purpose.
- Remove your shoes if possible. It is much easier to ground
when in touch with Mother Earth.
- No smoking, eating, drinking or chewing gum while in line
or in circle. Smokers: Be sure to ask where smoking is allowed
and PLEASE do not throw butts on the ground or into ritual fires!
- Apply insect repellant if needed.
- Any talk while in line for circle should be quiet and limited
to questions regarding the ritual or warnings such as, Don't
trip over that root! No talk of mundane matters please.
- Continue or begin centering and grounding while waiting in
line. Use the slow walk to the ritual area as a gradual shifting
of consciousness from the mundane world to the magical.
- A ritual handbath or bowl may be provided or you may be smudged
with smoke before entering the circle. These are for purposes
of spiritual cleansing.
- When entering the circle you may be asked for your name and/or
a password. If you have a magical name you want to use fine,
if not don't be embarrassed about using your regular name - plenty
of people do. If you are asked for a password but haven't been
given one you can try the standard one you have probably run
across if you have done much reading. If that doesn't work- don't
worry-if you were invited to the circle you will be allowed to
enter. As you can imagine, passwords were of much greater importance
during the burning times.
- You may receive an annointing of oil as you enter the circle.
If you have allergies or otherwise object to this feel free to
let the annointer know.
- Always move deosil (clockwise/sunwise) when walking around
the circle. In other word: when you enter the circle turn left
and you will be going the right way.
- When the Quarters or Elements (the four directions) are being
called turn and face the same direction the HP and HPS are facing.
If you are unfamiliar with arm gestures and responses being used
just stand quietly or try to follow along. For safety or other
reasons some covens limit the use of athames to the HP and HPS.
Ask about this before circle.
In large public circles you will see many different ways of
saluting the Quarters since each person tends to use the method
he or she is most familiar with. One or two pointed fingers is
a customary substitute for an athame or wand in many Circles.
- No talking in circle unless you are specifically invited
to share a story or at other times indicated by the HP or HPS.
Stories, anecdotes and discussion in circle are strictly limited
to craft related topics. And remember: whatever you hear in circle
is confidential. If you find someone's story valuable and would
like to share it outside the circle (without names of course)
please ask permission of the story teller first.
The HP or HPS may invoke a god or goddess during the ritual
which means the deity has entered the body of the HP or HPS and
may speak through them. Do not talk at all during an invocation
unless the god or goddess specifically asks YOU a question.
- If you receive some juice or wine do not drink it all immediately.
Be prepared to offer a toast to the gods. It is customary to
offer part of your juice, wine and cake or cookie to the gods
as a libation. There may be a bowl or bowls provided for this
purpose or if the circle is outdoors the libations may be put
directly on the Earth. Ask someone what the custom is or watch
members of the host coven.
- If you feel faint or ill please feel free to sit down and/or
ask for help. We have found that fainting in circle is not uncommon.
Don't be embarrassed if this happens to you-just be assured you
are surrounded by loving and understanding people. We believe
a contributing factor is fasting before ritual. Some Wiccans
like to fast for spiritual reasons, others are simply saving
their appetite for the feast which tends to be much later than
the average supper time. If you are not used to fasting, or tend
toward low-blood sugar please have a bite to eat before circle.
Also, do not lock your knees when standing in circle.
- If you need to leave the circle during ritual for any reason,
quietly alert a member of the hosting coven and they will cut
you out of the circle or explain their method for exiting and
This is a good time for hugs, relaxing, asking questions, singing,
dancing, drumming, eating, socializing and networking. Please
offer to help clean up as well.
This page may be reproduced and
distributed provided nothing whatsoever is changed.
Copyright 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000 by Forest Butera.
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