Opening a ritual can be as simple as wafting sage smoke over yourself. They get more complicated form there. Your openings and closings for your rituals should be as simple or as complex as you feel comfortable with. More complex does not mean better, not however does it mean worse. there is also no rule saying that you have to use the same opening and closing for each and every ritual you perform. Often people start circles in the east for the rising sun, but you can start them from any direction you choose depending on what feels right to you or which area you wish to focus on. Make sure that when you do a ceremony you know what you are doing it for. Be careful what you ask for and watch your wording and your intentions.
One example of an opening:
Before beginning any ceremonies everyone present must be smudged. Smudging is a process of using smoke to clear away any negative energies and to attract positive energies to you. Use a large shell, pottery or stone bowl as the container for the sage and sweetgrass. Light the herb, blow out the flames, to keep it smoldering use a feather or your hand as a fan. The person doing the smudging first brings the smoke toward his or her heart and then up and over the head. This will help his energy to run in a good direction, and it will take away any negative thoughts or feelings out of him. Then offers the bowl to the four directions. Then to Father Sun and Earth Mother. Those participating should be in a circle and the smudging should be done in a sunrise direction beginning with the north.
Another example of an opening:
Stand in the center of where you want the circle to be. Start from the east and draw a circle, clockwise, with the rattle while shaking it, or, if you wish, walk the circle while shaking the rattle. Return to the center facing east. Call the spirits of the east. Shake the rattle above your head, at chest level and at waist level to call the Upper, Middle and Lower worlds respectively. You may choose to say something to invoke the spirits, for instance, "Spirits of the East, Season of spring, Please bring (something or things that east symbolizes to you) to this ritual (or meeting or ceremony etc...)" Repeat for south, west and north. Then for sky and earth. You could also designate a person to speak a few words for each of the directions if you wish. You should then address your guides and invite their presence. Then address all the spirits present with what the ritual is to be for and ask for their aid.
Closing a Ritual:
Basically a closing is just like an opening except that instead of greeting the spirits you are giving thanks to them and parting with them. Always remember to thank the spirits for their help. If you do not remember to be grateful the spirits may choose to stop helping you until you remember your manners. You do not order the spirit world around, you work hand in hand with it.
Wyldkat and Stonehawk
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