I’m running a series of free webinars this week, sharing how I prepare for rituals, Brigid related or not. (Click here to sign up if you like!) Now this is in part because I’m aware Samhain is coming up. People like to put together a ritual for Samhain. It’s a big deal in terms of the fire festivals. It’s also because I start preparing for Imbolc about a week after Samhain. Yes, that’s how ritual and daily practice intertwine for me. Samhain isn’t, obviously, a Brigid ritual, but that doesn’t mean I don’t include her either!
Ritual vs daily practice
To a certain extent, the difference between “ritual” and “daily” practice is a semantic one. A daily practice can be a ritual. If you have a daily practice of sitting down at 8pm every night for a 20min meditation catch up with Brigid, then that could be a ritual for you as well.
Essentially for me, daily practice is something I do almost every day. So, my daily pause before getting into the car in the morning en route to work, looking up at the sky and saying something brief is a daily practice. It’s also a ritual, in that it’s a habit, it’s an action I complete habitually.
But equally, ritual can have the meaning of a solemn, religious ceremony with a series of prescribed actions in a particular order. Now, I disagree a ritual, religious or not, needs to be solemn. Anyone who has ever been to an Irish wedding or even an Irish wake, will know there is definitely a religious component. There is definitely a series of actions in a particular order, but there’s also fun and joy and celebration, as well as solemnity. And the solemnity and the joy aren’t necessarily at the times you might expect!
Now, the fire festivals don’t really come under the heading of daily practice for me. They come under the heading of “ritual” alone, rather than the overlap. And I have taught over at IPS on each of the fire festivals in turn. But for myself, I separate those out into the classification of “special ritual”. That means they are not part of my day-to-day ritual and I generally mark them as such.
I should note at this point, that my approach is not specific to Brigid, nor will it work for everyone. But it works for me…
People are kinda shocked in my webinars when I mentioned I’m almost constantly preparing for ritual. But I mean it when I say that I’ll start preparing for Imbolc about a week after Samhain. That’s why Awakening the Flame is a three month journey. Because I do spend the three months preparing for Imbolc.
Part of it is my way to observe the passing of the seasons. Between Samhain and Imbolc, I focus on dreaming and creating plans for the coming year (preparing the soil). For Imbolc and Bealtaine, I focus on planting seeds, putting the work in, ensuring the plans have the support and the focus needed to progress. Between Bealtaine and Lúnasa, I’m looking at maintaining the growth, planning the harvest. Between Lúnasa and Samhain, I’m harvesting, seeing if I put in enough work and what outside forces affected my harvest.
I mean, ok, it’s not a harvest in term of my finances, primarily. It’s a spiritual harvest, and an ongoing commitment to my spiritual growth throughout the year. I keep saying this repeatedly – this isn’t a Brigid-assigned task and it’s not for everyone. But it works for me.
So what can you do?
Well ok, signing up for the free webinar will give you an overview of what framework I follow and what I consider important to consider in that preparation. Signing up for the Samhain ritual over at IPS will certainly give you an outline of a Samhain ritual (and the other fire festivals are covered as well) from a few years ago. And if you want to get absolutely everything I do in those three months of preparations, the reasons behind them all, the how of it, the why of it, sign up for Awakening the Flame. Seriously, it will set you up for having a framework, along with all the practices I go through for any of the elements I consider for the fire festivals in particular, but also any other “special” rituals.