Types of Ritual

The heart of the ritual may be a Sabbat or Esbat celebration, or it may celebrate a life event such as an initiation into a coven, a self-initiation for solitary and eclectic Witches, a handfasting (wedding), or an end of life ceremony. There are as many variations on each of these types of ritual as there are covens and solitary practitioners, and the way a particular Sabbat or Esbat is celebrated may morph and change over the years—in fact, many rituals are made up on the spot. Furthermore, most covens don’t share details of their rituals with non-members. All of this makes it difficult to generalize about the proceedings of ritual in Witchcraft. However, many examples are available in books about the Craft and on Wiccan and other Pagan

websites. At some point during the ritual, magical spells may be worked. Divination may also be employed, particularly at Samhain, though this might take place after the ritual as well. Once all of the ritual work is completed, the circle is closed, often in a reverse manner to the way it is opened, with the Witch thanking and dismissing the Elements and deities invoked at the start, while walking in the opposite direction. This ensures that the energy raised during ritual has gone completely to its destination in the higher realms, and is not squandered or neglected in the physical plane. It also helps ground the Witch(es) more firmly in the physical plane after reaching intense states of consciousness.