Ritual Well


I was reading the Wikipedia article on Rosh Chodesh, when I ran into this site. From what I've seen of it up to this point, it's awesome! It takes all the major Jewish holidays and sabbaths, and give them a feminist not suggesting that these feministic rituals replace the traditional practices, but that they should be added in so that a whole is created rather than halves.

The member's ony section includes a messageboard, and a way to share ritual work between users. Once I registered, I had a hard time finding the forum. I finally found it on the sitemap. And, after looking at it I know why it was buried. The only posts on there were from porn-spam and one angry Christian lady who likes to type in all-caps. That's too bad! It seemed like a great resource.

I'm going to hang out there, so I'm encouraging you to visit and help realize the potential of this site.

Rites for Women

I live in a small town in the middle of a whole lot of nowhere. There isn't very much culture running around loose around here. So, what is a woman to do who wants to participate in some good ol' ritual work? The local masonic organization has two women's organizations, but I'm a bit young to enjoy hanging with a group of women who could all be my grandmother (or great grandmother). I love old ladies, but . . . it wouldn't be much of a sisterhood. I could join a coven, but there are three types of covens: ones that say witchcraft is real, but don't really believe it - they are just there to scare their parents or whatever. Then, there are covens that are into the getting naked and having sex and all that fun stuff. The third kind is cool, but doesn't exist anywhere near me.

There are a few other societies in the area, but they were all derived from masonry (or came from the same source). There is a big difference between ritual FOR and BY women, and ritual that is essentially a boy's club that allows women to participate. I think letting women into a men's organization takes away from the point of such a club, while not actually giving the women what they came for (unless all they wanted was to ruin the experience of the men).

There is a place for purely manly ritual, just as there is a place for feminine ritual. There is also room for ritual work that brings them both together - in fact I think it is very important for these two groups to work together - sometimes. It is also important that they are allowed to develop separately.

I look around, and I don't see ritual being treated as an art, or as an important aspect of our community - I'd like to change that. If I can start a women's ritualistic society where I live, one can be started ANYWHERE!

But, first, I need to get a little better acquainted with all the variations and aspects of ritual as it stands today. I can fix something until I know where it is broken. I'd also like to bring some of my ideas, and write them down. Everything looks different on paper than just inside your head.

Human Rites

Humanity has used ritual from the beginning to teach the mysteries of their World to the next generation. Ritual is used as a Rite of Passage, as an Initiation into a select group of people (either invitational or not), as a tool for learning. It is not by chance that the different levels an initiate can move through before becoming a full member are called Degrees -- the same word that is used in universities today as a recognition of a certain amount or type of work that has been accomplished.

The universities are not the only institution that has the vestiges of ritual infused into it. Many of the churches around today, and even more that were around a couple centuries ago are infused with ritual. From the obvious taking of the Eucharist, to the less obvious potlucking (I'll post about that later).

There are some people who claim that religion is only needed and used to control the masses, that ritual is only a brainwashing technique, but that argument is only viable if you consider the human race to be inherently evil. Or, in other words, that we need controlling in order to be decent human beings. Such an argument also implies that it is somehow bad or wrong to want to become a moral individual.

But, no matter what *I* think, the general feeling out in the world is negative, and it has been for quite a number of years. Our parent's and their parents have turned away from being controlled by corporations and corporations hiding under the guise of a religion. But, I feel they threw out the good with the bad. I think there is a new generation coming who will be interested in the things their mothers and fathers threw out - just because they were thrown out, but also because ritual is one of the things human beings have always needed. That generation needs something to gather around that fits them, and they will keep looking until they find it.

Becoming Eve

The traditional religions in the West today are sadly lacking in an active, positive role for women. Men run the show, men write the scriptures, men speak to God, God is a man, etc. Mormonism is no exception.

I can see some small efforts made by the early Mormon church to include women. These efforts died out near the turn of the century. Priesthood blessings preformed by women were discouraged, the Relief Society was lumped in with the Primary and Youth organizations under the control of the Patriarchal Priesthood (rather than being autonomous), and so on. While the rest of the world was granting women more rights, the Mormons were restricting. I'll leave polygamy for another post or two :-)

As a Mormon woman who is interested in the stranger doctrines of the early church, I wish there had been more revealed about the role of women in the whole scheme of things. In all, it is a confusing mass of data that no one has bothered to reconcile. The main cause of this is the tendency of historians to sweep under the rug many important events and trends because they are deemed "crazy", "heretical", or "dangerous" by the modern church leaders. Publishing the results of research on this topic often results in dis-fellowship or excommunication. The scholars brave enough to study Adam-God (or even interested in it) are mostly men, thus don't have a burning desire to find out what exactly is going to happen to all the woman. A feeling that they are going to be all right and happy is good enough. Now, all you men out there who are exclaiming about how much you do care, please, contribute to this blog, and we can all benefit.