Meditation & Introspection in Ritual

In some traditions of the Wicca, there is a period during each Sabbat where witches enter a silent meditation period where we will silently ask the Gods to show us our faults, sins or short-comings.

It is simply a moment in time where we may briefly search within ourselves to find what it is that we have “clothed our minds with,” which may be fear, shame and guilt for past deeds to ourselves and to others. It could be wrong doings we have accidently done that limited our progress forward.

Some of us may even describe ourselves as Creation-Evolutionists in a way, as we believe in a “Supreme Being” or a universal oneness from which all forces of life manifest from and through the power of reincarnation, all life will return through cycles. After the spark of creation, or what could be described as when the Supreme Being became aware of itself, it is evolution that we may ascribe to.

So why would members of the Wicca want to think heavily about the concepts of understanding our faults during ritual meditation?

Many of the original folks that have influenced our particular coven line from England were very well-versed in Theosophy, and to this day, much Theosophical influence and study is still used. They in turn gave us a tradition of the Wicca that has a prime focus on understanding evolution/progression and not transgression. Evolution can be described as moving forward. It is progressive….. And moves forward with the evolutionary force, continuing to refine and better itself along the way. Transgression is not progressive, it is moving across.

What would be considered shortcomings, faults or sin?

“When he does or thinks evil, he wrenches himself away from the direction of this spiritual current, and thereby sets up a definite strain in the etheric, astral and mental matter, so that he is no longer in harmony with nature, no longer a helping but a hindering force, a snag in the river of life. This strain, or cross-twist, almost entirely arrests his progress for a time, and renders it impossible for him to profit by all the impulses of good influence which are constantly rushing along the current of the stream of which we have spoken. Before he can do any real good for himself or anyone else, he must straighten out that distortion, and come into harmony with nature, and so be once more fully amenable to good influence, and able to take advantage of the many and valuable aids which are so lavishly provided for him.”

-“The Science of the Sacraments,” by C.W. Leadbeater, 1920, by The Theosophical Publishing House.

The above book is a recommended reading, because it helps to explain out some of the mystical concepts that Catholicism had borrowed from pre-Christian religions and Priesthoods.

As we know from evolution, the forces that are progressive in nature will eventually push through and right errors or transgression. Though, this process takes quite a bit of time, as can be demonstrated by folks that have studied adaptation. Outward evolution takes a lot of time…. A long time indeed; but what things are we able to change now?

Well, most witches believe in different states of being: Call them mind, body and spirit. The spirit and mind are more flexible than the body, so we can work on changing the mind and spirit within – helping them to advance. How do we do this?

We do this through our Sabbat seasonal cycles and through initiations. The initiations themselves can awaken, sometimes slowly and sometimes very rapidly, a new way and understanding of thought and being. It comes upon you in small bursts, or little earthquakes – awakening of realizations.

We must remember, that the three levels of initiation mark three “beginning” points, for what does initiation represent? It represents the beginning, not merely the end result. It plugs you into a particular current and sets your feet on the path, it does not do the work for you. I have heard folks talk about how they cycle through initiations and what not, and I can say that I have never bought into that concept. We are to progress, not go backwards. If we are going backwards or cycling through them all over again, I would think we are doing something wrong?

So what is a way that we continue to be progressive and grow our minds and spirits? It is through the Sabbat-seasonal cycle, which is the religious part of our religion. The Sabbats themselves, whether we are talking about only 4 or the modern 8, teach a series of progression so that we are always continuing on a wheel of progression. Yes, the cycles of nature and seasons continue to repeat themselves, especially here in Pennsylvania with spring, summer, fall and winter. Year by year, even though the seasons themselves may have similar patterns, if you take photographs of Nature over time, you will literally see the landscape change around you… Plants that were there are either more plentiful or gone, trees are born and die. New buildings and businesses may move in and occasionally are tore back down. The landscape continues to change and move on and on.  Cycling through the degrees of initiations, or beginnings, would not be a progressive cycle.

The Sabbats put us in a state of continued progression and evolution.

How do you know if a Sabbat was effective in doing its job?

You will know…. And the feeling is different for each person. You may feel slightly tired immediately following the Sabbat and need to replenish by the Sabbbat feast, but typically the next day, after sleeping in a little, I am just rejuvenated with a higher sense of accomplishment.

On the outer level, the 4 main Sabbats initiate or mark the beginning of the 4 seasons in my Pennsylvania climate, and the quarter days (solstices and equinoxes) represent the seasons at their height and in full bloom.

I can’t tell you how much joy it brings to be to attend a good Sabbat. When I attend Sabbats that are just focused on spellworking, you just don’t get the same feel. We have a time for spell-making, and they are called Esbats which are done with more frequency anyway. We just seem to be missing the boat when our Sabbats are “spell-making” focused. I personally re-connect and get in touch with the world around me at the Sabbat. Looking back through history and customs, that it what it is all about…..

How many of you have attended local harvest fairs, may day festivals, apple festivals, pumpkin fests, Oktoberfests, corn festivals, summer fests, winter formals, etc.? Why were those seasonal celebrations needed?

I think somewhere deep in, seasonal markings are just of our genetic memory where we instinctively need to mark the “times” by celebration and connecting, even if we personally are not part of the agricultural cycle in our daily lives. These local seasonal activities are really a throw back to local celebrations, parties and customs of our ancestors – no matter what the culture or background, they all seemed to have some type of way to mark earthly, astrological or solar changes. They thought it was important, and we still do too. Instinctively, why are certain secular holidays still marked as “tradition” to attend with our families? Once again, I wonder if it may be part of that genetic memory of just “what you did” at certain times of the year.

What is the process of the short, but silent meditation in ritual?

For me personally, I think this best describes it below, with my additions made in the parentheses:

“It is a spiritual process, a loosening from the bondage of sin (In my own perspective, sin would be: our faults, our shortcomings and our own ignorance), a process of at-one-ment with the Higher Self, a restoration of the inner harmony of being which is disturbed by wrong-doing,……”

-“The Science of the Sacraments,” by C.W. Leadbeater, 1920, by The Theosophical Publishing House.

Blessed Be!

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