Following Directions

There was this one time in elementary school that I clearly remember (with dread). Our teacher handed our a worksheet, saying only “follow the directions” and leaving us to it. Being the quick, smart, and overly-trusting person I was, I began to do the worksheet. It included little things, like drawing a flower on the back and multiplying some large numbers, as well as bigger things like walking one lap around the room. I wasn’t the first or only person to do each step, but it was still humiliating to get the final one and find out it was all a trick! The very first instruction, before #1, was “read this worksheet all of the way through before you start”.

First of all, I never trusted a teacher like that again. As a perfectionist (especially as a young child), I was humiliated and heartbroken to have been fooled into such an obvious, public mistake. I was painfully shy as well, adding a layer of frustration to the whole process.

However, I’ve learned the hard lesson to look before I leap… without having to fall into something far worse than the laughter of my peers.

That said, I’m still not one for following instructions all of the time. If I know that something usually works with Method #1, I don’t use the Method #2 printed on the package. If someone tells me how to complete some task and an easier or more logical option seems apparently, I might ignore them in favor of the quick-and-effective method I’ve noticed.

In the coven, we’re supposed to write a ritual using this Ritual Creation Worksheet developed as a guide to do just that! Last time around, I barely finished this paperwork a year after leading my first group sabbat ritual. I’d written something of my own off-the-cuff, having done so many times before, and I didn’t even think to complete the “homework” until it was pointed out as missing.

This time, I’m following directions!

I’ve decided to write a ritual for Mabon, because I love the equinox holidays. I’ve always loved them, actually, even before I was a pagan; I loved the idea of night and day being equal for a moment in time.

Back to the point! Going through the worksheet was kind of interesting and frustrating. Parts of my ritual don’t exactly fit A, B, C, D reasoning. Other parts are based on tradition methods and practices, so explaining them gets repetitive (thank the gods for Copy-Paste).

Following directions and using this worksheet is a more structured method of ritual writing than I’m used to using. Don’t get me wrong, but look at how I normally do things. First, I get an idea for the core of the ritual, like painting symbols on each others for blessings. Then I think backward to whether we’d bless the paint before painting, or if we’d bless everyone’s symbols after. Then I’d think about what the sabbat was, and how did that relate to the core. And so forth. I usually work backward, from the inside out!

In a way, I still worked backward. I had an idea of what I wanted to use/do for the main attraction; I just had to flesh it all out in order as I followed the guidelines on the worksheet. This time, the paperwork AND the ritual are done! YAY! No more procrastinating homework for me!

How do you normally write rituals?


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