Excerpt from new book, Dancing with Nemetona: A Druid’s Exploration of Sanctuary and Sacred Space

Here’s a little taster from my upcoming book, Dancing With Nemetona, published with Moon Books, available this spring…

Lady of Ritual

magic circleRitual – the word rolls off the tongue. It evokes images of moonlight and standing stones, or incense and flower filled temple rooms, women and men gathered under the stars or the light of day to celebrate an aspect of life, death and rebirth.

Ritual is as simple or complex as we allow it to be.  We can follow a set liturgy, or we can create our own path.  Within paganism, both are equally acceptable.  As paganism is, technically, a newly rebirthed religion the question of authenticity with regards to validity is moot – someone, somewhere along the line, whether it was 60 years ago, 600 years ago or 60,000 years ago made it up at some point.  That has no bearing on its validity.

When we create ritual, we are taking a moment, taking time out, to celebrate or honour a specific moment in time. It may be as simple as saying a prayer of thanks at sunrise or sunset, or it may be a full blown affair held within a stone circle, with 20 or more participants, having rehearsed their roles and re-enacting a mythic drama.  Whatever ritual you choose to perform, establishing a relationship with Nemetona can be a rich and rewarding experience to lend to these sacred acts.

Nemetona is Lady of the Sacred Grove, where it is believed that ritual occurred in past history.  The ritual itself is just as important as the setting.  It must speak to us, must sing to our soul, otherwise, what is the point?

As the Lady of Holding, of guarding and watching over our sacred space, our created sanctuaries, Nemetona is also a lady of ritual, integral to it if we so desire.  She moves in circles and in cycles, and therefore when we hold a ritual circle, we can invoke her easily within that sacred place.  She is all that is within the sacred circle, and also all that is without.  Like a vase, the vase is not only the boundaries of its own edges, but also the emptiness within that allows it to be a vase.

We can call upon Nemetona in ritual, to protect our sacred circle, to bless it, or simply to witness what it is that we are doing within that space (or all three).  She can be called upon before a ritual to help define its intent and purpose.  She is the Lady of Holding, and within her embrace we are free to be and do as we wish.  Within the sacred ritual circle, she enables change and growth, safety and security where we might otherwise not feel it to be.

Within the ritual circle is a space where we can grow, where we can make associations and develop our spirituality to its true potential.  Within the sacred circle, we overlay it with our associations in ritual such as the elements, our spirit guides, ancestors, gods and goddesses and more.  By finding out where these “fit” in the sacred ritual circle, held within the arms of Nemetona we come to truly understand ourselves, and the greater world at large.

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