This is one of a series of articles about creating Atheopagan rituals. They expand on the Atheopagan Ritual Primer, to which they will be added after the whole series has been published online.
The ritual structure outlined in the Primer is: Arrival, Qualities, (Intention), Deep Play, Gratitude, and Benediction. This article focuses on the second and optional third phases: Invocation of Qualities and Declaration(s) of Intentions.
“Calling the Qualities” is often just that: A designated celebrant encourages the circle to call out the Qualities they would like to be a part of the circle, and celebrants call them out (examples: the Ancestors; Compassion; Grief; Courage; Adventure, Strength, Health, Wisdom). It is more effective if, after each Quality is invoked, the remainder of the circle repeats the word or phrase.
This can be done in “popcorn” fashion or sequentially around the circle; it can be done singing, or even danced. There are probably hundreds of creative ways the Qualities can be invoked.
In some rituals there may be preassigned participants to invoke particular Qualities with more detailed invocations, similar to “calling the quarters” in a Wiccan/Neopagan ritual. In fact, special Focuses may be built on the themes of these Qualities to evoke greater attention to them on the part of celebrants.
Note that if there is a particularly important Quality you want to be the central focus of the ritual, this should have a special invocation of its own.
2) INTENTIONS (Optional)
Many rituals have their intentions determined in advance, or their purposes are self-evident: to celebrate a Sabbath, for example. In these cases, declaring the intention of the ritual is not necessary, although celebrants may choose to do so. Some rituals do not have a clear and obvious intention, or may have multiple intentions. In the latter case, after the invocation of the Qualities, declaration of the intended effect of the ritual adds to the psychological power of the ritual, and allows participants to add their own personal goals to the ritual’s “cauldron” if they so choose. A designated celebrant can declare the intention, or participants may be encouraged to call out their own.
After the Qualities have been invoked and the Intentions have been established, it is time for the “meat” of the ritual: the Deep Play, sometimes also called the “working”, which will be the topic of the next article in this series.