For those who are starting out on an Atheopagan path—or any Pagan path—it can be bewildering to know how to start a practice.
Fortunately, Atheopaganism is in many ways easier to “learn” than other Pagan paths, because there aren’t any procedural rules about how to do things, and you don’t have to have anyone else teach or “initiate” you to get started. You can and should craft your practice to fit you: to be consistent with the climate where you live, the symbols and meanings that matter to you. You don’t need to learn tables of correspondences or memorize invocations or learn the metaphorical associations of the four directions of the compass (though you can, of course, if you like).
All you need to know is what you find meaningful: your loves, your passions, your dreams, even your fears and angers. All are rich fodder for creating rituals and observances.
Still, that’s a two-edged sword, isn’t it: lots of freedom, but at the same time an intimidating blank slate, all but crying out but what do I DO?
Thus, this post. If you’re just starting out, or struggling with creating rituals, this post is for you.
I recommend that when starting a practice, a newcomer do three things, in this order:
- Create a Focus, or altar;
- Conduct a first personal ritual; and
- Contemplate the meanings of and decide how they would like to celebrate the 8 sabbaths of the Wheel of the Year.*
As you can see, there are links to other posts about the first and third elements. This one is specifically focused on how to plan your first ritual.
So…how do you do that? Here, you can download a simple step-by-step workbook for ritual planning. All you’ll need is a pencil and paper to sketch out the structure of your ritual.
You can also consult the Atheopagan Ritual Primer, which goes into more details about the various phases and elements of effective ritual.
The main thing to remember is that this is not just a “serious spiritual practice”. It’s also fun. Fun is good for you. It’s not trivial, and it’s not frivolous. Throw off that Abrahamic guilt about having a good time, and be playful and creative!
*You don’t have to do this all at once. You can do some general planning around what the seasonal celebrations mean to you, and then wait until each sabbath approaches to plan details of your observances. After your first year of practice, you will have a calendar of rituals for your Wheel of the Year!