People follow a number of rituals through their lives to mark important moments, generally that of changes. We observe birthdays, graduations, and even recognize the passing of loved ones. Getting a new job, or achieving a goal are other tiny rituals we might celebrate.
Pagans use ritual to also mark the cycles of the moon, the sun, and changes in our lives. Rituals also vary from tradition to tradition, and I know of plenty of pagans who don’t celebrate many of the listed rituals at all. Its all what you feel the need to follow, and its acceptable to create whatever ritual you need as well.
Esbat rituals are often held for inspiration, training, communion, and other reasons. Many pagans use the label of esbat for full moon ritual, but its really a ritual at any time needed to cast circle and engage with the Divine. It differs from a Sabbat as its for ‘work’, not celebration.
Sabbats celebrate the eight holidays marked by the solar year. It includes solstices and equinoxes as well as the cross quarter days. Here, you’ll find Yule, Imbolc, Beltane, Ostara, Litha, Lughnasadh, Mabon, and Samhain.
Dedication and Initiation commemorate a pagans moment where they begin their spiritual path. This involves a self blessing and acknowledgement of their chosen path. While Dedication is practiced among the solitary practitioners, Initiation acknowledges a new member to a group, primarily a coven or grove.
Wiccaning celebrates a baby’s dedication to the gods, similar to that of Christening or baptism. The child is presented to the God/dess for protection and guidance.
Coming of Age rituals provide children that are at a certain age or state of maturity to endure a ritual
Handfasting is the pagan marriage between two individuals. Many groups recognize gay marriage, so couples can celebrate amid friends and family in ceremony. If the priest/ess is ordained (and it doesn’t take much to get that done), its a legal ceremony.
Parting Ritual offers couples who do not wish to be married anymore a ceremony to part ways.
A Croning ritual marks a woman’s stage of old age and menopause. It celebrates an age of wisdom. I haven’t found a comparative ritual for men, since men don’t really go through the same level of change as women do, but you can easily create a ritual to celebrate a man’s ‘wizarding’. (yes, I just made up that word).
Rite of passing honors those who passed on with a ritual. This can include lighting of candles, sharing stories, and giving farewells to the person now gone.
Blessing rituals span to people to places, and even things. You can create a ritual to bless a new home, or ask for blessings for your Self if you’re feeling bad.
Whatever the ritual, the symbolism and meaning strikes a chord in the individual and that should be honored first and foremost.