Ritual Etiquette Rant


I organize a group via the Meetup.com site, welcoming pagans who wish to join in workshops, social outings, and occasional rituals. It’s a handy site, including message boards but more importantly, online tools to organize events.

I can add venues, add map directions, limit members, and get automatic alerts when people change their RSVP, even at the least minute.

So Mabon I had seven members signed up. We were going to have ritual and potluck. Only three members bothered to list what they’d bring, one added an activity, while everyone else didn’t want to plan the Mabon ritual. Two backed out the day of the ritual, one messaged she couldn’t make it due to traffic, while three others didn’t bother showing up at all.

So I wanted to share a few things about attending rituals that I think people need to understand about the etiquette.

If you’ve given your RSVP as yes, show up! Just not showing up is one of the biggest peeves of mine. I will wait a bit for late arrivals, but when members don’t arrive at all, it can seriously impact the energy in the sacred space. I even give my cell phone numbers for them to call, but also have the meetup app so if they change their RSVP, I get the alert immediately.

If you say you’re coming, arrive on time. No one was late…this time. But this was worth mentioning. Being late interferes with rituals, or forces groups to wait for your arrival, or ‘open a door’ when you get there. I often wait 15 minutes for late arrivals, but rituals that require meditations or power raising are affected by such disruptions.

Do not bring uninvited/unexpected guests. This didn’t happen for Mabon, but its happened in the past before. It is very rude to bring a guest, (sometimes who isn’t even pagan) to rituals, unless its understood to be an ‘open ritual’. Even then, some pagans feel uncomfortable being open to the scrutiny of strangers. Always ask before bringing a guest.

ASK QUESTIONS. When in doubt, talk to the organizer about what is expected.  Leaders should be approachable, but as a member, you have a responsibility to yourself to speak up if you’re confused or don’t understand something. Some of us take things for granted (or make mistakes), so letting us know is appreciated.

If it’s a potluck- BRING SOMETHING. Don’t let everyone else carry the load of food and drink. It helps even to bring utensils, napkins, plates, etc. You don’t have to make something. You can buy something, or if you’re really poor, let the organizer know. I’ve been open to letting members help with setup or breakdown instead of food.

If you didn’t go, send an apology! It bothers me when people don’t show up but it shows a deep inconsideration to not apologize for the inconvenience. It lets the host know that you didn’t just forget them, and more importantly, that you’re not taking them for granted.

I was so disgruntled after Mabon, I’m not keen on having any more rituals this year.

What are your thoughts? Are you part of a group that has rules to deal with this? Have any suggestions? I’d love to hear from my readers.



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