Pagan Ritual Service
I attended ritual; that is all I need!
Sabbat-Esbat Pagan Mentality
Just like in Christianity with the Sunday-morning, Christmas, Easter only Christians, Paganism has their Sabbat-Esbat Pagan only Pagans. There is the feeling that "I attended Ritual and that is all I need". Those that have this mentality are missing out on spiritual growth and the connection with the Divine. Having a spiritual life is part of bringing balance into our daily life. Parts of our life include a full-time job, raising children, family obligations, school, household duties, and social responsibilities; but our spiritual life is void. When we feel that something is void in our life, often a personal spiritual life is lacking.
Pagan Ways: Finding Your Spirituality in Nature
Going to ritual makes me pagan.
Sabbat-Esbat Only Pagan Common Ideology
As an Interfaith Pagan minister, some of the practices observed of Sabbat-Esbat Only Pagans are discussed here.
I attended Ritual. Many Pagans attend a monthly New Moon or Full Moon Esbat or a Sabbat rite which occurs about every six weeks and that is all that they feel is necessary. These rites are led by a spiritual leader who has designed the rite for a specific purpose and most leaders will request that all present participate. For some, they participate with passion and grow spiritually, but many just go through the motions of what is asked of them.
The Priest or Priestess will talk to the Divine on my behalf. In Paganism, Pagans are seen as priests and priestesses in their own right. This means that no one needs to intercede on your behalf to commune with the Divine. While priests and priestesses who are clergy will often pray, meditate, etc. on the needs of those they minister to in their community, individuals have the responsibility to commune with the Divine one-one-one.
Only pagan leaders need to be in service to the Old Gods and the old ways. Other than attending the occasional ritual, there is a mindset that only those in leadership are in service to the Old Gods. This service is in providing wisdom, healing, and ritual to and for the people; and offerings and communion to the Divine. Not true. Pagans must have a personal relationship with the Divine and service to their community. We do not just live to oneself.
I live by the "Rede". All that is needed is to live by the Wiccan Rede of "Harm None." That's great that one lives a moral life. Many, whether religious or not, live by a moral code of "Do Unto Others", "What you send out comes back", "The Golden Rule", but his is still is not in service to one's community. What else is the individual doing to make the community better? Service does impact our spiritual life. What is on the inside is reflected on the outside.
Going to ritual makes me a Pagan. Just like going to church does not make one a Christian, the same thing applies to Pagans. Going to ritual does not make one a Pagan. Participating in ritual without application of what is taught is like having firewood to get warm without actually lighting the firewood. There is no "fire". Applying what is taught helps us to grow spiritually. If one has a ritual to bring about the manifestation of a new job, but does nothing more after the ritual, the job will not be brought to fruition. However, if one applies the ritual by writing a resume, sending the resume to a several potential employers, and then goes to several interviews, there is a great probability that one will manifest the fruits of labor.
I just follow the teaching of the Priest or Priestess. Priests and Priestesses are guides to spiritual development. They cannot live a spiritual life for those in their covens, groves, troths, etc. Spiritual development can only come by studying with an open-mind from various sources such as scientific study, metaphysics, mysticism, magical application, comparative religion studies, etc. and applying them to one's own personal life. The greatest teacher, of course, is experience through the application of what is studied.
Develop your own Spiritual Path
Avoiding becoming a Sabbat-Esbat Only Pagan
So, how does one become more than a Sabbat-Esbat Only Pagan.
Here are some guidelines to help those who want to become a Spiritual Pagan.
Daily exercise. For one to develop spiritual muscles, one must practice every day. Exercise includes meditation, praying, studying, magical applications, personal reflection, etc. Pick a specific time every day to exercise and stick with it.
Commune with the Divine. This can be considered a part of "Daily Exercise", but may not be. Communing with the Divine may include focusing on a particular deity, however one sees deity, and listening for messages from the deity; walking through the woods; sitting by a lake or pond; going on spiritual quest; singing or dancing; gardening; massage; or healing. Each person communes with the divine in his or her own way.
Document spiritual practice. Keep a journal, diary, or Book of Shadows to log your daily practice. This will help to document your spiritual growth. Write experiences that you have while performing your "daily spiritual exercise"; any thoughts that come; rituals that are performed; prayers and chants that express your spirituality; etc.
Service. Service to the community and to the Old Ways is an outward expression of spiritual development. Service may include teaching, leading ritual, healing, or just giving a smile to someone who may need it.
Take responsibility. Responsibility for one's own spiritual practice is moving beyond a spiritual leader spoon-feeding doctrine and philosophy. Responsibility of learning is choice as to what is important spiritually in one's life. There is a choice to personally believe philosophy or doctrine or not and apply the teachings that as an individual one is passionate about. The philosophies and doctrines that make the individual a better person.
One does not have to go to a group ritual in a coven, grove, or troth to be a Pagan just like one does not have to go to church to be a Christian. We know true Pagans and Christians by their application of a spiritual relationship with the Divine. These individuals have moved beyond just attending a service and are living their spirituality.
- Sabbat-Esbat only Pagan
- Personal spiritual relationship with Deity
- Spirituality reflected in daily life
Rite of Life Passage
Insights into Spiritual Relationship
Please feel free to share your insights into Spiritual Relationship between Deity and individuals.
Sabbat Only Pagan?
Do you consider most Pagans as Sabbat only Pagans?
Books on Pagan Spirituality
Books on Pagan Spirituality
© 2014 Rev. Candy Lacey-Partlow