I led a mixed-gender Dianic coven for many years. We met every Saturday night for ritual and we pretty much did the same thing every week. We brought potluck food to share and then we went back to the circle space in the woods in the backyard.
We lit a fire and decorated the altar. We smudged everyone in the circle and anointed them. We raised the circle by calling the quarters. We drew in the Goddess/es. We spoke the names of Absent Friends. We called in our Beloved Dead.
We discussed where energy would be sent and came to consensus. Then we danced, drummed, chanted and raised energy and sent it away in a cone of power. Then we grounded ourselves with the ceremony of Cakes and Ale. And we sat on the ground and sometimes did a pass-along story to amuse our kids and ourselves.
Then we thanked the guardians of the directions and the Divines and the Beloved Dead and said the old charm of promise and vision–the circle is open but never again broken. May the Goddess awaken in every heart. Merry meet and merry part. And merry meet again. We shared a meal and all went home.
It was a familiar pattern and I repeated most of it tonight in the Mother Grove Full Moon ritual. My eyes are still stinging a bit from the incense and the butt-end of a smudge stick but it was precious and deep and very good.
Like coming home to a place you’ve been so many times and it was all brand-new.