Yesterday you wrote down your initial reactions toward the following words:
The questions I asked to prompt your exploration of these words were:
- What is my comfort level in using each word?
- How do I understand each word?
- How do I imagine each word impacts other people who are not involved with Wicca?
Today you can perform your first ritual act that will make use of your answers to these questions.
Practice: Melting Beliefs
What You’ll Need:
- Your answers from yesterday’s exercise
- A 5-6 inch white taper candle
- A candle holder
Take out the paper on which your thoughts are written. If you haven’t taken the time yet to consider your reactions to these words, look at your answers now, and pay special attention to words that are laden with emotions such as fear, anger, anxiety, hope, hopelessness, sadness, etc. Perhaps you’ve also expressed some positive associations with these words, but if you are like most students, a common emotional reaction to these words is fear and the entire spectrum of related emotions: anger, anxiety, and sadness.
Take time to review your answers to the questions and try to identify a common emotional theme or “tone” that may thread through your written reactions. Certainly you might encounter fear as a common theme, but what about curiosity, wonder, mistrust? The deeper you plunge into your thematic exploration, the more you may uncover. Once you have identified a common theme, write the theme in a single word. Take out your white taper candle and, using a pin, etch this single word lengthwise into the candle’s shaft.
In this next part of the exercise, you will explore the origins of your feelings and themes. From where do they arise? Are these feelings based in fact? Are they “inherited” beliefs?
Find a comfortable sitting position and close your eyes. Take a few breaths and allow the dominant feeling, the main theme of your emotional reactions, to emerge in your awareness right now. Whatever the emotional state you’ve noted, try to feel it fully within your body. Allow this feeling to transport you back in time to a scene from your life that can explain your feelings. The scene can be just about anything: a frightening bedtime story about Witches, a film, an illustration. Do not deny whatever scene emerges. Once you have an image that makes some sense, open your eyes.
Light the candle. As it burns, vow to remain aware of your feelings during your learning process over the course of this year and a day. As the candle melts your emotionally charged word away, changing its form into something else, imagine that your concepts formed from the past also melt and transform. When the candle finishes burning, take the wax and bury it someplace far away from your home.
A taper candle is a slender (usually slightly conical) candle, sometimes referred to as a dinner candle. I recommend 5- to 6- inch taper candles simply because you can find them almost anywhere, and they don’t take nearly as long to burn as the average 10- inch taper.
Now think over, discuss, and journal about these questions:
- What was it like to take part in this small ritual?
- What emotions did the ritual bring up in me?
- Did I “let go” of anything with this ritual?