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In preparing for the Yule ritual, one of the things I have done is worked on a paper copy of the ritual, making necessary changes for the ritual space, the time allotted, and assigning parts to those who will be filling the roles. One of the things I noticed about the basic sacrifice ritual in Serith’s book while transcribing it and making these changes is the amount of repetition in the ritual.
Repetition can be a useful tool. Keeping on the same subject and repeating information can help someone commit that information to memory. In ritual, repetition can remind the mind of the sacredness of ritual, of the focus on certain symbolism, and of the attributes of the spirits. Repetition can also cement things magically, such as performing the same act three times, or saying three similar phrases. Three is a common number for repetition in ritual, especially for Indo-European rites.
Is this repetition always necessary, though? That is the conundrum I find myself asking. In transcribing the ritual, I first noticed the length of the ritual. Most of my rituals have been between three and four pages in length, and ADF rituals I have run or written can span between three and six. Right now, I’m at eight for the transcription, and that’s after cutting down some significant portions. Not too bad, but pretty wordy, and a lot of that wordiness is repetition. This isn’t a complaint, simply an observation as I write things down.
On the upside, I have volunteers for Fire Tender and Ner. That should make the transcription easier, and allow for things to work out more as they are expected to do so.
I usually do a rite once a month on or around the Full Moon. Since Wednesday I had a meeting, and Thursday was Thanksgiving, I chose to do the ritual tonight. This post is concerning the practice and the thoughts I have of it after.