Pagan ritualsThe majority of the expressions of paganism are magical, they promote the use of ritual practices individual or communal to achieve personal change and of the environment, in particular, changes in consciousness. Rooted in pre-modern magical practices (where pagan rituals were seen as creating a direct physical change in the environment), the pagans often have a more sophisticated understanding of pagan magic and pagan rituals, according to the definition of "magic" as "The art of changing consciousness at will."
Pagan magic can be divided into two categories: thaumaturgy (the work of wonders) and theurgy (divine work). Supernatural magic tends to be practice-oriented, magic with a specific goal in mind, whether win a fortune, lose weight, cause crops to grow or move cancer. Practitioners of this type of magic can exercise on their own or on behalf of another.
The Theurgy, in contrast, has a more spiritual and devotional approach: the magic takes place to promote intimacy with a god or goddess, to achieve union with the deity or deities, or to approach a more sacred or divine state.
Wicca pagan rituals and others can incorporate one or both elements thaumaturgists and theurgists. Depending on the beliefs of the person or group to perform the ceremony, pagan rituals can be oriented to one or more specific deities, ancestral spirits or fairies, nature in general (sometimes personified as a goddess of the Earth), or to a generic understanding of "the God and the goddess."
In the same way, depending on the beliefs and values that represent the ritual, the tone of the ceremony can be devotional, worship, or explicitly more magical. In this sense, there are also different types of pagan: a devotional or worship ritual makes little or no application to the spirits that are invoked, while magical ritual instructs or even ordered the spirits to fulfill the will of the magician.
The rituals themselves can take an almost infinite variety of forms, especially given the strong attitude within the large pagan community to follow the own intuition and the creating of some or all of the elements of personal spiritual practice. Pagan rituals can be learned from elders and teachers, copied from a book, or created by yourself. Rituals and magic acts often make use of symbolism, which can include the decoration of the ritual space with objects or colors to symbolize the elements or the gods being summoned. Specific tools can be used (for example, the athame or ceremonial knife, used to demarcate a magical boundary in the air that separates the ritual space of your worldly environment), and clothing colors or robes that can be used to help create a sense of separation from ordinary consciousness and the opening to the flow of magical energy.
Some groups or traditions can have taboos associated with their Pagan (for example, a prohibition against the use of watches or have electronic devices such as cellular telephones in the ritual). Candles, essential oils, incense, crystals, bells, drums or other musical instruments, and ritual foods (by offerings to the gods and / or consumption by the participants), everyone can be part of a ritual, depending on their purpose and function. Rituals can be performed indoors, although supporters of nature religions often opt to perform ceremonies in places outdoors - such as a forest or around a bonfire.