Downloading Cosmic Mind Through Group Ritual
A good magician has to be a good astrologer. If a magician performs a ritual at the wrong time, the experiment fails. But performed during what the Egyptians called the Kairos, the "auspicious moment," a successful outcome is likely assured. As modern, although unconscious, magicians, we can fail in our intentions because we choose the wrong moment. Success depends on understanding these potent times.
What is Ritual?
A ritual is an action for a specific purpose performed with intention. All of us perform unconscious rituals daily, such as what we do from waking up to getting out the door. Or we consciously participate in cultural rituals such as birthdays, marriages or funerals. Were you part of the millions watching and celebrating the birth of the millennium last New Year’s Eve? Then you were part of the largest collective ritual in our history. And did you know that last New Year’s Eve was a highly auspicious time for such a global celebration? Venus was conjoined with Chiron and Pluto in Sagittarius sextile to Neptune and Uranus in Aquarius. Translation? Our collective intention of love, harmony and connection truly had a magical effect that is continuing to unconsciously influence us today.
Why is ritual so important? Essentially, ritual acts as a conduit, a sort of tuning radar that is both a sending and receiving channel to cosmic energy. Ritual is important because it tunes us into and connects us to these universal archetypal energies. When we focus our intent at the auspicious moment, genuine magic and change is possible.
An Auspicious Time
The next ten months offer us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform ritual. For example, Neptune and Uranus, currently in Aquarius, the sign of group consciousness and mind moving, will trine Saturn and Jupiter in Gemini, the sign of personal communication. Saturn and Jupiter, in turn, will be in opposition to deeply cathartic Pluto in Sagittarius. This means there are many Kairos moments coming between September 27, 2000 (the New Moon in Libra) and June 21, 2001 (the Summer Solstice).
Steps for Creating a Ritual: Choosing the Time
Find the best time. This is the exact moment that you should be focused on the intention of your ritual. Be alert for times when the planets associated with the goal of your ritual are in positive aspects to each other - sextile or trine - and when they are in positive aspect to the Moon. Because most of the outer planets are in either Aquarius or Gemini, this next ten months is the time for ritual intent focused on the element of air. Now is our chance to identify and consciously release old ideas, thoughts and habits that have outworn their usefulness. Aquarius/Gemini planets are potently stimulated by the upcoming New Moon in Libra cycle between September 27 and October 13. The September New Moon in Libra creates a grand air trine with the outer planets. Rituals held at this time might focus on Libra themes such as love and beauty.
Setting Up Your Ritual
Now choose the place to hold your ritual - one that is large enough, comfortable and safe from intrusions. Either an outside sacred place with privacy or an enclosed indoor space will work.
Select the elements, or physical focus points for your ritual. The psychological benefits of ritual arise from carefully-chosen symbolic objects and actions. (ex: ritual tea or ritual herbs) For example, if you choose Mercury as the focus, select objects and colors that are associated with it. You might use the color yellow or a bird wing. Rosemary herb oil, also associated with Mercury, is helpful for clearing the mind for a ritual to bring good mental health.
Next, create a plan, with each step flowing smoothly into the next to progressively deepen your concentration and meditative state. Keep your ritual simple. Your strong intention and concentration will ensure success.
Orient yourself to the Earth by locating the four cardinal directions. Mark them on the ground. Create a simple altar for each direction with appropriate elemental offerings. In the east, the symbolic point of Aries, place a symbol of fire (a lit candle); at the point of north, or Capricorn, a symbol of earth (a rock or pot of soil); in the west, the point of Libra, you might place a bird wing symbolizing air; and at the point of Cancer or south, a bowl of consecrated water.
Performing the Ritual
Use a circle to create an enclosed and sacred space. Draw a circle (in your imagination or with chalk or string on the ground). Leave the two ends undone until your ritual begins and you step into the circle. Once inside, tie up the ends, closing the circle. In your mind's eye and with your focused will, imagine you are drawing a protective circle around your sacred space. You might write the names of various protective powers on slips of paper and place them around the circle.
Next, call in the power of the cosmic energy by saying the name of the planetary energy either out loud or silently. If you don’t have a name for this energy, refer to it as "spirit." Imagine energy drawn in from the cosmos, circulating down toward you in a clockwise direction. Use affirmation, visualization or quiet meditation on your ritual elements to direct the power. When your energy is focused, the ritual begins.
The key focus of your ritual might be prayer, meditation on an object, following a formal ritual process, ecstatic dancing or drumming. This is the time to concentrate your mind and willpower on your intention. Listen. Receive. The height of ritual is somewhat like multi-tasking. While you send your energy toward your intended goal, also be listening and pay close inner attention. This is the co-creative moment.
When you are through, imagine the energy moving counterclockwise and dissipating back to the cosmos or deity. Close your ritual by thanking spirit and the elemental energies and taking up the circle. Put a clear end to your ritual by "grounding" so you don't wander away still in a trance state. You can do this by standing barefoot on the Earth and feeling your connection while allowing any excess energy to drain from your body and into the ground. Eating something substantial is another way.
How effective your ritual is can be measured by how you feel in the hours, or weeks afterward. Do you feel flooded with feelings of well-being and clarity? Or renewed with vital mental energy? Intentions seeded near the New Moon will often come to fruition at the next Full Moon, so note the character of events in your life. Sometimes, your ritual may seem to have no results. All ritual works, though it may not work immediately or in the way you have imagined. The most important function of an astrological ritual is the creation of meaning. If what you do makes meaning, you have succeeded.
By Barbara Schermer
A magician, in this case, is a person who performs rituals to create change, not a stage illusionist.
If you choose to call in the cosmic energy by a specific name, especially a deity name, research the deity and its culture of origin (if it’s not yours) before the ritual. It’s important to make sure that who/whatever you ask for help is compatible with the focus of your ritual, and to honor the tradition from which it came. If you have never performed a ritual before, it is wise to forego calling a specific name in favor of calling on "spirit" or just "god."
In the Western magical traditions, it is common to use a different system of attributions for the elemental offerings: air in the east, fire in the south, water in the west and earth in the north. Choose which makes most sense to you symbolically. You can also incorporate ritual tea and herbs!