The Art of Ritual
Publication 27th May 2016
The Art of Ritual takes you through every step of ritual format from the basics to the more unusual. What ritual is, how to create it, work with it and all the different aspects and stages of putting a ritual together and how to get the best out of it whether you are a solitary or within a group. From set up through the entire process including the cake...this book covers just about all you should need to know to give you the best ritual experience. Drawn from the author's own teachings and experiences this book also shares a variety or different ritual scripts and suggestions along with those from members of her coven.
Melusine Draco | Coven of the Scales
The word ‘ritual’ is enough to frighten people off if they immediately conjure up images of a full-blown Golden Dawn affair with all the trappings of high drama. In The Art of Ritual, Rachel Patterson has stripped away all the myth and reduced ritual down to its lowest common denominator – simple and effective.
As someone whose magical training has been at both ends of the scale – from the formal, intense rituals of the Egyptian Mysteries to the informal, spontaneous elements of traditional British Old Craft – it was refreshing to read a book that covers the middle ground in a sensible and highly informative manner. An idle introduction to the practice of ritualised magic.
Lucya Starza, author of Pagan Portals - Candle Magic
This is a really useful reference book for anyone who is wanting to create their own pagan rituals. The first part explains all the terminology and techniques you need to know, while the second part is full of ready-to-run examples. These include rites of passage such as hand fastings and baby namings, Wheel of the Year rites, Celtic tree celebrations, elemental rituals and rites to honour various Goddesses.
Written by a self-described “Kitchen Witch,” The Art of Ritual is a simple handbook for the concept and practice of Pagan rites. It’s perhaps one of the most satisfying books I’ve read on ritual thus far in terms of how much is covered. Patterson has thought of everything: Typical altar tools, how to prepare for ritual, working with deities, spellwork, and of course a selection of ritual scripts for the reader themselves to use.
What I found particularly impressive about The Art of Ritual was the wide range of rituals and celebrations included. In addition to the usual Wheel of the Year celebrations and handfastings, there are other rituals covered that aren’t particularly common in Pagan ritual books, such as male/female coming-of-age ceremonies, croning/sagings, and, something I’d never heard of before, Hand Partings (the Pagan equivalent of an annulment). Unashamedly eclectic, Patterson goes into rituals for a variety of different Pagan paths, including Hellenic, Celtic and Asatru. I especially liked her “Faery Ritual” for midsummer, incorporating bubbles and a lovely guided meditation; I can imagine this creating a really magical atmosphere.
Patterson writes in a chatty, laid-back style, which is somehow fitting for a Kitchen Witch. More scholarly Pagans may find this not to their taste, but for the novice Pagan (which I feel is the intended audience) it’s friendly and welcoming. This down-to-earth approach, together with the breadth of practical information presented and the easy-to-understand explanations, makes The Art of Ritual a great choice for beginners getting into the basics of ritual, before progressing on to more formal works.
Megan Manson - Patheos.com
The Art of Ritual by Rachel Patterson is a much-needed book in my humble opinion. Terms such as ritual Sabbats, and even kitchen witch can be misleading to a novice Wiccan or an outsider. Ms. Patterson starts the book by introducing herself and her background. This is so important because too many people penned books about subjects they know nothing about and deepening the divide between knowledge and misinformation. Author Patterson explains that our lives are composed of everyday rituals demystifying the word itself. Our intentions and visualization breathe life into our actions. The Art of Ritual explains the basics in a conversational style, and at times, both practical and humorous too. This is an easy read that not only walks the reader through setting up altars and a ritual, but includes sections for specific events or high holidays. This is an excellent book for someone who is mildly interested in learning about the Wiccan faith in an intellectual capacity. It’s a must have for a novice practitioner and can serve as a reference book too. I’d highly recommend it for your metaphysical bookshelf.
Most of the typical tools that most people associate with ritual are essentially foreign to me. Guess what? There’s a chapter about that in this book! And the materials are explained very well, without going into ad-nauseum detail. While some of the descriptives are aimed towards a Wicca-centric knowledge-base, Rachel does a wonderful job of writing this in a manner that doesn’t have that overarching feel.
Then there’s the section about ritual preparation, as well as very well explained examples of some of the phrasing that is seemingly commonplace. What I wouldn’t give to jump into a TARDIS with this book in hand when I was first learning ritual concepts in my infant steps within Wicca. It would have saved many an awkward moment for me, not knowing if I was asking a stupid question about the way something was said. This would have been complete gold for me at that time. So I am envious of those newbies taking their first steps within Paganism with a handy guide such as this.
There’s also a detailed look at the Elements and the roles that each play within a basic ritual concept, as well as some conversation on energy working, calling the Gods and Goddesses, and preparing one’s mental frame of mind. The second part of the book focuses on an explanation of various types of rituals, the concepts behind each, as well as some advice on how to prepare one’s self for rituals. But that’s not all…. The section on ritual planning, in my opinion is worth double the price of the book, in my opinion.
Again, I wish that I had some of this written somewhere that I could have studied and worked with in my early steps on my Pagan Path. Instead, I am envious of those that will have this resource available to them, and will be happy that I will too. Even if it may be thirty years into my steps to where I am now. I can only hope that through my study at this late point on my own Path, that I will become a better ritualist – not only as a solo Pagan, but also in the future when I get the chance to work with groups. Rachel, thank you for writing this gem.