12th January, 1999
You've been invited to a local Wiccan/Pagan circle at the high priestesses' house. You've never been to one before and you're not sure what you should do. Here are a few tips on what to do and what not to do when attending a gathering at someone elses' home.
1. Arrive on Time! - If you have been told to get there by 7 p.m., be there on time. There is a little thing in the Pagan community called "Pagan Time." This is the time kept by people who arrive 3 hours late. Personally, I don't buy it. Late is late and late is rude! Being a Pagan doesn't give you some right to be rude.
2. Introduce yourself - Make it your business to find the hostess and say a quick hello. Give a quick introduction and take your leave. The hostess has a lot to organise and doesn't need to hold your hand.
3. This is Someone's home! - Remember, this circle is being conducted in someones home. Don't wander around, and don't touch anything. Respect the trust placed in you when you were invited.
4. If you don't need it, don't bring it! - Many small circles are held in peoples homes, which usually aren't mansions. Don't bring a lot of ritual gear if you don't need it. Ask what you will need and bring only that. Also, ask how you should be dressed, e.g., street clothes or full ritual regalia.
5. Bring the hostess a gift - Don't spend a fortune. If it's your first time, what about a little jar of some incense you made or perhaps something a bit more practical, like a roll of charcoal blocks.
6. Food - if you are asked to bring food, find out how many people will be there and buy or prepare something appropriate. Don't bring a bag of chips or lollies! Finger food works best.
7. Wash - this may sound silly but do have a bath or shower before you arrive for the circle. Cleanliness makes the evening more pleasant for everyone else and it's also important to be clean when taking part in rituals. There is a reason (both practical and spiritual) why all religions promote cleanliness in relation to worship!
8. Children - If you have kids, ask if they are welcome at the circle. Not all rituals are appropriate for kids and they can be distracting if they get tired or bored. It shouldn't be up to someone else to look after them if you are busy.
9. Damage - the old adage, "You break it, you bought it!" holds here. You should replace any damages or brakages no matter what the hostess says. Have a look and find a replacement or send enough money to cover its replacement.
10. Circle Behaviour - Before the circle begins, find someone who is helping to organise the event and ask them to give you a rundown on what is expected of you. If there isn't time for this, do as you are told, keep your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open.
11. Don't Cause A Scene - if you have a problem with someone or with how the ritual was conducted, don't make a scene during or after the circle. If you feel strongly about it, speak to the relevant people at another time, and do so constructively.
12. Go Home! - Circles can be very draining experiences both physically and mentally for those who organise and run them. Learn when to leave. Thank the hostess for a nice evening and leave. If you notice the place is a mess, it would probably be much appreciated if you offered to help clean up a little. If the offer is refused, accept the refusal gracefully and leave.
When attending a circle you are often entering someone's home. Repect that. Also remember that you are taking part in a sacred celebration. Give it the respect and contribution that it deserves. And remember, good manners never go out of fashion!
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