I swear I didn't forget about this series! School has been crazy busy and I have a bunch of personal stuff going on that has been taking up a lot of my time. Also, happy belated Imbloc! Having said that lets get into it.
So now lets talk about traditional rituals. Like in other religions Wiccan's have universal rituals that they do for certain milestones in a person's life. There are different rites for birth, marriage, death, etc.
When it comes to welcoming new life you can do a birth rite. This is the time when parents (possibly with other Wiccans) have a ritual to ask for the goddess of birth and motherhood to come in and watch over your pregnancy and your baby.
Then there is the naming ceremony (which can likely take place with the birth rite). This is the time where parents name their child in front of the god and goddess. You would also ask the god or goddess of your choice to give guidance to the child. You also introduce your child to the elements, deities, ancestors, and any other spirit you associate with and want in your child's life. These entities and any person in the circle would be expected to gift the child with blessings or gifts that will assist the child when growing up.
When a child is around 13 (when a female starts her cycle or when a male starts growing facial hair) you can do a ritual where you introduce your child to the elements, deities, ancestors, etc as an adult (as in the olden days you would have been thought of as an adult). Before then a child wouldn't have their own altar and wouldn't be leading their own rituals/magickal workings. At age 13 though this is when a person would start branching off and gathering their own materials for their own altar.
Then we have birthday rituals. This can be as simple is blowing out a candle and making a wish or do a full blown ritual where you recommit yourself to deity.
Next is handfasting. This is a time where friends and family get together to join two people together as one. This can be a legally binding marriage if want it to be or it can also just be a personal binding. You can make a vow for any amount of time. For a year, a lifetime, or just for as long as you both love each other. Often times a couples arms are tied together by ropes to signify their union and they make vows to one another in front of their guests, including the elements, deities, ancestors, etc. Anyone can officiate if you aren't making it legally binding. Some people will get a high priest(ess) or shaman to officiate. If you want a legally binding marriage you need to have someone qualified to do that to officiate.
We also have a ritual to celebrate the transition to croning. We are no longer maidens/youth or mothers/fathers. We are now crones who have lots of wisdom and knowledge. We are able to guide the youth and parents. This kind of ritual is more personal and is typically done on your own (or coven) with deity.
Our last big ritual is when one dies. When someone dies we take the time celebrate their life and to help heal the hearts of the living. In this ritual the living would ask the elements the deities the dead worked with, to help guide the loved one to whatever afterlife they believed in. They would also ask the ancestors to welcome the newly passed into their circle and to help them transition into this different type of existence. Each person would think of a good memory of the newly passed because that loved one will never truly be gone but simply just harder to reach.
All of these rituals are rituals of celebration, including the death/ages rites and aging and death are not thought of as coming to an end but rather getting ready for a new beginning.
The next post will be about the fae realm (faeries, gnomes, elves, ect)