So, I’m reading Ann Moura’s amazing new manuscript. Yes, it’s been a while since this Green Witch author wrote a new book for us, but it’s turned out to have been well worth the wait. This is the most serious book on all types of Esbat magick that I’ve read since working here. (And sorry, you probably won’t see it on shelves until Fall 2010!)
However, it’s brought up a concern of mine, which we’ll talk about at the Vision meeting next week. Basically there are several lengthy rituals included in the first half of the book – one for the waxing crescent moon, one for the full moon, for the new moon, for the waning crescent, the Blue moon, the Sidhe moon, the lunar eclipse and the solar eclipse. Each ritual starts out with a list of correspondences for that particular esbat – candle colors, recommended incense, recommended cakes and wine, and so forth. But then you have the ritual itself, starting with casting the circle (4 pages), calling the quarters (1 page), calling the God and Goddess and chanting the Witch’s Rune (3 pages), before actually getting to the meat of the ritual. These formulaic bits are almost identical for every ritual in the book, save for a few word changes.
Then we have several pages of the ritual itself, which includes invoking blessings, acknowledging the phase of the moon with its unique energies, calling on the appropriate goddess for the moon phase, chanting, and so forth. Then there is a space where your magic of choice, in synch with the energies of the moment, may be inserted.
After this, we return to the formulaic once again: cakes and wine (3 pages), the circle opening (2 pages), farewell to the elementals (1 page) and a final benediction (1 page).
So my question is this: do you appreciate such detailed instructions to ritual in a book, or are you going to use your own form of casting circle, calling quarters, cakes and wine, anyway? When reading a witchcraft book, do you prefer to see one complete full-length ritual template, with suggested variations listed separately, or would you like to see each such variation in its entirety so that you can more easily work directly from the book? In the case of Ann Moura’s book here, do you really need to see the ritual in full 8 separate times, or would one – plus lots of notes – suffice?
Following the rituals, the second half of the book deals with the specific energies of the moon, depending on what mansion it’s in. The mansion is even more specific than the moon’s current zodiacal sign, so you’ll need to consult an ephemeris or website to determine it. Then you take the moon mansion, look it up in either the waxing to full or waning to new phases, and plug that information into one of the rituals that I mentioned above, for your current moon phase.
To me, the information on moon mansions’ energies and what kinds of magic they lend themselves to is the really exciting part of the book, the part that hasn’t been done before. Would it be enough to present this information, without the rituals? Do you prefer to use your own rituals, or, in very specific workings like this, do you prefer to use ones that have already been lovingly and meticulously constructed?
Sure, if we cut the rituals out (or just gave one example ritual in full), the book’s size would decrease by half. However, it would still be a very deep, informative, and lengthy book without the rituals. And the price could be lower.
If you have input one way or another, please let me know! It really helps to know how people would ultimately like to read and use our books – in real life, not in the editor’s seat.