Ritual: a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.
Rituals provide a template to guide our emotions and actions according to situations. Thereby, they bring a sense of familiarity and order in our life. The purpose of a pagan ritual is to bring our focus to effect personal and environmental change, particularly changes in consciousness.
Wiccan rituals have one of the simplest ritual formats you will find. Each step is clearly marked out and has a purpose. My former teacher used to describe holding ritual like throwing a fancy party for some distinguished guests.
First, you clean your house:
Clear the space of negative energy
Cleanse the ritual tools
Then you decorate:
Create a sacred circle
Set up the altar
Make sure you have security for your guests:
Summon the elemental protectors
Be sure to send out the invitations to your guests:
Evoke the Gods if you want to have their support for your ritual. If you want to draw the Gods into you, then you Invoke them. For for information read my post about Invoking vs Evoking.
Oh, your guests are hungry when they arrive, better thank them for coming and feed them:
Give thanks to the Gods
Now, time for the entertainment:
Perform magic or other work
Party is over, better say goodbye to your guests:
Say farewell to the Gods
Pay the security team and thank them for their help:
Give offerings to and release the elemental guardians
Lock up the house till next time:
Open the circle and release the energy
Once you have the basic format of a ritual, you can improvise and alter it as much as you like.
If you have any ritual formats that you would like to share or have a blog post about yours, I would love to read them. Please post them in the comments.