Bringing Your Group Ritual Online
It’s a weird time right now for those of us used to group ritual. We are all learning to adjust to the stay-at-home/ quarantine orders. For many of us, this means taking our events online. This could mean workshops, classes and even rituals. In order to continue our connection to our spiritual learning and experiences we can connect with our friends and loved ones on the internet.
It’s important to know how to move your rituals online.
Online ritual has come a long way. I started doing online ritual back in the late 90s/ early 2000s via chat. This was way before video chat was a thing. It was really rough. I had a few techniques that I imparted in order for everyone to stay connected, even through simple text. We spoke our words of power and typed or copied and pasted them.
Online rituals have come a LONG way.
We have more options for online ritual now- more layers of connection. By learning how to do this, you’ll be able to connect well over the internet, much like an in-person ritual. If you are used to in-person ritual, the energy is not going to be the same. It just isn’t. But that doesn’t mean that your ritual can’t be powerful or meaningful. It totally can be both of these things.
What kind of rituals work online, what kind of rituals do not?
If you are planning to do a ritual with other than needs a lot of physical energy raised together – online ritual might not be the format for you. When you are doing dance, or other physical energy raising, it might be difficult, as each person in the circle will have different circumstances. This might mean a lack of space for dance, or lack of privacy, or lack of child care.
Sedate rituals work better online. Some people will be on their desktop. Some on laptops, tablets or even phones. When you are planning your group ritual, consider the mediums that your circle will be using to participate. You’ll want to be inclusive to all mediums, because even if someone plans to use a laptop, it might run long and they may have to switch to a phone or desktop. Make sure your ritual will work with all devices.
Type of ritual: one person led vs. true group rituals
There are two types of “group rituals.” One is where the leader leads the entire ritual and the other participants are simply that- participants. We see this often with public ritual, or rituals led by one person online. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, this sort of ritual is much easier than an true group ritual.
The other type is true group ritual, where you have multiple people doing different parts of ritual. This can get difficult when you have multiple people on active audio and not automatically muted. When you center a ritual like this, it’s important that you have a ritual leader that understands the tech and knows when to mute and when NOT to mute.
When people are speaking at the same time. There will likely be a delay that will throw off those who are speaking, and it can throw the energy as well.
If singing is involved. Same issue- due to different networks, it will likely not sync up. Another option is to assign parts to sing. Every one can sing a part, but singing together will likely not work well in an online ritual. At least, I have yet to find an affordable option that will allow this.
When NOT to mute:
Don’t mute if you are seeking input. Or when people are sharing experiences. When it’s necessary to speak to one another, you’ll want it to seem as natural as possible.
Lucky for us, tech is amazing right now, and has afforded us several options. I use Zoom for just about everything, from coaching sessions to work meetings to coven ritual. If you don’t want to use Zoom, though, Facebook has created a Room option and opened it to most Facebook groups. There’s also Skype or Microsoft Teams, as well. You’ll want to research the best option for your ritual.
Testing your tech
You’ll want to test your tech before you hold your ritual, especially if your ritual is something that people paid for (as opposed to a coven or free community ritual). Find a friend to help you test all of the features so you are super comfortable with the service before your first ritual. Learn how to let people in, how to mute people, use video and how to boot someone if it becomes necessary. Knowledge is power, here.
Right before you begin- checklist
- Make sure you’ve sent the actual online invite info to those who are attending.
- Remember to test your equipment beforehand, especially if you have multiple cameras / plan to screenshare.
- If you use Zoom, use security options such as the waiting room if possible. At least use the password option. Keep your online sacred space safe.
- Choose how you will welcome people and keep people busy before the actual start of the ritual, while everyone is joining. This could be a song you share with a slide, or small talk. Just have a plan.
- Decide when and where you will use mute (and when you will unmute). This will allow for a smooth ritual and with a smooth ritual, the energy flows smoothly.
- Decide on a cut-off time and how you will wrap it up. Online, this can seem awkward, so having a plan really helps.
Lessons learned and adjustments for next time
Once your ritual is over and everyone has left, make notes as to what you will do different next time.
Lastly, be kind to yourself. Adjust your expectations- this is likely not going to feel like your average in-person ritual and that’s okay. You are doing something. You are fostering the connection. This is something and it is enough.