Monthly Archives: May 2012

2-credit course on Ritual Construction

Please note: Until Akamai has a sensible policy in place concerning the use of copyrighted materials in course readers – and an IRB committee in place, this course will be delayed.  You can still speak with Elliot about enrolling when those two things are in place.

L. Kinyon - all rights reserved - 2012

Spiral Path: Sibley Volcanic Preserve – L. Kinyon – all rights reserved – 2012

Announcing! 2-credit course on Ritual Construction at Akamai (a progressive program in Psychology) – CE credits are available. Contact: “Elliot Benjamin” <ben496@_at_prexar(dot)com> for registration details. Ask me about contents. This class is “at-a-distance”, designed for students, but is also useful for the practitioner hoping to hone her/is skills in ritual creation.  (Ecumenical approach, but very Pagan-friendly in its design.)

Course description:  Beginning Ritual Construction (overview) This is an introductory course. (suggested: 6-8 weeks) Fully ecumenical in approach.

What makes for a meaning, beautiful ritual? Creating ritual in a spiritual community is an art form and a life-long learning process.  Different kinds of ritual and ritual events, from a meal blessing or a full moon observance to a large, public event celebrating the equinoxes or solstices to rite of passage have been created with more (and, less) success.  This course proposes to provide an introductory overview for the ritualist-in-training and the practitioner who wishes explore ritual creation in a deeper way.

Theory: Readings in reflection, wisdom, intent, and mindfulness. Practicum: readings and exercises in group dynamics & Human Activity Systems, organizing large & small events. There will be 3 short essays on selected topics a required final project.

We will explore the elements of a successful ritual:

  • Differences & similarities between a ceremony, a liturgy, ritual performance, and a ritual
  • The use of music, poetry, visual art, and dance.
  • Adapting for specific occasions and differing spiritual traditions with some emphasis on weddings/handfasting and other rites-of-passage.
  • Festival rituals for the “casts of thousands”

There will also be an on-line discussion forum for all students enrolled in the course for mutual sharing of knowledge & support.  For SF Bay area students (and those willing to travel) we will meet bi-monthly for hands-on discussion. Those in training in specific Pagan traditions will be required to actively participate in 2 of the 8 major Sabbats, at least one Esbat and present feedback from their respective clergy.  Other students in specific spiritual paths will have an equivalent requirement.



Yachats Celtic Music Festival– Yachats Oregon.

November 9-11, 2012.  Labyrinth Circle is bringing the “portable labyrinth”.

Handfasting Gown

Handfasting Gown!

The gown St Celcilia is wearing in this painting has inspired me: It would make a beautiful wedding/handfasting gown. I am prepared to create it for any bride who contacts me & will give me a year for the handwork. I will do the corresponding bridesmaids gowns as well – (so long as there are fewer than 4). Warning! It won’t be a “budget dress” – but – you will look glorious!

And- more Handfasting Music …

The forecast is sunny and warm and we are all eagerly awaiting the eclipse tomorrow.   My partner is working on a CD project for our friend Marc Silber and the music drifting downstairs to the office reminds me to post some more handfasting song suggestions.

First, there are a couple of sites popping up with general advice for handfasting couples: Oak & Mistletoe at has sample vows and the general overall structure you will need to make it a legally recognized wedding in the US, Canada, and the UK.   I will add others as they come up. Please feel free to add your links in the comments section below. (Warning: this page is moderated, proselytizing messages for other religions will be deleted.)

While exploring this music, I realized that all of these songs are infinitely suitable for rituals celebrating the heiros gamnos (holy marriage of Earth & Sky) at Beltane or Midsummer.  The thought – also– has come to me that a songbook might be really helpful for couples (along with their friends and families) in planning their Big Event.  More thoughts on this to come…there is a lot to think about when considering publishing music in print form (or POD).  Obtaining good sheet music and permissions from the songwriters is just the beginning.  While I may need to tap a musician as a co-author, please send me your suggestions and experiences in doing this kind of project. while on the subject of books, it is very important that, when you create the “order of service” for your handfasting, that you credit the songwriters and composers of the music that you use.  This simple courtesy is often left out, and it should not be.  If you love it enough to use it on your handfasting day, then a thank you! to the songwriter is a small thing to do.

In the “Pagan song cannon” are some beautiful songs by Deborah and Rick Hamouris’ on their classic 1986 recording Welcome to Annwfn.  Available from CB Baby @ (clips and downloads are also  to be found here.)  In particular, Strolling Song, the classic chant We Are a Circle, and Love as a River lend themselves to handfasting planning.  We are a Circle is widely used, often without crediting the songwriters, and in questionable time signatures.  It never hurts to consult the original.

Also in the cannon is Demeter’s Song by Starhawk (1983); a beautiful blessing song designed for prosperity and good fortune and sung at events from Reclaiming’s annual Spiral Dance to smaller sabbats everywhere. From Let It Begin Now: Music from the Spiral Dance, which can be ordered from the Reclaiming Quarterly. Also on Moonrise: Demeter’s Song available on Amazon at: (A lyric sheet can be found here:  A tiny bit of tweaking here and there, and this song could easily form the basis for handfasting vows.

My linked entries for today are  songs by New Mexico’s singer/songwriter, Celia Farran.  All  links include lyrics and a downloadable MP3.  (all songs are copyrighted: By Celia © 2012 Red Granite Goddess ASCAP )

This is terrific for the meditative opening of any ritual: Ground, Center, & Shield also on For The Asking.

A nice song to call the gathered celebrants to the circle: “For The Asking”

This is fun –Please Take My Hand on Carry Me Home. (3:51)

Also on Carry Me Home is a lovely blessing song that is useful for creating sacred space: Bless This Space  (3:28)

Enjoy and— remember: laugh … kiss your sweetie often …and, breathe… especially when trying on your gown!