The Sacred Grove is a thoughtform or egrigore that serves us as a temple without physical walls and embodies our Tradition in its liturgy and history. We go to The Grove whenever two or more of us seek a place to refresh our spirits and explore the unSeen depths and breadth of Ultimate Reality.
In preparation, we build our temple around us and establish our relationships with each other in that sacred space — physically where we are individually and spiritually together between the worlds — for the duration of our working.
Once between the worlds together, we invite the Lord & Lady to join us as we do the work we intended — ritual or training or discussion.
Attuned to their Presence, we journey deeper to meet with the Lord & Lady in their home in the Sacred Grove.
Eventually, we take our leave and return the way we came, to ground ourselves once more — with conversation and maybe cookies — before returning refreshed to our daily lives.
Two Perspectives on the Process
We have leapt boldly into the realm of spiritual engineering. With what we are undertaking together, we are performing one set of actions — primarily speaking, listening, and imagining in trusted company — to effect changes in our individual inner worlds. The Ritual is the product of our engineering and the use of that product to accomplish our aims. Understanding the engineering underlying the Ritual may be of interest — or may spoil the fun.
Going to the Grove
The Bard leads us to enter the grounded level of The Grove together, reminding us of our mutual intentions for this journey and of our individual responsibilities for our personal experiences. We are all participants; this is not a spectator sport.
We gather tonight to open the veil between the worlds, to seek the Lord and Lady, and to experience the Mystery of Their Love.
Hear this warning. To be touched by the Lord and Lady is to be changed. If you open yourself to that touch, you put at risk your comfortable view of the world. You risk experiencing a sense of awe to which worship is the natural response. You risk discovering Deity as your Lover and your Beloved.
Let none remain who is unwilling to be changed by Their touch.
Participants take on ritual roles as East, West, South, and North to claim the sacred space of The Grove and establish our relationships to it (and, by implication, each other). The Claimings are delivered with the same intent and intonation one might use in casting spells that build the walls of our temple surrounding the circle of participants.
East speaks, facing West:
In the name of the Lady of Light, and in my own name, I claim this circle as a place of Men. Let all who enter be bound to speak and hear the Truth.
West speaks, facing East:
In the name of the Sacred King, and in my own name, I claim this circle as a place of Women. Let all who enter be bound to Perfect Love and Trust.
South speaks, facing North:
In the name of the Lord of the Greenwood, and in my own name, I claim this circle as a place of Nature. Let all who enter be bound to the Sacred Web of Life.
North speaks, facing South:
In the name of the Queen of Heaven, and in my own name, I claim this circle as Sacred Space. Let all who enter be opened to the presence of God and Goddess.
The Bard leads the participants in joining together, one by one, into a circle and stepping from the grounded level of The Grove to the working:
We have stepped beyond Time, to a place not of Earth. In the presence of the Lord and Lady, we join together and are one.
We are between the worlds, together.
In this level, we proceed with whatever work was planned for the occasion. It is through The Working that the Tradition has been expanded and enriched over the past three decades. The Book of Shadows provides the wealth of detail, in particular:
This level usually begins with formal invitations to Lord & Lady to come, join with us. Usually, the Priest will invoke the Lady and the Priestess invoke the Lord. One recent addition has been invoking the & (AND), on behalf of the many connections and relationships between disparate entities.
In more elaborate rituals, East, West, South, and North will invite the Unseen spirits of the corresponding Element to stand in that place, teach us relevant virtues, and uphold the Pillar of that direction. By Tradition, East is the place of the Sword; West is the place of the Cup; South is the place of the Great Tree; and North is the place of the Standing Stone(s).
Meeting with Lord & Lady
In the deepest level of our work between the worlds we follow our leadings away from our plans and toward the depths of The Grove where, in the past, we have experienced the Presence of the Lord & Lady. In this time of mystical experience, we speak of what we perceive if we will, or we remain silent. Sometimes our speaking will lead to shared experience. In any case, this visit is unscripted, with the exception of someone — usually the Bard — taking responsibility for calling us to take our leave and return the way we came.