Over the years I’ve been to a few rituals where peace has been a significant focus, and heard about others. With Peace One Day falling on the 21st of September, it makes a lot of sense to incorporate peace elements into autumn equinox rituals.
Whatever the size of the group, it’s important to give everyone the chance to express themselves in ritual. A simple option is to give everyone the opportunity to offer a personal commitment to peace, peaceful action or supporting peace initiatives. Sharing ideas in ritual enables people to inspire each other, and being supported by others makes any planned changes easier to maintain.
Another effective option is to make an extended call for peace. As you turn to each of the four directions, don’t just call for peace, but take the time to consider where, in that direction, peace is needed. Again this gives everyone the opportunity to participate, sharing prayers and ideas.
I was at a ritual many years ago where we were invited to bring water from our part of the world, with peace meditations and a mingling of waters and intentions. As the water sources were unknown we didn’t risk adding chlorine to a stream, and so the collected waters were poured into the drain. It was a poignant moment, and very real. Two years ago Druid Network people across the globe really pulled out the stops for Peace One Day – including a ritual in Parliament Square, London (I wasn’t there, I wish I had been though, awesome thing to do.) At Bards of the Lost Forest, we’d taken inspiration from the London scheme, and made flags – awen prayer flags, slogans etc. “Make tea not war” and hung them around our ritual space for the duration. It need not be all dour seriousness. We can celebrate peace, and play together as well.
Lighting candles is traditional for peace vigils, so is song. The sixties bequeathed us a wealth of anti war protest songs so there’s a lot of material to draw on. Bards amongst us can no doubt add to the mix with original creations. Ritual or solitary meditations on peace are well worth exploring too. Then there’s the option of supporting an organisation who you feel contribute to peace, or do good work in war zones. That may include local community building activities.
Celebrate what peace we have. If you have never been called upon to take arms and kill another human being then take this time to be grateful. Think of those who have been compelled to fight, and those who have sought it. Think of those who will never know peace in their lives – whose circumstances or psyches preclude it. Rejoice in what you have, and dream of ways in which it could be so much better. Let those visions of peace guide you forwards.