Even in its heyday, the Sanguinarium did not appeal to everyone, but there are many individuals whocelebrate the spirituality of the vampire. Because of this, even with the lingering Sanguinarium influence, I feelthe rituals compiled here can have relevance to some aspects of our community. Certainly, with a few alterationshere and there to customize the rites for a specific group, many of these rituals can be appropriate to anyonewho feels drawn to that powerful archetype. It’s important to keep in mind that even at the time of their originalwriting, none of these rituals were cast in stone. The section on “living ritual” addresses this more fully, butsuffice to say that I firmly believe rituals should grow and change as the need for them grows and changes, andindividuals should never feel shy about tailoring the rites to their own tastes in whatever ways seem mostappropriate. Perhaps the most important lesson you can take away from the introductory portions of this book isthe knowledge that a ritual has no power if it does not appeal directly to those who are participating in it. Assuch, treat your ritual work as divine play. Change the rules when it feels right, and adapt the words so you canfeel your heart resonating through them.
December 14, 2003
Chapter One:An Introduction to Ritual
Ritual is most often associated with gods and with religion. When Wiccans perform ritual, they are invoking theGoddess and her consort, the God, bringing their presence down into the sacred space. When Catholics performritual, they are calling their God to be present at the ceremony, in the form of the Eucharist. However, ritual itselfcan be independent of specific gods or even specific religious practices. In this respect, ritual is a tool used toachieve a heightened state of consciousness, awareness, and focus, especially in a group setting.Ritual is often performed with an expressed purpose such as to reaffirm the bonds shared by a community, tocelebrate a particular time of the year, or to acknowledge an individual's rite of passage. Rituals can beconstructed for extremely specific goals, and these will vary depending upon the group, the individual, and thesituation. The heightened state that ritual inspires in the participants enables them to raise energy, harness it,and direct it toward a unified goal.An additional purpose of ritual is to build a temporary or permanent structure of energy known as sacredspace. Within the confines of sacred space, ordinary reality is heightened and refined so that it may come morecompletely into contact with the realm of spirit. Ritual establishes sacred space as a crossing-over point betweenthe spiritual and the mundane so that the participants can move beyond the confines of ordinary reality.Ritual often utilizes hand gestures, drama, music, the spoken word, and objects that appeal to all the senses.The use of candles and incense is common, as is the use of specific ritual clothes. These all serve as tools thatestablish focus and move awareness from ordinary reality to a more elevated frame of mind.Ritual balances the sacred and the mundane, integrating body and spirit for all who participate. The elevatedstate of ritual is very energetically healthy and it provides an atmosphere that induces clarity, focus, and refinedawareness. Ritual can also facilitate contact and integration with your Higher Self and for this reason can be veryenlightening and empowering.Sacred space improves the quality of energy in an area, and maintaining a constant presence of sacredspace creates a cascade affect that heightens and refines the energy in a widespread location. For thesereasons, it is very helpful to integrate some aspect of ritual into your regular routine. It does not matter what form