Have you ever wondered how to bless a new project, invoke healing for someone, help children farewell a pet, or inspire hope and regeneration in a community group?
Would you like to be able to create simple rituals for special occasions such as moving house or welcoming in a new baby?
The Sacred Art of Ritual
Perhaps you have already experimented with creating a ritual, but have run into problems. You want to use everyday language and relate naturally to the other participants, but when you do this, the ritual flattens into social chitchat and fails to satisfy. Or you attempt to access the heights and depths of sacred ceremony but end up feeling you’ve become a cold and distant authority figure.
The mistake most people make is either to follow prescribed formulas, taken from a book, or to try and create their own without knowing the principles of sacred ritual. The first can easily result in a lifeless, stiff process; the second in a shambles.
This is why I’m offering The Sacred Art of Ritual, a seven-week online course that will help you develop the strength and confidence that comes from a solid grounding in the principles and the support of a group.
What will The Sacred Art of Ritual give you?
- Grounding and confidence in creating your own rituals
- A basket of knowledge, at the ready to ease times of transition
- Safety and solidarity through sharing with a group of kindred spirits
- A greater dimension to your experience of life
- The inner strength to share rituals with your family and communities
- A key to creating your own group with which to explore and celebrate
Why is ritual important?
Life doesn’t move in a straight line. We may be plunged into the depth of loss or lifted into the height of celebration. In between, we experience transitions, those passages from one state to another that can bring about vulnerability and disorientation.
During transition, ritual can ease disruption by attending to your need to release, honour and move forward. In addition, ritualising your losses, joys and transitions opens you up to the spiritual dimension of life. To be held in sacred space during times of grief can bring comfort, safety and a strengthening of trust. In times of joy, sacred holding allows the heart to open to the heights of ecstasy and wonder.
We need rituals at many times, whether for healing or transformation, celebration or mourning. To learn to create your own is to empower yourself, and to enrich your life immeasurably.
For ritual to be life-affirming, it needs to remain alive, and move with the present moment. Too little structure and a ritual can quickly lose its power. With too much structure, as in some prescriptive enactments, a ritual can become rigid and deadening.
With a balance of structure and creativity, rituals can express great wonder and create a profound bonding between group members. However, it can be challenging to get this balance right, as many have discovered.
What kind of cookbook are you using?
When I was twenty years old, newly married and cooking for the first time, I thought I just had to throw ingredients into a pan, and all would be well. If you’d sat at the table with my husband and tried to swallow the stir-fry I served up after the honeymoon, you would know what a tasteless mess I produced. The carrots were raw, the cabbage overcooked, the onion dominated and the chicken was burnt.
After a week of such disasters, a friend told me about the Penguin Cook Book. This wasn’t so much a book of recipes (which to my creative impulses were boring formulas) as a book of cooking principles: how to make a sauce, a starchy pudding or a cake. Along with the principles, interesting variations were suggested: parsley or fish sauce, chocolate, cinnamon or ginger.
Within a month I was creating delicious dishes, ever changing, yet based on the same simple principles that were easy to grasp and apply. And when friends arrived on the doorstep unexpectedly I had the confidence to create interesting food at a moment’s notice, using a range of ingredients from my kitchen cupboards.
Know the seven principles
So it is with creating your own rituals. Once you know the principles, you can quickly and easily create events that will delight your friends and family: rituals that include fun and laughter, a sense of wonder, depth, and maybe even a tear or two.
No more lonely candles
Creating private rituals on your own—lighting a candle for an absent loved one, gathering symbols for each season, or calling in healing—is special. But it can also be lonely.
Do you sometimes long to be part of a group, and enjoy the collective energy, support and excitement that come with co-creation? —to be part of a circle of candles?
Do you long to be held by something greater than yourself and to access a feeling of creativity and power?
Let me share a secret. Many of the groups that sprang up after my ritual courses in the ‘80s and ‘90s, have stayed together for years. Some are still meeting; in fact my own group has been celebrating the eight seasons of the year for nearly three decades.
Some groups have known when to seek help and input in order to sustain growth and depth. If you are already in a group, you might enjoy The Sacred Art of Ritual as an opportunity to refresh your practice.
Another secret is to have common principles and values, and a shared vision of how to create and hold sacred space. If you’d like to create a group, my advice is to invite two or three others to join the course with you. The alchemy of being in sacred space together for six weeks will set you off to a head start.
Doing Juliet’s ritual course back in 1990 changed my life. I felt guided from a very safe place as I discovered the power of working with symbols, and ways of connecting my inner world with the outer world. It was like the lighting of a sparkler in the dark — magic out of nowhere! The group that some of us formed after that course is still going strong twenty-five years later. It’s a place to relax, let go of the stresses of the workaday world, celebrate our beloved earth, and be there for each other as well as ourselves.—Dr. Kathryn Rountree, author of Embracing the Witch and the Goddess: Feminist Ritual-makers in New Zealand
Can the sacred be experienced online?
You may be wondering if you can experience the sacred through an online course. The answer is yes. I know this through my own experience as a recipient, from the ‘Seasonal Attunements’ that I’ve been offering since winter 2014, and the success of the first Sacred Art of Ritual course in April/May 2015.
People are becoming more and more adept at connecting and deepening in virtual space. It’s a mystery and a delight of our digital age.
In these online events, participants have reported feeling ‘safely guided’, ‘a high degree of trust’ [in the group] and ‘surprised by the deep gifts that arise so gently’.
Is this course for me?
The course is for you if you are adventurous, open to new experiences, and look forward to experiencing for yourself the magic and sacredness of ritual in an online forum.
Joining Facebook will be a requirement, as this is one of the ways we will be sharing. Even if you are not currently on Facebook, this is a safe and protected way to benefit from this online resource through joining a secret group. Facebook novices have been surprised and delighted by this way of meeting.
I am delighted to have discovered how creative and enjoyable ritual can be, while simultaneously being powerful and profound. There was such depth of connection between participants – both through the evening meetings and the Facebook group. We were continuously held and supported by you, Juliet in a beautiful and safe way. It was an amazing course. Your dedication, experience, and strong aligned loving presence totally inspire me.
—Amy Cowling, energy healer and intuitive artist, Auckland
The course is designed for those who are completely new to ritual, as well as those who have been in a group for some time.
Despite having participated in a ritual group over a number of years under the guidance of Juliet’s books Celebrating the Southern Seasons and Dancing with the Seasons, I was amazed at how much richness and depth I experienced in the online ritual space. I found a deeper and more profound way of connecting with my group after having done The Sacred Art of Ritual.
—Jennifer McGarry, psychotherapist, Auckland
The experience I bring to this course
I have been enacting rituals on the land since I was a child growing up in Taranaki. As an artist I have created rituals and performance pieces on beaches, parks, caves and volcanic cones since 1979.
Later, when teaching art courses and facilitating collaborative art projects for women, I naturally began incorporating rituals into the work. From 1986 I have taught ritual courses to hundreds of students in my home, and through University and adult education institutions. I have been invited all over the North Island of NZ to teach ritual workshops in towns and communities, and since 2010 have also led seasonal retreats. More recently I’ve developed the ‘Seasonal Attunements’, which are offered online.
In 1988 I published my first book, Power From Within, on the art of ritual. Celebrating the Southern Seasons, on cross-cultural rituals, followed this in 1995 (reprinted and revised in 2005). Then in 2005 came the award-winning A Cup of Sunlight: discovering the sacred in everyday life, and in 2010 Dancing with the Seasons (shortlisted for a major award). Public rituals in halls, conferences and outdoor locations have been numerous, the largest being with 100 women on Te Henga Beach in 1986 as part of ANZART.
My Maori teacher introduced me to indigenous spirituality when I was at primary school, As an adult I have studied in person with many visiting teachers from the USA and UK, including Jean Houston, Rupert Sheldrake, Z Budapest, Luisa Teish, Olivia Quevedo, shaman Sandy Ingerman, Celtic shaman Caitlin Matthews, and Druid Philip Carr-Gomm.
I have been meditating daily since 1983, and engaging in the practices of selfless service, chanting and scriptural study. My love of rituals has deepened over the years, and now includes a particular interest in working with children and families and bringing this work to greater numbers of people through online courses.
What will the course cover?
- The principles: seven stages of ritual
- Use of symbols
- Invocations and focus
- Creating and holding sacred space
- Ideas for specific rituals
- Introducing magic and surprise
- Forming a ritual group
When and how?
Dates: Tuesday evenings July 19—August 30, 2016
Time: 7.15 – 8.45 pm NZ time
This is a seven-week online course in two three-week sections, with a week’s rest in the middle. The course will be accessed via your computer or phone. All sessions will be recorded; so if you miss one you can still participate. Numbers will be limited.
What will happen in a session?
Each session will include teaching, experiential elements, and a question and answer session. You will be given an assignment to complete before each class.
In addition, we will meet in a secret Facebook group where you can post images of your symbols and altars, share successes and wonderings, and interact with one other. Twenty four hours before each teaching session you will be asked to post a check-in on the secret Facebook page.
Three ways to take the course
- Live, on Tuesday evenings.
- Through the recordings, if you are unable to attend live. You will receive a recording of each class the next day. You will receive the assignments, be included in the Facebook secret group, and receive any additional teaching materials. I will find ways of including you on the live calls, even though you are not physically present.
- Some may choose to do a combination of the above, i.e. if there is a class you are unable to attend live.
Before the course begins you will receive a bonus gift in the mail to start you on the journey.
Note: This course is time-zone-friendly for people in Europe and Australia. Tuesday evening in New Zealand will be morning in England. So do let your friends know about it!
I now feel a lot more connected and aware of the elements and the power of symbols. The course was held online and yet the connections between us in the circle were so strong. The course was succinct, clear, well organised, informative, transformational, supportive, and healing.
—Bronwyn Evans, gardener, Auckland
Juliet’s workshop [The Art of Ritual, 2010] was powerful and nourishing. She has a plethora of experience and wisdom and her teachings are creative and grounding. I will draw on this experience in my ritual work for the rest of my life.
—Rebeka Whale, Experience Designer Wellington
Juliet is a teacher who penetrates to the essence of what is important and focuses it with clarity and insight. I have learned a lot from collaborating with her over 20 years and her writings and public rituals have been a guide to many people in developing the craft of ritual making. Her work in celebrating seasonal rituals is groundbreaking and I heartily recommend her work to anyone wanting to learn about ritual making.
—Rex McCann, founder of Essentially Men
What stood out for me was the depth of knowledge and understanding of ritual. I was able to bring myself fully to the experience of creating ritual with heart and purpose. Have a ritual exercise between sessions helped with confidence and opened the door to the spirit of the goddess within. A truly valuable course that fits beautifully in my work
—Anna Schaumkel, Enhances Awareness Mentor
If you feel intrigued or notice a readiness to step into this adventure, you may register for The Sacred Art of Ritual right now by clicking the Buy Now button below. If you are unsure, or have a query about something that has not been answered on this page, please use the form below to send me your questions.
Dates: July 19—August 30, 2016
IMPORTANT: Please note that once you have paid you will need to click the link on the Paypal page that says “Return to Juliet Batten” and then wait 10 seconds. You will need to fill in that form and click the submit button so that I can send your bonus gift and other information for the course. If you are not automatically redirected after 10 seconds there will be a link that you can click on the Paypal success page that will take you where you need to go. Thank you.
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