Ritual Tool Box

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S3E9 TRANSCRIPT:----more----

Yucca: Welcome back to the Wonder Science-Based Paganism. I'm your host Yucca.

Mark: And I'm Mark.

Yucca: And today we're talking about rituals and the ritual toolbox. So, yeah, there's a lot of different tools that we can use to help us in ritual. But before that, we wanted to talk about what ritual actually is, is something we talk about a lot on this podcast, but it's so central that it's really important to come back to.

So what it is, what's the goal. And then these things that can help us in that process.

Mark: Right. Yeah. Because one of the things that is different about paganism and this is true of science-based paganism as well, is that. Kind of just going to a church or a temple Or a mosque or something like that. And listening to somebody else, do the ritual mostly as a passive as a passive observer, except when you sing a hymn once in a while or something like that.

Yucca: Or you go up for communion or

Mark: Right, right. Pagans create their own rituals and they engage everybody that's involved in the ritual, in the activities of that. ritual. And so we need to have our own ritual toolbox set up so that we have the skillsets necessary to be able to do effective ritual with ourselves. And then also with groups of people.

Yucca: Right. Yeah, because we're the ones doing it. It's not being done to us. So, yeah. And so these tools they're like any tool, there's something that you get good at when you practice it right. In the first time. It's, the first time you try and hammer that nail in, it it's harder than it looks.

Right. So that can be the same with some of these.

Mark: Yeah, for sure. And of course, when we talk about ritual, what we're talking about as a, as a goal is to reach what I call the ritual state, which is also often called trance it's it's a state of, of the mind that is dominated by the limbic system. So it tends to be very emotionally open and vulnerable. And also very much in the present moment. So not thinking about what's going to happen next, not worrying about what happened last week, very focused in the present

Yucca: Right.

Mark: and that trance state is very powerful because it's a state that once we get into it, it's sort of like the admin condition for a computer and start changing things in your, in your consciousness.

And changing stories that you tell yourself and memories that you have, you can, you can tinker with that stuff when you're in the trans.

Yucca: Yeah. It's like you've gotten past all of those walls that are built and all of the filters that you have and, and just kind of gotten back to that more raw place.

Mark: Right, right. Which is a two-edged sword, right? Because on the one hand, it's very powerful and we can have very, very powerful, spiritual and emotional experiences by doing this. But it also means that if something goes wrong, it can really wound someone. So we want to be very careful when we do our rituals, that we create very self safe space and that we have good ritual etiquette, which we'll be talking about later

Yucca: Okay.

Mark: and, really pay attention to the well-being of everyone that's in the circle.

Yucca: Exactly. Yeah. Including oneself.

Mark: Yes. Yes. So why don't we start in understanding that these are tools to help us to get into and to stay into trance and go to our first one, which is

Yucca: Well chance.

Mark: chanting.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: Chanting is something that people have been doing for at least tens of thousands of years, if not hundreds of thousands of years. And it's you, it's all over the world. You find people who sing for religious reasons. And typically those songs have certain characteristics. They tend to be repetitive. You repeated over and over and over. Because what happens in a trends is that once you've got that that's little song kind of myelinated into your brain, you can sing it automatically without thinking about. And so you're able to keep in the trance state while you're making this chanting.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: There are some chance that are very famous in the pagan community and are used a lot.

Like we are a circle and we all come from the goddess. Those are a couple real favorites.

Yucca: My body.

Mark: Earth my body.

water, my blood. There's there's probably 10 or so that get used a great deal. And which I personally, after 32 years of paganism really use a break from

Yucca: Sorry. I bet there's some great ones in there, but yeah, but then they're the same ones over and over again. If we could get more chant writers out there, then that would be appreciated.

Mark: Yes. Well, let's talk a little bit about what makes a good chance.

Yucca: Yeah. Now before we do, I wanted to mention, I was watching my five-year-old this morning, who was working was doing some art and doing clay and they were in the zone and they were, they just started doing Right.

They just were like, hyping themselves up about like the, what they were doing and repeating it over and over and over again, and just super, super focused. And I think that that was like a natural slip into what we're talking about, doing something that we can do as humans that is very natural, but we are choosing in our rituals to cultivate that and to use that thing that we do just instinctually.

Mark: Right, right. That's really interesting. Yeah, because one of the things that we can see in crafting ritual behavior is that a lot of it ends up looking kind of childhood. In a way, we do things that children kind of do naturally, but we sort of get them worn out of ourselves as we get older, the culture discourages us from doing those things because they're childish or they're embarrassing or whatever it is.

Yucca: But remember that what children do is instinctual. They're doing it's programmed into us. And the, what we do as children is play and practice the things that we're going to need as adults. And so, even though we. We train ourselves out of doing it with our, how many ever years of sitting at desks and doing all of that.

But that's, but you see that it's not just the children all over the world do it.

Mark: That's Right.

Yucca: Right. We we're doing it everywhere. And so there's something to it. If all children do something like this that says something about humans,

Mark: Yes. Yes. And so when it comes to chanting, there are multiple elements that make for a good chant. And so I'd like to.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: Kind of run down a few things that can really help to make a good chance. And then I'll sing an example of one that I wrote a few years ago. The most important thing about a ritual chant is for it to be simple and repetitive. So maybe four lines. Six lines tops, maybe, maybe with a word switched out in every iteration. So. You couldn't, you can imagine, like if, if you work with the Greek classical elements, maybe you have one verse that's air and another that's fire and another that's water and another that's earth. But basically you want those, those verses all to be the same for a couple of reasons, the first is that repetitiveness really encourages the trance state. When we, when we hear repeated like techno music, for example electronic dance music. Is really good at putting people into trances because it's got that very, very repetitive rhythm going.

Right. And it's not a big surprise when you start thinking about ritual technologies. When you look at what a dance club is like, well, it's dim lighting with flickering light, just like the campfire. Right. And you

know, if I

Yucca: colored lights too. Right. Different than our normal everyday lights.

Mark: Right. Right. And so in toxicants to kind of lubricate the way, and then this, this loud pounding, incredibly

Yucca: in your body

Mark: repetitive music and it makes you go

and

Yucca: some incense in the, in the form of cigarette smoke,

Mark: Yes.

Yucca: strong sense. Yeah.

Mark: So you want it to be repetitive. You want, you want it to repeat itself and to be easy to learn? I, I once went to a ritual that was one of the worst rituals I've ever been to. And the reason it was so bad was because the person that designed it wanted to use every bell and whistle that she had ever heard of in ritual technology. And it went on all. And it was just every Chan w had like diminished chords in it. And it was, you couldn't learn them and people couldn't hear one another across the fire from one another, everything went wrong anyway. So you don't want to do that. You want something that's simple and easy to learn so that people can pick it up on the second or third time through.

Yucca: Right. And remembering that people have different relationships to music. For some people picking up the words is really easy for other people. It's, it's a struggle. Right. So you want to make it as accessible as possible to the people in your group?

Mark: right. For sure. So you want it to be repetitive and simple and easily learned. Hopefully it's something that can be harmonized with easily because people who like to harm it. Really liked to harmonize and when they do it, it makes for a more beautiful sound that contributes to our going into trance.

Yucca: Mm.

Mark: So that's, that's just a helpful piece, don't, don't do things around 11th chords.

That's just not, that's not a thing. So. And then finally come the words, the poetry, right. And they can run, but they don't have to ride what's most important is the, the cognitive meaning. Of those words, because remember this is a religious activity. The, the meaning that we put into the song that we're singing in the circle is something that we want to resonate deeply with our personal values. So that's really important. So with all of that said I'll sing this chant. Now it's called, we believe in a better world. It's a non theist science-based paganism chant. And I hope you enjoy it. It goes like this. We believe in a better world. We believe in justice. We believe in a better world.

We believe in . We believe in a better world. We can heal our upline. We won't about de. We won't about so that's that's a chance that you can do, you can harmonize to it. You can sing it it around it's got words that are meaningful and impactful. It's the kind of thing that you can do and creating your own chances.

A very powerful practice.

Yucca: Yeah. And that had some nice, like stretching out too. Cause there's different kinds of trance. Right? So you might have a, like a dun dun dun dun dun dun chant, where, I don't have the music vocabulary to talk about that, but that's, very, more like a drum beat. And then there was what you were doing, which is more of a.

There's more song to it. There's more flow. There's stretching out. People could, I could, as you were singing it, I could hear, some of the higher pitched voices coming in and doing those notes at the same time. So there's different styles of chance, and that's going to be dependent upon what you're trying to do in the ritual.

Mark: There is a woman named Abby spinner that I'm sure some of our listeners have heard of who is very active in the Vegas vortex, pagan community in LA. And she has a number of chant albums out she's published, and these are all her chance. She's done tons of them. She's got a disc that's actually nominated for a pagan music award this year.

So we wish her good luck with that, but Abby's stuff is really good. would encourage people to get some of those. Discs and we'll put the, we'll put a link in the, in the notes. But I would encourage people to grab a couple of those discs and listen to them because she really is a master at creating those, those wonderful chance.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: So that's chanting and singing and people have used song to create translate. For, as I said, thousands and thousands of years, when you think about Gregorian chance, for example, those are very Transy. You sit and listen to those in one of those Gothic cathedrals, and you go har away very quickly.

Yucca: Yeah. And one of the things about transit. And when you were talking about the techno music, it reminded me of this too, where, when you've been in a trance state using that chant before the chant can immediately take you back, it can be like that touchstone or that key that just transports you right into that state very quickly.

So that's yeah.

Mark: That's a really good point because what can happen is these experiences can anchor in your mind. And so they become sort of trigger, switch. You hear that particular song? And it's like, oh yes. Just like when I was around that fire in, 2012 and these wonderful things happened and you just go right back into that state.

Yucca: Great.

Mark: So that's chanting. And the next tool that we wanted to talk about the next tool in the box was public speaking. Now we have to start by acknowledging that there is. There's an issue here when you pull people at least in the United States and ask them what the thing is that they are most afraid of. It is not deaf.

It is public speaking.

Yucca: Yes.

Mark: That said if you're going to be a significant participant in a group ritual or lead a group, rich. In a kind of clerical capacity as the priest or priestess or priest decks of of the circle. You're going to need to become reasonably comfortable with talking in front of people and not just, reading something in front of people, but actually talking improvisationally in front of other people.

Yucca: right?

Mark: And the only way to do that is to practice it.

Yucca: Yeah. Now there are certainly things that you can do to. To try and make that a little bit smoother for you. And it's, this is going to be personal experience, but for some people just jumping right into it, just like, don't have time to think about it. I just have to do it is helpful, but for someone else, maybe if you know that that's going to be part of it.

And you want to relax doing the chants, starting with chanting, starting with some of the breathing, getting yourself into a different state that isn't all worked up about the speaking, and then moving into that. So the design, the shape of the ritual, you can create an way to support you in the things that are uncomfortable.

Mark: Yes, that's very well said. And you can also. Bring along an index card, some small piece of paper with points on it that you can refer to because the thing that people are most afraid of when it comes to public speaking is they're afraid that they're suddenly going to go blank and there's, and there's the audience waiting for them to say something.

And they're just standing there with their mouth hanging open. You can prevent that by having an outline with you.

Yucca: Yeah, well, and here's a, a kind of cheat that you can do is on your forearm. If you have, you can actually write on your forearm, don't write the whole speech, but maybe write some symbols that gives you the order of what you want to do. And then you've put your hands. And you have a reason to have your hand up is you're, doing the, the speech with your handout or whatever it is, and you can be looking at it and not feel awkward that you're pulling up your little note card.

Mark: That's

Yucca: So yeah, just

Mark: that. That's great,

Yucca: so you can do your ritual to prepare for your ritual.

Mark: right?

Yucca: Yeah. And we're chuckling, but this is, this is real right. This is at least for me, I mean, I speak for a living, but I, I have a hard time with it. Right. I got to work myself up to be able to do it.

Mark: Huh?

Yucca: So

Mark: yeah.

I mean, we're, we're going to the Sentry retreat in may and it looks like they're going to be at least 60 people there and I'm starting to think about, well, we're going to do these rituals, 60 people. Wow. That's a lot of people, and we want to get them involved and we want them to feel included and we want them to feel participatory.

There's there's all this stuff that's so important in a group. But being an effective public speaker is actually one of them. And to be honest, it's such a powerful tool it's really worth investing in some, some effort for yourself in order to become comfortable in front of an audience.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: There are groups like Toastmasters and so forth where, people, what they do is they, they learn how to give speeches together.

That's what they do.

Yucca: Yeah

Mark: and it's, it's well worth it. There's there's no career you can be in maybe maybe a longer, there are few.

there

Yucca: few.

Mark: few careers you, you can be in that. That wouldn't be benefited by your being able to be a very effective communicator.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: So public speaking is is often in a sort of poetry verse sort of style in rituals, but it can also be it can also just be speaking in regular sentences. The key point is make your speech a lot. Don't speak in a monotone, bring, bring the feelings in the words, into the circle with you.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: So our next was

Yucca: Should rhythm. Yeah. Right. So rhythm drumming or rattles or, whatever it is in, in your particular ritual or, or style. But it, this is, this is connecting again with the. With the chanting and the speaking. And it's like, there's the meanings behind it, but there's also recreating these patterns that are repeating over and over, and that are just helping to move us deeper and deeper and keep us in that.

Trance state cause it's easy for something to happen that the dog over there starts barking and you get startled or someone, comes or goes or so keeping us in that state is, is really important.

Mark: Right. Right. And rhythm is probably the oldest technique that we have. For that kind of maintenance and, and induction of trans the oldest musical instruments that we have are Neanderthal flutes made out of bone. But my bet is that the oldest actual musical instruments were hollow logs

Yucca: Yeah,

Mark: and drunks that made a good resonant sound.

You know that early humans could hit with a stick or would their hands, or with another rock and make a sound?

Yucca: well, and there are caves where there's the. I don't know whether they were still like tights or mites, but they go all the way from the ceiling to the floor of the cave that were painted on and worn away, where it was clear that what they were doing with it was using it as drums. Because when you hit that same spot, you get different notes.

And so, so our ancestors were using the. Came formations to create these incredible sounds that, oh, just imagine being a mess with the fire light and the drumming on the cave itself is vibrating.

Mark: yeah. Wow. Oh, I would love to experience that. That sounds so cool. So this is one of those where it's great to have a good sense of rhythm to start with. The only thing that will get you there is to practice and you don't have to become a phenomenal drummer because the thing that will really put people into trance is a steady drum. It doesn't have to be really fancy. I mean, great middle Eastern or African drumming is, is, is extraordinary. And it's wonderful to listen to. And I, I love it. Just a simple boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. We'll take you down that hole into trans.

Yucca: When designing a ritual, that's going to have other people doing drumming or rhythm in it. It's important to, to have it so that people who don't have great rhythm can drum as well. So just having them be able to do the heartbeat or whatever it is, have a spot that they don't have to feel uncomfortable because.

They aren't great at the rhythm part. Just let them be able to, to do that, that base that is still going to just like you're saying, mark is going to really work without having to get fancy. And if someone wants to be fancy on top of that, great. Right. But allowing it to be accessible to everybody.

Mark: Yeah.

that's really important. And it's important. Not only because there needs to be a place for everyone in this circle, but also because that's how you start,

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: I mean, it, it is drumming is one of those things where you don't just pick up a drum and be a genius at it because it's all around muscle memory. Right.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: And so you, you have to develop the muscle memory for the patterns that you are drumming. also really addictive once he started, you will spend a lot of times,

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: cause it's fun. It's really

Yucca: Yeah. Well, and back to what you were saying though, about practicing, just like we were saying at the beginning, these really are tools and you aren't good at any tool. The first time you use it, or at least something of its style, you've got to, once if you, if you've gotten really good at drums, then maybe some of the rattles might be easy to transition to because they're so similar, but, but you've got to build that skill to begin with.

Mark: Right.

And when we say rattles and so forth, that includes things like bells, gongs,

or, steel triangles cowbells. There's so many different things that you can make a wonderful rhythmic sound with And rattles are great. Cause they're really easy. They're cheap. they travel well because they're small.

Yucca: And they can be made from so many different things, too. You can grow, different chords in your garden and make them, and it can be real. They can be really personal.

Mark: right, right. I have, I have a ritual rattle that has probably been around a fire. 10,000 times maybe I'm going around and around and around and shaking that rattle. And it means a lot to me it's all beat up now, but it's my, it's my extra precious rattle

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: Noumea gave it to me at our first fire dance festival.

It was.

Yeah.

So rattling is a great alternative. If you don't feel comfortable picking up a drum, just, just that sort of

that a rattle can make as you go around the circle does a couple of things. The first one is it means your plugged into the overall process. So you're not outside. You're not extraneous. You're not a spectator. You're helping to create this experience. And that is so important for, in a pagan circle for everybody to feel like they are a co-creator what's happening within the circle.

The second thing is that stuff is transient as hell. I mean, especially if you shake it next to your years, it will really send you places.

Yucca: Yeah, well, it's that white noise. It's that, that's we, can buy like machines for you call lucky babies, make that noise. Right. For when you get so exhausted that you just can't, you can't keep doing it with your mouth. Right. So, but it's the same thing. And some, some people say it's because it sounds like.

The what it might've sounded like in the womb, right. Listening to the, to your mother's blood from the inside, as listening to her arteries and veins and all of that.

Mark: Right.

Yucca: But, but it's very much like the ocean, like the wind it's it's wonderful.

Mark: Yeah. So if you don't have one already, at least one, I highly recommend picking up a rattle. Even if you're not going to plunge in and do a drum, if you are going to do a drum, do a hand drum, a smaller drum, like a doom, Beck, or a frame drum

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: to start with, because you can do wonderful things with those drums.

They don't cost as much and they're easy to transport,

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: but at the very least get yourself a rattle or two, or, a few of those percussive instrument. And play around with them.

Yucca: Or make them too, right. Is that something you want to work on? Yeah.

Mark: Yeah. I have, I have one that's made out of bullwhip CELT kelp. There's a, a kind of kelp that it's kind of a long and hollow and it's got sort of a bulb on the end. Put sand in it from the beach and then court to the end. And it makes this very, very soft. So serration kind of like the

tide. It's really beautiful.

Yucca: Oh, that's wonderful. And it's from the beach itself.

Mark: It's from the beach. Yeah.

Yucca: So rhythm in, we're talking about rhythm with rattles and drums, but there's also our bodies. Right? And so the dance element is another wonderful one.

Mark: Very much so, and this is one.

that can really scare people because it's vulnerable to jump out there and dance. Right. But when the drums are going and the rattles are going and all, and the fire is flickering and all that kind of stuff, it is the thing to do. And the good news is generally you don't have to be the person to say. But if you are the person who is leading the ritual, you may be the person to start it. That's okay. The main thing is just feel the beat, make a sort of motion of some kind. It doesn't have to be, professional grade and then lead others into the circle so that they can dance as well.

Yucca: Yeah.

And just, you can start by finding that beat a simple beat that's underneath all of it that we were talking about. Move, whatever part of your body you're comfortable moving, right? That could be just swaying your shoulders back and forth or your hips or whatever it is that where you're comfortable starting.

And then once you're there, the rest of your body can start following. And just however, whatever feels right for the ritual that you're doing, because it's going to be different depending on what ritual you're in.

Mark: Yes. Yes. And I should also say at this point that some of the most beautiful dancing I've seen in.

circle has been by people who are in wheelchairs. So you can still dance, even if parts of your body don't want.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: You can, you can still participate in that way. And it's important when we create our ritual spaces.

If we know that there are going to be people that have those needs, that we create a space in the circle for them to be, so that they're included.

Yucca: Yeah. Or someone who on that note that often these many of these circles will be standing for a long period of time. That might not be feasible for everyone. Right there. It might be important to have a chair for whichever member it is. Who's going to work that you never know. Or you might write a fit to your small, personal circle that you meet with constantly.

But if it's a larger group, You really don't know what, what is going on with other people's bodies and, and energy and all of that. So it's, it's nice to think about that as, as providing that opportunity of maybe we can have a situation where there's chairs or sitting or things like that.

Mark: Right. It's, it's a way we can be inclusive and that's important. Similarly with people who are sight impaired find someone that can lead them into the circle and bring them around the fire. Making sure that they stay safe because they can still participate. They just need to.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: So in, in the case of movement, I mean, I've seen people do wild, dramatic ecstatic sort of dancing, and I've seen people do very sort of methodical foot, one foot after another, to the base beat, kind of marching around the circle and a very determined sort of way, way blissed out on trance, singing to themselves or humming to themselves or playing those rattles or whatever.

And all of that is great. It, it depends on what works for you And what you feel comfortable doing.

Yucca: And again what the ritual needs, cause like you were telling the story earlier of being at a ritual that was trying to do all of it with every possible to and not every tool is going to be a fit for every ritual.

Mark: Right. Well, in this case, it was just that she had loaded too much stuff on. She had all these various herbal potions that we were supposed to be passing around his teas while we were doing this very complicated geometric thing in the circle. And it was just, it was just too much. I think there were probably about six good rituals in there.

If she had pulled the whole thing apart,

Yucca: And yeah. So, now the ones that we've been talking about, these are pretty, these are pretty core things, but just still think about what, what the ritual that you're in is, and we've been talking about this from a group perspective, but these tools. Apply, whether you're looking at a group or an individual, or, a couple doing a re a ritual, any, it can be scaled.

Mark: Right, right. When you're doing the Rite of passage, you can pick one of these tools and assign it to the person that's going through the right. I went to a ritual once where a young man who was becoming an adult, had to keep a heartbeat going all night. And so, that was his responsibility.

It was, to keep the rhythm going in the circle of. So, taking on responsibility was a clear relationship to the Right.

of passage that he was going through. And it was, it was a good thing to assign him to do. If you don't feel like You're the most confident public speaker, find someone who is and have them do the greeting, and then you can coordinate from there.

Leverage people's skill. Their strengths. I am, I'm not a big movement person. I grew up switching from overdose over medication for ADHD, and I'm kind of an awkward person that way. Also, my sense of balance is terrible. So I have this problem with falling over but

still.

Yucca: good with words though.

Mark: Yes. Got the words down.

I'm I'm good with words. So,

But still I will find something that I can do in that circle that will feel as though I'm a part of it and I'm moving and I'm going into it. And the longer that goes, the less inhibited I feel about it and the easier it is for me to do it. So that's kind of how it was. So let's talk about the application of these tools in a in a solo setting.

Yucca: so.

The chanting, the rhythm, these things, whatever it is, that's going to get you into that state. And if you are a verbal person, maybe the spoken word component, not everyone is going to con. private rituals. I don't use words, but I'll use dance and rhythm and all of that. But, but words, my brain, my brain is not thinking words when I'm in that state.

Some people's brains are though. So if that works for you, it can be really powerful.

Mark: What I find is that. The composed sentences and paragraphs brain doesn't work well in ritual at all, but the poetry brain works really well in ritual. It's, it's a different, it's a different thing. It's a different way of accessing words and using them. And that can be very transmitted. So, so Chad, when you're working by yourself, chanting can be as little as humming. It can just be humming a melody that you find soothing or calming or motivating, or that reminds you of a good time in your life. Whatever, whatever the need is.

Yucca: Right or something very short, just a few, a few words. You have an example would be, I think I can maybe if that is what you're working with, but that's an example of, of a chant that can be used.

Mark: Right. Right.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: So, and so that kind of blends the musical into the spoken word. Both of those, you can use as much or as little as you like in the case of rhythm. I find personally that my, my own rituals really benefit from playing some recorded music that has a good Transy rhythm to it. I like candles turn off all the lights, not in that order.

Put on the music, light some incense. And then I start being in the temple of myself. I start it. I feel myself kind of sink down into this comfortable, juicy place, full of potential, where all, where, where everything's possible or nearly everything is possible. So, what I've done is I've collected music that, that works for me that way. I still do it through CDs. Because I've got a CD changer in my room and I just use it that way. But

Yucca: Well, you don't need to worry about if the Internet's down or anything

Mark: right. I don't

Yucca: you lost access to your account or.

Mark: yeah, I don't recommend cloud playlists because there is so much that can go wrong and it's really disturbing when something gets cut off in the middle.

Yucca: Or if an ad comes on

Mark: oh

Yucca: you're right in the middle of.

Mark: no, no. So, but MP3s are fine, load those up on a stick and play them through your computer or through a stereo system, whatever through a Bluetooth speaker.

Yucca: If you are doing it with your computer or your phone, you might want to put, do not disturb on before you start so that you aren't in the middle of getting the little email or, things. Yeah.

Mark: That's a very good point.

Yucca: Because that at least for me, that takes me right out of the state.

Mark: Yeah.

Who's calling me and how can it be that important?

Yucca: Or who, who liked my post or whatever it is, right. It's an immediate this, if the sound is there to get your attention, whatever it is, it's there for your attention.

Mark: That's right. That's what.

Yucca: And of course, there's all of this stuff that we've, we've talked about many times before about creating a physically safe environment so that you can be in an emotionally safe place for that.

Work that you're going to be doing because you, you do, you are entering into a, a more vulnerable, raw state.

Mark: and all the other various techniques that we've talked about in other episodes, the breath work, for example, the various kinds of ways of calming and soothing ourselves And kind of opening ourselves based with based on deep breathing, holding for a few seconds and then releasing Slowly letting yourself sink to the earth and be present in the moment that you're in.

Those are very important techniques for the beginning of rituals. And you can use them either in groups or you can use them by yourself,

Yucca: And we're coming back to that idea of practice. Using them by yourself is a way of practicing. A little bit for the, the group ritual

Mark: right?

Yucca: dynamics are always going to be different in groups, but the, the movements themselves can be familiar and practiced if you've been doing it on your own.

Mark: Right, right. Yeah.

And what will happen over time? I promise is that you will get more comfortable with these things. They'll, they'll be, they'll come more readily to hand when you need them. Because sometimes at first it feels really awkward. I think we talked, was it last episode or the episode before?

About in the west, we just aren't equipped with ritual tools, and the mind doesn't come with a, with a maintenance manual. So we kind of have to figure this out on our own, but these tools really can help you work with your mind. They can help you improve your mental health. They can help you. They can undermine depression and anxiety and help you to feel greater self esteem. They can help you to transform feelings of shame from past events. There there's a lot that can be done in the ritual space and really what we're here for is to. Advocate that you take on those tools, learn those skills because it'll help you to be a more effective person, both on your own sake for your own sake and for the sake of others.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: 'cause. I know it hasn't happened very often, but I've had people come to me in my life where they're like, I'm really stuck in this thing and I'm feeling this and it sucks. And can you help me? And my answer has been well, are you willing to do a ritual with me? And if, in the case of people who are saying, well, I met withstand, I'll try anything.

We've had some very powerful experiences where things have transformed, they've shifted for them. And, I've heard back from them six months later and things it's still shifted for them and wonderful things that happened in their life and they were off into a new chapter.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: So it's a, it's a good, it's a good set of tools to have that toolbox.

And, and it's it honestly, it's our birthright. This is. These are all things that we do because our brains are built that way, you

Yucca: Yeah. And we don't need someone else to do it to us. It's something that we can. That we can do not to say that there aren't times in our life when we don't need help, because there certainly are times, and there are people who, who can help in in many ways. But there's a lot that we can also do.

Mark: Right.

Yucca: Right.

And that's, that's, that's a wonderful place to, in thing to recognize. So,

Mark: Well, thank you, Yaka. This has been wonderful.

Yucca: yeah. Thank you.

Mark: Really enjoy talking with you.

today. Next week, we're going to talk about the spring Equinox.

Oh, star or high spring or whatever that is.

Yucca: we're there already.

Mark: Yep. We are. We should mention we just passed the two year anniversary of the podcast.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: Well on the 2nd of March. So we really thank all of our listeners.

We are, we wouldn't be here without you. And we really appreciate that. You take the time to listen to our stuff and hope that you really get a lot out of it. So thank you.

Yucca: Yeah. Thank you everyone.

Mark: All right, we'll see you again soon. Bye-bye.

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