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A Guide To Being A Good Magical Guest

Posted by sirensays on August 25, 2009


Etiquette

Do we really need a guide to good etiquette for circles, events, gatherings and celebrations? You betcha! Maybe it’s living in the San Francisco Bay Area where a lot of folks at magical gatherings seem cliqueish, smug and self-involved, but in the last few years, I have experienced this myself and have heard many complaints about unfriendly hosts and awkward social interactions at gatherings. This guide can be used for gatherings public or private, small or large, no matter what the magical practice is, in a class setting or more informal circle setting.

I’ve been thinking about the upcoming Neo-Pagan festivals of Mabon, Samhain and Yule, which around here are three of the biggies celebrated privately and publicly. Here are some suggestions that I have come up with, based on the input of others and on my experience as a participant, teacher and host of magical gatherings. My thanks to Darcey, Julie and Michael for their input.

It’s important to remember that besides showing respect, proper etiquette during a magical gathering also contributes to the overall protection of the group, so pay attention to the rules set out by your host.

Turn Off Your Cellphone!

I know this needn’t be gone into in-depth, as it’s quite easy. Turn it off, or at least to silent. Putting it on vibrate can still be disruptive.

Come Prepared

Are you supposed to bring something – food to share, altar items, craft supplies, notebook and pen, a donation? If so, do so!

Check Your Sense Of Entitlement At The Door

While we all deserve to be treated with respect, you may want to do a fast internal eval to check for hidden or unrealistic expectations before an event or class. Do you want this event or class to replace something else missing in your life? I notice this need for connection a lot more between October-January. Many magical folks crave a strong connection with others during the holidays, just like anyone else. We want to gather with others of like mind, only to be disappointed if it didn’t happen they way we wanted. Please remember we can’t be all things to all people and neither can the hosts or teachers, or even the Gods. Chances are your experience will be richer if your expectations are realistic and you have a regular spiritual practice that is fulfilling and will enhance whatever class or gathering you are attending.

Offer A Helping Hand

At some point, ask the organizers if you can assist with anything. They may have that all covered, but if you are willing to offer an extra set of hands, it is usually appreciated. Merely saying, “Please let me know if I help with anything ” is enough.

Space And Time For Each Person During Ritual Or Class Time

Please take time to spend in contemplation. Try not to crowd others and follow the lead of the hosts. This time is for you, in community, so treat yourself and others with respect.

Etiquette 2

Be Prepared To Share

As much as we need to give ourselves and each other space, we may be in cramped quarters and have to resources more than we otherwise would we others we might now know. Be understanding about this, be willing to share and use it as an opportunity to build the energy or create bonds with others.

HarvTiaDogbed

Reach Out To Others

This is where, in my experience, the rubber meets the road. So many magical folks these days are not good at introducing themselves to others. They stay to themselves or in little cliques. While that’s understandable for part of the event, it’s tiresome during the more social aspects of the gathering. I have seen this get worse in the last few years, but I have no idea why. It’s divisive to participate in a powerful ritual or learning situation which has awkward and cliqueish social aspects, as the result is lost cohesion and a watered down experience. I have seen a big difference at gatherings where people are more inclusive – the energy is different, the magic is more potent and deeper bonds are created.

Sometimes the hosts have too much going on to be social, depending upon the type of gathering, so please keep that in mind. Good basic manners can really grease the magical wheels. Some people are a bit shy, but I also think many just have mediocre manners. A lot of people, frankly, are attracted to magic because it makes them feel edgy, different and powerful. Those same people often have inadequate etiquette at social gatherings because of their status-seeking behavior. Be bigger than all of that by being friendly, easy going and polite. Focus less on impressing others and more on deriving pleasure and knowledge from a group event.

Generous Amounts Of Delicious Food

strawberry

You may not have the time or talent to cook a dish to share, but please be thoughtful and generous with whatever you bring. Is it seasonally appropriate? Is it something most people like? If the community labels food for those with allergies, please do so. If you can only afford a bag of chips and a jar of salsa, so be it – perhaps you can present them nicely, if only in disposable bowls and add a spoon to the salsa so people don’t have to reach into a bag or dip chips individually. When pressed for cash but you have the time, a dessert such as home baked brownies is a good choice, as they are inexpensive to make and most people love chocolate. Bringing something that is seasonal or just plain delicious is also a good way to meet others, by bonding over food.

Keep It Clean

Clean up after whatever activity you’re involved in. It doesn’t hurt to pick up after others as well. If you can’t stay long to do more, at least pick up after yourself.

Broom

Say Thank You

Sending a thank you note to the host is always a good idea, whether it was for a well-planned class, a public ritual or a private one. Whatever type of event, it took work, energy and focus, so a thank you will be appreciated. Some folks don’t feel a thank you note is necessary for a class or event that they paid for, believing that their payment is acknowledgement enough. I completely understand this perspective, which is why I suggest that for a class or workshop, send a thank you for an especially well-planned or powerful one. Teachers find it useful to receive polite feedback and if you want more of something, a thank you might get you more. Email is acceptable since you may not know the host’s address.

Thank you

I know that many of these suggestions seem so basic that they are rote. But if they were, I wouldn’t have written this.

I have included some other etiquette-related links on my blogroll to the right.

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One Response to “A Guide To Being A Good Magical Guest”

  1. Randilin said

    What a great post..

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