A Witch's Rules of "Common" Courtesy

Sadly, many of the incidents that gave birth to this list have actually occurred to myself or people I know.

All the rules of etiquette your mom taught you still apply. Say "please" and "thank you". Wash your hands before dinner. Bring a bottle of wine or a dessert for the hostess.

When invited to a ritual, whether public or private, expect to participate, not watch. Wicca is not a spectator sport. When you don't participate, you become an energy blockage.

Never, never, never out someone else as a Witch. If someone asks you if someone else is a Witch, the best reply is probably: "Isn't that a question you should be asking them?" Or, "I'm sorry, that's not something we discuss."

If you have special dietary needs, please inform the hostess ahead of time, and bring food that you can eat. Don't expect people to know or be able to cater to your special needs. No, not all Wiccans are vegetarian.

I'm sorry to even have to mention this: Bathe regularly. Brush your teeth. It is not "Holy" to smell bad. Being fresh and sweet-smelling is a courtesy to yourself and the people around you. Yes, sometimes you're working in the sun and you can't help it. But don't show up for someone's private ritual, smelling like you've spent the day in a chicken coop.

Don't expect alcohol to be served, whether publicly or private. Ask first before bringing wine.

Ask what you should wear and/or bring.

Do not touch other people's magickal jewelry or items without asking first. It is often uncomfortable for them — these are their bonded, consecrated magickal items and link to their life-force — and is considered horribly rude. Other people don't mind your touching their items. Ask first (for each item).

If you're invited to a ritual, let the leader's lead. Participate if asked, but don't try to take over. You can offer a chant or song if it feels appropriate, and in some groups, spontaneity is called for — you may even be expected to call a direction. But wait for your host's cue on this.

Always ask about what you should expect from a ritual before hand. This way if you have a problem with it, you can express your concerns and possibly bow out before it would be considered rude.

Never just "walk out" of a magickal circle. Doing so tears a hole in the fabric of the energy. Respect the circle's bounds. Use the bathroom before ritual, and if you really need to get out, have someone cut you out.

There are many ways of doing something. Never tell your host that they're doing it wrong.

Say thank you before and after you've been to a ritual. These people are sharing a very personal part of themselves with you and deserve gratitude and respect.

Never blab personal secrets.

You may be asked to swear secrecy about events that occur at a ritual. This is to protect the identities of the people there, and to protect any private secrets. Respect this.

Be yourself. Nobody likes a phony. Hey, you're pretty cool. Why shouldn't people like you for who you really are?

Don't wave your sword around — you could hurt someone.

When in doubt, ask. The only "stupid question" is the one that goes unasked.

Here are some more Gripes sent in by readers:
Don't invite guests to ritual without asking permission of the others attending. "I didn't think you'd mind —" isn't acceptable.

If you're not invited to the ritual, then don't wait around till they're ready to start to "see" who's there.

Similarly, if the ritual's at your house, don't let uninvited friends hang out until the ritual starts either.

If ritual is supposed to start at a given time, be there on time if not a little early in order to help the hostess and host set up.

If you are going to be late for a Ritual it is common courtesy to call the host/ess and let them know. Then they can decide whether to go ahead with the Ritual or wait.

There is no such thing as being fashionably late for Ritual. No, "I'm running on Pagan Time", does not cut it in my Book of Shadows. And if you can't be responsible enough to arrive on time why should you think Ritual should be held up until you arrive. If you are lucky there may be some leavings from the feast for you.

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