by Will Parfitt
For a group ritual to be effective their has to be a common, shared group purpose and a common, equally-shared group endeavour. A group in the New Age is not held together by a leader but by:
- common purpose
- common intention
- common plan
A group is like a constellation of stars, each star the individual making up and necessary to the whole constellation. A simple analogy is the sun and planets, where the planets are members of the group and the sun is the common purpose. Grouped around the common purpose, the planets follow their course, the common intention, and thereby achieve the common plan, which is the manifestation of an active and growing system. In no way is their individual role in the whole scheme negated.
A group should be viewed as a temporary aid to growth and not as a fixed principle. Just as, say copper and sulphur and oxygen may come together to form copper sulphate, it will not remain a sulphate (group) together, but through the passage of time and experience return to the component elements. The copper, for example, will not be changed in itself but will, through the experience of combination, be more aware, expanded ion consciousness, and further along its path. It is important for the members of the group to realize this as it allows fuller commitment as it removes the fear of being swamped or 'loosing' identity for any individual involved, except on a temporary basis.
The group working together can be compared to a single 'entity', with the same constituent parts as an individual, that is:
- spirit the integrating purpose for the group's existence;
- soul the qualitative aspect of the group including the soul qualities brought to it by each individual member of the group;
- personality composed of the group 'mind', 'feelings' and 'emotions', the blended aspects of its members, working in harmony towards the common purpose but not necessarily in full agreement;
- body the manifestation of the group through its rituals, and all its other activities.
If we look at the soul region of the Tree of Life, we can see that Chesed brings to the group the elements of goodwill, caring and so on; Geburah brings the dynamic energy and affirmations necessary to the group; and Tipareth provides a manifestation and focus for the group's common purpose. A successful ritual needs to include the whole group in all its aspects.
The five main techniques that can be used to help make the work of a group cohesive are: love, meditation, sharing, silence and communication.
The obstacles to these are criticism, personal attachment, the glamour of 'freedom', and all types of communication breakdown. It is up to the individual members of a group to follow their own course of action for dealing with their individual problems and blocks. In the actual preparation for a group ritual, however, individuals may all perform the same procedures, helping themselves individually and also helping the preliminary integration of the group. These methods are:
- elimination of the previous 'set' (dis-identification/dis-attachment);
- elevation of consciousness (centring/self-identification); and
- contacting the Self through aspiration and invocation.
After the ritual work the group integration is strengthened through the sharing of experience and the pooling of results. The shared physical manifestation of the intention and plan, where appropriate, may also be useful.
GLAMOURS PREVENTING GROUP EFFECTIVENESS
Glamour may be described as the attribution of false values and/or exaggerated importance to people, objects, situations - and most frequently ourselves.
Obviously glamour is a block to the effective manifestation of the working and planning of a group. Glamour is largely emotional in manifestation (in our present situation anyway), and the main glamours that prevent the group being effective are:
- dictatorship - the imposition of authority;
- personal ambition;
- dogmatism - certainty of being right;
- independence (of a pathological degree against the group);
These glamours need to be very carefully watched for by all members of the group. Once identified a glamour may be dissipated by one or more of the following:
- dis-identification (individual and group);
- awareness of right proportions;
- keeping a perspective on things;
- the cultivation of opposites (elevation of the weak and refinement of the strong);
- using our imagination to clear out the negative energy; and
- transmutation - the invocation of light being particularly effective.
EXERCISE - THE INVOCATION OF LIGHT
This is essentially an exercise that groups of people may perform before, during and after a group meeting as appropriate. It can easily be adapted for individual use.
Having followed all the usual starting procedures, including a banishing ritual:
each individual imagines a light above his or her head.
Then each group member visualizes a light object or symbol (that symbolizes the common purpose) at the centre of the circle (this will probably have been previously decided upon jointly by the group).
Each person visualizes the spoke of a wheel coming from him or her, created of white light above the head, attached to the common purpose/symbol in the centre.
Everyone strongly visualizes their connection to the centre, and is aware of the spokes (i.e., connections) of the other group members, being aware that together they create a wheel, individuals at the circumference but united at the centre.