Finding common ground through ritual

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I’ve only ever been on the fringes of conversations with folks who are followers of the Wiccan faith. The superstitious African part of my personality makes me wary of probing too deeply into anything to do with ritual ceremonies and similar things. Another part of me is curious, simply because the faith in question seems to be rooted in the original beliefs of communities who have lived in the British Isles, Scandinavia and Northern Europe longer than most.

Are there people of African heritage who subscribe to those beliefs? I haven’t met any, though I won’t be surprised if there are a few, especially in some parts of Southern England. What do I find intriguing about the faith? I find the Wiccan linking of ritual with the passing of seasons quite attractive, because it suggests that the adherents are seeking to be at one with nature.

On a superficial level, I have absorbed the lessons taught through fairy tales about assessing values. Perhaps the fact that the Christian faith felt the need to suppress Wiccan beliefs and practices through witch hunts and inquisitions might also have influenced my outlook and wariness.

I sense that chants, songs and singing might have carried more potency in the Wiccan faith than in the Abrahamic religions. Certainly the folkloric song material that was documented (and in some cases updated) by the likes of Cecil Sharp, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten has an energy that makes me feel more plugged into being where I am than anything else I have heard.

Is it possible that engagement with this material might unleash some deep undercurrents that could affect the balance of intercultural trust and cooperation in modern Britain’s diverse range of ethnic groups? I guess the only way to find out is to give it a go.