In an ocean of introductory titles, Deborah Lipp’s The Elements of Ritual: Air, Fire, Water & Earth in the Wiccan Circle is a breath of fresh air.
The Elements of Ritual is perfect for a beginning student moving into an intermediate level. It assumes that the reader has a basic understanding of ritual and is ready to dive deeper into every single step. While there may be some similar books on the market, Lipp’s approach is unique. She uses the elements, those essential building blocks of the Wiccan religion, to give her book structure. She uses earth to explain what we do and how we do it, air to explain theology and why it’s done in such a way, water to provide the myth, and fire for the mysticism. Spirit, the centre, is what happens when it all comes together. This gives the reader not only a deeper understanding of ritual, but also of the elements.
Chapters three through six follows ritual from the preliminary steps of cleaning the physical area to casting, invocations, and closing. Lipp gives a complete ritual script in chapter seven. Along the way, she offers little pieces of practical (and aesthetic) advice. For examples, like many Witches, I feel that electronic devices are out of place in sacred space, but sometimes something like a meditation makes it necessary to measure time. Rather than constantly checking a watch or setting an alarm, both of which are disruptive, Lipp suggests using prayer beads or music. Simple and smart.
The Elements of Ritual is a comprehensive, thoughtful book. It tackles topics that are hardly touched upon by other books. For example, Lipp devotes 29 pages to the ceremony of Cakes and Wine. The Elements of Ritual will help you gain insight into the nuances of Wiccan ritual, develop a relationship with the elements, and fill in the gaps of your own ceremonies.