If you’re doing rituals outside, there are a number of considerations. You need to be able to access the land – that means public spaces or a person you can ask. You need to consider how people are going to get to and from your ritual, especially those who are less mobile, access to toilets (or bushes!) and so forth.
It can be noisy outside – traffic noise, wind, and water can drown out attempts at normal ritual. This is one of the great advantages to working in a place surrounded by trees. If you are in a wood, or a clearing, trees act as a barrier, reducing the amount of sound that can reach you. If the wind is so strong that the sounds of leaves could drown you out… it is better to go home because that kind of wind can also bring trees down.
This assumes that you seek out a place where you can undertake the usual form of ritual. Historically this is what I’ve tended to do – think about the kinds of rituals I want to do, and then sought a space which would work for that.
Finding a space that you want to work with, but which does not lend itself to ritual is a whole other issue. There’s one I’m enamoured of which, given the tiny space and the water sound, could only accommodate a few people doing totally non-verbal ritual. I’ve worked on the shore, where there was plenty of room, but too many rocks for a circle and too much sound for speech. At Avebury, the circle is too big to use and has cars going through it, and a lot of background noise from those and the wind – it might be popular, but it’s a hard place for a regular ritual.
I wrote about my favourite hill yesterday, on which there is a barrow – it’s a space that absolutely calls to me, and is entirely unsuitable for normal ritual. The calling is strong enough that it has become necessary to find other ways of showing up.
I wonder what we’re doing if the need to hang on to our habits of ritual is more important than the space we’re working in. Not all spaces suit ritual as we tend to do it, but that shouldn’t limit us to only showing up places where we can reliably bring musical instruments and light a candle. Sticking with standard approaches to rituals holds us in the safest, tamest, most predictable spaces, all too often.
Perhaps rather than looking for places to do ritual, we should be looking for more innovative approaches to ritual that let us engage with more places.