Accessible rituals – timing

One of the things that really impacts on how accessible a ritual is, is when you hold it. If you’re viewing ritual from the perspective of an able-bodied car owner you might not be alert to the ways in which poverty and disability are impacted by timings.

It is of course tempting to be out in the dark – privacy and mystery are both enhanced by this. However, for a woman travelling alone, a late finish can be intimidating. I’ve talked to women who found getting to their car late at night intimidating. For a woman walking, cycling or on public transport, the fear of assault is often much worse.

If your ritual ends late, there may be no public transport options. Anyone who does not have a car will thus be barred from attending if they can’t walk. 

Low light increases the physical hazards in a situation. A person with poor eyesight or mobility issues may feel barred from attending.

Cold night air can be a problem for anyone with breathing-related health problems. Cold outdoor conditions can increase pain for people who already deal with pain. An outdoors ritual in the dark, in the dark half of the year can be physically too demanding for people who are bodily limited.

If you don’t flag up your willingness to discuss timing, people may well assume that it isn’t open to discussion. People who struggle are all too used to dealing with people who won’t take their issues seriously or accommodate them. It can seem better to just save your energy and accept not participating. Don’t assume people who are in difficulty will tell you that or tell you what their problems are unsolicited.

Rituals work better when we have a culture of active care and find ways to look after each other. We build community when we do this, and we avoid excluding people.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

4 responses to “Accessible rituals – timing

  • jswhite

    To add to the discussion…those of who have young children often can’t go out at night.

    I have a 5 year old son who is non-verbal and neurodivergent…I can’t just ‘leave him with a babysitter’ so I can go attend ritual at 10 PM (or really 6PM), I have to be there to go through his bedtime routine with him, be there if he wakes up so he knows he’s safe and Mommy’s there. Most of the pagans in my area don’t seem to have children, so a great deal of the rituals aren’t necessarily kid-friendly.

    That’s one of the reasons I intend to stay solitary until my son is older and, if he wants, can perhaps attend as well.

  • neptunesdolphins

    I have had rituals that I couldn’t go to for timing reasons. There is the problem of sun-downing, when the sun goes down, and the mental confusion is greater. My brain is fine during the day, but at night it just fogs up. I prefer afternoon, actually.

    Timing is a problem for other reasons. Mornings could be problematic if you have arthritis or other physical issues that require time to get adjusted.

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