I want to talk about a thing that happens. I’ve never read about it in any of the books I’ve read on Wicca/Paganism/Witchcraft/WooWoo 101, 102, or 110, nor was it taught during my Wiccan coven training. Yet, having worked with many other witches over the years, it’s come up a few times as a topic of conversation.
It goes, basically, like this. You make a ritual. Sometimes you start planning a few weeks in advance, sometimes months in advance, sometimes there’s no planning and you just do it right on the spot. You build the container, call the Elements, invite the Gods or Spirits or whatever bigger-than-you thing you have to work with. You raise energy and do the Work. You say goodbye to your guests and take down the container. And then… you wait. Something happens: something obvious, or something subtle, or something almost completely undetectable. But after the ritual, in the day or days following, something DOES happen: it feels like the world tilts a little bit. Mood dips. Energy feels low and sloggy. (Is that a word? No? Oh, well, I’ll use it anyway.)
I’ve been calling this the “post-ritual drop” because it sounds an awful lot like the concept of “sub drop” known to my friends in the BDSM community. After intense experience involving a rush of endorphins, there is a feeling of coming back down that can involve mild depression, anxiety, changes in sleeping patterns, eating patterns, and mood. Once, after a particularly heavy weekend of ritual, I developed flu-like symptoms that lasted a couple of days.
Obviously, this experience is not going to be the same after every ritual. A long night of ecstatic trance in a group raising a massive amount of energy will likely produce more of a post-ritual drop than a quiet group meditation or a solitary spellworking. It’s also going to be different for different people – there may be folks out there reading this wondering what the hell I’m talking about – and not experiencing post-ritual drop is not an indication that “you’re doing it wrong.” However, it is something that should be acknowledged so folks can be prepared to be extra generous with self care following intense ritual.
Self care can include:
*Immediately following ritual: focus on grounding and returning to “normal” consciousness. Eat something, drink water, talk with friends, take a shower or a bath. Get plenty of fresh air, especially if you’ve been in a room filled with incense smoke or sage.
*The day after ritual: allow yourself plenty of rest. Spend time in nature if you can. Eat healthy food, get some exercise and sunshine. Do activities you enjoy. Be around people you like or make time to be alone, depending on what you need.
Above all, know that you may need some extra care and be patient with yourself.
I’d love to hear about other folks’ experience with post=ritual drop. Please feel free to post in comments, or email me directly at luckymandrake at gmail.