Can ritual aid public speaking?

mercury

Mercury, God of Eloquence. “Mercurybyhendrickgoltzius” by Hendrik Goltzius – Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

When I first starting performing Pagan rituals, I felt very awkward and unsure of myself. I had to write down everything, even the words for calling the quarters, and I felt very self-conscious saying parts of the ritual out loud and “performing,” even when I was indoors and there was no-one else to see me.

But as I’ve performed more and more rituals, I’ve felt increasingly at ease. I am much better at memorising certain parts of the ritual, and I don’t feel anywhere near as embarrassed performing ritual. This means that the ritual is a far more enjoyable and meaningful action for me, and I feel that my connection to the world of the spirits is deepening as a result.

But performing ritual has had another, unexpected effect, which I only discovered last week when I was scheduled to hold a presentation at a convention as part my work. As I usually do with presentations I’ve never given before, I practised it at home the night before, to an empty room.

Now normally, I hate doing this – I feel so unnatural performing without an audience. But this time, I felt strangely calm and confident when I practised. I think I even managed to enjoy it! I think I have to put this down to all those rituals I’ve performed on my own. It’s helped me to be comfortable with myself, and to get into the part I have to play without feeling self-conscious. Yes, both Pagan ritual and public speaking are performance arts, and I think practising one regularly helps the other. Yet another example of how Paganism has had surprising benefits on the more mundane aspects of my life!

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