River Temple

Upcoming Ritual

Preparing the Fire Pit

What is the River Temple of Athens?

The River Temple of Athens is an Eclectic Pagan ritual circle in Athens, Georgia. It is affiliated with Athens Area Pagans Inc., but maintains a separate identity.

Because Athens Area Pagans is meant to represent Pagans of all paths, AAP has never officially adopted a set of beliefs and so does not technically hold rituals. But members of the AAP wanted to be able to conduct our own rituals, and so, in 2010, Embreis23 and Laird George Little began leading rituals reflecting their Eclectic Pagan paths and others joined them.

Why is it called the River Temple?

The first rituals were held on the patio behind Embreis23’s house at the time, which overlooked the Middle Oconee River. Although that house is no longer available, and our current locations are not that near any of our rivers, Much of Athens is shaped by the Oconee River and its tributaries, so we’ve kept the name.

The Altar prepared for Samhain

What are River Temple’s rituals like?

We typically hold rituals at the Eight Sabbats: Samhain (Halloween, Oct. 31), Yule (Winter Solstice, Dec. 20 or 21), Imbolc (Candlemas or Ground Hog Day, Feb. 2), Ostara (The Spring Equinox, March 20 or 21), Beltane (Walpurgis night/May Day, May 1), Litha (Midsummer, June 19-21), Lughnasadh (Aug. 1 or 2), and Mabon (the Fall Equinox, Sept. 20 or 21). We try to hold rituals on the traditional dates, but sometimes we shift them to accommodate people’s schedules. They are held outdoors when the weather permits.

Most rituals follow the standard Wiccan practice: a circle is established, the Elements are invoked at the four cardinal points, a Goddess and a God are evoked, sometimes other deities, there is a symbolic sharing of food and drink.

That said, we are not dogmatic about this ritual style and are open to other styles. We have also organized rituals for other occasions.

If you are interested in knowing more about our rituals, you can read some ritual scripts here and here.

Are your rituals family friendly?

Our rituals are open to families and children. We do not perform rituals skyclad (nude), and we do not perform or permit blood sacrifices or other acts of cruelty.

That said, strong opinions may be expressed, and strong language may be heard. Alcohol is almost always present, but not required.

The “ale” in the simple feast is offered in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic forms, and we modify the “cakes” to suit a variety of dietary needs if we know about them. Most of us, however, are proud omnivores.

Past Rituals

Mabon 2022

This years Mabon Circle was held at the hill this past Wednesday, Sept 21. We had a lovely ritual led by Embris. The ritual consisted of a circle of stations that the attendee processed around, following the Kore as she descended into the underworld. Each station had words to recite and an action to do, such as partaking of mead and pomegranate seed, lighting a candle, anointing with salt and water. The last station was a meditation area. Then we sat and talked about Mabon and what the end of season is about, the cycles that we follow in this existence. 

We had a few attendees including an anthropology student and a journalism/photography student. We were glad to talk to these students and answer questions about ourselves, AAP, and paganism in general. They were both enthusiastic to learn about paganism from people who actually practice, and not the stereotypes our world is filled with. 

Personally, it was nice to get out and sit around a night fire in “the woods”. As one with chronic illnesses, i too find myself cycling through good and bad times constantly. Some days I am in the spring and summer and able to participate more fully in life. Other days I’m in my own underworld, forced to rest and recover in the darkness of pain and inflammation.

– Written by Angela

Ostara 2023

River Temple recently held an Ostara ritual at The Hill. It was held at the fire pit circle outside. The fire was laid and alter decorated by a member. Everyone arrived by 9 and the ritual commenced. The ritual was a puzzle ritual examining the four elements. A song honoring the Goddess was also sung. Participants then had a simple feast and discussed their hopes for the future. Another member has recently divided a spider plant and brought the babies to give away. There were a total of 11 people present for the ritual.