River Temple

Ostara having past, Beltane will be next

We had a good though quiet Ostara ritual March 20. Our next ritual will be for Beltane, on April 30 or May 1. Details will be posted when we know them. For more information about our rituals, either join Athens Area Pagans or email jim@athensareapagans.org

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.