What three factors (“subcategories”) does Bonewits identify as determining the impact of “familiarity” on the success of a ritual? Briefly discuss the ways in which personal or family-only ritual is aided or hindered by these factors when compared to public group ritual. (Minimum 100 words)
Isaac Bonewits describes the intra-group familiarity as how familiar the participants are with each other and how crucial this factor is on the successful creation of a group mind (Bonewits, 104). He breaks the impact of familiarity levels down into three subcategories: knowledge, affection, and group identity. An intimate group of people that are very familiar with each other or even love each other, are greatly enhanced in their ability to do ritual together because they already know how each other operates. They are familiar with who can drum and who can’t, who has the weaker voice or the stronger voice, and they can situate themselves in a flow that is comfortable to the group. The uncomfortable physical barriers are gone, which eases the ability to create a cohesive group mind as opposed to a group of complete strangers.
With a group of strangers, there is a commonality that usually brings them together to help focus the group mind as well. Bonewits uses the example of Wiccans coming together who are all “Gardnerians”, or in my particular instance, getting together with those who all share an Angl0-Saxon hearth culture. It creates even the slightest spiritual link with everyone in the ritual if they have a common thread between them. It is encouraged to find these particular links prior to ritual in order to strengthen the group bond for a successful rite. Without some sort of shared goal or link, there is nothing for ritual participants to hold onto together to create the successful ritual outcome.
(Word Count: 255)