The critics against " the way " are many, a lot of them from within.
Ever hear of a thing called Witch wars ? The concept has many meanings, wars of theology, differences of opinion on what is fact and what is fiction. It is the critic of, of all things, the way one approaches the Divine, as if any human being has a right to say one way or the other if a way is right or not. One would think the Gods would have something to say about that :)
Could one have done a rite better? Probably, but is anyone's right to point that out ? In some cases, yes there is cause. We have a right to have certain expectations of our fellows if they claim knowledge and understanding of a thing, we expect them to behave as if they do.
But just because they are not perfect in action, every time, does not make them less of a human being. In fact, it just shows that they ARE human.
Actions speak louder than words, we have all heard that said for years, and it's true and to take action in the circle or out of it, takes courage, dedication, a willingness to make mistakes, but doing it anyway.
It is not for those sitting on the side lines, who are taking no action to judge when the actions are taken with an honest heart and are the best one can do. If one is just going through the motions and it's apparent, sure, call em on it, but if they are trying their best ?
I recall to mind a major circle, a public rite, one of the few the organization I belonged to, did every year. And I remember the woman who drew the circle on the ground with the sword.
Mind you this circle had some 150 people standing around it, 2/3s of which were strangers. This woman was the only volunteer of a group of some 50 people for this task. And bless her heart, she got so flustered in front of so many people, that she drew the circle widdershins to open it, instead of deosil.
Now it was a lovely rite,
the power was there, even with all the strangers, but this poor woman was
not allowed to live this " mistake " down. It was all some people could
talk about for mts. She finally left the group and I don't blame her. I,
and a great many others took the group to task for this, as there was no
need to berate her. The gods didn't care if she did it " right ". Her heart
was in the right place, no matter that her body got a little confused.
Has this made one bit
of difference ? NO except to a few picky people who attended some rites
Who where never invited to return. !!
Now does this mean, any ole which way is fine ? NO, it means to the best of your knowledge and abilities, but it does NOT mean to the best of someone else's ideas.
The longer one is on the Path, the more you come to realize that all the forms of " what's the right way " become almost meaningless. And this coming from one whose first training was in High Ceremonial Magick. I know all the forms of the " proper " way to do the Craft, and when called for, I use them. But tell someone else how to Pray ? I think not.
As most of our rites, that's what they are, a Prayer to the Gods. A supplication to the Goddess from her children.
To tell anyone they are " doing it wrong" is like telling them the right way to write poetry. I hated that in English class ! A good rite, like a good poem or song, is a work of the heart, and not a subject for debate.
Does it work ? Then it's right and that's the only right or wrong to it.
To stand in the circle is to Dare, to be silent and listen to the way of the Gods and hear their voice on the wind.
The only wrong way to do this, is to do it when you don't mean it, anything else is correct.