What do you do and how do you respond when the ritual you (or others) have worked so hard on? Do you just cut to the close and abruptly end so that all can get back to their regularly scheduled programming? Do you trudge through it and try to make it to the end? Do you get through the rite and modify it along the way? What's the right call?
Well, in truth, there really isn't one, which makes this topic all the more important to talk about. It happens, as we're human beings who happen to be rather far from perfect. These things happen from time to time, even if you're twenty plus years into your ritual practice. Knowing this, how you respond to a failure is just as important as how you respond to a success, and I'd like to create a dialogue about this here.
Being a guest at the home of a loved and trusted friend, I decided that the appropriate call was to sit quietly, to partake gracefully, to wait until the ritual's end so that I could peacably exit the ritual space and go about my evening. It was the appropriate call, as while folks were frazzled, sometimes that quick "nope, bye!" can do a lot more damage than patiently sitting and waiting. When there's no danger of things going sideways as a result of the rite itself, this is generally the appropriate call with the least negative social impact. As I see it, I can and will talk about this with the ritual planning comittee at a later date, but I wouldn't be able to negotiate those waters if I simply announced "I'm out!" at the middle.
However, when things get dangerous or troublesome, that's when emergent measures need to be taken. If you're in the middle of a spell to bring back your lover and the flame turns black, grows to 12x its original size, and something starts muttering from within the flames, its generally a good idea to assume a couple of things: 1) whatever just manifested probably isn't your friend, 2) this spirit is probably in some way related to the trouble you're having, and 3) its time to stop pursuing that lover. You can then blow out the candle, close the spirit door, wrap the ritual up in a white cloth, and bury it somewhere far from home.
If this happens in the middle of a public or group ceremony, you can intentionally disconnect yourself from the procession, throw salt over your shoulder, and leave the space in a hurry. Try not to look back as you exit, lest something follow you home. Then, when you get home, it'll be time for you to perform the usual sanctifying ritual process you would use. In partial relation, I recommend keeping an "Uh-Oh" spray handy, as you can quickly douse yourself in some of it to keep things away from you and your space, as it will help you to clear out spiritually and otherwise without a whole lot of prep work to be done under duress.
After all is said and done, the embers have cooled alongside the tensions at play, and you're feeling more like yourself, that's when the aftermath occurs. How you handle this can set the stages for years of experiences after the fact, so being prepared to do some damage control can make all the difference in the world. I would recommend making offerings to whomever you might have offended through the rite proceeding poorly, and if there were others in attendance, do the same with them. Talk it through, determine what could be done better, and make sure that you reaffirm the strength of your social bonds so that each of you comes out of this better prepared for the next ritual.
This might all seem a little overwhelming, but these things happen. One of the greatest lessons you can ever receive is that its still possible to fail, regardless of your experience level. You just don't want to fail at managing the particulars *after* the mess has hit the fan, as that's when trouble tends to set in.