Writing Prompt for January 12: Personal Practice
Share your favorite spiritual/magickal practices. What tools are incorporated into your daily practice? What feeds you and replenishes you?
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit to you all, here and now, that I have fallen off of the ritual bandwagon and I really don't have much of a practice anymore. However, you should also know that it's not something I've intentionally quit, nor is it something to which I will never return. In fact, it is part of that whole "getting into a better spiritual place" resolution I wrote about in last week's post. (You know--that one that I wrote two days ago?)
Since I've now admitted that I haven't been much for "practice" lately, I'm going to include in this post what I have done in the past, what I'm currently doing, and what I would like to do in the future.
Rituals (Both "Special" and Daily)
THEN: Yours truly loves the thrill and energy of a good ritual. I loved holding ritual for Esbats and Sabbats, the calling of the Elementals, the opening and closing of the Circle, the invocations, Drawing Down the Moon. Throw in a bunch of candles and some incense and boy, you've put me in the mood for a spellbindingly good time! ;) I've always loved performing rituals; there is something so beautiful about an altar ablaze with candles, the sound of bells or singing bowls, and the smell of incense wafting through the air. Even if there is taxing spellwork being performed, I usually feel rejuvenated and alive after the fact (although, there are sometimes emotionally-draining nights, too). As far as a daily ritual, I used to spend time every day at my altar, whether it was in mediation, divining, writing big rituals, or working. There was also daily reading and writing.
NOW: I have not cast a circle in close to two years now. I have periodically performed small spells without a circle, but haven't had a full blown ritual in ages, and feel like I wouldn't even know what to do with myself anymore. I did a small Full Moon ritual from Circle Round with my oldest son last summer, but it wasn't quite the same as a grown-up Full Moon ritual for many reasons. Within the next few months I would like to start celebrating Esbats again, and perhaps even throw in a Sabbat or two.
My daily rituals are greatly reduced; I usually read and meditate on a daily goddess devotional from The Goddess Companion, occasionally draw a tarot card (maybe a whole spread if I'm feeling up to it), and do some reading from whatever Pagan book I'm working on at the time. I would like to get back to doing what I used to do, but I've yet to figure out the logistics because of family and work responsibilities (wouldn't trade those for anything, though!). For now I acknowledge my path through my daily readings and contemplations, and that has to be enough for the time being.
THEN: I would post a picture of my old altar, but I'm having trouble hunting one down. It didn't have everything, but it certainly had enough. It was a long, sturdy, old piano bench on which I would place a cloth that coordinated with the holiday or season. It had god and goddess representations, god and goddess candles, quarter candles, spell candles, a pretty little candle snuffer, mirrors, a pentacle, a beautiful moonstone pendulum, incense (both a stick incense holder and an abalone shell for loose incense), mirrors, a "goblet" with moon water, salt, a wand, etc., etc., etc. There were usually crystals and daily tarot or oracle cards set up, as well. My set-up would change with the seasons, and I really enjoyed all of my little "housekeeping" duties that surrounded maintaining it.
I loved the ceremoniousness of performing ritual with all of my tools.
I loved the feeling of having my own little place in the world to which I could escape and make everything disappear.
I do have an altar set up, but I've only used it once since I put it together, and that was for the Full Moon ritual I spoke of earlier. Also, I didn't bring my old furniture with me when I moved two years ago, so my altar is the top of a cardboard box. Fancy, I know. :P I would love to be able to set up something sturdier, obviously, but that will have to wait. I keep my crystals on a book shelf, and don't do much work with them anymore, but they are pretty and I do go through them every so often. As far as tools go, I have always felt that they weren't incredibly necessary, but they're nice to have and, if you allow them to, they can enhance your workings. I don't know that I would use them the way I used to, but I'd sure like to try. :)
THEN: I bought them, read them, took what I needed, and kept the unused information filed away in my mind.
NOW: I still have them, still read them, and have kept adding to my collection. Pretty sure the old YouTube channel was called something along the lines of "The Pagan Bookworm," if that tells you anything about my relationship with books. Books and I have been having a life-long love affair, and I don't foresee it ending any time soon.
Although I haven't had a regular practice for some time now, I still practice divination, study Witchcraft and Paganism, and hold sacred space and time for prayers and energies. As a Pantheist and Animist, I daily reflect on my relationship with the Earth, the Skies, and the Divine (my ever-evolving definition of the Divine is something for another post). I live my Earth-honoring religion in very practical ways: trying to live, eat, and raise my family in a "green" way, acknowledging the sources of our nourishment, taking heed of the relationship between Grandmother Moon and my body. Perhaps it isn't all what I used to do, or even what I currently idealize or dream of doing, but it's something, and it's better than nothing.