The Pagan Experience, Week 2 Prompt
Personal Practice– Share your favorite spiritual / magickal practices. What tools are incorporated into your daily practice? What feeds you and replenishes you?
[Art by Randy Scott Slavin”Big Sur“]
With my morning coffee I like to have some quiet devotional-type reading. I open the daybook page of The Goddess Companion or a random page in Earth Prayers, or use the time for reading any book on a spiritual topic. I read and contemplate and feel the magical morning light energizing me. I don’t do this every day, but it is my preferred way to start the day. Coffee without quiet time and something spiritual to read or do seems bare. Sitting at the computer sometimes suffices. Often, I only get a few minutes.
Other than that, I have not yet really had a daily practice. I’ve been officially Pagan for 15 years now, but despite my thrill at ritual in childhood, as an adult I wasn’t really into ritual. I enjoyed feeling magic around and within me, and directing its flow sometimes, but I never really went in for spell-work. I figured it was my spontaneous, go-with-the-flow, mutable Piscean nature and a forest-child affinity for wild magic that made formalized ritual and magic seem to not be my style. So I never formalized any of it, other than requiring myself to have an actual skill to offer before calling myself a Witch. I just let Paganism and mythos shape my worldview and sense of wonder, and the Witch archetype shape my self-concept as the non-conforming, empowered, mystic/wise-woman. I went with a rather indigenous and animistic Paganism that didn’t require formal, cordoned-off “religion” but was just a way to exist in the world, loving existence and the world.
Reading about shamanism and watching shamanic work felt more like remembering than learning, but I have thus far never formally tried journeying trance-work. Altered consciousness comes naturally and seamlessly for me, so I never formalized it. I have always wondered if I should, though. So perhaps this year I will try it, drumming and all.
As I get older, and my kids get older and start getting orderly study habits and schedules, and the household requires order to function well as the family has gotten bigger but the house has remained small… I’m feeling an urge to incorporate an orderly praxis in my spiritual life, too. I’ve heard that it is beneficial to dedicate yourself to a practice, so why not try it? It has been beneficial in other areas of my life to have a routine or a schedule that keeps things I want in my life refreshed and regularly-occurring.
Something I’ve wanted to do for years is find or create a song or set of songs for singing up the sun. Maybe a chant or prayer for sunset, moonrise, and moonset, too. A tiny bit of ritual that would fit into the minute I can give such things at whatever time they happen might be nice, too. Raising a staff at sunrise or some such thing. I love the idea of tuning in to these natural events and cycles. Modern Western industrial culture doesn’t pay any attention to them except when the beauty of their occurrance happens to catch the eye. I want to exist more like the ancestors, in the natural world as much or more than in the cultural human world and its concerns.
So I’m on the hunt for songs and chants. I could easily create some since I am a poet, and I’ve considered writing liturgy and Pagan lyrics. The formality of liturgy does excite what thrilled in me as a child when reading about or experiencing ritual. I might be a bit word-centric. 😉 Suggestions are welcome, if you know of some that would suit.
I have also set my phone’s alarms to notify me of sunrise, sunset, moonrise, and moonset. Last night I let the moonrise wake me at 3:47 AM. I didn’t have a greeting prepared, so I just smiled some love toward her, and went back to sleep. I have to set the alarms every day (is there an app for that?) but that can be part of the devotional practice.
I’m also considering a comfort I had left behind, 15 years ago. Prayer. Here’s the stickiness… I am not exactly a theist, unless we go with naturalistic pantheism. I do substitute “Universe” for “God/dess” in discussions sometimes, as that’s pretty much what I mean by it. And yet the gods can be seen as aspects and archetypes of existence, and I am fine with conversing with archetypes. I would like to explore the comforts of relationship-building and having a deity/spirit that I go to at the end of the day and pour my heart out to, or just chat. I would feel like it’s not that different from having characters in books or shows that you read, watch, or even write that become your friends.
(Don’t worry, I don’t require that everyone see things the way I do. I’m genuinely happy for you if you have a sincere polytheism or other theism, or none. How would I know if your gods are objectively extant and in communion with you? That’s your business, your experience. I can celebrate your relationship with the divine, even if it’s not the same as mine.)
So hey, why not? Why not pray after many years of being allergic to things like prayer and church. I have been attending a church *gasp* this past year (Pagan-friendly Unitarian Universalist), so I guess I’m non-conforming, even for a Witch! 😀 So beside the Sun, Moon, and Earth… Cernunnos, the Green Man, Hestia, Arianrhod, Artemis, Cerridwen, and Brighid (among others) will be hearing from me, this year. (Yes, I lean Welsh/Celtic, but not exclusively.) Maybe a shrine for gods and ancestors instead of Christian-style bedside kneeling…
I could pick some point in the lunation to remind me to do divination and dream work. I have offered that in service to others in the past. It would be a fine practice to pick back up again. I’ve been fascinated by the concept of veiling — making a temporary personal temple — so I might like to do that during divination and prayer.
And speaking of Celtic, I’m still feeling strongly drawn to Druidry, so I hope to study with whichever order seems right for me at the time. For this year, that might just mean I read The Bardic Course Handbook and other books on my own and research all the orders for later.
So these are the things I could include in my practice this year. We shall see what is created.