As I take the time to shift my own spiritual practice, adjusting aspects of it to fit my life a little more fully, I realize the advice I’m finding might be useful for those of you here. You’ve probably read a lot of what is about to be said, but maybe there’s something new here for you.
Life is busy. Right? Between upkeep of the house, work, pets, children, chores, errands etc, life has the ability to get extremely chaotic. And if we weren’t raised in an overly religious household (like me) sometimes our spiritual practices are the ones that end up suffering in our fast paced, break neck speed of life. Especially if we are new to this path.
So, what do we do? We obviously feel the pull or call of Spirits. We are aware of something more than this provincial life. And we see others living seemingly glamorous spiritual lives, why can’t we? Why does our path always seem to fall apart or get pushed aside when we get busy? Do I not consider my path as important as the influencers on Witch tok or Witchtagram or Witchbook? Shouldn’t I at least strive to have the same or similar aesthetic as these people who are so popular? Obviously, they are doing something right, maybe I should do that?
I’m going to stop you right there. That is theirs. Not to say that you can’t have that, but what you’re looking at is carefully set up, staged pictures to make it seem more glamorous than it actually is. In fact, for many of us (myself included) having a set up similar to those gorgeous alters and Work spaces is very overwhelming! Both energetically and visually. To have bundles of dried herbs (expensive), next to living plants (yet another thing to take care of), next to large crystals of nondescript origin (both expensive and ethically questionable), along with a handmade alter cloth embroidered with power symbols (wait, I have to make this shit? On top of everything else I have to do?), stacks of witchy, occult, or myth books (also expensive and doesn’t apply to everyone), lit candles that are dripping wax all over that alter cloth you were told to make (how does one remove spilled wax from satin?!)… It’s a lot! Just thinking about it becomes overwhelming. And what if you’re not good at decorating?! What then? Have someone else set up your space and get the energy all wrong? NO!
Ok, I went on a little tangent, but I SWEAR it’s leading to something.
I am nothing, if not practical. From my clothes, to my kitchen, to the routes I take to get places, my life is very practical and as easy as I can make it. I don’t worry too much about the world outside of my own because if I focus there too much, I get anxious, scared, angry, overwhelmed. If I have too many stimulants going on or conflicting noises, I get agitated. But I’ll be honest, early on in my practice, I had all the things. From the dried herbs, living plants, big field rocks (because I was poor and couldn’t afford the shineies), dripping candles, and even the poorly sewn alter cloth. My practice had everything!
It wasn’t until I was sitting on my cushioned yoga mat, meditating after my asana practice one day that I looked up and just started laughing. All that stuff I had set up and carefully collected and placed in all the right spots were just COATED in old dusty spider webs. I had barely touched any of it in months outside of swapping out the offering dishes and adding new things I had acquired. Those gently waving dust coated tendrils of webbing pointed right at me and I realized, my spiritual practice wasn’t ever things. It was how I went about life and living my practice.
It was around this time that I started contemplating how my ancestors would have gone about viewing the world through their spirituality. There’s a saying my dad loves that goes “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” And I have adapted this saying to boil down my practice to be “It’s not what you own, but how you live.”
Take some time and think about what you enjoy doing. Make a small list of ten or so activities that you participate in. I’ll go first.
Crochet, writing, reading, going for walks, cooking/baking, playing guitar, videogames, singing, gardening, and coloring.
Now look at each item and think about how you can incorporate that item into a spiritual practice. For example, every time I crochet, I dedicate the work to Frigga. I thank her for the thread and the ability to weave together a single strand into a blanket, or hat, or whatever.
Cooking, baking, and gardening often get dedicated to my house spirits as well as my ancestors. I say a quiet thank you for the ability to not only feed my family, but the knowledge of how everything comes together and supports one another.
Singing has become my preferred method of prayers. It takes more breath and energy to sing then it does to speak, and there is a rhythm and energy to singing that differs from speaking. I’m by no means a song writer or musical enough to write my own sheet music, so I utilize what’s available to me.
What I’m trying to get you to see is that what you do everyday already has a spiritual essence to it. It doesn’t have to be big or fit a specific aesthetic. And especially for those still in the broom closet, dedicating small daily activities to deities or spirits or ancestors is a good way to practice without being out and loud about what you’re doing. It’s also a very simple way to avoid stagnation when it comes to practice. If we do something everyday that is dedicated to our spirits, we are gently building up the muscles to do something big later on. It doesn’t even have to be the same thing every day!
Our spiritual lives, much like our mundane muggle lives, are made up by the tiny moments and only accentuated by the big ones. With that being said, I do have alter spaces, though they don’t see much foot traffic through me. This is only because I’ve integrated my beliefs and my practice in every moment I spend walking this earth and have dedicated those alter spaces for when something “big” needs to happen. I tend them, when necessary, but my Gods, my Spirits, and my Ancestors walk with me everywhere I go either within my own blood and bones, or around my neck or wrists, or tattooed upon my skin. I am my own temple and alter.
If you need that big fancy alter space to keep you honest within your practice, I understand! And you’re not alone. Many practice that same way. But for those of us who try to cram everything we do into one day, finding the spiritual within our mundane is where it’s at. What do you do that’s seen as muggle practice but is secretly spiritual? Let me know in the comments! If there is a topic you’d want me to talk about, drop me a message and I’ll add it to the rotation. If you just like what I do, tell me! I suck at accepting compliments, but I will be super awkward when saying thank you.