Everyday Spirituality

This is another suggestion from a friend, but one I was very interested in writing. My spiritual practice is a priority, but not the priority. I work full-time, have three needy pets, and have an active (sometimes too active) social life. For me, incorporating spirituality in throughout my day is the only way I can make it work. Below are a few ideas that I use that you may find useful.

  1. Daily practice

For me, the best incorporation of my spiritual practice into my daily life is to set aside time each day for spiritual practice. Each morning, after tending to my pets, I sit before my altar and run through a few practices. Not only does this help me with a steady spiritual practice, but it starts my day off on a positive note.

For me, this has been a bit easier since I am studying with an established tradition that has a set agenda of daily practices. If you are practicing within an established tradition, look to the rituals and practices from that tradition for ideas of what you can do daily. If you are not, consider what is most important about your practice. Don’t be afraid to play around with the structure of your daily practice until you find a routine that works for you.

  1. Daily divination

This could be included as part of your daily practice or be completely separate. Any divinatory method will work. You can pull a daily Tarot or oracle card, pull a rune, or even interpret shapes in the grounds of your daily cup of coffee.

The intention for the reading can be flexible. You can ask for a sneak peek about how your day will go, ask what lessons you should focus on learning or any other questions that strikes your fancy.

  1. Make use of everyday actions

Like the tagline of this blog says, borrowed from Donald Tyson, magic doesn’t have to be spectacular. You’d be surprised how many things you can turn into an intentional, magical ritual.

Taking out the trash, clipping your nails, doing dishes or laundry can be turned into a ritual to release unneeded energy. Cooking or eating can be turned into an act of transformation or gratitude. Even dressing with intention can become a magical act.

Using a magical eye, look at your daily activities to see how you can put them to use.

  1. Pray

I know witches and other members of the New Age community usually fond of prayer. Maybe this stems from our experiences with the religions of our parents growing up; I don’t know. What I will say, is prayer is an easy way to connect with the Universe at any time. If you follow a deity, start to pray to them outside of ritual and your connection with them will no doubt strengthen. In fact, find a prayer to them from antiquity. It’s probably been a while since someone has said those words to them.

  1. Spend time outside

Look, I live in Ohio where we have three seasons; Volcanic Heat, Fall for one day, and Arctic Tundra. Getting outside is difficult, but not impossible. Spending time in nature helps us connect with the Universe on a visceral level. You’ll be surprised how the energy of a thunderstorm energizes, while a gentle rain washes away worry. Play with the elemental energy available to you right outside your front door. See how you can use them for daily magic.

  1. Meditate

Look. If you aren’t meditating, download Headspace or find a guided meditation on Youtube. You’re welcome.

  1. Choose your media

Another easy way to incorporate your spirituality into your day-to-day is to intentionally choose what media you are absorbing. There are several podcasts, books, Youtube channels, and such from which to choose.

That’s all I have for you at the moment. I’m sure there a ton of ideas that I missed. Maybe I’ll do a little more thinking and post a Part 2 of this post later on. If you have ideas about this or suggestions for future posts, let me know.

 

 

Advertisements

Walking the Spiral – The Ups and Downs of Spirituality

“The closer you get to the light, the bigger your shadow becomes.” – Kingdom Hearts

 

Most people turn to a spiritual practice to improve their life. What most people fail to understand is that the spiritual journey isn’t an easy path to walk. Additionally, the spiritual journey doesn’t really have a final destination. A spiritual journey continues throughout the rest of your life and as you progress you will new aspects of your life that bring tension against your development.

Most magical, spiritual practices use the spiral as a symbol of our spiritual journey. As you walk the spiral, you may be getting closer to the center, your end goal, but you may still find yourself passing through similar obstacles and lessons. In my belief and experience, these common issues are there to help gauge our progression. As we get closer to our spiritual center, our shadow aspects tend to come out with greater force than they did earlier on in our practice, or at least that how it appears. In reality, it may just be because we become are more aware of our complexes and have learned to recognize them for what they are as we grow spiritually.

Let me give you an example. One of my reoccurring issues manifests in my life as an intense fear of criticism. When I started curling a few years ago, my first skip was an amazing man named Tim. He was patient and helped me grow as a curler. However, as time went on and I made similar mistakes over and over again, he got a little tougher on me. As soon as Tim’s tough love approach started, I immediately wanted to quit. I lied to myself and said that I hated curling, but what I really hated was that someone was criticizing me. After beating myself up and doing more than my fair share of pouting, I realized that Tim was just trying to help me improve because if I were doing well, I’d love curling even more. With that mindset, I was able to reset and be open to instruction. I was good, and I knew that I would never have to struggle with feeling criticized again.

Then, the next year started, and I was with a skip named John. John was a monster. That may sound unfair, but he was a shit-talking, broom throwing tyrant, who told me to go fuck myself more than he said my name. He was once joking with me and called me a clown, and that was honestly the nicest thing he ever said to me. I went through my normal pattern of vowing to quit curling and being so in my emotions that I neglected to see that he had the same goal as Tim, to make me better at a sport I loved. Sure, he’s technique was different, but he just wanted to see me get better. I let go of my emotional reaction, and with John’s help, our team won the Men’s League for the curling club.

Again, I thought I was good, but this season started, and I am with a skip named Jeff. He has a reputation for being a worse tyrant than John. I immediately researched the refund policy to see if I could still quit and get my money back. Then, I saw my name on the plaque of winners. It reminded me that I had dealt with this before and this was my chance not to let it bother me. So, I grounded myself, and I’ve been mostly okay with Jeff since.

I’ve have seen the same response from spiritual people when they encounter more difficult issues such as depression, addiction, and financial distress. When things aren’t going as well as we’ve planned, we tend to forget that we are witches and resort to old patterns. What follows are a few tips that I use when I’m going through a downswing in my spiritual journey.

 

  1. Take preventative measures

Just like with physical health, our spiritual health requires preventative care. Kelly Ann Maddox once said in a video that she uses the times when things are going well to keep up with her daily practice as a way to gather strength for any obstacle that may just be around the corner.

In her book, Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson talks about taking the good days and making them amazing, so she has a reserve to take into the bad days on her journey with depression.

As spiritual people, we can use our practice to fill our energy wells so that we have a storeroom of power to draw from during difficult times.

 

  1. Embrace the sacred Toddler

When things aren’t working well for me and become overwhelming for me, I get really sad, and then really pissed off. I used to stay away from the altar when I was upset, but then I realized that the Divine that gave me life also gave me my emotions. They are a vital part of me.

So, when I get angry, I may spend a day walking by my altar with my middle finger in the air, but I eventually find my way back. Then, I let it out. I tell my patrons just how pissed I am that they have seemingly abandoned me. I rant and rave, and when I’m done, I find this stillness. Then, through journaling, art, or divination, I find the cause of the situation and am ready to move forward.

  1. Look for the lesson

Inside every struggle is a nugget of spiritual truth. Every obstacle brings with it a lesson that you may need to learn. Don’t just contemplate the fact that there’s a lesson, bust out your spiritual magnifying glass and Sherlock Holmes that shit.

Discover what the lesson is. Narrow it down to a concise sentence. For example, for my situation with the curling club, I narrowed it down to “Criticism helps me grow.”

Once you understand the lesson, look for other examples of this lesson at play in your every day. Before you leave your house say “How can I learn more about this today?” and embark on your day ready to learn.

  1. Lean on your tribe

During times of difficulty, the first things most of us do is pull away from those who care about us. I think this is a subconscious way of protecting them. It could also be rooted in feelings of shame or unworthiness. Your tribe will always be there (and if they aren’t, they aren’t your tribe!).

Talk to you friends. Let them know what’s going on. Accept the help they give you.

  1. Don’t quit

When we experience hardships despite our spiritual practice, it’s easy to chalk it up as a wasted endeavor and walk away from our practice. Regardless of what your practice is, you are going to have hardships. It’s a fact of life and an opportunity to put your spiritual toolbox to use.

Keep up your daily practice in whatever capacity you are able. This will help you refill you well, even if only slightly, and you’ll be better equipped to handle the shenanigans that life sometimes throws our way.

I hope this is helpful and would love to hear any tips I may have missed. This post was the result of a recommendation from a friend of mine. If there are any topics that you’d like to see me write about, leave me a comment.

Finding my Muchness – Intro

“You’re not the same as you were before. You were much more. ‘Muchier.’You’ve lost your muchness” – The Mad Hatter

I’m a badass. Mostly a self-proclaimed badass, but a badass nonetheless. As I’ve grown older, I feel like I lost a piece of myself; I’ve lost my muchness.  Through meditation and reflection, I’ve realized that me at 19 years-old was when I was at my best. I was fearless I was unstoppable. At 19, I left home to follow my dream of becoming an artist. I moved to Pittsburgh and lived without assistance from my parent. I eventually moved back to Columbus and still lived my best life until I gave in to adulthood and focused fully on being a well-adjusted human. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I just feel that I lost myself along the way. So, I’ve focused some time on rediscovering my badassness, my muchness. This will be the topic of my next several blog posts… Stay tuned.

Dianne Sylvan Inspired Blog Challenge – A Letter to My Past Self

Joe,
You’re feeling on top of the world. You’ve made a career for yourself with this company! You get to travel the world, experience other cultures, and help people improve their lives. You are becoming a great trainer and cultivating so much experience. Brace yourself, because you’re out to be knocked off your pedestal.
The traveling team is about to be disbanded and though you have a great track record, one conversation you had with a hiring manager a year ago is going to cost you the opportunity to keep your job. You’re going to be angry, but you will acquiesce and comply with direction from your manager that you disagree with.
You’re going to be asked to travel one last time to launch a collection agency because you are the only one in the organization with the experience to do so. You’re going to be asked to prepare your competition for an interview that you weren’t given the opportunity to participate in. You’ll even be asked to train your replacement. Even though you’re going to be furious and feel like your being taken advantage of, you’ll look back at this as a lesson in composure and professionalism. You’ll eventually look back on this and be happy that you were able to help these mediocre trainers hone their skills before they were thrown into a situation that they weren’t prepared for. You’ll also be very happy when you hear that everyone who had a hand in your departure would slowly resign as the department deteriorated. You’ll feel bad for being happy at their demise. Don’t they deserved it and you earned the right to be petty.
The Universe is going to look out for you. You’ll land a new job almost immediately. It won’t be what you want, and your managers won’t be able to offer you development, but you’ll learn how to be self-directed and adaptable. You’ll finally be able to create your own training material, and this experience will set you up for success you didn’t know you’d ever want. You’ll also meet someone who will be impressed with your work, and since Columbus is so small, this relationship will pay off in big ways.
After a year at the new company, you’ll start recognizing the signs of imminent disaster. You’ll see that the organization is slowly dismantling your team and you’ll trust your instincts. You’ll look for a job and land an amazing opportunity in no time. When you turn in your resignation, your manager will try to tell you that your job is secure. Don’t believe her. Within the first week of your new job, you’ll hear that the rest of the team was laid off.
Your new job will start off rocky. The new boss will be clueless, but will ultimately be replaced by someone that old colleague will sing your praises to. You’ll also have issues with a coworker, but give her time, she’ll become one of your biggest confidants. In no time at all, you will be in your element and ready for any challenge they can throw at you.
Keep it up; you’ve fucking got this.

Dianne Sylvan Inspired Blog Challenge – I’m Proud of Myself For…

I’ve recently introduced the Iron Pentacle into my daily practice. One of the points I’ve been struggling with is the point of Pride. It’s hard for me to look at myself without comparing myself to others. It feels like kismet that Dianne would include this in her blog challenge since it’s something I’m actively working on. So, here goes nothing…

1. I’m very proud that I am actually pursuing Feri training. It’s been something I’ve been interested in for the last year and finding a training resource was difficult. I didn’t let that stop me. I beat down the proverbial doors until I found a training opportunity.

2. Still Feri related. I’ve been practicing my own brand of Witchcraft for over a decade. I was sure that I would have to alter the training to fit within my current practice, even though I knew I wouldn’t get the most out of my training if I did so. Surprisingly, I’ve kept all the practices authentic to how they were presented. I’m proud of the dedication I’ve shown to this experience.

3. I’m proud of the type of friend I am. Whenever my friends need me, even when I don’t necessarily want to, I stop what I am doing and tend to them. I try to be the type of friend I would want in the situation.

4. I’ve gained a quite a bit of weight in the past few years. Since I’m not okay with that, I’ve joined a gym. Let me be clear; I loathe working out. Still, I’m at the gym at least three days a week. I’m proud that I can push myself to do something that I don’t like.

5. Up until recently, when something didn’t go my way, I would respond terribly. We’re talking rage, tears, and pouting. Now, when I feel these emotions welling up, I can take a breath and reframe the situation in a more positive life. I’m proud of my growth.

This exercise has helped me connect with the Pride point of the Iron Pentacle. This may inspire me to do similar journaling on the other points. Stay tuned 😊

Dianne Sylvan Inspired Blog Challenge – My Favorite Witchy Movies

Most witches I know detest witchy movies because they never show “true” magic. In my opinion, if you want real magic, make some of your own. For me, movies are supposed to be fantastical and over the top. That’s what makes them fun. So here are my favorite witchy movies, in no particular order.

1. The Craft

Why I love it: I love how the girls were outsiders and how little it bothered them. The idea of getting revenge on terrible people resonated with my younger self. I also love how there was just enough real ritual to make it believable.

Favorite scene: When the three antagonists fly through Sarah’s window in her dream and choke her. Neve Campbell’s laugh gives me chills every time.

2. The Mists of Avalon

Why I love it: First of all, Angelica Huston is amazing! Secondly, like the Craft, the movie has enough real magic in it that it inspired some of my early rituals. Almost every line Angelica Huston has in invocation-worthy.

Favorite Scene: It’s a tie. The first is when Arthur is in the burning church and prays to God. Vivienne appears instead and says “You prayed to the God of Heaven, but it is the Goddess of the Earth that has answered you.” The second is towards the end when Morgaine enters a church and sees a Goddess statue repurposed as the Virgin Mary and realizes that even though Christianity has taken over, the Goddess was still alive and well.

3. Practical Magic

Why I love it: It’s a great mix of romance and magic. I also love the dichotomy between the two sisters and their approach to magic and life. It also has a super happy ending full of love and acceptance.

Favorite Scene: When Sally goes to rescue Gilly, and they’re both in the car with Jimmy. Gilly uses magic and appears very close in the mirror to send a secret message to Sally. Amazing!

Those are my top three. What witchy movies do you love?

Goals for July

I really enjoyed the 30 days challenge about magic that I just finished up. Since inspiration has a way of slipping away from me, I decided to look for another challenge. As luck would have it, one of my favorite pagan authors and bloggers, Dianne Sylvan, posted her very only challenge.

Full disclosure, Dianne’s blog includes spirituality, self-improvement, pop culture, and vegan living, to name a few. Since my blog has only really focused on magic, I may end up changing the topic a little to fit with the rest of the blog.

So to begin, my goals for July (in no particular order):

  1. I have been having some difficulties at work. This month, I either want to resolve those difficulties or begin making plans to move on to another position.
  2. I want to immerse myself either further in my Feri tradition studies. So far it’s been great, but I still sense a little resistance.
  3. I want to spend more time at home. I go out too much and need the alone time.
  4. I want to finish a painting since I haven’t painted in months.
  5. I want to get my gym routine in order. Right now, I go haphazardly at best. In July, I want to stick to a schedule so I might actually begin seeing results.

I’ll check in at the end of the month to see how my progress has been.

You can find Dianne’s blog at http://diannesylvan.com/