As we move closer and closer to Samhain, it can be useful to examine our relationship to daily practice. We all know that daily practice is important to our religious development. And when we fall out of practice — because work, family, illness, or whatever gets in the way — we know that it’s important to return to our altars and begin again. As Rumi wrote:
Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times.
Come, yet again, come, come.
For me, a basic practice involves grounding, centering, casting a circle, and spending time in contact with the powers, spirits, and beings of this place. Yet the details of how I do each of those things can change over time and, when I find the practice getting stale (or perhaps it’s more apt to say, when I find myself getting stale), then it’s time to re-evaluate and switch things around.
I do an alter cleansing at each of the Sabbats and a major cleaning of my ritual room for Samhein. Just now, when many of us are evaluating the past liturgical year and setting goals for the coming one, is a good time to evaluate how our daily practice is working for us. Do we need to add to it? Have some parts of it become too simple or boring? Does the space where we do our practice support us or work against us? Sometimes, something as simple as beginning by listening to new music or by lighting a new candle can make a difference. Sometimes, it’s time to consult Tarot or go into trance and see what larger changes are needed.
I’m making a major change to my ritual room: I’ve always sat on a yoga blanket on the floor, but my old knees seem less enthusiastic every time that they have to get me up from that position, so I’ve bought a desk and chair for a new altar. I think it’s going to encourage me to change a number of things about my practice — both the What and How. I’m looking forward to the adventure.
What’s your relationship to daily practice? How often do you make changes? How might you use your Samhein reflections to improve your practice? I’d love to hear from you in comments.
Picture found here.