Friday, February 15, 2013

Developing a Daily Practice

My religious and spiritual ideas tend much more to orthopraxy (practice) than orthodoxy (belief), and it's been that way no matter what religious path I've been on. 

This doesn't mean that I'm great with Daily Practice - just the opposite. I find it very challenging to sustain an act until it becomes habit.  I don't see that challenge to be a bad thing - in my experience, making a conscious choice to engage in some sort of daily practice and pushing through the inclination to let it slide has all sorts of spiritual and mundane benefits to it, whether that practice involves a prayer of some kind, a ritual of some sort, a pause to meditate, a daily walk, a daily divinatory reading, or whatever habit one might come up with that allows one to ground, center and focus contemplatively on where they are in connection with the universe, their gods, or the sacred in whatever form it takes for them.

Since Yule, I've begun a daily practice of centered around my "hearth" - a small shrine in the kitchen that holds a statue depicting Frige (an Anglo-Saxon goddess who is the deity of my hearth), a bell (it's a sleigh bell on a the end of a wand), an oil lamp that acts as the hearth flame, an incense holder, and a leaf shaped dish  that holds offerings.  Sometimes, there are additional offerings, such as flowers, a libation, chocolates...

Everyday, before the evening meal preparation begins, I chime  the bell, then I light a stick of incense, use it to light the oil lamp, while saying a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to Frige. 

A bit later, when I am dishing up our meal, the first portion goes into the offering dish and set on the altar with another prayer, asking that she accept her portion as a 'gift for a gift'.

Lastly, after dinner, I pray a third time, this time requesting her aid in protecting our home, and blessing it with love, and kindness to one another, and that she stay with us throughout the night - and then put out the lamp for the evening.  The offering is left on the shrine until bedtime, and then set outside.

It took a good while not to feel self-conscious, or to wonder if this was a good practice or something 'silly', but that's gone away - it's my daily practice, it has become habit, and it is meaningful to me. As I contemplate Frige's qualities - organizational skills, domestic arts, managerial horsesense, being  the "Keeper of the Keys" - and of the peace, I am reminded daily to take my domestic tasks seriously, reminded that I, too, can choose to act in a way that leads to peace and harmony in the home rather than sowing discord.  It reminds me that the act of putting together a meal isn't jus a task to be got through, but something deeply important that is at the heart of our home.

My commitment is to do this until next Yule - but I suspect that by then the very idea of not doing it will be unthinkable to me.

Shared with Pagan Blog Project and cross-posted from The Auld Grey Mare.

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