Paganism and Practice

I discovered a new channel on Youtube (new to me, not new on YouTube) called Pagan Perspective the other day, and I really liked some of their weekly discussion topics.  I’m a bit inspired to follow along here on the blog, and so here is my first post.

Spiritual development is a progress, so sometimes thoughts and opinions change along the way, and sometimes we don’t even realize this has happened.  I think this is a nice way to share a bit more of my path with you, but also a way of looking a little more in depth at different aspects of my own faith and getting in touch with where I am at this moment on that journey.

rainforest

Topic for the Week of 7/22:  How often do people practice? What do you think about NeoPagans who believe without practice? Is it still a spiritual path?

I think that I have a hard time with the word “practice” in this question.  To me, “practice” usually refers to spellcraft, where as Paganism is a spirituality/belief system.

So, with that in mind, I would say that you can absolutely be a Pagan without “practicing” anything.  Just because you’re not lighting candles or what not does not change your beliefs and as long as you have your beliefs, you are still walking the path.

That said… perhaps there are “belief system” practices, right?  Because there’s things like daily devotionals, or meditation on deities, etc.  Still, I stand by what I’ve said above.  If you have a belief system, then you are on a spiritual path, regardless of the amount of “practice”  you are instilling within it.    As long as you have that belief and are following its tenants, then you’re there.

For example (and lets beat this horse to death, shall we?) we’ll look at Christians. A Christian is a Christian because they believe in the Almighty God and the tenants outlined in the Holy Bible.  If they do not go to church or say their nightly prayers does that mean they aren’t a Christian anymore?  Of course not.  They still have their belief system and thus, are still on their spiritual path.

On to my personal practices…

For me, it’s hard to separate spellcraft from my pagan practices, because in my case they are very interwoven together in how I connect with the energies of the elements, balance, and creation.

Over about mid-2016 through the beginning of this year, I had taken a bit of a hiatus from a physical practice.  I still did my ‘forest bathing’ and I still had my faith, but other than on Samhain, I wasn’t really doing any sort of a physical, tangible practice.

Even in those times, though, I was connected to my beliefs.  I was aware and comfortable with my connection with the earth in all the things I did that brought me in contact with it, I was instilling intention in my time in the kitchen and in my time working on jewelry that was to be sent out to others.   It was simply not being structured or physically expressed in ritual.

Prior to that (and again since the spring) I have returned to doing a daily devotional when I get up in the morning, which includes a short meditation each day, and I have returned to ritual and spellcraft on holidays, new moons, and full moons.  Not that these are the only times I do so, but they are the structured times that are planned for.

Therefore… back to the question at hand because I’m rambling all over the place.  How often do I practice?  Every day.   And I suppose that was always the case, even when I stepped away from a more structured practice for a time.

And I suppose that in the end, “practice” can be anything that instills your beliefs in your life, even if that is just in the way of one being consciously aware of their beliefs rather than abandoning them entirely.   Which, in a way, ties right back into what I said at the beginning of this post.

 

You Don’t Have To Do It Alone

220px-Fractal_treeToday’s meditation was ten minutes long, and focused on how one’s life and meditation practice is like a fractal.   I… didn’t really get it, to be honest.  I mean, I know what a fractal is.  Essentially it’s when you have a specific design/shape that is created out of identical shapes (see example picture).

My problem lies in how this applies to the relationship between meditation and daily life?  She did some explaining, but it didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

That said… I very much enjoyed the meditation’s method on focusing on the breath today, which was a step by step process of noticing where in the body you feel the breath, from nostrils to belly, and then as a whole throughout.

Today’s draw is the Six of Pentacles, which is a representation of harmony, cooperation, abundance, charity, and a cyclical balance of give and take in the area of finances, resources, and the material world.

Sometimes we are all on the giving end, and sometimes we all need to be on the receiving end, but in our journey through life this is truly more of a cycle.  Even the most wealthy sometimes need a helping hand, and even the poorest of the poor are able to give of themselves to others in need.

This card’s appearance today is a reminder to me that it’s okay to ask for help.  Sometimes I forget, and will struggle under the weight of trying to do everything myself and work it all out on my own.   That is a completely unrealistic mindset, and yet I return to it again and again.

Some of the aspects of my life that I find this most prevalent are in my business, in my self care, in my finances, and in my resources (such as my grocery/food supplies specifically).  It’s good (and in fact, important) to remember that there are venues out there to assist me in some of these areas when I struggle with them.

Deck Used: Student Tarot v5