Keeping a Practice Going

As Atheopagans, we have practices: rituals (big or small) we do to remind ourselves of the magnificence of the Earth and Universe, of the beauty of living, and of the values we hold dear.

These can include…

  • Daily (or nearly daily) observances, such as lighting candles on a Focus or drawing a Tarot card for reflection
  • Weekly (or nearly weekly) observances such as any ritual activities you may want to do before attending a UU service, for example (if you do that)
  • Monthly observances such as Moon phases, menstrual cycles, etc.
  • Seasonal Sabbaths of the Wheel of the Year
  • Annual observances like the First Big Rainstorm or First Snow, Pi Day (also Einstein’s birthday), Arbor Day, Earth Day, Yuri’s Night, Election Day, International Talk Like a Pirate Day, etc.
  • Special and unusual observances like meteor showers, comets, auroras and other rare natural phenomena, political actions, etc.

Now, none of us does all of these things. Life is busy and for many of us, just maintaining a minimal practice is an achievement.

But the good thing about all these opportunities for Atheopagan observance and ritual is that there is always a new opportunity rolling around to jumpstart a lapsed practice and get back into the groove. If it’s been awhile since you did something at your Focus, but the full Moon is coming up, you can plan a little something for that Moon and jump right back in.

The main point is to keep going. You’ve never “stopped”; you just had a longish gap between your ritual observances. The next time you pick up a wand or light a candle or however you conduct your ritual practices is just the next step in an unbroken chain of your religious practice.

It’s okay if it’s small, or brief. It’s you reminding yourself what is important to you, and that this ritual stuff feels pretty good. Even if it feels awkward, just do it.

Most of us succumb to “Dusty Altar Syndrome” now and then. Life gets busy, or we become saddened or depressed and distant from our spirituality. But it’s all waiting for us, in any moment, to dive back in and get recharged.

So seize the opportunity presented by that upcoming Moon phase, or that Sabbath that’s just around the corner, to do something special. Doesn’t have to be grandiose: just a moment out of time to reflect that we are here, tiny beings in a far-flung Universe of treasures and mysteries. We are gifted with Life, and with consciousness. We are each of us unique, precious, magical.

Mark the passage of the days of this too-short life with gratitude, and you’ll find yourself seeing more reasons to be grateful. More reasons to feel love. More reasons to be motivated to add your voice to the chorus of all of us who stand for better, kinder values and reverence for our Sacred Earth.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Keeping a Practice Going

  1. Oh, gods, “Dusty Altar Syndrome”!
    When, decades ago, we established our Home Altar, we intended to rotate it through the seasons, by cleaning the Altar every three months, replacing the altar cloth and whatever else, replacing them with new things that seemed right for the coming quarter.
    What a wonderful…aspiration.
    The actuality is, our Altar has layers of accretion, Christmas cards in August, images of people who have been dead for two years and would be amused that they’re still there, tools who’s dust layer betrays their neglect… although, I did use my Athame to slice open- ritually, mind you- an important letter. Worked very well.
    Anyway, here’s a friendly shout out to all of us who have expanded our definition of “Sacred” to include the holy, sacred dust that coats our Altars. “Dust”, after all, is kinda like “dirt”, and what could be more sacred than that?
    Rest easy. It’s all good.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really appreciated this post as someone who often feels guilty for not attending to my practice regularly enough. However with the recent New Moon and impending Autumn Equinox I have had a resurgence of desire to bring back meaningful ritual into my daily life.
    Thank you for the encouragement and valid points made!

    Like

  3. I tend to kind of trip and fall into dusty altar syndrome by pure accident. Because I can’t keep a schedule for the life of me. Half the time when I realize there’s been a holiday/event, it’s already a week past.

    Like

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