Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Circle Within, 1

Whew! I've spent the last couple of weeks finishing a draft of a dissertation chapter. It's handed in, and I'm back, just in time for my favorite month of the year, culminating in my favorite holy day.

TurtleHeart is reading The Circle Within: Creating a Wiccan Spiritual Practice by Dianne Sylvan and writing about it on her blog. I recently purchased this book myself. Sylvan gives suggestions for how to develop a daily, personal spiritual practice and integrate one's mundane and magical lives. Like Turtleheart says, the book is useful for those who follow Pagan paths other than Wicca. It's also very well-written. I've decided to accompany TurtleHeart on her journey through The Circle Within by posting my responses to the exercises here. I welcome you to post your own responses in the comments section or on your own blog.

"Take a moment, or even a few days, to make a list of all the things you do in your life that make you feel spiritually fulfilled. This doesn't only include things that are viewed as traditionally spiritual, like ritual and prayer. It can be anything from playing with your children to reading, painting, gardening, dancing, or writing if it makes you feel closer to your gods. Think of your list as your current spiritual practice, and look it over. Where are the empty spots? What sorts of activities would you like to add more of? Don't make any decisions, or judgments; just think on it for a while." (pp. 16-17)

What activities make me feel spiritually fulfilled? (I've placed an asterisk after those I do daily.)

  • Writing my morning pages*
  • Saying a prayer*
  • Lately I've been lighting incense in front of Kwan Yin on my altar in the morning before I begin writing.*
  • Greeting the five elements/directions in the morning*
  • Lighting candles in the evening
  • Meditating - when I manage to do it
  • Yoga - I've been attending class once a week.
  • Tending my altar
  • Reading tarot - which I haven't done in months
  • Tending my herb garden - when I have one; I don't right now
  • Taking walks in nature
  • Wearing a pentacle or goddess necklace*
  • The Dances of Universal Peace
  • Sex* - most days!
  • Going on retreat
  • Swimming in the lakes during summer - especially when I can go naked
  • Burning smudge sticks
  • Camping
  • Sitting around a campfire
  • Sleeping outside
  • Looking at art that reflects my spirituality*
  • Reading books that reflect my spirituality* - even if just a little
  • Participating in ritual
  • Watching the moon through its phases
  • Watching the seasons change
  • Cleaning my house
  • Breathing
  • Seeing my astrologer
Where are the gaps?

  • I would like to have a regular practice, even if brief, for observing the sabbats and esbats. My celebrations are pretty ad hoc, if they happen at all.
  • I would like to develop a daily meditation practice.
  • I realize how much I miss my herb garden and would love to have one.
  • I like TurtleHeart's idea of a self-blessing on the new and full moons.
  • I would like to do more spellwork.
  • I would like to return to a more regular tarot practice.
It looks like I have a pretty full spiritual life, and I think that's right. I do wish I had more people to share it with. I'm not sure if I want more structure or not. I know structure can be a useful, but I so often slip into berating myself for what I "should" be doing. I guess I really do want to integrate my mundane and magical lives! I would love to hear how you all do this.


A Minor said...

I hope you don't berate yourself too much because it sounds to me like you have a very rich spiritual life. It seems to me that to have the time to have a really rich spiritual life you would need to have nothing else to do with yourself - and then what would you have to work about, for, contemplate and give thanks for!

TurtleHeart said...

I'm so happy you are going to blog about these exercises too! It has been really interesting seeing what people have to say; I love learning about others pagans' spiritual practices.

You've got some great practices on your list. I forgot all about camping! Thats a great spiritual time for me (but oh so rare...) And I've always wanted to go to one of the Dances of Universal Peace... always room to add more to my practice!