Routine gets a bad reputation a lot of the time. Often the word is used synonymous with boring, old, bland… Lately, though, I think of routine as a kind of ritual.
Rituals don’t have to be religious, either. In my family growing up, we had a bedtime ritual where my mother would come to our room at night and “tuck” us into bed, often literally tucking the covers up around us, and giving us kisses and hugs, and telling us that she loved us, and wishing us “sweet dreams” and “good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!” It’s a warm, happy memory of a loving family “routine”. But it was more than a routine. It was a ritual. It was imbued with more intent and meaning than the routine of whether you pour your milk or coffee in your cup first.
In my efforts to live with more intent and focus, I’m moved to find ways to incorporate rituals into my days, my weeks, my months, my years… As I’ve been cultivating a relationship with my boyfriend of four years, we’ve developed our yearly rituals like most couples. And our weekly routines, too… As I’m getting a little older (my birthday recently passed, and I’m steadily approaching my thirties now), I’m thinking about the foundations I’ve laid down for my life during my 20s so far, and what I want to continue building on that. I read that the foundation you set early in life, in your 20s, does a whole lot to determine your tendencies for decades to come. So what do I want my foundation to be?
I’m single (not married) and I live alone. Now is the time to start thinking about how to focus these energies.
Today is the pagan festival of Imbolc, the festival of anticipation for the Spring to come. Traditionally this is a season of cleansing, of preparation, of subtle, quiet stirring, as we start to get ready to shake off the winter. This is the perfect time to start setting up the ideas and intent I’ve had sitting the past couple of months, getting prepared to put them into full-blown action soon.
So tonight I wrote a general ritual, the first I’ve written since I’ve been pantheist. Now that I feel secure in my identity as a pantheistic pagan, I find it easier to approach the idea of writing ritual to put those beliefs into practice. It’s not easy in the sense that… it’s easy to approach… because there is little foundation in the way of other’s inspiration, because it’s not as popular as other pagan mindsets, but… it’s easier in that I find I can more readily access authentic feelings inside of me to express through ritual. It just makes more sense.
Tonight I did a very free-form ritual to celebrate Imbolc, and then based off of that experience, I sat down and, using another pantheist ritual as a template, wrote out my own general ritual. My intent as of now is to use this framework as a basis for bi-monthly rituals (on the Esbats) and for Festival celebrations.
On a less formal note, I’m gently aiming to begin more daily practices. I’m starting with approachable, simple commitments like taking a moment each morning and night to light my Center candle, which to me represents my pantheistic perspective of the Divine Universe. I don’t feel right lighting this candle without taking a moment to ground myself, and then meditate on my place in the universe. This need only take 3 minutes, but with a dedication to those 3 minutes, my hope is that the routine will naturally grow. My routine before this included only a weekly grounding/meditation accompanied by meditation on a simple tarot spread (one or 3 cards). Now I am aiming to make that into a daily, then twice-daily practice.
I’m trying not to force too much structure here. Things will take shape when and how they’re supposed to, depending on what is appropriate at the time. My point right now is to remain reminded of my perspective of being a part of something greater than my individual life, individual concerns, individual wants and desires, individual self… but being a small aspect of the greater Universe. The point here is to remind myself of my pantheistic perspective. “God is not a concept, or a theory, or a particle. God is everything.”
So, slowly these things are taking form in my life. As with all things… allowing them to gently, patiently, naturally take form…