photo by Doug Klembara
After posting the question “What does your spiritual practice look like?” to the Naturalistic Pagans email list, I was drawn to Eli’s response. I knew immediately we had to publish it. – B. T. Newberg
I have both practice and practice. I practice the small, daily and seasonal rituals that form the face of pretty much all religions, and I also have more long-term habits that reflect the spine of my personal spiritual beliefs.
Every morning when I wake up, I say good morning to place. I say:
“Good morning, Cosmos; good morning, Milky Way; good morning, solar system,” and so on down to “good morning, Eli.”
When I get in bed each night, I say my goodnights in reverse.
I say this grace before meals:
“Thank you to the plants and animals whose lives were taken to feed my body; someday, my body will feed your descendants. Thank you to the people who made this food and brought it to me; may we continue to nourish each other in ways that sustain this beautiful and sacred living planet.”
I have other small practices throughout the day, mostly tied to mindfulness and intentionality, the bedrocks of my beliefs.
Because we started out Wiccan, my wife and I honor the Wiccan Sabbats and Esbats as logical reflections of natural cycles. Our celebrations range from full-out ecstatic ritual, complete with circle-casting, divination, and power raising to simply going for a walk to appreciate what’s in bloom, what the weather’s like, or what the crazed neighborhood squirrels are up to.
I also try, inasmuch as a black-thumbed urbanite can, to live in balance with the living world around me. I choose local, seasonal, organic foods whenever possible. I compost and recycle. I grow a few food plants. In clement weather, I challenge myself to have as many car-free days as possible – and to expand my definition of “clement weather” to include as many days as possible. I donate my time, money, and energy to organizations whose work aligns with my values.
The place where these two types of practice most overlap for me is in cycling. I recently wrote a whole blog post about the spiritual aspects of cycling. It is a reflection of my deepest beliefs about the nature of the sacred and my part in it, and a ritual in itself.
I get all swoony just thinking about it!
Eli Effinger-Weintraub also talks about her practice of naturalistic spellcraft in a recent interview at The Secular Buddhist.
So there you have it. Now, readers, how about your response?
What does your practice look like?
Eli Effinger-Weintraub is a naturalistic Pagan rooted in the Twin Cities Watershed. She practices a mongrel brand of Reclaiming-tradition hearthwitchery influenced by Gaia theory, naturalistic pantheism, bioregional animism, Zen Buddhism, and the writings of Carl Sagan. But she tries not to think too deeply about any of that and mostly just rides her bicycle, instead. Eli writes plays, creative nonfiction, and short speculative fiction, often inspired by the visual art of her wife, Leora Effinger-Weintraub. She is also a mercenary copyeditor. Find her online at Back Booth.