Monthly Archives: June 2012

As the Sun Rises…

One of the trickier things for the urban pagan is staying attuned with the natural world within the confines of the city. It isn’t just because we’re in the city and away from nature (though that is a large part of it). It is also because we get so wrapped up in the city life, the rat race, the tight schedule. It is far too easy to just forget everything else.

A big part of how your day goes is how you start it. This is true regardless of what you believe or what you are trying to accomplish. Just as the first thing you eat helps set your metabolism for the day, so too do our first activities help set our spirits.

For me, starting the day with an offering and meditation really helps me set the tone and focus for my entire day. My preference is to go outside (though having an indoor altar helps too), it can be hard in the city. I live in an apartment. Behind the building is a hillside covered in woods. At one time I would go up on this hillside, climb to the top, and meditate in the woods that overlooked part of the county. It was beautiful.

Recently though, construction and clearing on that hill has removed that option. I still climb the hillside, but now I stay on the hill where there are still trees & I am not trespassing. I won’t go into how upset I am over the construction; that is a different blog entry.

There are many ways to start your day this way. Offerings and meditation can get us off on the right foot, keep our minds and hearts open to any mysteries revealed to us that day. It may sound corny or silly… I find that everything I do in the morning (music, food, meditation, routine, etc…) sets me up for the day. Being aware of what we put in our minds and hearts is every bit as important as what we put in our bodies.

I find that the ideal is if you CAN get outside and get in touch with nature physically, do so. If you can not (or it is just not easily done) then an indoor altar is fine too. In fact, if you have a permanent altar set up that would be best. Just spend a few moments (even if it means getting up a little earlier) to start your day. make it part of what you do everyday and it won’t seem like something you don’t have time for. Be committed. Doing this daily WILL have a positive impact on your spiritual life. There’s no way around it.

On a more personal note, for me it is very much about talking directly with the Lord and Lady, attuning and maintaining a sense of closeness. What routines or rituals do you (try to) observe on a daily basis?

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A Dedication Blunder

This being my first entry in this current blog, I thought I would share a deeply personal and amusing story.


Most of us have stories of magical mishaps, tales of ritual gone awry. I was reminded of one of my stories just the other day. It’s a deeply personal story, but I share it because it is funny, no matter how bad it was at the time.

It was August 1st, 1997 when I first sat down and dedicated myself to the pagan path. I studied for a long while before I decided to do my Dedication. I had chosen Lugnasadh as the occasion for personal reasons. In fact, many of the trappings of my Dedication were deeply personal. I did not have all of the traditional implements and so had to improvise. This improvisation turned beneficial when I realized that I could truly make this my own rite and Dedication to the Goddess and the God.

I spent a lot of time writing and preparing my Dedication, chose a place outside that was special to me, and began my ritual at home with a soothing bath. This was very important to me, it was the official start to a new chapter in my life. It was one of the biggest decisions I had ever made. It was also a bone of contention between my wife (at that time) and myself.

Arriving at the location, I set up my sacred space. Most of the ritual actually went fine. When it came to the use of candles, incense, cakes & ale, anointing oil, & other such items; I chose specifically things that were either very traditional or things that reflected me and my heart’s desire for this ritual. Most of these choices were good ones. One such choice… well, you decide. I had gotten to the part of the ritual where I was going to anoint myself with oil in the shape of a pentacle on my forehead. I had chosen a specific essential oil that was a scent that i not only love, but truly identify with; cinnamon.

I dipped my finger in the oil and traced the shape on my forehead. It took a second, but I started to feel it heat up. At first I thought it was energy, from my Dedication. I reveled in it for a few seconds before it became painful. Now it felt like someone was branding me. I knew nothing about oil choices or even (wait for it) diluting oils. Yes, I purposefully applied pure cinnamon essential oil directly to my skin.

When you’re done laughing you can continue.

Maintaining composure was very difficult. I flailed about for a few and then calmed down. I dutifully continued the ritual in a bit of pain and walked back to the car. When I looked in my mirror I had a red pentacle on my forehead. That was going to be loads of fun to explain later to my wife.

I was fortunate in that it faded away rather quickly and left me with nothing more than an embarrassing story and a happy memory. There are two things I remember most clearly from that night. The burn is one of them. The other was that when I did my Dedication, I used the words: “For life or longer.” During the stretches of my adult life where I have wandered away and sought other paths, those words come back to me, and I always find my way back home.

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