Helping humankind live with the earth not against it

Unconventional Practice

Meditations on the Path of Knowledge
Reminder: Enter the November contest by tomorrow 11/27!

I think we all have an idea about what constitutes as a magical practice. I however feel like almost anything can be converted into part of your path. I am going to list a few of mine and I would have to hear what unconventional things you do that you consider part of your practice.

Music:
I know that doesn’t sound like it is very unconventional but hear me out. I am not talking about playing music as part of a ritual or even listening to chat or religious music. I find singing to be a very meditating activity as well as playing music. If you think about it, in singing you are doing breath control and focused on one thing. For me it helps get air moving through my body and clear my mind. I also have a few songs that to me have a feeling that sometimes I find useful. Some of these are classical music pieces, and others are pop songs. The ones I use to get myself into different head spaces change with time but I find it very useful. Combing these two can be powerful as well. Even if you think you cant sing, there is always the shower and driving by yourself to try it out.

Hiking/walking:
This is another big one for me. Most of my life my regular practice involved walks in the woods. When I was a baby pagan there was a tree in the park I used to walk down to. It was off the path a little ways but I knew which downed log to walk back on. I would climb up in that tree and just sit there listening to the woods around me. When I went to college I walked through the arboretum to school every day and made that my personal time. I had room mates that I could have talked with but I preferred to walk alone. You can also if you are on a hike somewhere with friends take a minute (under the guise of a rest if you have to) to just be in that moment in the wild space you are in. Really feel the movement of the earth.

Swimming:
This one is new. I have never lived somewhere that swimming outside was doable year round. It is amazing how calming just jumping in the ocean is. It doesn’t really take long to get me out of the downward spiral you get into worrying about your day and make you very present. I have always felt water to be very calming but never liked the chlorine feeling after being in a pool for long time periods. I have also when available found similar satisfaction with hot springs. I have nothing against pools they are awesome for swimming laps but in terms of centering me and bring me to the present in a spiritual context they are not ideal for me.

Teaching/Volunteering:
I lumped these together because to me they both represent giving selflessly. One is to others directly and the other is to the community and environment. I started the podcast as a gift. I was inspired by the gifting culture of Burning Man. If you haven’t noticed there is no donate button on my site. I have experimented with selling items on etsy to help offset the cost but my heart isn’t in it. I like it more as a gift. I feel bad sometimes that I can’t spend more time, energy, and money on the podcast, but c’est la vie. It is what it is, and I can’t give more than I have. I also in the same vein arguable don’t really have time to volunteer but I do it anyways. It tends to make my weekend a bit hectic but it is something I consider important. Giving without expecting anything in return is hard (its the second part that is hard) but it is very rewarding. Give to your community and give to others. Praise counts as being given something back. Try it without expecting any recognition. We are social creatures it is definitely challenging and is something that I work hard at to fight within myself to accomplish.

Learning:
We owe it to ourselves to be lifelong scholars. Some of us are called to learn in different areas than others. Never assume you are done learning on any topic, that means you have only scratched the surface. The more you know, the more you know that you don’t know. I was called to learn about the earth and that has taken me down some odd roads. Curiosity is your friends. Never settle with “I think I get it” always dig deeper. It can be even something as simple as keeping detailed notes about how your divination tools behave in different conditions. This may only be useful to you, but be curious and ask questions. Knowledge is a powerful tool. Don’t stop at what others can teach you, go out and try and learn new things. Learn the names of the trees in your area. Make a goal to identify the plants, and animals and insects around you. I challenge you to not find something so interesting you want to learn more. Learning about the world around you brings you a closer feeling to it. When I moved and didn’t know the bird calls, and couldn’t name the trees I felt like I was truly in a strange place. I bought some field guides and now I feel much more at home.

Cooking:
Not just magical cooking, but cooking itself can be a meditative task. Taking the time to make things from scratch can be a challenge but again puts you in the now in a way heating something up doesn’t. I am often amazing that the simple ingredients I put together create something so different and so wonderful.

I would like to hear what you think about these topics as well as anything else you would like to add to the list! 🙂

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2 Comments

  1. Scarlet

    To go further on your comment about music.. You talked about how just listening to music could be a spiritual practice… these days, I haven't been in the position or mindset to sit down and do ritual or do real “hands-on” spirituality. I do my podcast, I talk in forums, but it feels like I've become an armchair pagan lately. One thing that gets me going, though, is music. I realized recently that my commute is my daily spiritual practice. I'm always listening to podcasts or music in the car to and from work. Usually the music has pagan or magickal undertones (or overtones). There have been a number of ties recently when I've been moved nearly to tears by the words and themes of some more pagan-orientated musics (like Wendy Rule and SJ Tucker) and for me, right now, this is going to have to be enough. Just some thoughts.

  2. Kathleen

    Love it! Life can be a practice right!? I actually take a slightly longer way to work because it is a beautiful drive and that is my morning practice. 🙂

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