I think this is a topic that most occult blogs cover at some point, but very few of my pagan friends in the real world seem to actually have anything like a regular practice.
So hopefully by writing this I can give people a few ideas for what to actually *DO*. I know that in the past I have really struggled to find ideas of what exercises to actually do. Meditation is the obvious one. Then maybe some prayer, but quickly the ideas start to run out.
There are also a few tricks for helping stick to the daily practice, and incorporate it into your life- rather than it being just one more chore you have to do.
How to Stick to your Daily Practice
I have found that the biggest thing for me is to start small. Pick one small, tiny thing, that you can easily do every day.
Make it something small that can easily fit into your day, and it could even be something you do while doing other things. For me this was a few prayers that
I could say at various set times during the day.
Then add something a little extra. Nothing to big yet, but something a little more involved. Maybe a blessing, or some simple energy work. Have you grounded today?
And then start adding and building a practice at your actual altar. Again starting small with just a few minutes at your altar each day to start with. Doing a quick divination reading perhaps? Or just a quick chat to the spirits before starting the day. And eventually you can move onto the longer things like meditation.
Another thing I have found useful myself, and which seems to be common, is that you need to do your “formal practice” in the morning. If I leave mine till later in the day, or plan to do it after work- it tends to not happen.
So if you can fit in even fifteen minutes before you start your day- that time is pure gold!
And of course having a practice that excites, calms, and uplifts you is going to be much easier to keep up with than something dusty and boring. Experiment and have a bit of fun with the process!
Ideas for Daily Practice
One of the easiest things to start with is finding a pair of prayers. One to say upon starting the day, and one for ending the day before bed. You don’t even have to change anything in your schedule to do this!
The prayers I use are, for the morning:
I farewell the night and welcome the day,
It will be a good day if I let it.*
May I remain awake and aware, fully present in the world,
May I remain grateful,
May I remember my connection to all things,
May the spirits and gods walk with me,
May I experience beauty, joy, and wonder.
It will be a good day if I let it!
*The first two lines are a modified version of a prayer I picked up from B. T. Newberg over at Humanistic Paganism, Here.
For the evening I simply start with “I am truly thankful for my many blessings. I am thankful for…”, I then go on to list at least five things I am grateful for. The more things you can list the better.
It doesn’t matter if they are trivial. As long as you are grateful for them, then it counts!
If you catch a bus or train to work or school, then you have an extra chance to sneak in some “on the fly” practice. This can be a great place for a little energy work. Practice grounding by connecting to the earth and cosmos, or work on your chakras/energy centers, and just generally play around with energy work however you like.
Another place to slip in a littler extra energy work is in the shower/bath, where you can do a simple cleansing of your energy, while cleaning your physical body.
Meditation is a no brainer, though also often the most difficult to find the time for. If all you can fit in is five minutes before racing out the door in the morning then it beats doing nothing! (Or get up five minutes earlier and make it ten minutes!)
However, you really want to be aiming for getting up to twenty minutes a day at least, if possible.
I like to add in a few invocations, or just talk casually to the gods and spirits a bit before meditating, as a way to touch in with my “peeps on the other side” every day or so.
Making small offerings of energy, incense, candles, cups of tea, poetry, or anything you like really. The idea is to make small offerings regularly. This can have two uses. The first is most obvious- it keeps your gods and spirits happy, and you in their good books.
The second use is a little more obscure- but by giving away a little of what you have, you acknowledge your gratitude for the things you have.
A prayer at meal times wouldn’t go amiss either. Now don’t get put off by the Christian idea of Grace.
As pagans we can thank the sun or the earth for their gifts of life giving food.
Or thank the Green Man, for it is his flesh and body that we are consuming.
The one I have been using lately has been going:
I give thanks for this meal,
I give thanks for the lives that were sacrificed to create it,
I give thanks to Dionysos*, the Green Man for it is his flesh we eat,
And I give thanks to Sun, Soil, Seed, and Beast.**
*I am a follower of Dionysos, Feel free to leave him out of your prayer, and just mention the Green Man.
**This line is an adaptation of a phrase I picked up Here, at Witchvox
As just a little something extra, I find it quite a good idea to have a longer session once a week, if possible. In this time you can do slightly longer things that you don’t have time for during the week.
Longer meditation, More elaborate offerings, Full invocation rituals to your gods, More in-depth energy work, making/blessing/enchanting of materia, Any other things that are important to your spiritual life, but that you can’t do every day.
Also going away to a beach, or camping, or some wild place can be a great idea.
Another great way to really sink into the skin of your life and live spiritually is to start learning and practicing mindfulness! Go google it! It is like mediation for busy people that you can do ALL THE TIME!
What ever you decided is personally important to include in your own daily practice, the most important thing I want to reemphasise is to Start Small!