Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Daily ritual

I remember the time when I used to light a little oil lamp in front of a brass Ohm ornament every day, meditate for one or two minutes and then go on with daily life. It was my little moment for myself, very short, but effective. So when I went to Maroc, for what might have been the most stressful week of my life, I brought a candle and incense sticks. And these little meditative moments pulled me through.
This was some twenty odd years ago and I don't remember when I stopped this little ritual, but I did.

Over the years I developed new daily rituals, meditation, prayer, even yoga for a while, but it never lasted. At first it felt so good and then I would start forgetting, one day, two days, .... then I would start feeling guilty about forgetting. And what started as a lovely, inspiring little thingy had become a big issue, a daily chore that triggered all my feelings of incompetence and any other judgemental thinking about myself.

I don't know how many times I gave up and started all over again with something new. The need, the urge to connect with my higher self and The Divine on a daily basis grew stronger and stronger. I don't know how many altars I build, that ended up gathering dust after a while, because I couldn't keep up the daily routine.

And now, after all these years of struggling, I found the way to keep going. In my house temple I take care of a whole series of different altars on a daily basis. Most important is the main altar for The Goddess of course, but Thor, Odin, Lady Holda, Mary, the Ancestors and my Spirit Helpers also have their own place. All these altars are alive and taken care of.

Most difficult is the oil lamp on the Goddess altar, which I keep burning 24 hours a day. Well … I try to keep it burning, but I found it’s not really in my hands. The wick and the oil are always the same, all I have to do is refill the oil, pull up the wick and clean the whole thing once in a while. But sometimes the flame dies, while all circumstances were perfect. After a lot of confusion I figured out there just is no practical reason, it is one of Her ways to get my attention.

But what taught me a more significant lesson, were the times when the flame kept going against all odds. My health is poor and sometimes I'm just not able to take care of anything for several days. During these periods the flame keeps dancing and shining all by itself.
Not long ago I went through a spiritual crisis and I really didn't feel like taking care of anything. And again the little flame just kept burning and burning.
I had one of my 'talks' with The Lady afterwards and She told me:  "I understand, you needed your time, but I was still there"

And that's how I learned to continue with daily ritual.
The trick is: it doesn't have to be daily all the time !
If you really don't feel like it, just don't. The feeling will come back and you are the only one who is blaming you for skipping a few days.

If a ritual has become an obligation, it turns into an series of empty gestures, because it's not coming from the heart anymore. Just give yourself a break, till the feeling comes back and you will be able to enjoy again your daily little ritual moments.
And if it doesn't come back, it just signifies a radical turn in your spiritual path. Something new will come your way, nothing to worry about.

Just wish someone told me this 25 years ago.....

Friday, August 16, 2013


Artist: René Linares
Once in a while my life comes to a standstill, due to health problems. Sometimes it's just for a few days and sometimes it lasts a few weeks. On these days my energy gets so low, I can't even do my daily temple rituals.  Almost every time this happens, it is not just a physical crisis, but  a spiritual one as well. Energies are shifting and my body responds.

These are minor shifts compared to the complete change I went through almost 14 years ago, when the life I used to know stopped forever. In hindsight this was a kind of shamanic death, but I didn't know (and couldn’t care less) at that time. My body forced me to stop with everything I used to do. Only after I gave up fighting this, I saw my chance to use all this extra time to intensify my spiritual development.

It made me what I am now.
I discovered shamanism, I met my Spirit Helpers, I followed the calling and found my path.  Slowly I learned to live with chronic pain, to let go, to relax, to heal. Today I can walk without a crutch and ride my bike once more. Never again will I take simple things like this for granted.

Then the Universe had another trick up Its sleeve: asthma.
So once in a while my life comes to a standstill and my energy gets so low, I can't even do the simple daily rituals. And every time I go through the same cycle of anger, denial, resistance, acceptance and surrender.

But in the end, after a lot of despair and struggle, I get this new inspiration. All of a sudden questions I've been asking myself for months are answered and I know what the next turn of my path will be. These periods of ill health almost always turn out to have been an involuntary, but powerful vision quest.

So here I am, I’m back overflowing with inspiration!
My path lies clear in front of me, I know where to go next and I'm ready for it.
I feel blessed by The Great Mother and Gods who always stand by me. They don’t mind some days without incense and all. They know what’s going on and welcome me back with open arms as soon as I’m ready for it. They are my best friends, though I might forget this once in a while ……