The Truth about Daily Practice

Foundations

D

ear Miracles: The idea of a “daily practice” is one that has a lot of popularity these days but like so many popular ideas, it is often not very well understood. There are books, authors, teachers and preachers who are all too happy to tell you the whats, hows, and whys of daily practice, your daily practice.

And many of us try in good faith to follow “the rules” to get up at a certain time every single day and do the prayer or chant or drumming or make the offering as best they can. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad or harmful approach, but as the topic has come up in the Miracle Tree Sessions every year, I would also say this: there is a difference between a practice and a system.

Choose to cultivate practice.

Do not plug yourself into (especially someone else’s) system.

A system most frequently is a series of steps developed by someone else and presented as a “silver bullet” so that we are told if we do these 10 specific things we will definitely have the following outcomes which are usually some version of perfect health, perfect beauty, lots of money and great sex all the time — according to some vague societal standard and not one’s own sense of what is right, best, and most appropriate for oneself. Any kind of “systems” thinking relies on certain basic assumptions, the number one being that people — you and I — are not soulful and nuanced beings but that we are much more like computers or any machine so that input determines output. It is not so my sweet friends. Don’t buy it.

Practice, coming to us from the ancient Greek “prassein” means deed or act and it is contrasted to “theory” or idea. Not contrasted in the sense of working against one another but in the sense that they work together…your understanding informs your practices and your practices inform your understanding. For this reason practice cannot be laid out as a system, we are each unique and our understandings, our knowings are just as unique.

I would also remind everyone who has tried and failed at one daily practice or another to remember this: in the faerie stories encounters between mortals and the Otherworld do not happen in high ceremonial settings. They do not occur when people are surrounded by candles and sitting in a meditative stance. They happen when people are doing everyday business: milking cows, washing clothes, bringing in a herd of sheep. The times past from which we glean our myth and faerie stories were full of the daily business of living — two hour long pre-dawn prayer rituals were few and far between. All of which is to say that your outer practice is a reflection and mirroring of your inner state — it is found in every deed you do and every action you engage in. So it is that daily practice is not something that should take us away from or require us to be out of “regular, daily life”. Rather the opposite. Daily practice at its deepest puts us right into the mucky middle of life for that is where the magic happens.

A good question to ask oneself as one considers and engages in daily practice is some version of this: What do I love and honor about the world and my place in it and the ways in which my beloveds and my friends and my enemies inhabit it? What kind of actions or deeds reflect that love and honoring? How can I cultivate them more deeply in my own life?

 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Daily Practice and Dancing Planets

Divination and Dreams

D

ear Miracles: As we usher in September I am preparing for my favorite season — Autumn — with the celebrations, the remembering of our ancestors, the magic making, and pumpkin everything! I find that September, at least after the first week when we get into the swing of school time rhythms, is a wonderful month to assess and remember where we are, what we are committed to, and what we are doing with ourselves in our sacred arts work.
To me the best place to begin this investigation is to look at our daily practices — what practices are speaking to us strongly, resonating more often than not, and what practices feel dull, lifeless, and no longer vital? Right now taking the time to ask these questions is especially appropriate because we have two potent retrogrades happening in the heavens — both Uranus and Neptune are retrograde. Uranus will be retrograde until Winter Solstice and Neptune is retrograde through November 16th.

Longtime readers know that I often say that the key to working with a retrograde rhythm is to remember to “re”. Re-member. Re-assess. Re-structure. Re-view, You get the idea. The specific planets that are in retrograde provide us with a focus for all of this “re” activity. So in the case of Neptune, the planet that is attuned most potently to memory, intuitive knowing, psychic skills, deep feeling, and powerful dreaming, we can look at our daily practices and ask about these elements. Are they absent or present? Is there a way that they can be better honored in our daily rites?

Uranus in some ways is a polar opposite of Netpune but they are both planetary forces adept at walking and working between the worlds. In the case of Uranus (whose name means “heaven” in Ancient Greek) the key idea is visionary. Whereas Neptune looks back, Uranus looks forward and asks, what is possible here, now, going forward? Mercury is often aligned with intellect and intellectual capacity as well as successful travel and skills of mediation. Some find it helpful to conceive of Uranus as Mercury writ large — so that our inner brilliance is called forth, travel takes on a deeper meaning, and we each have the opportunity to mediate between heaven and earth. When Uranus retrogrades we have the chance to look at our daily practice and ask: where is the brilliance here? What travels, what adventures am I open to at this time? What am I mediating on a daily basis? Are my ties to the celestial and terrestrial strong and sure? If not, what blessing way might help with that?

People often ask me what a daily practice looks like. Well first and foremost it is something you do DAILY. Not weekly, not monthly, not once a year when you feel like it/remember it, but daily. Because consistency is the key to deepening your sacro-magical work we want our daily practice to be accessible. If you only have ten minutes a day to dedicate to your sacred art then let’s make those ten minutes count! Everyone has a different way of creating their daily practice, but here are some key components I find helpful to keep in mind:

1.) Stillness and Silence. If there is only one thing you can do let it be this. To be still and to be quiet—even for a couple of minutes—it is like a power nap! It leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to go forward with clarity.

2.) Prayer/Blessing. Blessing our selves, our precious bodies, minds, and spirits, and blessing those we love allows us to commune with what we most revere. To expand upon this consider blessing the home in the morning when you awake and in the evening before bedtime.

3.) Communion. With your guides, your allies, the Divine, or your own inner knowing. Communion often looks like stillness and silence but it is different in feel and technique because communion is actually listening closely and carefully.

Two possible additions to make to these guidelines at this time, given the dance between Neptune and Uranus would be active imagination journeys (mediating between this world and the worlds beyond in honor of Uranus) and developing or re-developing an intuitive sacred art like tarot in honor of Neptune..

And now Miracles, it is your turn!Tell me what aspects of your daily practice are running strong and/or what snags have come up for you all.

Happy September and Happy Practice! 

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.