Back to Basics

There’s this cycle that my spiritual life takes. The bare bones, when I’m practicing the way that is ideal to me, looks a bit like this:

I wake up in the morning and set tea water to boil. While it’s boiling, I stand before my shrine, light a candle, and say my morning prayers. Depending on my mood, and depending on the time of year, these prayers can be formal (I started on a Prayers to Poseidon book last year) or they can be a wordless opening up of myself to His presence, or anywhere in between. I then sit and move through a gentle yoga routine, which is both touching upon a foundational devotional practice and tending to my physical needs. At then end of that I perform the shielding/raising awareness of my connectedness with the worlds/chakra cleansing thing that I do.

Once the tea is steeped, I offer Poseidon the first bit of it. At His insistence, His libation is taken from my mug. If I could tolerate the still very hot tea, I’d have to drink some first before giving His libation, but my teeth are sensitive and so we make do by having it spooned from my mug once I’ve added the sugar and cream, rather than before, so it’s clearly the “same” as what I’m drinking.

Lunch is taken away from my day job, so I have so buffer time, and when I’m not enthralled with either a book or a project, I journal and keep Him in my mind, bringing Him more into my day, and bringing my awareness more in line with Him. There are songs I sing to help with this.

In the evening, there is a “closing of the shrine” which is more like a formal saying goodnight. Depending on the time of year and how I’m feeling, it can be formal or informal and wordless. I wash out the tea mug, I get ready for bed. I’d like to say that I go to bed with Him in the center of my mind, but I go to bed plotting the next bit in whatever writing I’m working on.

The key word here is, ideal. In actual practice, this varies. It fluctuates. But when I’m tending to my needs and when I’m focused in the manner that I strive to be, most of the above happens in any given day. That will continue until something happens. Sometimes it’s a moment of epiphany that shakes me to my core. Sometimes it’s something as mundane as a migraine that outclasses all migraines. What tends to happen is that I let some of the above (sometimes all of the above) slip. I’ve noticed over the years that, if everything else falls away, if I only keep Poseidon in my mind, if I only keep a meditation practice, I don’t stumble as much, or for as long. But, that something does happen, and then, slowly, I have to start building up the practice again. It is always slowly, one piece at a time.

For years I resented this. It made sense, right, when i set things down of my own accord. But those moments of epiphany? When I reach a greater understanding of my God, when I reach a deeper place with Him? Why does that cause me to set things down and move into stillness, in my practice? Why does that not propel me into greater regularity with my acts of devotion? Shouldn’t it do that?

Shoulds aside, it doesn’t. The awe generally moves me into that still place, and I have to build momentum, once again. And, maybe it’s obvious to others, but to me? It’s only been the last year that I’ve realized that this constant return ‘back to the basics’ is a crucial part in integrating those deeper understandings, those moments of closer connection, into my life lived with my mind on my God. It’s gaining new perspective and then going back to the beginning with that new perspective. It’s actually quite awesome. This particular perspective has made me realize that the process of returning to foundational work, again and again, is something that I enjoy, is something that I can now savor. Hurrah for that.



12 Comments Add yours

  1. pjvj says:

    Thank you for this! *greedily wants to read that book of prayers* I find ideal and actual often diverge. Guilt ensues. Ah, humans.

    1. naiadis says:

      2014 is the year to LET GO OF GUILT!! May it be so!

      Silly pjvj. You have but to ask. I don’t have them typed up,and said book of prayers is a SMALL beginning — I only started in last year and I don’t write prayers or poems often — but I shall type up what I have and send it along. 🙂

      1. pjvj says:

        *glitters with gratitude*

        1. naiadis says:

          It’ll be in a few days, of course. 😉

          1. pjvj says:

            le sigh~ Yes, I knew that. 😉

  2. Columbine says:

    I just want you to know that you and Poseidon inspire me. Right now, after the move and with my house still needing work done, my shrines are all still packed away. So, I’ve had to return to the bitter basics of my youth. Finding my God in the wind and the sea and the roads, and all those little things that are so easily overlooked when I have specific places to meet with Them in my home. Also, finding Poseidon, because He is always here, blowing the salt air around. It is a challenge, but one that is completely worth it, especially when I start to feel and hear Their replies more clearly than I do at a shrine. I think it is important to have these moments when we are ‘forced’ to step back and do things in a more simplistic manner.

    1. naiadis says:

      Yes, yes, yes, and more yes. First — thank you, because I thought, “this post in obvious.” And maybe it is, maybe it was, but maybe we all need reminders, time and again. I know I do. Time and again, and then again.

      I was thinking about the concept of “ensoulment” today, with regard in particular to shrines, and about how the shrine I have for Poseidon is a touch-stone writ large. It’s filled with o/Our history, it’s a map of our travels together. Now and again I have had experiences of feeling Him “at home” in the shrine, but really, it’s rare. If I think about the things in my home that anchor Him here at all, it’s not things; it’s me. I say that with all due humility — I am not great, but together? Together, w/We are the BEST part of my life. The shrine is His, is mine for Him, is o/:Ours, but . . . well, yeah. He’s not ever really been one for things.

      Just, where your comment lead my mind, today.

      And, oh, oh, the salt air. I wish. Oh, I wish.

      We’re wet here; there’s often inexplicably the smell of brine in the air. Or maybe not so inexplicably . . . .

  3. Teka Lynn says:

    Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    1. naiadis says:

      Aw! You’re welome. 🙂

  4. Christine says:

    thank you for sharing this; it is a confirmation and a help to me. I am also very happy that I am not the only one that has this kind of process.

    1. naiadis says:

      Oh, these are the sort of comments that mean so very much. Thank you. The *whole* reason I write about this stuff and post it publicly is with the hopes that it reaches someone who might need it or could use it. I know we have to go through our own process, etc., but sharing could mean that others might not have to go through *particular* things (in this case, so much self-doubting, self-recriminating, and so forth) as much/as deeply/as often/what-have-you), and that matters to me. And, too, it helps me process, so it’s not at all altruistic entirely, but . . . anyway. My point is — thank you.

  5. psbey says:

    Reblogged this on Lokeans! and commented:
    Advice for Lokeans, as well…

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