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Creating a Devotional Practice

Rubbing her sleepy eyes, she yawns and then hits the “off” button on her alarm. Raising her arms above her head she stretches, trying to shake off the last of the sleepiness. Turning, she places her feet upon the floor and slowly rises. She grabs her robe from the side chair, slips it on, and with soft steps moves towards her bedroom altar. She pauses, breathes deeply, then lights the candle placed on a crystal plate. Another deep breath and she begins to recite her morning litany, the beginning of her daily devotional practice.

Devotional, as defined by the Miriam Webster dictionary is “a short worship service”. The Free Dictionary further defines it as “relating to worship; “a devotional exercise.” While most Wiccans have no problem relating to worship, some Witches may get stuck with this word. The act of worship itself is defined as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.” Perhaps you don’t work with deity but instead invoke a Universal One, Nature, or power. If so, you may still wish to worship – express reverence to that energy. A devotional practice does this.

I am often asked about daily devotional practice by my students and community. While sometimes a controversial subject because of its Abrahamic religious undertones, I find it an important one. I have touched on this subject in previous blogs, but have never gone into much detail. However, before we delve into the makings of a devotional practice, we must first understand the “why” of doing so.

The Importance of a Daily Devotional Practice

By performing a daily devotional, we are giving thanks, reverence, and energy towards our chosen Deity or Power. We are sharing with them, speaking words of praise, and using the time to gain a closer relationship with them/it. This act of worship and reverence, to me, is crucial for our Craft and our spiritual well-being.

Another plus of a daily devotional practice is allowing ourselves to ground and center, rooting ourselves in the here and now. Grounding and centering only takes a few moments but it can change the entire course of your day. When done first thing in the morning, at the beginning of our devotionals, we are giving ourselves a head start towards a mindful, purposeful day, rooted in serenity and peace. Done at the time of evening devotionals, we are able to put aside the craziness of our day and reconnect with the Earth, the elements and the great web of creation and life.

The second aspect of a devotional is an offering to deity or our higher power. Whether it be a poem, a thank you, a litany, or a prayer, each time we perform our daily devotional, we bring ourselves closer to them. This aids us in all of our workings. When we are closer spiritually to those we choose to honor, our rituals, our spells, and our daily lives are enriched.

Devotional Practice - My current altar honoring Hekate where I do my devotionals to her.
My altar honoring Hekate. I do both devotional and other workings here.

Beginning Your Practice

As we’ve discussed, a daily devotional practice can enrich your life, your connections with deity, and improve your personal practice. But how do you begin?

  • Create a dedicated space for devotionals.: A shelf, tabletop, or even a flat stone in the yard can be set aside for your daily practice. It can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Make sure that there is enough room for things you may wish to incorporate into your daily ritual.
  • Cleanse and dedicate the space.: Using your usual methods, cleanse the area and all items you will place upon it. Then dedicate this space and the objects to the deity or power you choose to honor in your devotionals.
  • Decide on a time to do your devotionals.: Mornings or afternoons are fine, (or both). Just try and keep the times as consistent as possible. Currently, I do both a morning and an evening devotional. The morning is more of a connection with deity and the All and the evening is for thanks and praise for a wonderful day. You may have to work with it a little to see what feels right to you.

Now that you have the place and time decided upon you can begin to perform your devotional. Below is a suggested format for a daily practice. This is just a guideline. Take what works for you and add or subtract to customize your own personal working.

Simple Guideline for a Daily Devotional

  • Ground and Center: Using your usual methods, ground and center yourself. You may also wish to add in a simple smudging of yourself and your area if this is your tradition.
  • Greetings and salutations: Begin your devotional with words of greeting. A simple “good morning” can suffice or you can do elaborate hand gestures, clap, bow, or stomp your foot to “awaken” and signal the start to your devotions.
  • Statements of Purpose: You may also wish to add in a statement of purpose as to why and to whom you are performing your devotional. Something as simple as ” I give greetings to (insert deity) on this beautiful morning. I ask that you look upon me as I start my new day.”
  • Add in elements that honor your chosen Deity/Powers: Lighting a candle in their honor, chanting, singing, or offering a litany to the day are just some of the elements you can add to your practice. Read a poem, place flowers on the altar, or give offerings for a bountiful day. Do whatever feels right to you.
  • Closing statement: When you have completed your devotional, be sure to acknowledge and thank the powers for their presence. Just a simple, “Thank you and farewell.”, may suffice. Do what feels right an natural to you.

A devotional practice does not have to take a great deal of time. It may only take 5 minutes, or it could take an hour – depending on your personal preference. The important thing is the connection, the focus and intention that we create and then share with our deities/powers and to ourselves.

Speaking from personal experience, there is no better way to start (and/or) the day than by giving thanks and connecting with Deity and the Universe around me. It’s lifted my spirits on gloomy days and downright saved my sanity on bad ones. The understanding of, and relationship I have achieved with my chosen Goddess has enhanced my personal Craft ten-fold.

May your own daily devotional practice bring you as much joy and spiritual connection and awareness as mine has.

Blessed Be!

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When Deity Answers Your Call

February’s New Moon brought our first Healing Ritual of the year. I had a few relative new-comers present so I began running through the ritual. While reviewing the Goddesses we were calling one of the women present asked a couple of very astute questions. “How do we know when deity answers our call? How do we know when Goddess has arrived?” Good questions my friend, good questions.

Our time for the ritual was limited, (it was set to start at a specific time so those in cyberspace could “tune in”) so I made my answer brief. Yet, I continued to ponder these questions. The more I did, the more I realized that my previous answer wasn’t complete. Many practitioners have these same questions, so how was I going to answer them in a way that made sense to them? Also, can I really answer for them? In order to give the most informed answer we all need to know the basics. I’ll begin with explaining what a call to deity is and why we do it. Next, I will discuss what is experienced when deity answers your call.

Calling to Deity

A call to Deity is an invitation. Your call is a request for your chosen God or Goddess to be a part of your working, whether it is a ritual or spell. We call to them to lend us their support, their energy, and knowledge. Sometimes, we request them to be there as witness for rites of passage. Notice the terminology here – Call. We do not demand, we do not summon, we call.

Our calls can be simple. A few words or phrases asking them for their presence in our circles. Calls to deity can be elaborate – think of the times Goddess has been called by reading the entire “Charge of the Goddess.*” No matter the form of your call, it must be heartfelt, sincere, reverent (mostly, but that’s for another blog). If you go at this half-assed, deity hears you and will place your request on “hold” or not honor the request at all.

The same may be said of calling a Deity that you are not familiar with. If you haven’t taken the time to learn about who you are calling, to sit and commune with them, why would they take the time to answer you? Some of the most uncomfortable rituals I have attended were facilitated by those who neglected to understand this fundamental rule of respect.

Please don’t forget to learn the Gods proper names and how to say them (to the best of your ability). If you call in a Sumerian God you’d better pronounce his name properly if you expect him to answer. Google translator has been a huge help to me in this respect. While it may not translate Sumerian, it can help you with Greek, Irish and Latin. If their name has several possible pronunciations (like Hekate), use the one that resonates with you.

Knowing When Deity Answers

You’ve begun your work, perhaps created sacred space and called your corners. Confidently, you stride to towards your altar, raise your hands towards the heavens (or down towards earth for the Chthonic) and call unto deity. The words you speak are joyful, yet reverent. Completing your call you wait for their response. What, wait? For what?

This is where it gets tricky. Why? Because we are all different. We all process sensory and emotional stimuli in different ways. Each of us experiences Deity and their presence from our own levels of understanding and perception. Knowing when deity answers your call is extremely personal. What I feel when Hekate is present may be may the complete opposite of what you are feeling. You may hear a “pop” when deity arrives whereas the person standing next to you gets goose bumps. When I work with Sekhmet I know she is present because I smell lotus blossoms but Brighid’s presence brings a not so subtle heat. These are my experiences and I don’t expect you to have the same.

Remember that all of these feelings are completely valid because they are yours. When deity answers your call, you will know, just know. Whether you see, hear, smell or feel, you will know when deity answers your call. I can’t be any clearer than that.

When Deity Doesn’t Answer

But what if deity doesn’t answer? What then? Deity can’t always be at our beck and call and sometimes they just don’t wish to answer. If this happens, especially if it occurs during a public ritual, acknowledge the fact they are not present. Be honest and don’t try to fake it (I’ve seen this happen). You can say to yourself -or the room full of people standing there, waiting – that although Deity has not answered, is not present, the rite can still move forward with the energy of all present and the Universe. Just because Deity didn’t show up when we first called, doesn’t discount them from popping in later on in the ritual. Trust me, it’s happened.

Even if deity never joins your circle, your working can still be a success. After all it is your work, not theirs. You alone make or break your rituals and spells. We call in Deity for assistance, for the additional energies they bring to us, to commune with and have them protect our rites. Their presence is not mandatory for success. I know witches that do not work with deities at all and they do some fairly spectacular work. Yes, I wish to have my deities acknowledge and be present with me as I work, but I understand when they do not join me. They are deities and perhaps they know that they are not needed at that particular time. Who am I to question the Gods? – Okay I do question but again, another time, another post.


As with all Witchcraft, what we do, think and feel is very personal. Knowing when deity answers your call is no different. Next time you step into circle, whether it is your own or at a public ritual, breathe, relax and allow the connection to happen. It is only when we experience things for ourselves, and not as we are “supposed” to , that we allow the magick to truly happen.

Blessed Be!

*Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente