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.
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.