Essays, Pagan Blog Project

Pagan Blog Project: Habits

Old habits die hard.

Just about a year ago, I sat in a hospital bed, watching in horror as reports started coming in on the tornado that took out much of Joplin, Missouri.

In 1996, I lived in Joplin.

Happily, I can report that the lovely (and then brand-new) apartment building I lived in at the time still stands at the end of a little cul-de-sac off Connecticut Ave, right next to the railroad tracks.

In 1996, while living in Joplin, I started learning about Pagan religions –  I had a friend who offered to teach me shamanism as they practiced it, I bought a copy of Cunningham’s Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, and I gathered a small collection of books on ceremonial magick.

Living in Joplin, by myself, through a summer of stormy weather, I was first introduced to the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, commonly known as the LBRP.

It’s kind of funny – even though it’s been nearly 16 years, and even though I went through a 6 month period of part of my training doing the LBRP daily, I still cannot remember the words, though I can conjure the images in my mind quite easily. Rote memorization has never been my strong suit.

But even with that daily practice, the habit of daily practice still eludes me.

The church of my childhood didn’t push for daily practice either, but at least there I had the various orders of service memorized by the time I was 5 – weekly attendance made that easy.

And I think that’s true of a lot of us Pagans. Sure, some of us have covens or groves or other groups that gather for Sabbats or full moons (or maybe even both). But it’s hard to extend that into a daily habit.

I know Pagans who meditate daily. For a while we lit a candle and incense daily (and then we had a child on oxygen, and then a second child on oxygen, which cut our use of candles dramatically). Some folks do a daily devotion, or daily offerings….and the best I can manage is a quick daily prayer.

I’m still searching for the religious habit that becomes a habit. But until then I’ll keep plugging away at celebrating full moons and Sabbats.

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