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Author Topic: Pagan Practice and Difficulty Keeping Up  (Read 3852 times)

Lachrylois

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Pagan Practice and Difficulty Keeping Up
« on: February 10, 2016, 08:06:45 pm »
I'm sure there are Pagans that have trouble with mental and/or physical illnesses or just problems with life that make it difficult to practice diligently. For instance, depression, ADHD, BPD, physical disabilities, etc. Are there any of you that struggle staying on top of your practice?

Personally I've just breached the surface of Paganism. I've wanted to practice but with school, my ADHD and personal issues, the task of setting up an altar or shrine, finding the time to do rituals or make spells, has been kind of daunting and I feel like I really need my own uncluttered space (which I don't have) to even get started. Has anyone else felt that way, newbie or not? And has it been an ongoing issue, or have you found what you think is a permanent solution?

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Re: Pagan Practice and Difficulty Keeping Up
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2016, 08:45:56 pm »
Quote from: Lachrylois;186448
Has anyone else felt that way, newbie or not? And has it been an ongoing issue, or have you found what you think is a permanent solution?

 
I have multiple chronic health issues, and yeah, this is a thing for a number of people. People deal with it different ways. Some of it depends a lot on what your personal priorities are for practice, and what your actual practices are, and what your specific health needs are (and beyond that, what your preferences are).

My personal choices currently involve:  
- a lot of low-key things that I can set up when I have more energy (playlists, desktop images, password choices)
- routine energetic hygiene work (which was routine for me before my health crashed) like centering, grounding, shielding, and cleansing.  
- regular reading, discussion, and writing on various topics
- a low-key ritual group for the Sabbats
- occasional formal rituals, which usually take me about 4-5 days to set up (why they're occasional) between 'get apartment ready for ritual', 'prep actual ritual', 'ritual', and 'clean up'.

I'm currently playing around with a form of journalling based on some various theories (bullet journaling and sketchnoting, mostly) out there to try different things every fortnight (full/new moon cycle)

I am working on a presentation for Paganicon in mid-March about this general topic, and expect to share the presentation notes when done, but, um, they are not yet, because bodies and complications therein. But that means I'm mostly incoherent about how to put something together at the moment, because it's all floating around in my head still.
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Scales

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Re: Pagan Practice and Difficulty Keeping Up
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2016, 12:52:13 am »
Quote from: Lachrylois;186448
I'm sure there are Pagans that have trouble with mental and/or physical illnesses or just problems with life that make it difficult to practice diligently. For instance, depression, ADHD, BPD, physical disabilities, etc. Are there any of you that struggle staying on top of your practice?

Personally I've just breached the surface of Paganism. I've wanted to practice but with school, my ADHD and personal issues, the task of setting up an altar or shrine, finding the time to do rituals or make spells, has been kind of daunting and I feel like I really need my own uncluttered space (which I don't have) to even get started. Has anyone else felt that way, newbie or not? And has it been an ongoing issue, or have you found what you think is a permanent solution?

 
I wanted to answer this earlier but got bogged down in way too much detail. The summation was:

- Make a schedule for making/cleaning an area
- Work and/or Altar space options- a corner of a desk, an upside down crate (or top of a storage chest), a cleared and marked out spot on the floor, a drawer, a tray (set up when needed, it'll be organized even if the room is not
- Medical attention for any mental health stuff, therapy/meds/coping methods (I do/need all three).
- Find some guided activities, make a schedule for them (to keep you in the game so to speak, and keep you thinking of your own ideas). You can mark out just 15 minutes or whatever for them on the days you do it.

My problems are ongoing, but the combination of making a space (right now I have a desk, but before I had a little folding table altar and some floor space I kept clear, and with my parents my room had an attic to the side, which I used the floor or a trunk in) and having something specific to do helps a lot and stops me from going weeks without anything. I'm working through two sets of "homework" right now (one on schedule, going all year, one on 'whenever I feel I have the time after the other' time).

IceAngie

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Re: Pagan Practice and Difficulty Keeping Up
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2016, 08:50:39 am »
Quote from: Lachrylois;186448
I'm sure there are Pagans that have trouble with mental and/or physical illnesses or just problems with life that make it difficult to practice diligently. For instance, depression, ADHD, BPD, physical disabilities, etc. Are there any of you that struggle staying on top of your practice?

Personally I've just breached the surface of Paganism. I've wanted to practice but with school, my ADHD and personal issues, the task of setting up an altar or shrine, finding the time to do rituals or make spells, has been kind of daunting and I feel like I really need my own uncluttered space (which I don't have) to even get started. Has anyone else felt that way, newbie or not? And has it been an ongoing issue, or have you found what you think is a permanent solution?

 
I have a huge problem: laziness.

No, seriously, I have depression and anxiety and I'd rather do nothing than go through the trouble of spending a lot of time preparing things (altar, tools, etc.) and then having to put everything back in its place once the work is done.

I thought that problem would be solved once I moved out of my parents house (my main reason for not practicing there was that they were christian and I felt I would be disrespectful doing something they frowned upon), but when I did (move out), things didn't improve much.

So I keep my rituals very simple: a prayer, an offering (usually a candle or incense, so I don't have much trouble disposing of it) and some items that I wear. Setting a schedule is also helpful.

Kylara

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Re: Pagan Practice and Difficulty Keeping Up
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2016, 10:04:55 am »
Quote from: Lachrylois;186448
I'm sure there are Pagans that have trouble with mental and/or physical illnesses or just problems with life that make it difficult to practice diligently. For instance, depression, ADHD, BPD, physical disabilities, etc. Are there any of you that struggle staying on top of your practice?

Personally I've just breached the surface of Paganism. I've wanted to practice but with school, my ADHD and personal issues, the task of setting up an altar or shrine, finding the time to do rituals or make spells, has been kind of daunting and I feel like I really need my own uncluttered space (which I don't have) to even get started. Has anyone else felt that way, newbie or not? And has it been an ongoing issue, or have you found what you think is a permanent solution?

 
While I don't have any diagnosed problems, life definitely gets in my way a lot.  My husband has a crazy work schedule that I build my life around.  He works 3-4 scheduled 12 hour days a week, plus additional overtime days (which he might not know about until his last scheduled day that week).  He works 6 weeks on day shift, then 6 weeks on night shift.  When he swaps night/day, he also swaps his scheduled days from front of the week to end of the week.  So having any kind of regular routine doesn't work well for me.  And we have a son in high school, so I build my life (luckily I am a housewife, so I don't have my own work schedule to balance too) around theirs.

As both of them are Atheist, I am on my own for daily/household work.  I do have a lovely group of Pagan friends who live nearby, and we try to get together on Saturdays.  We have done full moon work and Sabbats, but they have medical issues and family obligations, so it isn't a scheduled thing there either.

And then, in the summer, I typically am away from home, visiting family where I can't openly practice without making everyone uncomfortable (including me) for between 2 weeks to a month.

So I do a lot of very flexible or integrated actions.

When I was learning to balance my practice and home life, I did a lot of mental work.  I still do quite a lot, and some of the things I started decades ago have stuck with me.  Every night, when I am in bed and just before I go to sleep, I ground/center, give gratitude, say my affirmations and connect with deity.  I started doing this because it was something I could do that no one could distract me from, because from the outside it looked like I was sleeping.  I keep doing it because it is a time I know I can be undistracted, that I will have every day, and that even when I am bone tired it will help me relax and sleep better.

When I was first starting out, I still lived at home with my parents, and I kept my stuff pretty well hidden.  I could have candles out no problem, but I didn't have a dedicated altar set up.  Instead I had a collapsible chess set (so a wooden board with a hollow inside where you could store the pieces) with all my tools kept inside.  When I wanted to do something, I dug it out and set it up, using the board as my altar.

One thing that serves me well today, especially when I am away from home, is to have photos (on my phone or tablet) that are spiritually important to me.  I have pictures of my altar (which you could also do if you only set up a temporary altar when you are working), previous ritual work, art that I have done, art that I have seen that I loved, and the vision board I made at the start of the year.  Even when I can't have access to the actual things, I can call upon their energy through the photos.

I also use my jewelry a lot.  Not only do I have several sets of personal prayer cords, I have made myself a charm bracelet with tokens of my faith that I can wear discretely.  I am planning on adding to it, finding tokens for the tools I prefer to work with as well.  I also have a wide variety of spiritually relevant jewelry, much of which isn't obviously Pagan or Occult.

Another thing I find very helpful is journals.  I have a ton of journals, for all kinds of different topics, but even a single, simple notebook would work.  When I don't have time (or space, or privacy) to do a proper ritual, I can at least write about how I am feeling, what I might like to do, or what the day might mean to me (whether it is a moon phase, a Sabbat or some other occasion I might have observed with a ritual).  Even when I do a ritual, I like to write about it in some fashion, as that helps me remember what I loved about it and what I'd like to improve upon.

But the biggest thing I have found, in my own struggles to maintain regular practice over the years, is that when I make big, grand plans I am much more likely to end up not able to complete them.  When I make small, easily managed tasks, and I really dedicate myself to at least attempting to follow through every time, then I am much more likely to keep at it.  Some days I might end up doing a bare bones versions, but at least I am showing up instead of letting it pass me by.  That might even mean all you do is acknowledge, in your own mind, "I know that it is the full moon, and I would like to do something to honor it, but my energy just isn't up to it today, so I am going to tend to myself and do what I need to do to make it through the day."
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MeadowRae

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Re: Pagan Practice and Difficulty Keeping Up
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2016, 06:41:58 am »
Quote from: Lachrylois;186448
I'm sure there are Pagans that have trouble with mental and/or physical illnesses or just problems with life that make it difficult to practice diligently. For instance, depression, ADHD, BPD, physical disabilities, etc. Are there any of you that struggle staying on top of your practice?

Personally I've just breached the surface of Paganism. I've wanted to practice but with school, my ADHD and personal issues, the task of setting up an altar or shrine, finding the time to do rituals or make spells, has been kind of daunting and I feel like I really need my own uncluttered space (which I don't have) to even get started. Has anyone else felt that way, newbie or not? And has it been an ongoing issue, or have you found what you think is a permanent solution?


I am new to paganism, but I have had a morning and afternoon prayer time, even before I put a name to my faith. Since my son has been born, my prayer/ritual time has been less complex and sometimes I forget to pray in the afternoon. I have been trying to do some more reading, which I can do while he eats, and I've been putting more thought into how to celebrate the upcoming Sabbats/Esbats. I also need to find a way to set up a working altar, right now my altar supplies are out on my mantle and I don't feel I can cast a circle around my fireplace. (Could be wrong, but I'm having trouble visualizing it.)

I'm not sure how long I will need to maintain this plan, but the name of the game seems to be preparation vs. the spontaneous, daily work I had before taking care of a newborn.
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RecycledBenedict

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Re: Pagan Practice and Difficulty Keeping Up
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2016, 09:33:50 am »
Quote from: Lachrylois;186448
I'm sure there are Pagans that have trouble with mental and/or physical illnesses or just problems with life that make it difficult to practice diligently. For instance, depression, ADHD, BPD, physical disabilities, etc. Are there any of you that struggle staying on top of your practice?

Personally I've just breached the surface of Paganism. I've wanted to practice but with school, my ADHD and personal issues, the task of setting up an altar or shrine, finding the time to do rituals or make spells, has been kind of daunting and I feel like I really need my own uncluttered space (which I don't have) to even get started. Has anyone else felt that way, newbie or not? And has it been an ongoing issue, or have you found what you think is a permanent solution?


Do you use an alarm clock/timer to remind you of medication with methylefenidathychloride? Some persons with ADHD do. If so, you may use the timer to remind you of morning observance and evening observance, too. If that sounds complicated, make the time of medication the time of spiritual observance.

Make observance short in the beginning. If you try to follow a long ritual every day, and don't manage to follow that plan, you risk to give up. A short ritual is easier to perform daily, especially if your attention span is short. When the observance has become a habit, you will be able to add new segments to it, but don't do it too early. The new habit has to settle first, and parts of your mind will initially protest against every new habit.

I see that you present yourself as a Satanist. I don't know which texts are important within your chosen religious community, but you will probably find out which ones are important enough to be performed regularly.*

Some persons are early birds, others are night owls. Adapt observance realistically to your personality type.

Perform a shorter observance without meditation and without comlicated outer rituals at the time of the day when you are sleepy and short of time.

Perform a longer observance at the time of the day when you are concentrated. If meditation is your thing - add meditation at the concentrated part of the day. If outer ritual acts are your thing - add outward rituals at the concentrated part of the day.

The quality of the evening observance will probably become better if it is performed earlier in the evening, than too late. This advice does not apply if you use bedtime as a reminder of observance-time.

A mini-altar in the home does make it easier to concentrate. I hope that you, by time, will manage to set up a mini-altar: Nothing fancy, just a symbol of your path, if there is any, and a place for a folder with your ritual texts. I don't know the structure and content of Satanist rituals, so I can't give you any advice on further additions. Persons from many other traditions would rather soon, when opportunity comes,  add a candlestick with a candle, a matchbox or lighter and something for incense.

There are several options when it comes to incense. If fiddling with tweezers and dangerously hot coals, and taking care of large amounts of ashes after the ritual, sounds burdensome, I would advice you to stick to incense sticks instead (Pun intendend). It is easier to clean up after sticks, and they are a lesser danger to safety.

* If you had worshipped the ancient Roman deities, I would have suggested hailing Vesta, Janus and your personal genius daily. If you had been an undecided eclectic pantheist, I would have suggested blessed the Sun in the morning and blessed the Moon in evening. If you had been Christian, I would have suggested Our Father, Gloria Patri, Kyrie eleison or Trishagion, and, optionally, Hail Mary. If you had been Buddhist, I would have suggested the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts. If you had been Jedi, I would have suggested the recitation of the Jedi Code. Now, when you self-identify as Satanist, I am not knowledgeable enough to advice you about the content.

LunaStar

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Re: Pagan Practice and Difficulty Keeping Up
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2016, 03:21:42 pm »
Quote from: Lachrylois;186448
I'm sure there are Pagans that have trouble with mental and/or physical illnesses or just problems with life that make it difficult to practice diligently. For instance, depression, ADHD, BPD, physical disabilities, etc. Are there any of you that struggle staying on top of your practice?

Personally I've just breached the surface of Paganism. I've wanted to practice but with school, my ADHD and personal issues, the task of setting up an altar or shrine, finding the time to do rituals or make spells, has been kind of daunting and I feel like I really need my own uncluttered space (which I don't have) to even get started. Has anyone else felt that way, newbie or not? And has it been an ongoing issue, or have you found what you think is a permanent solution?

 

I struggle with mental illness, which as impeded my practice in the past.  I developed a system to combat this, and I encourage you to do the same.  Just lighting a candle or burning some incense and taking a moment can help tremendously.  Make it part of your routine and don't go to bed until you have done at least this.  If you work with Tarot or any divination system, pulling one card, rune, etc is also helpful.  That's a five minute routine that takes minimal effort and will help you get back in the flow.  I find it especially effective after waking up or just before going to bed.

As far as cluttered spaces go...I once got stuck in a cycle where I felt like I couldn't do work because my room wasn't sparkling clean. But then I realized that I could use my practice to start getting things in order.  Start by doing just one thing, like maybe organize one section of the room, before doing work.  Do this every time and soon you'll start making a dent in the clutter.

I've found that consistent meditation and practice has helped me heal and get my life in order (somewhat!) more than anything else I've tried.  My personal practice is heavily based on healing myself and thus creating a chain that extends outwardly to the world around me.  

Glamour magic has been amazingly effective for me when feeling extremely low.  Putting on enchanted jewelry or some glitter always lifts my spirits.  It's my go-to pick me up. ;)

Lachrylois

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Re: Pagan Practice and Difficulty Keeping Up
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2016, 08:47:34 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;186454
I'm currently playing around with a form of journalling based on some various theories (bullet journaling and sketchnoting, mostly) out there to try different things every fortnight (full/new moon cycle)

 
I've seen a lot of people throwing around the term "bullet journaling" lately but when you mentioned it I finally went ahead and looked at what it was. Definitely useful; I've also never heard of sketchnoting but after looking at that as well I think it'll be helpful for me in the future. So thank you!

Quote from: Scales;186461
My problems are ongoing, but the combination of making a space (right now I have a desk, but before I had a little folding table altar and some floor space I kept clear, and with my parents my room had an attic to the side, which I used the floor or a trunk in) and having something specific to do helps a lot and stops me from going weeks without anything.
Wow, now that I think about it, I have an entire empty attic above my head that I could use. The thought never crossed my mind-- that'll probably help me immensely! I'm glad you mentioned it. But yeah even just having a small organized space for a ritual/shrine/etc. should solve a lot of my issues, even if the rest of my room is cluttered.


Quote from: FraterBenedict;186574
Do you use an alarm clock/timer to remind you of medication with methylefenidathychloride? Some persons with ADHD do. If so, you may use the timer to remind you of morning observance and evening observance, too. If that sounds complicated, make the time of medication the time of spiritual observance... ... It is easier to clean up after sticks, and they are a lesser danger to safety.


Pretty much everything you've said sounds exactly like what I need. Thank you! Especially the alarm, it's harder to ignore than the imaginary time limits that simple written scheduling consists of, which I usually just blow off.

And I'm an atheistic Satanist (The Satanic Temple, specifically) so really my goal is to use magic as, as Anton LaVey nicely called it, "psychodrama" in order to get myself motivated and increase my quality of life, even though I don't believe that anything supernatural or otherwise otherworldly is happening when I perform these. It's just reassurance and honestly, fun in my particular case-- something to look forward to and help me throughout any issues I may have. It'll also put some stability in my schedule.

Quote from: LunaStar;186581
As far as cluttered spaces go...I once got stuck in a cycle where I felt like I couldn't do work because my room wasn't sparkling clean. But then I realized that I could use my practice to start getting things in order.  Start by doing just one thing, like maybe organize one section of the room, before doing work.  Do this every time and soon you'll start making a dent in the clutter.
This! Yes, I've definitely gotten stuck like that quite a few times. I see what you're saying!

Quote from: LunaStar;186581
Glamour magic has been amazingly effective for me when feeling extremely low.  Putting on enchanted jewelry or some glitter always lifts my spirits.  It's my go-to pick me up. ;)
That sounds like something that I could really use, as well. Thank you!
 
Now I just need to find the drive to pick and choose what I want to do. I'll start slow. But all of your replies were definitely insightful and it's reassuring to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with this! It's inspiring to see how everyone handles these types of issues differently, and to each their own!

ariosbi

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Re: Pagan Practice and Difficulty Keeping Up
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2016, 07:34:15 pm »
Quote from: Lachrylois;186448
Are there any of you that struggle staying on top of your practice?

 
I have trouble staying in practice and doing witchcraft when I get really depressed, especially because some witchcraft takes a lot of energy that I just don't have when I'm down. I've found that having something to believe in, and making a schedule, and sticking to it rather i want to or not, helps me stay  on track and actually helps me feel better.
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