Spiritual DoldrumsRemember when you first took those steps along the pagan path? How new and fresh and exciting everything was. The smell of the incense. The burning of the flame. The chants and the drumming. You were passionate about putting words to paper for that special spell or ritual. What a great time!
Now, maybe not so much. Doldrums is a word that comes from an area of the ocean near the equator where the wind is so light that boats can be trapped for weeks waiting for the wind to return. We usually use the word to refer to a mental slump, depression, inactivity, or state of restlessness or unhappiness.
The doldrums can apply to our spiritual practice as well. We feel nothing inspiring about the ritual and find excuses to miss that full moon gathering. The drum gathers dust in the corner. We feel so caught up in the everyday tasks of our lives, that we feel we are better served during our time alone by playing solitaire on the computer instead of meditating or doing yoga.
When we find our spiritual practice has become stagnant, we need to find ways to change it. Here are some ideas:1) Find what interests you now. You may be an expert on herbs – is there something else you would like to learn about? Crystals? Chakras? Explore other topics.
2) Practice your kitchen witchery. Cook. Make a dish that reflects the season or a special treat for the full moon. There’s nothing like appreciative comments such as “This is so yummy!” to help raise one’s spirits.
3) Talk to other pagans. Especially important if you are a solitary practitioner. Join a discussion group or book club. Attend a public ritual or a pagan festival. No pagan is an island.
4) Get acquainted with another deity. That doesn’t mean you have to dedicate yourself to another God or Goddess, but studying the mythology and holding ritual for another can be enlightening and open up some interesting possibilities.
5) Be creative. Write a song, a poem, a chant. If you write three pages in your journal every day, how about changing it up a bit and do some visual journaling instead? Put together a spiritual scrapbook or photo album.
6) Declutter. Do a major cleaning of your home, organize and perhaps redecorate. Get rid of the candle stubs and that box of incense that makes you sneeze. As you clean your altar, change it.
7) Adopt a park, a highway, a stream. Commit to doing something for the environment.
8) Instead of holding a full moon ritual, celebrate the new moon, dark moon, first quarter, the sunrise…anything that will change it up.
9) Create an outdoor shrine. It can be as simple as a stone circle or more elaborate with wind chimes, shells, herbs, flowers, and statuary. Just like your indoor altar, make sure you tend to it often.
10) Play with the elements. Fly a kite, make s’mores by the campfire, go water skiing or rock climbing.