30 Day Spiritual Essentials Challenge

Yesterday I started a topic over at the Crooked Cauldron forums about what people think as the essentials to their practice. This is in response to the idea that Paganism (and notably Wicca) as a “religion of stuff.” I was interested in what people would consider the bare bones of their practice.

I also have to admit that I had a hidden reason to doing this that I did not mention on the forum.

Later this month, I will be taking a trip to Portland, OR for the 2013 Sigma Tau Delta convention. (Sigma Tau Delta is the International English Honor Society, not a sorority or fraternity as most people assume.) As I’ve been wondering what to pack and bring with me, I realized that I was severely uncomfortable with not bringing anything to represent my belief, faith, religion, or what have you. I wanted to bring something with me to work with while I was in Portland for a few days and I decided to make a small shrine or altar for Anubis to bring with me so I could have something in the hotel room. As I always do, I began looking at what others had done with this idea, knowing that travel shrines are very common for Pagans and polytheists, especially those who either travel a lot (go figure) or do not have a permanent home to set up a larger, permanent altar. Once I’d looked at all the pretty pictures (and there are a lot), I began to think of what I wanted to put in my own little shrine. I have some ideas, but I also realized that there wasn’t a whole lot that I wanted in there. I’ve always been a fan of very simple, clean altars.

And thinking about that, I wondered something to myself: Why do I have so much stuff?

Granted, I don’t have a ton of stuff for my altars and witchcraft, and much of it is books; however, I do still have a lot. Incense, candles, spare items for seasonal stuff, etc. And I just sat there wondering why. What did I need with all this stuff, especially since I don’t use a lot of it all the time – if ever?

So I started the thread to find out what others had to say. It became rather popular with one user who agreed to start a blogging project about our experiences “bare bones-ing” our religion.

And that’s what I’ll be doing these next few weeks. I think it’ll be beneficial to strip down and look at things more objectively yet intimately, especially with the interest I have in starting shadow work as well. While shadow work will take more than a month, possibly years, starting both at the same time will, I think, help me work with both.

So tomorrow I will start this 30 Day challenge. Tonight is my opening thoughts and some background on why I wanted to approach this challenge. More posts to come.


Spiritual Essentials Archive

March 4, 2013 to April 3, 2013

March 3, 2013: 30 Day Spiritual Essentials Challenge

March 4, 2013: My Essentials

March 6, 2013: The Goal of Spirituality

March 7, 2013: But What About the Altars, George?

March 12, 2013: Prayer

April 4, 2013: Spiritual Essentials In Review

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5 Responses to 30 Day Spiritual Essentials Challenge

  1. ladyredcloak says:

    This is a brilliant idea!

  2. Sarah says:

    Paganism covers such a broad spectrum of various traditions that it’s difficult to state that Paganism itself is a “religion of stuff”. Some people enjoy and embrace the structure, ceremony, and aesthetics of the accoutrements so commonly found in Wicca. I love collecting and Crafting pretty things, but I rarely use those things either. I make them and then either gift them or put them away in a drawer. I dream of a day when I can display all of the Pretties that I make and enjoy looking at them, but for now they stay tucked away. For myself, my faith consists of those things that I can see and feel. I greet the sun in the morning and bid the moon adieu. I greet the moon in the evening and say goodnight to the sun. The earth grounds me, the winds refresh me, the sun’s heat warms me, and the sea nourishes me.
    I love the idea of the “bare bones-ing” project, and look forward to seeing your posts regarding it.

    • I whole-heartedly agree with your statement about Paganism being so broad that it is difficult to claim that Paganism itself is a “religion of stuff,” mostly because that is, itself, my opinion. However, that said, I do notice that there is a strong emphasis on the physical in the different Pagan religions, from Kemeticism to Wicca. While I myself don’t necessarily claim that Paganism, on the whole, is a “religion of stuff,” it is something that I’ve heard others note many times over the years, and it’s easy to see how they may think that.

      I think that it comes from the emphasis on altars that many feel is prevalent in Paganism and, thus, becomes self-perpetuating. Many folks feel that, as they’re starting out, they “have to have” an altar – is this true of all of them? No, definitely not. But it’s definitely easy to see how those who do think this way come to that conclusion, what with all the pretty photos of altars ( that I really love to look at myself, to be honest, because they are very pretty).

      Hopefully all of that makes sense. I’m not sure if it does, but in essence I am trying to say that it’s easy to see how those who do think of Paganism as a “religion of stuff” come to that conclusion, especially when taking into account the idea and prevalence of altars and shrines in modern Paganism.

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