This is the first of two blogs on how to goddess on a budget using daily rituals. We’ll be exploring the positive effects of daily rituals, as well as different forms of ritual. In this post, I’m restricting my focus regarding ritual to those experiences that can be undertaken as part of a solitary practice on a regular basis. I think this is a safe place to start for many trauma survivors and offers the added advantage of allowing for personal tailoring to suit your style.
Benefits of Daily Rituals
Rituals, even simple ones, can have powerful effects. Whether or not you ascribe to a magical viewpoint that hones in on the shift in energy they can bring, taking time each day for ritual sets you up for positive emotions and experiences. There is limited research suggesting partaking in rituals can be healing for individuals with PTSD.
A note of caution—any ritual you are conducting related to your trauma history should be developed in collaboration with a mental health practitioner and a spiritual guide, and you need to be supported in processing your experience. The focus here is on daily rituals anyone can do to maintain their spiritual practice, not on rituals specifically related to healing from trauma.
5 Components to Build Your Daily Ritual Style
As you peruse the list below, I suggest thinking of the spiritual activities you both enjoy and that you realistically can make time for consistently. Next, determine the time of day when you tend to be both calm and alert. Take into consideration creative cost-saving adaptations to your plans. Lastly, make sure that you are tapping into multiple senses in your daily rituals to increase their impact.
For me, I finally began to follow through practicing personal ceremony when I let go of any predefined ways of how it was supposed to look and when it was to occur. I found it easier to start with an evening ritual and eventually built in a morning version. You get to decide where, when and what you want to do!
1. Personal Altar
There is definitely such a thing as spiritual bling! Once you make the decision to have a personal altar, it is very easy to get carried away and perhaps overload both your table and your budget.
I change my main altar four times a year, with each solstice and equinox. Instead of encouraging impulse buys, this pattern gives me permission to purchase a few new items every few months.
If you ascribe to a particular religious or Pagan tradition, there may be a pre-determined altar layout system that you can choose to follow. Because I am a Solitary Practitioner of eclectic Goddess spirituality, my altar reflects some traditional elements and a lot of my own preferences. An inexpensive purchase that has yielded a lot of possibilities for me has been to buy tiny bottles. I filled them with ash, dirt, water and a feather to represent the four elements, placing them around the main Goddess figurine on my altar.
Contemplate including only those items which feel “safe” and uplifting on your altar. Some of the Tarot cards and even stones I’ve bought are challenging to me. I work with them, but I keep my main altar as a sacred place to which I can return no matter my current emotional state.
Survivors may find themselves in an environment that rejects visual displays of faith. In this situation, items like pocket altars or nature “decorations” might provide a touchstone. Perhaps a mini altar in your car or office drawer could bring Goddess into your life in a safe way.
Mindfulness meditation involves present-moment awareness. It can be a sitting meditation or it can include ordinary tasks like eating and walking. Mindfulness has the potential to be a double-edged sword for individuals with trauma. It can be incredibly healing as it contradicts dissociation, but it has the potential to escalate anxiety and other issues if used without support or in situations where those leading the practice are not sensitive to survivors’ needs.
If you are new to mindfulness, exercise caution and work with your mental health professional as you explore various teachers, traditions and exercises. Personally, I enjoy many of Tara Brach’s teachings and meditations. If and when you find a mindful meditation technique that fits you, consider incorporating it into your daily ritual either before divination/inner work to center yourself, or as a way to return to your surroundings after your intuitive time.
Yoga comes with many of the same caveats as mindfulness. It can be an amazing way to connect with Goddess through your body and through movement, and it can also activate traumatic memories. Some yoga teachers take extra classes on trauma-sensitive methods, so think about asking whether or not your potential instructor has done this if you are joining a new class. I think it is worth investing in at least a few classes if you have never tried it in order to get feedback on your poses, but it can also be done at home. I sometimes include Mountain and Tree Pose as a grounding part of my daily ritual.
4. Inner Work
Inner work is typically incorporated in the middle of a daily ritual. It might include:
- Reading Tarot, oracle cards or runes
- Moon intentions and workings
- Artistic endeavors
- Conversing with Goddess (speaking and/or listening)
- Creating crystal grids
- Fashioning flower mandalas
- Balancing chakras
- Conducting formal ritual to celebrate a holiday or occasion.
A personal outcome may directly evident as a result of your day’s inner work, or, more likely, it may take time for the messages and intentions to manifest. Give yourself permission to find the inner working methods which speak to you the most. Inner work might benefit from a few supplies, but you can also save money with projects like drawing runes on stones or branches or creating chakra charts to learn more about your personal energy.
5. Movement and Music
Goddess Spirituality can include raising energy as a key part of daily ritual. You get to be loud! For me, this is an area of both opportunity and challenge, and one where I like being a Solitary Practitioner. I do not care to subject others to my dancing and singing! The joy and playfulness that movement set to music offers are free and add dimension to your experiences. Find or create your own instruments and songs. I’ve turned casting my circle into a rhythm that I sing every time I start and end my ritual.
Goddessing Each Moment
Today I’ve shared about some motivational reasons to engage in daily rituals, as well as several tips for finding your own way of goddessing. I believe a huge part of healing work is learning to give ourselves grace and freedom to tailor at least our space and personal time to our own preferences. In this way, daily rituals can become a celebration if you open yourself up to learning about those things that affirm and speak to you on an individual level.
My next post will be aimed more directly at the trauma-related issues that can arise during personal rituals, and will provide suggestions for handling these issues.