Why I Need Spiritual Community

I’m exhausted. I started the day with gentle yoga, cooked the breakfasts, harassed my son into his clothes, got him to class on time, bought groceries, cooked and cleaned up lunch. A pretty typical morning. What’s missing from this day (and every other day for the last week) is sitting at my altar, lighting incense, saying prayers, or any form of puja. What was unusual for my day was 45 minutes of me crying while I cooked lunch.

After the catharsis that was a good cry, the nourishment that was a good lunch, and the relaxation that was a cup of tea, I realized that weeks like this are why spiritual communities are so important.

I am just about 8 months pregnant. My husband and I are in the process of buying a house. Yes, we will be moving house just in time to be settled for me to give birth. It’s crazy. I’m nesting and sensitive. And I need help. Most of my friends are scattered far and wide. This is where a church community would come in handy. Tell the prayer ministry people and they’ll pray for positive outcomes for you. Contact the community outreach people and they will organize a meal train for the weeks after birth, as well as rope in people to help pack and move.

A solitary practitioners, my husband and I don’t have that automatic help.

It’s not just the tangible support that would be nice. What I’d really like right now is to go sit while some one else made puja. I want some one else to drive the devotional train. While I take pride in my practice and enjoy, both tangibly and theologically, the personal authority and responsibility that witchcraft and my Hindu practice give the individual, when times get tense, it’s sometimes more than I can manage to steer my own spiritual practice on top of meeting the needs of my children and the obligations of the outside world.

At this point I don’t even care if you practice the same traditions as I do, I just want to be where the juice is flowing, where the devotion is genuine, where the gods are honored. Ever so briefly I even considered tracking down an Episcopal church, just to sit in silence and surround myself with some candles and liturgy. What I want is a circle to lean on, to lean into.

A voice whispers just behind me, Lean into us. My gods whisper to me. I still have such a hard time trusting that they aren’t an invention of my own longing. But there they are, whispering to me.

And still. Still, I long for a community beyond my altar room.

About Niki Whiting

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