I mentioned early on that connection seems to me to be the heart of practice, and I find that specific ways of honoring connections are as universal as the practices themselves are varied.
The self One valuable goal of practice is to allow all of our selves to be heard. Most of us live in a world dominated by our rational selves, and the thinking, talking, reasoning, chattering voices we use for things like conversation, problem-solving, and managing schedules often get the lion’s share of our attention. Equally important, however, are our physical bodies, our feelings, and that spark of the sacred that lives in each of us. Having a way to attend to these parts in particular, even if it is as simple as taking a breath to honor each of them, has been a fruitful practice for me.
Our place in community We all belong to something, whether it’s a family, a Pagan community, or the web of life. Honoring our many connections at this level helps to nurture and sustain the connections themselves, but also to keep us aware of them and of the fact of our connectedness. Honoring ancestors of blood, of place, and of tradition is something everyone can do, as is honoring descendants of blood or spirit. So is affirming ourselves as part of the beautiful, interconnected world we share. If we have living teachers or communities, we can rest our appreciative attention on them or ask for them to be blessed.Other beings If you have working relationships with deities, allies, elements, or other beings without bodies, honoring them is a valuable part of a practice. Just like relationships with humans, these relationships benefit from regular attention, either straight-up or through practices like prayer and offerings.
The sacred However you perceive what is sacred in the universe, honoring it is a cornerstone of practice. For me, this is a practice that is more likely to take the form of stillness, listening, gratitude, and silence than my relationships with more person-like beings, which often include words, but everyone’s experience is individual. Whatever connects you to life and death, being and the ground of being, and a sense of wonder is worth pursuing.
Which of your connections do you attend to? Which ones could use more attention?