What Is The Ultimate Spiritual Necessity?

I’m watching Jumping the Broom on a lazy Sunday afternoon as I put off doing laundry. I’m also trying to plan out my month. And as the fabulous Loretta Devine is arguing over the cultural necessity of jumping the broom, and I’m planning out my spiritual activities, I’m wondering what would the spiritual or cultural necessities be for Pagans?

In the concentration camps some Jews would risk their lives by hoarding just a little food during the week so they could have a Sabbath feast. Even many non-religious Jews have traditional Jewish elements in their weddings. Every culture has these elements that people cling to, these traditions that are non-negotiable.

So I wonder if push came to shove, what would I cling to and what would I let go? And I find the answer fascinating. So much of what we find important involves elaborate ritual or big events. We dress up for rituals that are productions, each of them different, carefully planned and choreographed with ritual tools and materials. So what I think my faith would boil down to out of necessity wouldn’t be many of the things that I consider to make up the bulk of my faith today.

I would meditate and pray. Those are things no one can take away from me.

I would take time to honor the moon and sun cycles, even if only in silence.

I would do something to celebrate the full and new moon, no matter how small.

I will keep pouring libations, even if it’s only with collected rainwater.

If I have a child I would ward, bless and shield it that I have read about and been taught. I would formally name the child before the Gods. I would tell it Pagan stories and teach it Pagan virtues.

Even without children, I would keep telling the stories and singing the songs.

If I marry again there will be a handfasting, even if it is only with a piece of rope or thread, and a shared cup of wine even if it’s Arbor Mist in a Solo cup, and sweet cake that has been magically baked even if it’s just from a Duncan Hines cupcake mix without icing.

And I think that’s it. Those are the things that at the very worst, in the most dire circumstances I would fight for. The incense, the candles, the robes, the chalices, the jewelry and even the athame that is so precious to me would not be what I would hold onto in the roughest of times.

Maybe as I grow older I will develop other traditions that I would cling to uncompromisingly. I’m looking at celebrating the Deipnon, Noumenia and Agathos Daimon each month this year. A monthly housecleaning and big family meal just seems like a good idea, but maybe it will become spiritually important to me as well.

So if things got really bad and you weren’t allowed to celebrate your faith fully, or if you were facing an interfaith marriage, what traditions would you cling to? What would you refuse to let go of?

About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • kenneth

    I think if push came to shove, I could strip it all down to its barest and purest form, where it all started. Long before I knew there was a word for it, let alone the rituals or trappings, I had a pagan heart and soul. 
        Where most kids were content with sports or television and whatever they were told about God, I demanded to go directly to the source and see for myself. In the woods or on a lake or even my own yard, I could hear the heartbeat of creation itself, and begin to see how every living thing related to another within their own cycles of life and death. I wanted more than anything to learn how it all fit together, how I could draw on it, and celebrate it. 
        The rituals were all there – the first spring day you can smell the earth again, a thunderstorm, the sound of walnuts and squirrels over a new layer of fallen leaves in October. All of the rituals I have ever crafted or performed are really just tributes to all that, pale imitations. They’re really just bits of software, or “apps” that puts this vast source into mythological and theological contexts for our own benefit.
         All of it, the rituals, the initiations, my athame, Wicca itself, are all very well and good for me, and yet all completely superfluous. Even in the absence of religious oppression or an interfaith marriage or some other adversity, it pays to remember that from time to time, lay it all down, and just spend a day in the woods again. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-H-Halstead/1170545330 John H Halstead

    To touch the earth each morning and raise my palms up to the sun.  To spread my arms in the wind that precedes the first spring storm.  To exhult in the thunder and lightning.  To lay in the grass on a summer day.  To smell that crisp smell that signals fall.  To hear the birds that first spring like morning when winter is not quite gone.  And to say to myself, “Praise Be!”

  • Raven

    To be able to be outdoors in a woods, by a stream, in a field, on a mountain….doesn’t matter. Just need to be near her for meditation & prayer. One good Tarot deck I can keep studying. One favorite crystal for healing. My writing journal, and a few supplies for knitting and crocheting (my other beloved “craft”).  Pretty simple rituals, really.  :-)