I’m in my second reading of Jason Mankey’s terrific new book, Witch’s Wheel of the Year: Rituals for Circles, Solitaries & Covens, savoring the practical wisdom he so generously shares. While the book primarily deals with sabbat rituals, there’s one particular element I’ve taken on as a daily practice in these last several weeks: The Blessing Bowl.
One of my favorite ways to begin a ritual is with a blessing bowl. Many Witches like to take a ceremonial shower or bath before entering ritual space, but I find a blessing bowl much more effective. […] It’s a great way to remind yourself […] that what we do as Witches is magickal, holy, and divine, and that we ever walk with the Lord and Lady. (Witch’s Wheel of the New Year, pp. 136-7)
While presented as a method of cleansing before beginning ritual, a blessing bowl is easily incorporated into daily practice. It’s a simple yet effective exercise in mindfulness that can serve to ground you as you go about your daily routines. I’m finding it’s particularly helpful in strengthening my awareness that the Sacred is served in all our activities, and not reserved for those actions we take during sacred times of ritual.
How Does The Blessing Bowl Work as a Daily Practice?
I’ve set my bowl on my main altar. In it I’ve put water reserved from my last full moon ritual, a few flakes of sea salt, and a couple of drops of essential oil (Jason mentions using a cleansing oil or an oil that reminds him to love himself).
After I’ve finished my morning routines, before dressing for the day, I stand before my altar and anoint myself with the water, speaking my salutation to Hekate afterwards and then proceeding with my day.
Jason shares the following prayer:
Blessed be my feet, which have brought me before the gods. (touch feet)
Blessed be my knees, with which I kneel before the glory of the earth. (touch knees)
Blessed be my sex, source of passion and longing. (touch sex)
Blessed be my heart, font of power and strength. (touch heart)
Blessed be my lips, which shall speak only truth in the circle. (touch lips)
(Witch’s Wheel of the Year, p. 100)
There are several versions of the Blessing Bowl Prayer presented throughout the book, each of them with subtle variations that key them to the specific sabbat being celebrated. In using the ritual as a daily practice I’ve made some adaptations as well, mixing and matching across the different versions presented in the book.
Daily Practice Blessing Bowl Prayer AdaptationHere’s how my Blessing has evolved:
Blessings on my feet, that they may walk the way of the Craft.
Blessings on my knees, that I may worship.
Blessings on my belly, source of my passions.
Blessings on my heart, that I might know the love of the goddess.
Blessings on my hands, that I might do the work of the goddess.
Blessings on my throat and lips, that I may speak with the words of the goddess.
Blessings on my ears, that I might hear the goddess.
Blessings on my eyes, that I may see the goddess.
Blessings on my intellect and creativity, gifts of the goddess.
Cause and Effect
The most immediate effect that I’ve noticed is that I can taste the salt water that has dried on my lips several times throughout the day. That may not sound like an earth-shattering effect and it’s not. Change can be subtle and still be effective. Being able to taste the salt on my lips sharply reminds me that in all ways and in all days I serve the goddess.
For instance, today was catbox cleaning day (oh joy!). As I was hunched down sifting animal droppings out of the litter, I happened to taste the salt from this morning’s blessing on my lips. It reminded me that I am offering an act of stewardship for the animals in my care, and changed my attitude about a chore that – let’s be honest here – no one enjoys. Just as the goddess offers stewardship to me, so, too, do I for the cat and dog (although only the dog regards me as a goddess).
These kinds of daily mindfulness practices go a long way toward keeping us aware of our active relationships with that which we each consider as the sacred or holy, be that a goddess, god (or several), or Nature or the Great Whatever. If you’re looking for a simple and effective way to increase your attunement with the sacred, give a daily blessing bowl prayer and anointing a try and see how your awareness of your connections to All That Is are affected.
Many thanks to Jason Mankey for his permission to quote from Witch’s Wheel of the Year, and for writing such an outstanding resource work.