Pagan simplicity, to some, may sound impossible. We tend to have large, ornate altars and shrines and one (or many) bookshelves full of various topics on Paganism, magick, and the occult in general. To others, though, the idea of Pagan simplicity is something to strive for. So, which is better?
Pagan Simplicity in Daily Practice
I think simplicity and minimalism can be interpreted in many different ways. For me, the word choice and magickal operations of various rituals or devotions are concise and powerful. This form of ritual simplicity allows me to take the overwhelming knowledge I’ve gained through reading various books and putting into practice the many different methods of magickal operation and funneling it into a powerful reduction. For me, this works.
Still, others prefer to maintain their spiritual practice with only four or five ritual objects. This allows the intent and focus to be much narrower, resulting in just as powerful a result. Here, the liturgy may be elaborate, or it may be as simple as the tools being used. The point is, the end goal is the same. We want our prayers to be heard, our offerings to be accepted, and our magick to accomplish its goal.
Pagan Simplicity in Monastic Life
From a purely monastic context, minimalism has its benefits. It seems that no matter what path we walk, we’ll always encounter a significant number of distractions that pull our focus away from inner silence and peace. As a Monk, I admit to having an elaborate shrine. However, it has become increasingly more simplistic than it was prior to my journey into monastic life. This is because I see benefits in Pagan simplicity.
A few weeks ago, I attended a Zen Buddhist retreat for a week. I participated in the retreat from the comfort of my home, having always been interested in incorporating Buddhist ideology into my daily practice. We would wake up fairly early at around 3:30am and throughout the day would practice four to six hours of ‘Zazen’ or ‘sitting meditation’. During the week, I limited my use of electronics to just a few minutes a day (except for an hour set aside to reply to the many emails in my inbox), focusing on being present in the moment. This isn’t a new practice for me, but the intensity with which we practiced that week was both challenging and rewarding. It was also as simple as it gets.
One of my favorite YouTube channels, Ivy The Occultist recently posted a video on ‘Worldbuilding’. She talked about how we all could use a personalized Inner Temple or ‘Mind Palace’ to retreat to or to perform magick in — without any need for physical tools or ingredients. At first, I thought of the effect that my daily Sphere of Protection ritual had when I practiced it on the astral plane. It was powerful, and I couldn’t help but think of all the other things I could do in this inner cloister that would benefit my practice, especially when I’m away from my shrine and perhaps need something done on the fly. If this practice isn’t a way to achieve Pagan simplicity, I’m not sure what is! (NOTE: I highly suggest checking out Ivy’s YouTube channel and subscribing. Her material is some of the best available.)
The Effects of Pagan Simplicity in Mental Well-being
It’s important to mention the positive effects on mental well-being when incorporating simplicity into our daily lives and spiritual practices. When we shift our focus away from the ‘stuff’ of life, including the myriad gizmos and gadgets common in Pagan practices, we initiate a significant change. We start to concentrate more on what truly matters: inner peace, nurturing relationships, and our impact on the world.
As we journey along the winding road of Pagan simplicity, integrating minimalist approaches into our spiritual and daily practices, we might find ourselves at a crossroads. This place marks a pivotal moment of introspection and transformation. By stripping away the non-essential, we not only declutter our physical spaces but also our minds and spirits, opening channels for deeper connection and understanding. In embracing this path, we align more closely with the essence of our beliefs and our true selves.
So, as you stand at this threshold, looking back on the rich tapestry of experiences and forward to the realm of potential and growth, ask yourself: How might the pursuit of simplicity reshape not just your spiritual practice, but also the essence of who you are and your place in the tapestry of the universe?