I know that I'm a bit of a broken record (now there's a term G/Son's generation won't get) about this, but one of the most important things that a Witch can do is to have a daily practice. One of my v favorite bloggers says that we Witches need to work all the time to answer the question: "What are Witches for?" And, I agree.
One of the things that we're for, IMHO, is for having a daily practice.
A daily practice is a way of checking in (of being in relationship with), daily, with Mama Gaia, your landbase, your watershed, the (perhaps quite tiny) "bit of Earth" of which you are the Witch. When I sit in my altar room and call the Elements, I announce myself: "I am Hecate, the Witch of this place," and by "this place," I mean the less-than-a-quarter-acre bit of Earth that I have delved, planted, laid upon, grounded in, weeded, raked, done magic upon, consumed the herbs grown from, and come to know these past seven years. When I wake in the morning, in the small room in the Northeast corner of my house (now refreshingly chilly and full of reminders of how lucky I am to have sheets, blankets, comforters, socks crocheted by my own grandma), I connect my roots with the roots of the three giant oaks, the two American wisteria, the two temple pines, the three Japanese maples, the many herbs, the gardenias and lilacs, the jack-in-the-pulpits, the drancunculus vulgaris, the toad lilies, and the daylilies that live here with me. I reach out and connect with the squirrels, and chipmunks, and cardinals, and bluejays, and Carolina waxwings, and rabbits, and foxes who live here with me.
When I eat my oatmeal and poached egg, I call upon Columbia, the Goddess of This Place, and Hygeia, a Goddess upon whom both I and my circle of women have called, and I ask for their blessings. I go out and give birdseed to the birds I know and I give coffee grounds to the gardenias. May we never hunger. May we never thirst.
When I go to work, I purposefully drive along-side my beloved Spout Run and my adored Potomac River and I give gifts to "my" Homeless Vet who waits by the entrance to the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge. These are the acts of a Witch.
When I get to work, I stop for a moment and invoke every woman who went before me, working with laws, words, her ability to write, and argue, and persuade. (What my secretary sees: "Just like every morning, she's taking off her sunglasses, rummaging in her purse, and putting on her reading glasses. Just like every morning, she stops, holds her hands over the keys, and then types in her password (just now "elegant editing.")) (What's really happening: Hecate recites her morning prayer: 'I am a manifestation of the Goddess. Mother, help me to grow into my Better Self. It's all real. It's all metaphor. There's always more.' Hecate stops for a moment and invokes Hatshepsut, Druidic women, Boadicea, QE I, Mistress Margaret Brent, Abigail Adams, Susan B. Anthony, and Athena, Goddess of politics and laws. Hecate invokes Hecate, Goddess of liminal spaces, the space where her words and arguments may create change. Hecate asks Mama Gaia for guidance. Hecate slips on reading glasses, sends reiki to her keyboard, and hits "Open" on the first e-mail of the day.)
At 11:00 and 3:00, my computer gives me a message: Time to get up, walk around and move, create some energy, and change, and movement. I walk the halls of my firm sending blessings to everyone there. "May we serve justice. May Fortuna bless our work." I return and face East, South, West, and North and ground in the zinging and singing and whirring swampy clay of Washington, D.C.
When I get home, I sink onto the rolled-up cotton yoga blanket before my altar, touch my forehead to the wood, and ground. Again.
Having a daily practice gives me the opportunity to connect with, send Reiki to, strengthen, and bless my own bit of Earth. It allows me to do the work of a Priestess, a Witch, a woman of Earth.
I believe, and I may be a crazy old woman but I do believe, that my daily practice does Earth good. And that, more than anything else, is what I am for. I am here to connect with the Earth and to let her know that she has an ally. I am here to connect with a run and a river and to let them know that they are seen, heard, loved, and experienced. I am here to drive over the bridge from Virginia to DC and to let the shining city on a swamp know that her ally is back, to get one v short glance of the statue of Columbia above the capital, and to let this polis know that she is loved in all her marble monuments and all her hidden gardens. I am here to minister to the trees, flowers, herbs, and animals of a tiny spot in northern Virginia and to send shining energy to them.
And that, as Mr. Frost explained, has made all the difference.
What are you for? What does your daily practice look like?
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I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."