Monday, July 9, 2012

Spiritual Atheism - morning ritual

If asked whether magic exists in my day to day life, my honest answer would have to be “no.” I’m seeped in reality. We chug through most days barely noticing the work of fairies. It’s in the bloom of the lilies, the leap of rabbits. But wait a minute, maybe no isn’t quite the right answer either. After all, we all stop to watch the rabbits when they come in the yard, everyone comments on the remarkable growth of the tomato plants, or the cucumber vines, or the lilies. Thea will call us over to see the sunset, Anya will point and laugh when the squirrels play tag. We see the magic.

Perhaps what I’m missing is some sort of ritual around the magic. I truly enjoyed the ritual and tradition of the Catholic Church. The purple vestments of Easter, the smoke of the incense, the hymns we all knew by heart. We joined weekly in the same rituals, looked forward to the special additions on holidays and feast days, and so kept the religion before us in a very concrete way. The magic of nature and of the spirit that I lean on today has neither ritual nor weekly gathering. Except this: On warm mornings, I bring coffee cup to the porch, and a book and my laptop, then ignore all of them and listen to the birds. I look around the yard to see where the sun is giving nourishment, where the trees are sheltering with shadow. It is my ritual, starting the day by seeing my world.

I don’t burn incense (well, I do sometimes, but not in the mornings), I don’t sing hymns, I don’t even offer up conscious words of thanks. But, my day is more centered when I can begin with this time of observation; I connect myself to the world. It’s a simple ritual, but still, it brings me closer to the magic.


  1. Rituals - God in or God out - do help us pay attention and celebrate the magic and the mundane.

  2. Rituals and shared experience are the two things I miss about the church.