First, I want to call everyone's attention to Mother Moon's First Year of Blogging Anniversary! She is celebrating with a great giveaway (actually THREE). Check out her giveaway post for the details (or click on the button to the left). While you are there, be sure to check out her blog - she has a wonderful knack for writing about just the thing you need to hear (or maybe that is just me -- but check it out and see).
The other thing that I wanted to share is another segment in my "Not Paganism 101" series. For those who are just joining me, this series is an attempt at identifying a 'next step' option in Pagan practice. It shares some of the ways that I manage to incorporate my spirituality into my daily practice. It tries to go beyond the elementary information provided in most books on the various Pagan paths that are out there. While my experiences may not be the right next step for you, hopefully they will provide a seed that you can take and transplant into your own lives and allow to grow in a way that nurtures your spiritual path.
Okay -- enough of the disclaimer . . . on to the sharing!
This weekend a friend of mine had a birthday and, to celebrate, invited a few people over for the evening. It was a very small gathering and, though all of us were friends of the Birthday Girl, many of us had never met each other. Despite this, we all got along wonderfully and had some very interesting and 'deep' discussions. On top of that, the party took place in a lovely canopied area which was open to the outside. At one point, the skies opened and we had a wonderful summer rainstorm complete with thunder and lightening. For me, this entire evening was what I will call an Elusive Ritual.
Why and Elusive Ritual? Because there is no one thing that happened that most people would identify as ritualistic. If you were to speak to anyone that was in attendance that evening, I feel confident that NONE of them would describe the evening as ritualistic in any way -- and most would not even describe it as a spiritual experience. But to me, the entire evening from start to finish was a spiritual, and even ritualistic, experience. All of us were there to celebrate the life of a particular individual; all of us were forming connections and really 'being' with each other; despite many of us being complete or mostly strangers, no one left without giving every other person a heartfelt hug (not the 'lean toward each other but touch as little as possible' hug); we spoke of things like religion, charity, and loves; we teased each other; we laughed; we ate; we truly experienced each other with open hearts and non-judgmental hearts. How is that not a spiritual experience?? The inclusion on the rain, lightening, and thunder did nothing to dampen our spirits -- in fact, we all reveled in the experience -- even when some of us got a little wet.
One thing that I just remembered seems significant, though I am not sure of its meaning yet . . . the party was out in the middle of no where with little nearby for at least a mile. Despite that, we found a young kitten on the property. When I say young, I am talking about 7-8 weeks. She had a great set of lungs on her. Maybe she was escaping the coyotes, maybe she was just wandering -- regardless, she was rescued and will likely find a wonderful home.
So, for me, that party was a spiritual experience. Even without drawing a circle, I was in a sacred space. Even without a formal structure, we celebrated and acknowledged our connections. For me, this was an example of how ritual can be present in my life even when no one around me is actually aware of it. Have you ever experienced an Elusive Ritual? I would love to hear about your mundane sacred experience . . .