I wake up before sunrise. If I’m lucky, the gentle glow of a still gleaming moon streams in through the skylight in my bedroom, painting a path to the door. I look at the time, roll out of bed, and slink down the steps to the kitchen. I do all of this without turning on a single light—I enjoy the challenge of feeling my way through the dark, of identifying my coffee mug by touch and pouring the cold-brewed coffee over my fingertips resting on the lip of the mug to make sure I don’t spill (a tip I picked up from a blind housemate ten years ago). I stick the mug in the microwave for one minute and forty-five seconds, and if the sun has begun to peek over the horizon, I stare out the window at the yellow-blue sky until the familiar “beep, beep, beep” of the microwave redirects my attention to the task at hand.
This is how I get into ritual mindset—not by casting a circle, not by consecrating sacred space. This mundane beginning takes the pressure off and allows me to wake up before I direct my attention towards intentional acts of mindfulness. I can do this clumsily and groggily, and still, it has the same effect. I don’t want to psych myself out before I begin, so I do what’s easy over and over until it becomes routine. It’s like doing stretches before going for a run—I can mill about, let my mind wander, and prepare myself to concentrate without having to be immediately “with it”.
If you have trouble getting into the groove of a daily practice, I highly recommend beginning with something completely mundane. It’s makes practice much more fun, light, and accessible.
I take my coffee back to my room and park myself on the round, purple meditation cushion in front of my altar. I light every candle in quick succession, replacing tealights as needed. Then I pull my constellation journal from its designated space, grab a blue “color Joy” pen from the holder and write the date in the upper-right hand corner of the next page.
Before I begin writing, I find Venus in the sky and greet her. She’s so large, cheerful, and brilliant at dawn, like a joyful gift slyly slipped into your pocket. I take a moment to stare at the city skyline, note the day’s first colors and whisper “red sky in the morning” if what I see reflects it. This morning sky scrying almost always leads me to reflect on the fragility of humanity, the boundlessness of its ambition, its tenuous hold on control, its refusal to stop and rest, and its overwhelming beauty despite everything.
Since I commonly rise before the sunrise, sky scrying before my morning working is a fantastic way for me to connect with something outside of myself that’s haunting and beautiful and sustaining. It’s as if I’m immediately invited to show gratitude for everything glorious and miraculous in my life, and if that’s not a great way to start the day, I don’t know what is. Likewise, connecting with the constancy (for half of the year, at least!) of Venus every morning is wonderful. I look for her and there she is, smiling at me. It makes me feel loved, valued, and appreciated, which in turn makes it easier for me to love, value, and appreciate, all of which are major spiritual goals for me.
If I’ve had a dream that I remember, I’ll pause from this reflection and begin writing maniacally. I’ll write down every detail I can remember, and I commonly remember more as I go along. When I’m finished, I’ll identify the main symbols (train, farm, tree, and salmon were the standouts from my most recent dream) and do my best to conjure up their correspondences. Then, I’ll reference my symbols sourcebook and fill in whatever gaps there are. Finally, I’ll develop a relevant interpretation. This process sounds dry and procedural, but it’s actually deeply engaging and I almost always discover something pretty damn profound about what’s going on in my psyche at the moment.
Dream work is a practice that I’ve done off and on for twenty years now. I don’t always do it consistently because my brain is too damn good at it, and I don’t appreciate being woken up three times a night with a dream to jot down. I’ve recently begun setting the intention of remembering a dream only if it’s time to wake up, and it’s actually been working pretty well!
Almost every dream I interpret holds the key to a major revelation. I often leave the session with deep spiritual knowledge that I didn’t have before I began as well as actionable advice for addressing what needs to be addressed. Since I’m a magickal practitioner who is all about the idea that action supports magick, this is deeply valuable to me.
If I haven’t dreamt, I’ll offer up a prayer to the goddesses Brigid, Hekate, and the Morrigan. I’ll freestyle this prayer every morning, because I find it infinitely holier to speak from the heart than I do to recite a familiar petition (in all honesty, repetition is one of the main ways I activate spells, and connecting with deity is a much gentler, more fluid process for me).
After this prayer, I’ll ask Hekate to reveal a mystery to me. If she has one to reveal, she’ll take me on an astral trip that leads to some sort of deep, spiritual realization. It was she who first led me to the door of the garden of Eden, and it was she who first gave me the key (if you’ve listened to this month’s Wise Ones guided meditation, you’ll know what I’m talking about). Sometimes, this trip is as brief as a few minutes. Sometimes, it’s thirty minutes long—it depends on what’s being revealed and whether or not I’m interrupted by my daughter.
Deity work is a huge part of my practice, and it’s something that I attempt to engage with on a daily basis. My guides are barometers, mirrors, counselors, gurus, and mystics who guide me on my journey, show me the universe, and help me to trust myself. They lead me out of paradigms of hopelessness and despair, so chatting with them promotes holistic wellbeing. I can’t really do much without it, so deity work is crucial!
My morning ritual ends with tarot reading. Some mornings, it’s nothing more than divination done in the midst of morning pages. Sometimes I ask questions, and other times I let the archetypes tell me what they want me to know. If Hekate’s taken me on a trip and I’m pulling cards for greater understanding, I’ll interpret their messages as if they were coming from Hekate directly.
Divination always paves the way for greater reflection for me. It’s really useful in helping me generate an overall “message” for the session as well as the actionable advice I alluded to earlier. If I feel like what I’ve discovered might be useful for the collective, I’ll share it via an Instagram story (this is relatively new, but it’s becoming more routine and commonplace). Divination is the bridge that leads to the totality of understanding that makes meaningful change possible.
In the past few months, I’ve only managed to miss this morning ritual twice. It’s so imbedded that I don’t even think about it; I find myself before the altar as if I were possessed, unable to remember precisely how I’d gotten there. It helps me prepare for the day ahead, and it’s profoundly increased my creative output as well as helped me open the door to greater compassion, both of which I set intentions for at the beginning of the year.
This ritual has also given me permission to begin my day as myself—not as a mother, not as a wife, and not as a person in service. Because of this time, I’m better able to fulfill each of these roles as well as I always wanted to, but never seemed able to before.
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