As with every other aspect of life, COVID-19 has changed how we relate to our spirituality. For our Church Of The Earth community, that means that we cannot safely meet in person for rituals or social events. Part of how COTE has adapted to this pandemic world has been to host events online. How our rituals are structured has also had to change, as many things that work well in person don’t translate to the online environment. We’ve had to experiment and try new things to figure out what works well for an online ritual and what doesn’t.
In addition to our spiritual community, we also each have our own individual practices that have been affected by the pandemic.
On a personal level, it’s hard to feel spiritually inspired when just getting through the day is difficult. I am an advocate for living, evolving, personal religion. I believe that spirituality should be applicable to modern life, and it should support us and nourish us. When our spiritual practices are no longer relevant to our circumstances, it is time for them to change.
A Different Perspective for a Different Time
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned almost every aspect of our lives upside down. Our daily routines have been severely disrupted. Some people have lost their jobs. Many have lost a loved one to this awful virus. Even just going to the grocery store is now a harrowing experience of mortal risk and crazy politics. Everyone is stressed to the max, and it has been going on since March of last year. We are worn out, beaten down, and exhausted. Who has the energy to cast a circle these days?
If you’re feeling any guilt about your spiritual practice (or lack thereof) these days, let me tell you to stop right there. Drop the guilt. Quit shaming yourself for not reading that book or doing that spell. Just making it to tomorrow is a victory. You are doing the best that you can, and YOU ARE ENOUGH.
While holding ourselves in compassion, we can also begin to explore a different perspective on our spirituality. What would it take for our spirituality to nourish us, instead of feeling like an obligation or a chore? What can we do to honor ourselves, as well as the Divine? What would spark joy and wonder? What would be fun? What do we need right now?
Your needs likely look very different these days than they did in the pre-COVID world. And that’s okay. But you can’t expect the exact same spiritual practices that served you pre-pandemic to still meet your needs today. Start an honest conversation with yourself about your spirituality and what is and isn’t working for you.
Expanding Your Definition of Spiritual
One thing that I have constantly been working on since I began my relationship with Aphrodite is to continually expand my definition of spiritual.
Coming from a vaguely Christian background, there were a lot of preconceived notions that I had about religion that needed to change when I started my journey on the Pagan path over fifteen years ago. Some of them were easy (Nature is my church now, check!) and some were more difficult (I should be praying, right? How many times a day? To whom? Or what?). I already knew that Christianity didn’t work for me as a religion, so that made the paradigm shift expected, even if it wasn’t always painless.
I feel like it is much harder to look at a spirituality that you identify with and are passionate about, and to go through a similar process of honest assessment. What has worked for you in the past may not be a good fit now, and something you initially dismissed on your journey of spiritual discovery may be exactly what you need in these new circumstances.
In this challenging time of exhaustion and stress, I encourage you to expand your definition of what you consider “spiritual.” Aphrodite has shown me that anything done consciously and with intention can be spiritual. Ordinary, mundane things like taking a shower, eating a meal, or even watching Netflix, can be spiritual. Necessary chores, like cooking or doing laundry, can be spiritual. Taking care of yourself and getting enough sleep is spiritual.
If you feel like you are stretched too thin, and don’t have time to do anything else, I encourage you to look at what you are already doing (or are required to do), and see how you can approach it as a spiritual act. Thank the elements for washing your dishes in the dishwasher (soap from the Earth, bubbles for Air, heat for Fire, and Water… is … well… Water). Dedicate the pleasure you take from eating dessert to Aphrodite or another deity you honor. Turn your daily walk with your dog into mindful connection with nature.
Take a moment now, and write down some of your daily or weekly activities. This can be ANYTHING. Eating breakfast, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, feeding your pet, ANYTHING! Start to brainstorm how you can shift your perspective of some of your mundane activities to encompass the spiritual.
Some suggested contemplation music:
This is Part One in a series of posts on Adaptive Spiritual Practice. Read Part two here!
For more posts on modern Paganism and serving the Goddess of Love, visit www.priestessofaphrodite.com