When I was younger and new to the ways of the Goddess, the practice of daily devotions was an act of love that I gave willingly and joyfully. Time with the Mother was such a treat, and my altar was a sanctuary, the place where I found my power and the center of my being. As years went by, I have always had altar spaces. I'm a flamekeeper of Brigid, and her candle always burns at the center of my home. I tend my workspace altar every day, offering candles and incense and prayers for the work of my hands and mind and heart. But dedicated time, significant time, has been hard to find lately. Yesterday morning, I glanced over at my bedroom altar - my main altar - and was dismayed at the thick layer of dust revealed by the clear morning light. I couldn't remember the last time I sat in communion with the Goddess in this space I made especially for that purpose. Shocking!
My cat watched bemusedly from the bed as I removed everything from the altar, dusted, and then spent what should have been his breakfast time slowly putting things back, arranging and rearranging, giving each item full attention, which is how things are blessed. I lit the candles. I drew in a deep breath. I looked out the windows on either side of the altar and saw the glorious early morning sky, the tops of trees, the changing of the light as Lughnasadh draws us into autumn. In the silence of my sacred space, the constant calling of the crows was a message I could take in and make use of. Look here! Look here! they cry.
I took the time to read the daily lesson from the Celtic Devotional, and drew three cards - all Majors! - from the Celtic Wisdom Tarot, and added them to the altar. With thanks, I went out into the garden to water before the heat came. Because I had opened myself to spirit before anything else, what was often a rushed chore now commanded my attention and intention (Look here! Look here!). The spray of the water cast rainbows that arched over the statue of Mary, standing amid weeds if I choose to focus on those, or amid thyme and passionflowers and black-eyed Susans if I choose to see those instead. I popped a nasturtium blossom into my mouth and marveled at its spiciness. I picked three tiny golden plums that tasted of sunshine. I savored the sweetness of the blackberry jewels. Everything I saw and smelled and tasted spoke of the Mother.
So. That was my morning. And then I went inside, sat at the computer, and got some work-related email that shook me into a place of panic. Filled with fear and money worries, I felt around for that core of joy and peace that had been with me just moments before. I lit the workspace candles and some Mermade incense, put on peaceful music, and added a sticky note to my computer: "Increase Thou my trust." And all day, while working through the panic, I kept coming back to the gifts of the morning. How can I fear scarcity when fruits grow all by themselves in my garden, proof of the Goddess's care and abundance? When there is a portal to Avalon embodied in the apples outside my window? She keeps guiding me back to sacred space, where my truest self awaits me.
This is why daily devotions are important. When gratefulness is Job One, everything else benefits from that foundation. It doesn't mean I'm not scared, or angry, or sorrowful, or whatever else comes along in the course of the day. But I have more perspective. All day yesterday, I was aware of small blessings, saying, "THIS is real. THIS is what's important." Friends, books, music, beauty, a sky full of cloud castles, a garden buzzing with bees. A heart filled with faith. May it be so with you as well.