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Thread: Complacency in your practice

  1. #1
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Shamanic Practitioner & Green / Hedge Witch with Hellenic leanings
    West Virginia
    Can't never did nothing till it tried!

    Complacency in your practice

    In just about every personal practice where I've spoken to the practitioner each has made mention of passing through a period of uncertainty. Those episodes many of us call "Dark night of the Soul" type scenarios I suppose. A period when the very vibrancy and I suppose fabric of our practice leaves us feeling empty or un-satisfied. Yet what of the other extreme?

    If there are periods of uncertainty and loss then it seems we also have to experience periods of complacency in our practice. It's not the uncertainty period for we are certain of our beliefs, practices, ceremonies, rituals, etc that make up our (collective) practice. It still fills us with a sense of connection to the divine and a sense of reward. Yet it has become un-challenging to us and almost route in application.

    For me I notice many times my spiritual life is sort of like a sign wave. I have highs where everything is charged and jumping. I have lows where it's almost a dark night of the soul or lessor periods where I question things but not to the extent of a dark night of the soul. Then there is the complacency periods. Those periods that tend to precede the highs and lows of the sign wave movement. A period where I am not climbing towards a high nor sliding towards a point of questioning. Simple a rest position as it were, almost a lull but not a lull for it is part and parcel of the cyclic nature of things.

    Some might equate it to a rolling with the tide I suppose. Nothing really enlightening or challenging to push you into a drive to research or seek to move you forward.

    So how do you address the complacency of or within your practice?
    I'm Only Responsible For What I Say Not For What Or How You Understand!

  2. #2
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    relational theophysis and bioregional witchery
    coastal Georgia
    *a little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika*

    Re: Complacency in your practice

    For me, it's less complacency in practice, and more the overwhelming interruption and distraction of everyday livig
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  3. #3
    Supporter Jembru's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Shamanist Witch with heady Celtic notes and a faint wiccan bouquet
    North East England

    Re: Complacency in your practice

    This is possibly what happened to me before I left for Germany. I was active in the pagan community, attended esbats and sabbats and was diligent in my daily devotions and meditation, but I guess something was missing. I didn't notice at the time, but I was just going through the motions for most of it. There were definitely some true spiritual moments in there, but on the whole I'd lost that sense of wonder I'd felt 10 years earlier when I was first crafting my path.

    Maybe that is how I was able to lose my faith so suddenly and so completely. That was 6 years ago now, and it took until last year to really find that spark again. I was never complacent in that time though. I was simply stuck between knowing that I just don't work without faith, it's not how I'm built, and knowing that I couldn't trust in the gods. I was again going through the motions, but that time rituals felt like making love to someone you hate. There was no spirituality, and no magic.

    Maybe these times of complacency are because as humans and as spiritual beings, we are always changing, always moving through different phases of life and facing new challenges. If we change, perhaps it is only right that our paths must change with us. When those old rituals and routines lose their meaning, that might be telling us it's time to step off the beaten track and explore for a while.

    In my case feel like a new seeker again with all the excitement and wonder my teenaged self once felt. I'm rediscovering myself as a witch and exploring this new spiritual landscape that is stretching out before me. I've been taking a few months off from studying Japanese so I can use that time to go over my books of shadows and my spiritual journal, read, write and meditate in order to create my new path, and I'm having a blast in the process!

    It's my birthday on the next new moon, just after Lughnasadh, so I plan to do a dedication ritual where I remove my pentacle, biding thanks and farewell to the path that brought me this far, and replace it with an acorn on a chain, as a representation of my new path. I've designed the ritual based on the '9 waves' ritual from Philip Carr-Gomm's DruidCraft, but I'll use water from the Pow Burn river instead of sea water. I'm looking forward to this ritual more than I've looked forward to any of the dedications or initiation rituals I've experienced before. This one feels more meaningful and significant by far.

    Reflecting on your beliefs and practices and then rededicating to your path, is therefore my advice for getting through those 'meh' times.
    夕方に急なにわか雨は「夕立」と呼ばれるなら、なぜ朝ににわか雨は「朝立ち」と呼ばれないの? ^^If a sudden rain shower in the evening is referred to as an 'evening stand', then why isn't a shower in the morning called 'morning stand'?

  4. #4
    Supporter Raphaeline's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Pagan Polytheist, primarily Dionysian
    Kentucky, USA

    Re: Complacency in your practice

    Quote Originally Posted by thalassa View Post
    For me, it's less complacency in practice, and more the overwhelming interruption and distraction of everyday livig
    Story of my life! My practice has dwindled a lot in the past six years - a little more with each child. I have a growing list of things to do when they're all in school, and in the meantime, I have dusty shrines and unread books hanging around, just waiting for the moment when there's a pause in this household. It's hard to maintain focus over the sounds of fighting siblings and obnoxious cartoon theme songs. I've tried numerous times to adapt and just haven't found a way to make it work yet. We've been looking for a house for two years, and when I have some space outside (right now, this family of five is in a two bedroom townhouse with no yard) I have dreams of using a storage building as a space I can use like a temple.

    I've always had a lot of guilt involved when I would have a lull in my spiritual life - there have been multiples times even before I had kids that it happened - and the best way I've learned to handle it is to just allow myself the space I need and not feel obligated to do worship or practice when it doesn't feel right. I give myself a lot more grief than my gods ever have.

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