Some days, it’s all we can do not to break.
Yesterday felt like one of those days.
I’ve done well to keep my focus on matters of spiritual growth since returning from my Pagan pilgrimage. I’ve kept my daily practice, and I’ve delighted in the conversations we’ve had here on the blog about leadership, purpose and the wants and needs of the Pagan community. I’ve approximated the feeling of being swept up in the fervor of rituals, workshops and sacred dancing, as best I could. But yesterday felt like a cold bucket of water got dropped on my sacred fire.
Discussions of finance, budgets, work prospects and work shortages don’t feel all that mystical. If there was a moment when the perceived difference between the magickal and the mundane was clearly evident, it happened yesterday as I sat at my dining room table, papers spread out in front of me, forehead to palm. Mundane is not strong enough a word to describe how un-enchanted the whole process felt.
I don’t suspect that I’m alone in this experience. How many of us feel weighed down by the practical matters of our life? The last days of the month, the first days of the month, the middle of the month — these are moment where we are called to focus on what it really takes to power our laptops, pay for our sage smudges and keep us connected to our real and virtual communities through sites like this. In truth, my transformative experience at PantheaCon was only made possible by charging a hotel room, a plane ticket and registration costs to my credit card.
I’m paying interest on my transcendental weekend. Chew on that for a second.
Judge if you will, but anyone with student loan bills understands what this feels like. We borrow money in order to have the experience we wish to have. It’s how it works for most of us, right? As I think about returning to college to become better educated in religious studies, the very real question of “How am I going to pay for this?” is on repeat in my mind, and I don’t know the answer right now.
(He feels his palm drifting back to his forehead.)
I took a Money Magick class once, and I loved it. The teacher, who has since become a friend, talked about money being magickal. She encouraged us to use paper money, and to think of each bill as a talisman. She taught us how to charge our cash-money with our intentions, how and why to keep it well-organized in our wallets, and she emphasized the value in only spending the money you have. She kept saying that money, a source of so much stress, should be thought of in spiritual terms. It isn’t mundane; it’s magick.
Now, on the morning after my stress-binge, I feel the need to consider, either out of a desperate desire to reclaim my lost PantheaCon-bliss or a less-selfish, more compulsive need to understand a universal truth, that there is no mundane reality; it’s all spiritual.
I’ve heard this idea suggested before. T. Thorn Coyle is campaigning across the Pagan world to eliminate the word from our vocabulary, and she’s not alone. It came up in several venues at PantheaCon. People want to ditch the idea of mundane, and I wonder if this is possible. More importantly, I wonder if that would really benefit us.
I know that when I do ritual, as many of us do, I envision the space being made sacred, either through some sort of visualization or through a physical act. If there is no mundane reality, and all is spiritual or holy, then is my act of sanctifying the space more about me than it is the space? I value my rites of sanctification. Whether or not they serve some essential, spiritual purpose, they are psychologically effective. I wonder, though, if that’s all they are.
How do you reconcile this difference between spiritual and mundane? Is there one, from your perspective? Could you conceive of the mundane as a kind of forgetfulness? A lack of remembrance about the true, spiritual nature of reality? If you’ve ever found yourself sitting at your dining room table, bills and forms staring back at you, did the experience feel particularly spiritual to you? Could you find a way to perceive it as such?
I’d love to know what you think about this subject. Sharing your thoughts and experiences in the comment section might provide me, or another reader of Bishop in the Grove, with some very valuable, very useful insights.