What's in your spiritual toolbox?


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What's in your spiritual toolbox?


After a nudge from Euripides in another thread, I thought I would start a separate thread to let us share the tools we use on our particular path. I'm hoping to learn of some new things and to be reminded of some tools that are gathering dust that I need to pick up again.

This is my original response copied from the thread Euripides started:

Like you, I went on a twenty year search for a spirituality I could live with. I've finally discovered the secular side of things (literally meaning 'this generation'); I don't worry about rebirth, reincarnation, or resurrection of any form. I'm just concerned with becoming a kind and compassionate person who makes a difference in the world in small ways. If pressed, I would label myself a secular Buddhist. But I concentrate on spiritual principles and the practices that help me develop and live by these principles.

My greatest teacher has been Nature itself. I spent two years taking a daily, local walk and keeping a journal. I would look for something different or new each day, drawing a sketch in my journal and writing about it (often learning something new). Overall, the experience reinforced the natural cycle of change and impermanence. When things got unstable or chaotic in my life, it was hard to feel like life was personally taking things out on me; all around me was evidence that this was the natural course of things. My walks led to other practices; I created a sacred wheel that focused on the moons, elements, minerals, animals and plants specific to my locale and seasons/climate. The symbolism of each item was personal; each solstice or equinox I lay it out and use it as a contemplative tool to see what areas I had grown in and what areas needed work.

My toolbox holds other practices that help me navigate life: a twelve-step framework from an agnostic viewpoint, lojong slogans, journaling, looking at tarot and oracle cards from a 'now' rather than future perspective, chant/kirtan, meditation (basic sitting as well as tonglen and metta), contemplative reading (mystics of all religions), yoga and having friends who are also spiritual explorers (especially those who think outside my box and from whom I can learn).
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katyanne  katyanne is offline
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I'm a Christian so my tools are the Christian year, actually celebrating the liturgical year and holidays, the communion in church, tarot and oracle cards, the Bible, rosaries, etc.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katyanne View Post
I'm a Christian so my tools are the Christian year, actually celebrating the liturgical year and holidays, the communion in church, tarot and oracle cards, the Bible, rosaries, etc.
Thank you, Katyanne, for sharing your path and tools.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katyanne View Post
I'm a Christian so my tools are the Christian year, actually celebrating the liturgical year and holidays, the communion in church, tarot and oracle cards, the Bible, rosaries, etc.
Hi Kayanne, though I've read the Bible, I don't know much about Christian practice. If you are comfortable with doing so, would you like to talk a little more about what these things mean to you? When do you pray a rosary, are they always the same prayers? (what is 'etc'? Do you say grace at meals?)
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I was raised Catholic, but so many of the practices have fallen by the wayside over the decades. Still, I feel a connection every time I go into a church; deep inside, I haven't lost it all, even though I rarely act on it. The other side of my spirituality is a Pagan mixture, some Norse and some Anglo-Celtic and a bit of Mediterranean (I started learning Greek mythology at age 11 or 12) and a lot of modern.

My tools, such as they are, are really inner by now, though there was a time I never thought I wanted to act without physical tools. I've been a devotee of calling quarters for many years now, and thanks to some things I've learned from other people I sometimes add the mid-quarters. Our home is warded by runes as well. But I still remember to add Jesus and Mary, though I haven't done formal praying at home in many years. Sometimes the quarters are the archangels. (I do still have some physical tools: a couple of blades, a rune staff, several chalices to choose from, some special jewelry, and my divination materials; but I don't use them anywhere near as often as I used to, except for the divination materials.)

And there is a separate warding that is of my own devising. I have several round plaques which are or have been available through various Pagan and New Age dealers: a grain spirit, Bacchus, a sea goddess, a Green Man, a butterfly-face, a winged birdlike being, and the sun face from Aquae Sulis. And even though I can only find about half of them right now, I have assigned each one to a different room in our home. So one of my wards goes deosil from south to south, where the outside doors are: Lady of Grain (kitchen), Lord of the Vine (dining room), Lady of Waters (bathroom), Lord of the Forest (spare room/computer room), Lady of Dreams (bedroom), Lord of the Winds (living room), and the Sun (hallway). If we ever move I'll have to re-orient everything... It works out in conjunction with the directions too, having the bathroom (water) in the west, the entrances in the south with the red sun plaque, so I intentionally put the Green Man in the north and the bird spirit in the east. Some people say there are no coincidences. I started buying those plaques before we moved to this place, and the directional orientation was far from my mind when we did move, but once we did move I chose the rest of the plaques accordingly.

This is probably far more than you wanted to know.
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I'm fond of saying that, when I walk out my back door, I'm stepping into the only cathedral I'll ever need. There are miles of woodlands and fields all around our home, and we try to take daily walks along the local dirt roads. For a couple of years, I used the opportunity to find small, round (or nearly-round) stones along the roadside for my geomancy practice.

I also say that, if a gun were put to my head and I was told I had to adopt an established religion, it would be Buddhism. Philosophically, though, I'm probably a pantheist more than anything else. One of my favorite forms of spiritual renewal is to get out on the cold-water streams around here with my fly rod and pester the trout. They all go back into the water alive, except the one occasion each summer when my wife wants a couple to grill.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morwenna View Post
I was raised Catholic, but so many of the practices have fallen by the wayside over the decades. Still, I feel a connection every time I go into a church
I was raised in a fundamental church, and though the belief system never was one I could adopt, the weekly rituals and sense of community was comforting. I think this is what I miss the most.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morwenna View Post
This is probably far more than you wanted to know.
The more details, the better!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
I'm fond of saying that, when I walk out my back door, I'm stepping into the only cathedral I'll ever need.
Ah, now this I can relate to. Loved your description of 'pestering the trout'!
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My spiritual tool box: Cartomancy, Smudging, Eye Rolling, and a heroic amount of coffee.

Nobody said it would be easy...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogs&Coffee View Post
My spiritual tool box: Cartomancy, Smudging, Eye Rolling, and a heroic amount of coffee.

Nobody said it would be easy...
Eye rolling?
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I thought of another tool that I often use: wisdom stories (myths, legends, parables, etc. that teach spiritual principles). I've found that stories tend to stick in my head better than simply 'do this not that.' I came across a Buddhist one the other day called "The Faulty Pots" that teaches about open-mindedness. Here's the version I'm sending to some women I mentor:

There are times when we feel like we are caught in an unpleasant loop, repeating the same situations over and over. When we can’t seem to think or act our way out of this cycle, it is time to get another viewpoint. Yet often when we listen to someone else’s suggestions, we are not very open or receptive to them – we have ‘faulty pots.’ Look at the three types below and see if any of them seem familiar:

The Turned-over Pot
No water can get into this pot because it is upside down. Any suggestions offered fall on deaf ears (“I’m not going to do that. I’ll just pretend to agree so they will hush.”) In some cases, we’re so distracted (by chaos or what looks exciting) that we are simply not paying attention to what is being said. We’re more interested in talking, not listening.

The Crusty Pot
Clean water added to this pot instantly becomes polluted by the dried bits of food and gunk inside. Assumptions, opinions and unfounded beliefs get in the way of anything suggested (“No way that will work for me.” or “I’m busy and don’t have the time.”).

The Pot with a Hole
Water added to this pot instantly runs out the hole in the bottom. If we have such a hole, we will be eager for advice and enthusiastic about suggestions given. But we never put anything into practice. It may sound great, but we fail to follow through with any of it.

To be receptive means we listen attentively with an open mind, asking questions to clear up any ambiguities. We attempt to see with a fresh perspective, without adding our presumptions, preferences or prejudices. Then we put what we’ve learned into practice over a period of time and gauge the results. We are not required to abandon our common sense to be receptive. Anything unethical or that causes harm to ourselves or another is not a viable solution. Of course not everything we try will produce the outcome we want, but doing something different can often help us get out of our ‘loop.’
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