To Walk a Pagan Path: Practical Spirituality for Every Day by Alaric Albertsson
Like many Pagans, there are times when I struggle with ways of bringing a daily spiritual practice into my life. Sabbats give me something to focus on eight days in the year, and Esbats give me something to focus on another 13 days, but what about the rest of the year?
How can I create a spiritual practice for the remaining days?
I’ve looked at various books, both Pagan and non-Pagan, to see how others do it. One that has stood out for me, and given ideas that I can easily adapt to fit into my own life is this book by Alaric Albertsson, To Walk a Pagan Path: Practical Spirituality for Every Day.
Yes, you read that right. Even I sometimes have trouble figuring out how to develop a daily spiritual practice. Something that would fit around my daily schedule – school runs, healing work, writing, and the daily chores that come from being a single mother – and my circumstances – living in a flat in SE London with no outdoor patio or balcony or even space for a window box. Telling me to get up an hour earlier when I’m already up at 5:30am most mornings during the school terms or telling me to grow my own herbs and veggies when I don’t have access to an outdoor space? Well, it just isn’t feasible.
And while the author here does talk about doing things to get closer to nature such as gardening, or even bee-keeping! He also indicates that he does understand this isn’t workable for everyone, and he offers alternatives.
Alaric Albertsson’s spiritual practice is focused mostly on his beliefs as a Saxon Pagan however, he has also brought in voices from Pagans of other belief systems so that we, the reader, get a broader perspective. Throughout the book we are shown ways that we, as Pagans, can “touch the earth” and build upon our personal connection with Deity.
The first chapter gives readers a quick way to jump start a daily practice, with a seven step plan. Realistically, most people don’t have an hour or sometimes even 30 minutes but most people can find five minutes over the course of a day to find their connection with spirit. I looked at these seven steps with keen interest.
First Dedicate Yourself
Before anything else, the author suggests dedicating yourself to the work. This can be done as elaborately, or as simply as you wish. He shares wordings that you may use in performing this dedication ceremony, or you can speak your own words from your heart, or follow another dedication ceremony that you have found or possibly even used before.
Ask for guidance from a Deity that you already work with, or ask for the help of a group if you are drawn to a particular pantheon. You can even just put it out there for “The Gods/Goddesses” and ask for Their help in doing this work.
The Seven Steps
Regardless of what Pagan path you may follow, these seven steps can be adapted to fit your needs. The author adapted these from a presentation give by Ian Corrigan, former Archdruid of the Ár nDraíocht Féin.
He also provides detailed suggestions on ways you can do these steps, in ways that can work for you. His goal is not to convert you to a particular Pagan path, but to give you the tools so that you can find your own path.
- Step 1: Connection with Spirit
- Step 2: Create a Sacred Space
- Step 3: Create a Sacred Time
- Step 4: Sacralize Daily Activities
- Step 5: Observe regular rituals
- Step 6: Observe the Holy Tides
- Step 7: Find your folk
If the book ended here, I would still say it was worth buying and reading. In subsequent chapters though, the author expands even further on these steps.
He gives ideas for things that you can do as an individual – gardening or bee keeping as ways of keeping in contact with the Earth around the seasons perhaps – and activities you can do as part of a group – incense or candle making, group rituals and feasts.
Of course, he also admits that he is able to do these things because he lives in a rural location with a bit of land providing space where he can raise some of his own food and keep bees. So, he also gives some modified and alternate ideas for those of us living in a more urban environment. I had never considered including taking care of the fish in our aquarium as part of my spiritual practices, but it makes sense.
I would say that To Walk a Pagan Path is ideal for anyone following a Pagan religion or any other Earth-based religion for that matter who is looking for guidance in bringing their spiritual practice into their daily life.