I’ve long aligned myself with the pagan community more than anything else, and despite the whole lack of believing in gods or deities or supernatural beings I find a lot of useful thought and practice in neopagan paths. The Wheel of the Year, in particular, is something I apply to my own practice in various ways, though my way of celebrating the sabbats is a bit unorthodox.
On the solstices and equinoxes (or as close as we can reasonably get), my wife and sister and I go to a local spa and get massages.
Four times a year, we take a morning for ourselves. We come away with relaxed muscles and refreshed minds. It’s like a reset button we hit every three months so we can continue to function.
Of course, a lot of people kind of laugh at that, as if our spa days aren’t really rituals. As if that’s not an appropriately spiritual way to observe the turning of the wheel of time, the changing of the seasons. But why isn’t it?
Self care in all its forms is not only a largely neglected activity in most people’s lives, it’s one which recognizes that we are not indestructible. We are fragile beings in need of care, and we should not leave that care to the whims of the universe. We should not run ourselves to ruin before we seek comfort and healing.
Now, for some, self care may not mean having a stranger knead the living daylights out of your muscles until you feel like you’ve been beaten up, then give you a glass of wine. That’s just happens to be my thing. It could be any activity by which you indulge in your own needs above others, where you assess what would help you feel healthy, happy, and whole. It could be a long hike. It could be a trip to the doctor. It could be time when you get away from your social obligations, or time when you enjoy your social life without worrying about your other responsibilities. It could be an extra yoga class. It could be a trip to your favorite ice cream shop. It be purchasing all new socks and underwear.
The point is that some of the most impactful rituals when it comes to elevating yourself and your life are rituals designed for one purpose: to take care of your needs, especially if you’re prone to neglecting them.