At the beginning of every seasonal change, I find myself dusting, vacuuming, and rearranging.
When I get out of work after a long day, I often find myself changing my clothes, washing my hands, or even showering.
Both habits seem entirely mundane, but they are actually incredibly important spiritual rituals.
Yes, I called them rituals.
Often rituals get characterized as formal ceremonies, requiring special attire and tools.
In reality, anything that someone does on a regular basis in a specific way can be considered a ritual. The way you make coffee in the morning is a ritual. The way you get ready for bed is a ritual.
We are creatures of ritual and habit. We all have dozens of rituals in which we participate every day. It’s just that most of us don’t realize that we are performing them.
It’s not a bad thing, per se, to go through a ritual without thinking about it. Part of a ritual’s purpose is to create continuity and stability in life, and mundane rituals certainly do that. Anyone who has ever had their morning routine fucked up can attest to how much it affects the rest of the day.
But there is so much potential in recognizing the rituals of the mundane…so many ways to bring magic into one’s world without even having to try.
I first became aware of my after-work ritual when I found myself unable to leave “work at the office” for the first time in my life. Moving into mental health from retail meant that my interactions carried considerably more significance than before. I wasn’t prepared for the way that conversations, stories, and interactions would come home with me, haunting me, plaguing me with what should have been different or what to do next.
I needed a way to signal to myself the end of the work day and the beginning of my private life.
At first I spent some time trying to devise something to help me, until I realized I already had it. The very first thing I did when I got home was to kick of my shoes and rip off my bra. They were the most uncomfortable things on my body, and I couldn’t wait to be out of them at the end of a day.
Taking a ritual that was already in place and creating intention around it was transformative. Suddenly, changing my shoes and clothes came to symbolize switching out of a role and transitioning into a new space.
On days that I found it particularly difficult to signal the end, I began using a ritual of washing grime off to also wash off energetic grime and energy.
Not every ritual is daily like that. My seasonal ritual of giving my home a miniature “spring clean” happens every few months or so. Before, it may have just been a compulsion I had to deep clean after doing surface cleaning, e.g. dusting around but not under knick knacks, vacuuming what I could see or feel under my feet, etc. However, at some point I realized that it was a perfect way to reset my focus and spiritual intentions.
Now, giving my apartment a good dusting provides me an opportunity to clear out or stir up the energy that has become stagnant. I can refresh my altar with new items and identify a goal for the next couple of months. It helps prevent my own spiritual life from becoming dust-covered and forgotten.
We can’t take the mundanity out of life. Indeed, I’m not sure that any of us would really want to, even though it’s tempting when we’re bored.
However, we can infuse our mundanity with magic. The mundane can become significant and meaningful with a little attention and intention to our habits.