Daily practice is a common routine for many modern Pagans and Heathens of all levels of experience. For many newer practitioners, starting a daily practice is a critical first step in developing their personal spirituality. Experienced practitioners who have never used one or may have lapsed in their daily workings can also benefit greatly from reviving long-dormant exercises. This article will discuss some of the biggest dilemmas related to personal practice, including the constant question of, “am I doing it right”, some tools that are commonly used for daily practice in modern Heathen and Nordic Pagan spirituality, and a few initial answers to the challenges of how to make daily practice fit into your life. Above all else, what matters most in developing daily practice is that it is right and meaningful for you.
One of the most common questions around daily practice is the ever-present, “am I doing this right?” The answer to that isn’t something you can find in a book or online. It comes from whatever it is that you feel is most effective for developing your daily practice. How this looks and works will, by definition, vary from person to person. You may also find that you change different aspects of it, such as which Powers you work with, based on your experiences in life and spiritual practice. Daily practice, like all other aspects of Heathen spirituality, is something that will grow, develop, and change over time. That said, there are certain elements which are commonly used by Norse and Heathen practitioners in their daily practices which may work well for you. These are blót, trance, and divination.
Blót is one of the more common, popular elements to incorporate into daily practice and the reasons for this are straightforward. A personal blót is easy to do on a regular basis and tailor to your preferences. You can do as many or as few rounds as you like, provide what offerings you feel are most significant, and engage with the Powers in a very personal, less filtered way than group or public blóts. Such personal moments of communion are an excellent space to try new approaches and hone existing methods. Blót in daily practice is a space where you can affirm your personal, one on one relationship with the Powers that you honor and work with most frequently.
Trance in daily practice, in contrast to blót, gives a space for more freeform spiritual exploration. Where blót is useful for developing personal relationships with the Powers, trance helps deepen your understanding of working in altered states and opens you to a broader range of experiences. Trance during daily practice is an opportunity to experiment, seek guidance on highly personal questions, and develop greater confidence in your skill with trance work. Incorporating trance into daily practice is also an excellent way to practice your skills in working through altered states of consciousness. Whether you engage in deep uti seta sessions or calming exercises for processing the stresses of daily life, what matters is any trance you use adds to your spiritual experience.
Divination is a popular element in daily practice in many Pagan traditions, including Heathen ones. The reasons why are understandable. Whether divination is used for mystical insights, guidance from the Powers, or personal reflection, divination is a very user-friendly, approachable tool that is easy to incorporate into daily practice. What makes divination in personal practice especially useful is that it is free from the usual constraints of divinatory work. Daily practice divination, unlike many conventional readings, can be an unconstrained space to lay open to whatever the Powers or the Wyrd will show you. For newer Heathens and Nordic Pagans looking for ways to learn the runes, incorporating runic divination into your daily practice divination is an effective way to deepen your experience with them. Daily castings, readings, and contemplation of runes unbounded by specific questions or desires can be a highly useful mechanism for understanding their meanings, potential relationships, and significance.
Incorporating blót, trance, or divination into your daily practice are all useful tools for developing your personal spirituality. Unfortunately, many Heathens and Nordic Pagans often find it challenging to make space for daily practice. Everyone faces some combination of challenges to survival, ranging from family and health to work, school, and keeping a stable home. All of these are, likely, made worse by the, “are you doing this right?” voice whispering criticisms of anything that seems like less than what you “should” be doing for the Powers.
This omnipresent fear presents a significant barrier to personal and spiritual development. Its bones are made from the expectations and demands of daily life, which leave little space for anything not conforming to the ruthless, externally dictated cycles of production which drive society. Throughout this endless slog, the ceaseless drumbeats of productivity, hustle, and grind conspire to silence all other possibilities including those which divert precious labor time away from maximizing someone’s bottom line. Worst of all is the deeply embedded assumption that anything less than perfect is simply not good enough, on and off the job. In this world, claiming any amount of time with any kind of devotional action for your personal practice is an assertion of autonomy against the countless unceasing processes constantly pounding your Selfhood.
When viewed in this light, making space to engage with your spirituality, on your terms and in any form, gives you the time and space to truly appreciate who you are and what matters to you. Just as some of the most renowned of the Nordic Gods, like Odin and Tyr, are defined by their scars and how they got them, the same is true of the unique quirks, personal touches, and on the spot adaptations that come from the burdens of daily life. What the scolding voice of modern anxiety dismisses as imperfection is, in truth, another form of your life finding ways to flourish despite whatever is arrayed against it. Whether your daily practice on any given day is a short five minutes consisting of a whispered prayer and small libation or an extended process incorporating blót, trance, and divination, your level of practice is worthy as long as it brings you meaning, guidance, and solace.