You know what it’s like, your spiritual side perks up and you start to realise that there’s so much more to life, the universe and everything than you ever thought possible. You start to explore and then discover that spiritual stuff comes with a whole load of ‘stuff’. Who’d have thunk it?
Crystals by the bucket load, card decks by the ton, enough books to fill a library or three and then there’s sage smudge and abelone shells and cauldrons and incense and palo santo and sacred figurines and tools and altars and altar cloths and prayer beads and representations of the elements and on… and on… and on… ad infinitum.
Well I’m here to tell you, there’s something else.
A world where all of this ‘stuff’ isn’t necessary. And, I’d go even further than that, is probably allowing you to express your spirituality in a way that’s more unique, more intentional and perhaps more deeply.
If you’re a lover of ‘stuff’, or a collector, then this blog post will probably infuriate you. I don’t want to infuriate anyone, I just want to offer an alternative perspective. I’m sure we all like to have beautiful and sacred items, and I’m not putting a debbie downer on that, I’m simply stating that we don’t need ALL THE STUFF. Spirituality isn’t a competition, and spirituality isn’t for instagram for the vast majority of us. It’s just too special, and too personal. It isn’t something that the marketing machine should be benefitting from, or the planet suffering from.
Clearing space is often considered ‘done right’ if you use sage, or sage and sweet grass, or Florida Water or Palo Santo or incense or use a singing bowl, bells or a tuning fork.
Did you know that you can effectively clear space with music and intention, or by clapping in the corners or by visualising your space being cleansed?
It’s worth doing a bit of research on bought sage and palo santo, it appears that not all is harvested with attention to sustainability.
Many people use crystals or talismans (talismen?) for protection.
Did you know that you can invoke your matron/patron deity, angels or spirit team for protection? Or that you can visualise protection in the form of light, energy or armour?
I’m a Tarot fiend, so I do have a Tarot deck or two kicking about, but did you know you don’t need cards, runes or crystal balls for divination?
You can use found objects such as pebbles, shells and even bottle tops for divination and then return them from whence they came (or in the case of bottle tops, pop them in the bin). You can use a deck of ordinary playing cards if you would like to use cards and learn the system of your choice to read with them. You can scry in a bowl of water under the moonlight or you can look into the flames to scry if you’re lucky enough to have an open fire. You can scry by watching clouds, the behaviour of birds or on a slightly different note, learn about astrology and the effects of the constellations and the planets on you and others.
There are gazillions of crystals on the market, with all sorts of amazing properties associated with them. And I know that crystals have different energies, I’ve worked with them and felt them myself.
Did you know that it has been argued that locally found stones and crystals have a resonance suited to the natives of a locale? The greatest thing is, you can return that stone or crystal to whence you found it when your work with it is done without any detrimental effects on the energy of that place.
Pendulums do not need to be crystal – they can be anything – a pendant you wear, your grandfathers fob watch, a pebble tied onto a string (bought ones are often made of wood and metal too, so don’t worry about the results being any less sacred – it’s all in the intention).
A sacred altar for sacred workings. Often an altar is ornamented with images, statuary, candles, representations of the elements and ritual tools. It usually has an altar cloth and any items to be used for whatever workings that are going to be taking place.
There are sacred items that many will deem as essential on the altar, but perhaps not as many as you may think. Fresh greenery and flowers, found items such as feathers, a cupful of soil and water from a nearby stream or collected in a rain storm can be gathered and used in place of bought incense, statuary or sacred water. I suspect the intention in gathering these items, and the gratitude on returning them are invaluable in the actual workings.
A cloth that has meaning, such as a scarf which was given by a relative, or even a beautiful tea towel given to you by the old lady next door, a table cloth that belonged to an ancestor or even a beautiful cushion cover can make meaningful and sacred altar cloths/spread cloths.
A shrine can be treated in a similar manner.
For most folks hand written journals or books of shadows are a corner stone of their spiritual practice.
You could consider buying a beautiful ‘notebook holder’ and instead of purchasing bulky and expensive (albeit drop dead gorgeous), journals, less bulky ‘refill’ pads can be used.
And I’m almost scared to suggest this. An online notebook such as Penzu. These are eminently searchable, photographs can be uploaded and articles of interest easily linked or quotes copied and pasted directly into them. I’ve found that I actually look back and find precisely what I’m looking for and am able to assess, review and improve old practices easily in my online journal. If it’s not an easy process, I don’t do it – my old journals were very rarely looked through once they were completed.
I’m a huge advocate of reading widely and reading well. I’m also a huge advocate of keeping texts of quality and utility or those that are a pure joy to behold. The others? You could swap them, donate to a charity shop (I believe these are thrift shops in the US and Australia), put them on Ebay or whatever platform you prefer to move them on to someone else who will find them of use.
I quite often buy books in digital format – this can be a double edged sword though. If the book is fabulous, then I do tend to purchase a physical copy.
Not really things, but they do tend to come accompanied by a load of printable material.
There are courses, and there are courses of worth. There is a massive trend nowadays for entrepreneurs to generate passive income by creating digital courses. Some of these are awesome. Some of them are absolute dross. I’d suggest that if you want to deepen your knowledge of a particular area of spirituality by partaking in a course, that you try wherever possible to attend in person with a group of like minded participants. If this isn’t possible, or simply isn’t your cup of tea, then carefully check out reviews and course information before purchasing online.
I’m a person with ‘stuff’. A lot less than I used to have. I do like to think that what I have now is useful, is curated with intention and serves my spiritual and divinatory needs and explorations. I love going into nature knowing that I will be carrying out ritual, and collecting items with thought and with reverance. I also love to return them to where thay came from with gratitude.
This blog post holds no sanctimony, only my thoughts on spirituality and ‘stuff’. If you have any thoughts on ways to enhance spirituality, ritual, divination or healing without holding onto lots of accessories, I’d love to hear them.