Creative Process

5. Process: Writing out the Practice

This is an article in a series describing the process I use to create a practice card. The practice I’m using to illustrate this process is one to “Calling Back Power.”

At this point, the artwork is close to complete and I turn my attention to writing out the practice itself.

The written practice has three components:

  1. Introduction which lays out which situations call for the practice and the intended outcomes.
  2. Specific steps to follow.
  3. Tips for doing the practice more effectively.

The idea of setting out an intention for doing spiritual practice came from Dr. Daniel Foor, author of Ancestral Medicine. In a class he teaches on Ritual Foundations, Dr. Foot talks about the importance of consciously stating what outcome you want to obtain as a result of doing a ritual. I never associated the idea of outcomes with spiritual rituals but it makes great sense. Whether articulated or not, all rituals are done with specific consequences in mind. What is more clear and practical than the intention to have an abundant harvest or successful hunt?

Stating the reason I am doing a practice and the outcomes I want helps me become more grounded prior to doing the steps themselves.

Writing ritual steps doesn’t require much explanation. The steps are the sequence of actions taken to create the outcome I want.

Most of the practice cards I create are based on existing rituals. For example, the practice to call back power is one I learned from my teacher, Larisa Noonan. Most of us, myself included, tend to scold ourselves for lacking the discipline to stay focused. Larisa’s approach is not only compassionate, it asks us to call in helpful guides such as healthy ancestral spirits, for support. Our culture makes self-improvement a very individualistic, cerebral undertaking. Involving community whether with other living humans, the spirits of ancestors, or more-than-human beings is a far more effective approach.

I write tips to address questions and issues that arise when I do the practice. They provide context and address questions which occur to me as I’m writing out the steps.

After I write the practice, I print it out and go through the practice a few times myself. I do this to clarify what I wrote, to catch typos, etc. My intention for every practice is to make it as clear and self-explanatory as possible. “Pocket of Serenity” reflects my desire to have nourishing spiritual practice available and accessible for myself and others.

The next step is to include a blessing or prayer in the practice. This brings me to Step 6. Choosing a Prayer or Blessing.

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