The Cylix of Apollo
Fingalo, CC BY-SA 2.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the hallmarks of an effective practitioner is the existence and commitment to some form of daily practice. This has been something I have struggled with for years, in no little part due to ADHD and overall poor mental health periods, as well as due to the difficulties of solitary practice. For a long time, the most I could manage to maintain was a simple set of two prayers: one in the morning (or when I woke up) and one at night before I went to bed. And in all honesty, for an equally long time it was more or less enough! However, the more intensive and developed my entire practice became and the more my path and direction solidified, the less effective that modest effort felt. It’s still an important part of my daily regimen and it’s the one practice I have maintained almost nonstop for 12 years now, so it’s not insignificant. It just hadn’t been enough for the past 4-5 years at least.

A few years ago, I decided to remedy that problem. My solution, to account for my difficulty in forming lasting habits, was to gradually introduce new, short practices and integrate them in my daily schedule. My main goal was to have a simple but effective and thorough daily practice, that wouldn’t overburden my mental state during bad periods by adding too many steps to my daily routine, and wouldn’t feel like a chore in terms of time or focus. Another goal was that I needed a set of practices that would reflect different aspects of my path and overall practice – something that would allow me to “keep training” various skills and pay attention to multiple parts of my religious and magical approach. I also decided not give it a strict time slot and instead allow me the opportunity to tackle the various practices at any time during the day, with the exception of the morning and night prayers.

Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Morning prayers
  2. Meditation/contemplation
  3. The Litany of Devotion
  4. Simple energy work
  5. A small spell or other simple magical working
  6. Night prayers

Let’s explore these in more detail:

1. Morning prayers

A set of three short prayers to Hekate, the Lord and Lady of the Wildwood, and the Witchfather, praising them and asking for their blessings and aid in the day ahead. This is also the time when I renew the water offering on my altar.

2. Meditation/contemplation

A brief time (10 to 15 minutes) spent in meditation or, more accurately, grounding, focusing, and contemplating a concept, epithet, or silence and stillness.

3. The Litany of Devotion

A set of very short prayers to the various Gods and spirits significant to my practice. Specifically:

  • Hekate and what I have come to call the “Despoinean Pantheon” (Despoina, Demeter, Artemis, Anytos, Poseidon, Pan, Meter Theon, Asteria, Persephone)
  • Selene, Helios, Eos, and the planetary Gods (originally naming them in the usual manner but more recently shifting to the more unique names “Phainon, Phaethon, Pyroeis, Phosphoros, Stilbon” to differentiate them from the Olympians)
  • Athena, the Ephestian Gods (Hestia, Zeus, Apollon, Hermes, and the Agathos Daimon) Gaia, the nymphs and local spirits
  • The Lord and Lady of the Wildwood as well as the main spirits of their Court (with additions as I meet and pact with more of them)
  • The Witchfather
  • The Ancestors
  • My paredroi (familiars)
  • General prayer to “all the Gods”

It might seem lengthy but the prayers are truly just a couple of lines each. It’s mostly meant for acknowledgment of devotion and “paying attention” rather than full-fledged supplication.

4. Simple energy work

An exercise analogous to the Middle Pillar of Golden Dawn magic and the Calyx of the Aurum Solis, which I have been doing in some form for most of the years I’ve been practicing magic. Unlike the equivalents mentioned, my version normally only involves the visualization and direction of energy received from the heavens and the earth and its movement through the energy centers of the body, empowering them and “flushing” blockages and issues by refreshing the natural flow of the body’s energy currents. More recently, I have incorporated intonations of the seven sacred vowels during the process of the energy’s movement through the energy centers.

5. A small spell or other simple magical working

Any kind of very simple but intentional piece of magic you can imagine, such as enchanting a cup of tea with blessings, doing a folk magic “trick” for luck and protection, a quick cleansing incantation, or a short spell for good weather. Anything that can be done very quickly, with minimal to no materials or implements, to ensure a daily activity of magic in my life.

6. Night prayer

The same three prayers recited in the beginning of the day, only now thanking the Gods for their aid and blessings. I will generally avoid doing any kind of working or ritual whatsoever after the night prayers, unless it’s an emergency.

And there you have it! That’s my entire daily practice under normal conditions. I might alter or add something if there’s need for it (e.g. a prayer to a particular God or spirit added to the Litany of Devotion if it’s necessary) but what’s listed here is pretty much what I do most days. It might look like a lot all written out like that but in reality it doesn’t even last 45 minutes in total. I will usually try to do the meditation, Litany of Devotion, and energy work parts all together (half an hour of practice, give or take), usually before lunch or dinner, and do the small spell at any opportune point during the day.

I hope this helps you contextualize the form a daily practice can take and how you can involve multiple parts of your practice every day in a very simple and straightforward manner and with minimal cost of time and energy.