Everybody takes breaks. We need them to slow down, reflect, and adjust to change. But in religious communities, many people encourage a consistent practice. Do something religious every day, every week, or every morning and night–then you’ll be doing it “right.”
As ideal as this seems, this doesn’t fit into everyday life. Work projects, midterms, health scares, and family emergencies pull us out of worship. Sometimes, a combination of little projects adds up, and the stress makes worship impossible.
Throughout my career, I’ve had many people ask me about reconnecting with a deity after a long break. They usually seem anxious. What if the deity is mad at them? Did they do something wrong? Will the deity understand?
Let’s talk about reconnecting with deities. It might seem daunting, but if you break it down into steps, it becomes much more manageable. Since I've taken a break from working with Hades, I'll do it with you!
Work through the Emotions
This idea is a common misconception about Pagan deities, and it usually stems from insecurity. If we don’t tackle these emotions, they will prevent us from worshiping.
First off, rarely do deities end up hating their followers. Will They be upset? Maybe; I can’t speak for Them. But most of the time, deities understand why you took time off. Remember that They are omniscient. Deities aren’t like family members you forgot to call: They can see your life and many things beyond it.
To relieve guilt and anxiety, I recommend writing a letter to your deity. Explain why you took time off and how you feel about it. Are you worried about what They’ll think? Do you feel disappointed with yourself? What’s preventing you from worshiping again? Be honest with your deities. They’ll appreciate it.
If writing gives you anxiety, try this trick my therapist taught me. Set a timer for two minutes, and write. When the timer goes off, take a break. Watch a funny video, hug a stuffed animal, cry, meditate–do whatever you need to process the emotions. When you feel ready, set the timer for another two minutes.
Brainstorming Worship Ideas
Now that we feel better, we need to figure out how we’ll worship. Many people jump into worshiping the exact same way they did before. But don’t be too hasty!
After a long break, your life and daily schedule are likely different from before. So your old worship routine might not work. In addition, a new worship technique could inspire motivation if you feel burnt out.
Let’s break out our prayer journals or a piece of paper. Create two lists: (1) your former worship routine and (2) new worship ideas.
Writing down your old routine might remind you of what you enjoyed and what you tolerated. Brainstorming new ideas will refresh you.
When I wrote about my Hades worship, here’s what I jotted down:
From these two lists, we can choose which ideas we want to pursue. If you want some more ideas, check out these Pagan prayer journaling prompts.
Notice how low-effort some of these ideas are. We can play music or build digital altars while performing other tasks. That’s great! Worship does not need to be high-effort to be valid, especially when we’re just getting back into it.
Make It Easy
Since it’s been a long time, many worshipers want to perform large, complex rituals. But I recommend going easy. Make your new routine as simple as possible.
Consistent worship is like developing a habit. People are more likely to stick to a habit if it’s easier. If the worship takes too much time or energy, we might not want to do it.
Choose one or two worship techniques from the lists you made earlier. While choosing, consider which ones would be the most fun. We want worship to be enjoyable and something that you look forward to.
Also, don’t think about daily/weekly worship yet. Focus on this one ritual. View this as the “reset” ritual, one that brings you back into the groove. Remember, the less pressure you put on yourself, the more fun your worship will be.
Where Do We Go from Here?
At this point, we’ve done our ritual. We have successfully reconnected with our deity or deities. Now what?
Now is the time to look forward. How often do you want to worship? How often can you feasibly worship? What will you enjoy doing? What works with your schedule?
If you desire a consistent Pagan practice, read this post. But remember not to overload yourself. Keep your routine as simple as possible and add steps over time.
How did it go? What’s your worship routine? Let me know in the comments below!
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