I found myself reaching automatically for my old beliefs today, and not in a good way. Tom has a situation at work that is the equivalent of the Sword of Damocles. When he told me today of how stressful the climate at work is because of it and the dire consequences should that sword fall, I immediately thought that this was my fault for leaving Christianity.
I know that you will never hear a Christian say this, but there is an undercurrent that exists, especially in the more fundamentalist churches, that God will punish you if you do something outside his will, but you get rewards if you stay in it. They will deny that this is what they teach or believe, but it's as real as the rest of the teachings. It absolutely exists in every church I've ever been in. And I've been in many.
Hence my absolute panic that I caused this situation and I immediately thought of praying to God to help us out of this. Then I calmed down a bit and realized what I was doing. As soon as Tom left for work, I went to my altar, lit my candle for the Goddess, a blue one for health, a red one for emotions and two green candles for both our finances and his work situation. And I chose patchouli for incense because it feels like a grounding incense. I'm pretty sure I'm not using the colors as most other pagans do but this is what these colors speak to me so that's how I use them.
I called the corners in my own simple way...just calling peace from each direction. I envisioned a circle drawn around me and then just meditated for a few moments, calling on the Lady and the Lord for guidance and energy. I use my athame (which is a black handled letter opener because money is tight and I feel really good vibrations from it anyway) by touching the candles and my forehead, then the candles and my heart. I don't really say anything but my thoughts are on the Lady when I do it. I always get tingly when I do this. Sometimes more than others, but it never fails to happen.
Then I lit the blue candle calling on the Goddess for Tom's health, the red candle calling on her for Tom's emotional health especially at work, then both green candles asking for help with our finances and Tom's work situation. Then with the athame at my forehead I envisioned a bubble around Tom while asking for protection for him. I saw him walking around work inside that bubble and the person who could cause him the most harm unable to penetrate that bubble. And I've kept that image in the back of my mind ever since.
I had never felt so much energy going through me when I did this ritual. I was tingly for half an hour afterward. It's really the first time I've done a full ritual for someone else and I can see the difference from when I do one for myself. I was able to draw so much more energy than I was before.
I have no idea if it will work out the way I hope, but I do know that it will work out the way it has to. And I feel comforted to know that there isn't a deity up there handing out favors for those he likes better than others while kicking some down when they ask for the same favors.
But it also got me thinking about, well not karma exactly, but how what we send out comes back to us. And how much negativity I radiate. And how my fears paralyze me and prevent me from trying new things because of that negativity. So now I know what to work on first. Not how to do it exactly, but at least it's a starting point.
I love how guilt-free paganism is.