Soul Matters

By Greta Belanger deJong

compiled by Greta Belanger deJong

We have searched our bookshelves and memories to bring you these little gifts. Enjoy!

soulmatters“I open the door. The gorgeous guest from afar sweeps in. In her hands are her gifts — gifts of hours and farseeing moments, the gifts of mornings and evenings, the gift of spring and summer, the gift of autumn and winter. She must have searched the heavens for boons so rare.”
— Abbie Graham

Time for Grace

Whether it’s beans or ribs, carrots or cupcakes: Bless your food before you eat it. It’s more important that your words be heartfelt than eloquent. When you bless your food, it then blesses you, connecting you with the circle of life.

To inspire you—

In a Grateful Heart: Daily Blessings for the Evening Meal from Buddha to the Beatles (M.J. Ryan; Conari Press, $15);

Graces: Prayers and Poems for Everyday Meals and Special Occasions (June Cotner; HarperSanFrancisco, $15)


You needn’t wait for the officially-sanctioned days of grace to express gratitude. Partly, it’s an attitude. Give thanks for: love, life, light, air, water, food, clothes, emotions, ideas, health, family, friends, teachers, pets, home, job, body, skills, laughter, success, money, lessons, the Creator, the Earth, birds, butterflies, angels, flowers. What else?

Say thank you. Write thank you notes. Light a candle. The principle is simple: The more you give thanks for what you have, the more you’ll have to be thankful for.

Bless This Home

Millions on this planet are homeless. To be “homeful,” try this:

Visualize glowing white light surrounding the outside of your home. Then picture the light filling every nook and cranny of every room inside. It surrounds and fills everyone and everything in every room, and blesses all the activities. Your subconscious mind supports your mental images, creating protective light in and around your home. Bless your home once a day to make it brighter, lighter and safer. Wherever you stay when you travel becomes your temporary home, so bless that place, too.

Try expanding the boundaries of how you define home. In a more inclusive sense your neighborhood is also your home. So is the town or city in which you live. Keep going: the state; the country; planet Earth, too. The solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, the universe!

Appreciation 101

Find an object in your immediate vicinity that you take for granted. Look at it from different angles, study the play of lights and darks, enjoy its design or form as it contrasts with its background. Reflect on its utility, its history, on the components that make it up, where they came from, and who was involved in getting them here.

Now do the same thing with an activity or job that holds no real interest for you.

Celebrate Something Now

Weak wanting can lead to an ambiguous life, a flat, boring existence in which nothing seems to make any difference. To accomplish useful service and give passion and guidance to your life, throw yourself into some of your desires. Yet carry them lightly, without dramatizing how wonderful life will be if you achieve them or how terrible it will be if you do not. Balance caring deeply about the fruit to come with delighting in the flower before you now. There are always flowers before you, regardless of circumstances.

Make a list of your blessings (or things you would miss if they were taken away) and celebrate one of them. Celebrate alone. Invite others to join you (you needn’t even tell them the reason). “The atmosphere of celebration is contagious, and people are happy to join in creating one if for no other reason than that the sun is shining or it is raining, whichever you prefer.”

—adapted from Naturally Powerful,
by Valerie Wells (Perigee/Berkley, 1999. $14)

Magic for the Season

Because of its connection with the sea, salt often represented rebirth and cleansing in ancient cultures. Put a little salt on both sides of your threshold to welcome guests. As they pass it, all negativity will be collected and kept neatly outside of your house.

Phone “calling”: The holidays are times when we may think of people we have grown distant from. For various reasons, that may be easier said than done. Here’s a little ritual to open the way energetically (perhaps you can adaptit to cell phones): Put the name of the person or place with whom you want to open the lines of communication under your phone. Choose an oil that fits the circumstances (rose for love, mint for healing, etc.) and dab it on the paper. Hold both hands down over the phone and visualize light filling it and going out through the telephone line. Leave the paper in place until you connect with that individual or place.

That cup of coffee can be more than a stimulating beverage. Share a ritual cup with a friend, adding vanilla to improve loving feelings between two people sharing coffee together, cinnamon for energy, or perhaps orange coffee to inspire devotion. Charge it with positive energy as you stir it (clockwise).

Basil for luck: Smelling basil is said to generate happiness, and when it is received as a gift, it promotes luck. Why not start some basil plants?

Dance! In the words of a New Guinean shaman, “Dancing makes spirits rejoice.”

—from Magick Made Easy,
by Patricia Telesco. HarperSanFrancisco, 1999. $16

Look up!

Star Light, Star Bright, First Star I See Tonight…

The custom of wishing on stars appears around the world and likely originated in animistic nature worship. Go for a walk at twilight and wish on the first star you see. Keep your wish simple, maintain hope in your heart, and see what happens!

New Moon “Seeding”

A day or two before the actual date of the new moon, gather ideas, “seeds” of what you’d like to grow in your life. Write each one out on a separate piece of paper.

To symbolize your seed/goal planting, on the night of the new moon tuck each paper into the earth (soil in a flowerpot will do). Help it germinate with appropriate physical action. With intention and attention, new moon goals should blossom by the next full moon.

Full Moon Release

This is a good time to let go of habits, people and circumstances. Fill a large bowl with water, and place it where it will catch the light of the full moon. Use water-soluble ink on 1×1-inch pieces of unlined white paper to identify the people, thoughts, etc. you wish to release. Place the papers facedown in the water. “The water dissolves the ink, releasing the limitations into the light of the full mon and freeing you of negative energy.”

Greet the Day, Say Goodnight

Sunrise. Sunset. Spectacular or just like yesterday’s, each is nonetheless an opportunity to greet the day and say goodnight.

“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand, how we would believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the City of God which has been shown. But every night come out those envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, obviously before the advent of light pollution.

City stars may not seem like much to write home about. Smog doesn’t help. But when the weather is clear, step outside. Move away from any immediate lighting. Look up. It puts things in perspective.

—adapted from Magick Made Easy, by Patricia Telesco. HarperSanFrancisco, 1999. $16

This article was originally published on November 30, 2009.