There are many things I miss about the work we used to do as part of the Diana’s Grove Mystery School, but one of the things I looked forward to every year was dedicating to both an element and a deity. Generally, the element was one we chose (or were chosen by) in the spring. We would spend several months really getting to know Air, Fire, Water, or Earth – knowing that by deepening a relationship with one, we would ultimately deepen our relationship with all of them. I loved it.
After we chose an element, the next month was about dedicating to a deity. This was arguably one of the best parts of my Mystery School year for me. Being an eclectic tradition where you could as easily find yourself standing next to an atheist or secular humanist as you could a Pagan, deity dedications in Mystery School were always a little tricky to make inclusive. We expanded the idea of “deity” to also include “archetypes” or “qualities.” A Pagan deist like me might dedicate to Aphrodite while the agnostic across the circle dedicated to a character from Star Trek who represented values they wanted to bring into their lives. (Inclusive traditions are awesome.) I loved this practice of dedicating to a quality I wanted to embrace, an archetype I wanted to explore, or a relationship I wanted to form with a particular aspect of Mystery.
I’m usually not one for new year’s resolutions, but this year I’m setting an intention to rekindle that dedication practice. It often surprised me how something so simple could have such a large impact on my day-to-day life. So here I am once again, standing at the altar and preparing to dedicate myself to a relationship with Earth and strengthen my dedication to Artemis.
When I think about the personal work that I want to focus on in the coming year, it all fits in nicely with my personal associations with Earth. I want to strengthen and bring my body back to health after a challenging year dealing with medical issues. I want to have a healthier relationship to money. I want to eat better. I want to find more opportunities to be in the natural world. I have plenty of ideas of how to do it, from taking up weight-lifting to following through on my plans for a container garden on my back deck.
Artemis and I go way back, so this is more of a re-dedication than anything else. Right now, however, I need her lessons about cycles, stillness, heightened awareness, connection to the wild, not to mention physical strength and agility. Our relationship goes even deeper than these attributes, but this is what I want her help with right now. I’m aching to reopen those parts of my soul.
While so much of my dedication practice in the past had an internal focus, this time I want to expand that practice to an external one as well, particularly in light of the discussions we’ve been having both here on the Expanding Inward blog and at our recent weekend intensive with Pandora. If one of Earth’s aspects is stillness, then I want to be still and listen. I want to be able to hold space for difficult conversations and challenging social dynamics, be that issues of societal privilege or setting boundaries with a loved one. If being in touch with my body and athleticism is part of my relationship with Artemis, then I want to be able to have more open and public conversations about subjects like fat-shaming and body acceptance. It’s one thing to bring the work in, it’s another thing entirely to take the work out. Now, more than ever, I feel it’s important for me to commit to doing both personal and global work.
If you care to join me in a dedication this year, I would absolutely love to hear about your intention and your experiences. What are you pledging? Where will you focus? What do you hope to gain from your practice? What about this process speaks to you? I am very curious to hear from you, if you’re at all called to share.
This post was written by River Roberts