After yesterday’s post about repairing hoses, it occurred to me that much of my spiritual/magical practice is based upon finding the sacred in the mundane, in giving that little extra magical push so that the simplest tasks carry renewed meaning.
John Michael Greer has a wonderful description of re-enchantment, where is the act of literally singing the sacredness back into the world. There is something so simple and so beautiful about this approach. Though Greer is not necessarily talking about actual songs or singing, that’s the direction I’d like to explore today.
For hundreds of years songs have accompanied daily chores, from the butter churn chant to the rhythmic stroking of orders across the ocean surface. Songs not only serves to pass the time and to speed the work, but also allow a deep connection with the act that we simply do not have in our ages of ergonomic office chairs and glowing screens. The music comes from the individual, we breathe out sound into the world and breathe back in the gifts of our land and community. That connection of breath, of spirit is what can re-enchant the world.
Housework is one of the easiest places to start singing sacredness back into your home and land. I would venture to say that most housework falls under either the category of cleansing/purification magic (sweeping, washing dishes, brushing your hair) or prosperity magic (cooking, gardening, paying bills). If you make home remedies of any sort, that can also be considered healing magic. And of course there are also various sorts of protection/warding rituals for the home and its inhabitants (lullabies being one of my favorites). Finding songs or chants for each task can not only be a way for the work to pass more quickly, but it also allows you to really sink into the rhythm of the chore and in many instances to achieve a light trance state.
To be clear I’m not necessarily talking about the stereotypical Neopagan dirge here. Use whatever gets you singing, whatever gets your Nwyfre flowing, whether it be Dvorák or Beyoncé. If it feels right, for more physical activities like sweeping or washing the windows, let your whole body move with your song. Push that broom with your whole being, not just your arms and hands. Push it with your core, push it with your heart. The important thing is that it is YOU singing, YOU engaging with the task at hand.
Remembering the layers of meaning behind a chore makes an act sacred instead of superstitious. Songs keep our focus on otherwise mind-numbing activities, and allow us to glean benefits that have largely been forgotten. One of the things I love best about being a Druid is being given the chance, every day, to fall in love with the whole world. Every little piece of it, no matter now mundane. How wonderful is that?