I just ordered a teapot, strainer, book on afternoon tea recipes, and a pack of loose leaf Irish breakfast tea.
No, I’m not suffering a fit of Anglophilia.
(Though watching Sherlock, Misfits, Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, the upcoming London Olympics, and all of this rain we’ve been getting might do that to a person.)
(Well, okay, mild Anglophilia.)
I’m trying to explore ritual in my life. For a while I thought that I didn’t have rituals, and therefore, my thought-life was becoming increasingly chaotic. I felt like I was whirling a bit out of control, letting things fly off into the ether and not being able to control it.
Ritual! I thought, that’s the answer.
Then I realized that I do have rituals–for better and for worse.
For instance, on the destructive side, I’m a secret eater. When I get stressed, angry or mad, I go and eat. Secretly. I drive to fast food restaurants and eat. Not binge, not anymore, but I eat stuff that I normally wouldn’t touch. I had a friend tell me that she used to do this with cigarettes. Just a little secret, but the whole process is cloaked in ritual. And if it’s not a certain place, a certain meal, eaten in a certain way…it just doesn’t feel the same.
On the creative side, I have a fairly consistent ritual of a daily Tarot card draw. I center, visualize roots drawing up nutrients into my feet, strengthening my legs, activating my chakras, and extended through to the sky and space above. Then I draw a card. It’s very centering, calming, grounding. I round it off with prayer and words of gratitude. Days that I do this–and it only takes ten minutes–are by far more productive, calm and happy.
I’ve been reflecting on the summer the past few days and what I want to accomplish before autumn is upon us. It’s the middle of July, but Lughnasadh is two weeks away. Mabon six weeks after that. The summer tomatoes are producing their last, and I’m about to put in the fall vegetables. In a few days I’ll start the seed flats of cole crops (!). I can scarcely believe it!
I realized that I’m craving more structure in my life. Since the spring I’ve been pretty lax about…everything. Which is fine. But now I want structure and routine. More–I want it to be so integrated that it becomes rhythm.
Where to start, though? In an ideal world I’d love to be the type of person who wakes up at dawn, practices yoga and meditates, has a tea ritual in the afternoon, a writing ritual during nap time, evening meditation before bed…I mean, that all sounds awesome. Not to mention religious and spiritual rituals such as prayer, devotions and other seasonal activities. I mean, whew. That’s a lot of ritual.
And with everything else that must be done in life? It’s just…not feasible.
Of course, none of it has to be super involved. It can be as simple as lighting a candle, drawing a card, reciting a brief mantra.
But I wanted something to set apart. So I decided to go back to the beginning–back to when I was a little girl and had a fascination with tea, tea pots, and all things Irish, English and floral Victorian.
(I was a romantic child, obviously!)
My mom still has all of my porcelain tea pots–a very floral collection, largely featuring chintz–and I don’t really want those in a house with my toddler. So I traded in the violets and roses for a sturdy stoneware blue. I have my Celtic knot porcelain tea cups, a package of loose leaf tea on the way, and a loaf of good sourdough perfect for toast.
The funny thing is that though I want more ritual, I also want to slow down. When I said ‘whirling’ above, I meant it–it’s been a busy, chaotic season in our life. I want this ritual to help slow. it. down. To create space to think, to observe, to relax, to collect myself. The beverage version of yoga.
So, from now until Lughnasadh I’ll be having tea, between 3 and 4, every day. With milk and sugar. Maybe cheese, toast or an egg, maybe a book or my journal. But possibly just me and a warm, sweet cup of tea.