A Workout … Ritual?

A Workout … Ritual?

Why yes, I have written a ritual for working out; it is simple, adaptable, and only requires a form of hydration and a deity/entity willing to “sponsor” you (as a source of blessing and support). Before I get to the rite itself, though, I’d like to share the thoughts behind its creation and design.

Part One: Theory

First, the purpose: I made this ritual for myself and only myself. I find that I do poorly without a sense of accountability and encouragement, and as I am pretty terrible at being consistent at anything but breathing, I figured I could ask for help. (I also find it harder to squirm out of a stated intention if it’s witnessed by a god Who doesn’t buy my flimsy excuses. *cough*) At the same time, I didn’t want to be guilted or lambasted into working out by a drill sergeant–just to have a sustainable, flexible structure that would support my efforts and a little extra mindfulness.

Second, the use: You are more than welcome to use this ritual, adapt this ritual, share this ritual, and/or totally ignore this ritual. I have made this with Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) deities in mind, but you can adapt it to any deities Who seem suitable in your own practice, or even non-deity entities, including totems and land spirits, if they’re willing.

Third, the disclaimers: By creating this ritual, I neither imply nor directly state any opinion on anyone’s health, nor do I offer any implied or explicit opinion on whether or not one “should” work out. As stated above, this is for me. I’m sharing it in case it may prove useful, but dear gods, please don’t think that my sharing it is a judgment or a holier-than-thou. Fitness and health and size and shape are very personal, subjective, individual variables.

Now that I’ve explained the thoughts behind the ritual, let’s get to the ritual itself, shall we?

Part Two: Ritual

First, the sponsor: You’ll need a sponsoring deity or entity Who is capable of blessing you with energy, willing to hold you accountable, and pleased to be offered your physical exertion in Their name. Try to choose carefully to fit your own personal needs—do you need a hard-assed trainer or a gentle but persistent encourager? Do you want a sponsor Who is constantly reminding you to jump on the bike, or do you want a sponsor Who is only there when requested? Once you have a deity/entity in mind, ask Them ahead of time if They’re willing to be your sponsor. This ritual is very bare-bones, and you won’t be terribly pure (what with the sweating, the panting, the workout clothing, and the likely mental cursing), so make sure They’re not offended by the state you’ll be in during the workout and directly after. If nothing else, feel free to name Netjer instead of a particular god.

Second, the heka (authoritative utterance, or spoken magic): Sit down with a pen and paper. Take anywhere from a sentence to a paragraph and describe, in firm and positive language, why you’re working out. Make it deliberate. Put your intentions, your hopes, your goals, your passion into words. Avoid negative language and avoid uncertainty. Use “I will” or “I want”. (Examples: “I want to be stronger.” “I want to be healthy.” “I will feel great about myself.” “I will honor [deity] by tending my body.”) Be careful not to psyche yourself out or state impossible goals; be kind to yourself, be realistic, and make sure what you write resonates within you. Once you’ve gotten your final result of heka, write it afresh on a new piece of paper to keep with you before a workout.

Third, the preparation: Preparation is wonderfully minimal. The only requirement is a form of hydration: a bottle of water or Gatorade or whatever you drink before/during/after the workout. I also include the use of a small offering, such as a candle or incense, for the end of the rite. I would recommend a larger candle that can be lit and extinguished multiple times, depending on how often one wishes to work out. (A word of caution about incense: if you are in any way sensitive to smoke, avoid smoky incense after a workout when you’re breathing heavily. Essential oils or other smokeless scents work just fine.) You can also offer a bite of food instead of something flammable.

Fourth, the ritual itself:

Set up your offering (candle or incense unlit) wherever you deem fit. It’s up to you if you want it on your main shrine or in a separate area due to purity reasons.

Read your intention heka, preferably aloud and in a strong voice. Give yourself a moment to tap into your passion and your hope. Remember why you’re doing this in the first place. Try to stay positive without being unrealistic.

Get your workout drink and offer it to your chosen sponsor. Speak aloud: “Hail, [name]! I offer You this [drink]; may it please and satisfy You. As it fuels You, may so it me. Bless my efforts as I honor Your name.”

Do the workout, be it weights or jogging or biking or dog-walking or martial arts or yoga or whatever you like, and stay hydrated! Remember that what you drink has been blessed and charged by your sponsor, Who lends you Their energy.

When you’re finished, come back to your offering. Light it (if applicable) and offer it, saying, “Thank You, [name], for Your blessings and assistance. I offer You this [flame/smoke/etc] in gratitude.”

… and you’re done! Told you it was short. ;)

This ritual may not be pure, or fancy, or long—but it does keep one’s intentions in mind and get someOne involved to help one feel accountable, encouraged, and motivated… which is the whole point!

If you try this ritual or adapt it for your own use, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences! Now for a lot of test-driving to see how it holds up…