Pagan in the City

Many pagans live in bustling cities and manicured suburbs, far away from untamed nature and rural farming communities.  This is either by choice or because of other constraints, such as their job or family.  But just because one doesn’t live in a dense forest surrounded by native plants and wild animals, or live on a homestead that grows and raises its own food, it doesn’t mean that one cannot be pagan.  The city holds a variety of opportunities to tune into the natural world around us, as long as we take the time to seek them out and listen.  Some ideas to connect with nature and the natural world are listed here.  Try to find additional ones in your neighbourhood!

  • Maintain good energy in your home, whether it be a house or tiny apartment. Use crystals, plants, incense or smudging to overcome negative energies, for example, from previous tenants or neighbours.
  • Create a sacred space inside your home. Have an altar with objects from nature, such as pine cones, branches, leaves, rocks, shells, or even a picture of a forest, mountain, or ocean scene to remind you of the outdoors.

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  • If your home is tiny, or if you don’t wish to share your pagan beliefs with friends or roommates, make a portable altar or find a nice cupboard or box to put your pagan items into after using them. If you’re very concerned about privacy, you can avoid overtly ‘pagan’ symbols, such as pentacles or goddess statues.  Little things can have great meaning, such as having a few objects from nature on your shelf or painting the walls blue to remind you of the ocean or sky.
  • Participate in a community garden program if one exists in your neighbourhood. Grow your own vegetables and herbs on a balcony or outdoor space, or even indoors.

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  • Support local food growers by purchasing locally grown organic food or shop at farmers markets. Be mindful of the seasons and buy in-season fruits and vegetables.
  • Place a bird feeder outside your window or balcony to attract local birds. Keep it filled with food to maintain a constant food source throughout the cold winter months.
  • Bring nature inside your home by listening to nature sounds, such as running water, birds chirping, or thunderous storms.
  • Find a local green space, even if just small urban park. Spend time listening to nature, such as the birds chirping, the wind blowing through the trees, or simply the silence away from the bustle of the city.  Watch the squirrels, pigeons, birds or dogs and notice their habits.

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  • Better yet, take a trip outside the city and spend time in untamed nature. Use this opportunity to collect items to bring nature into your home, such as twigs, rocks, leaves, feathers, moss, etc.   Note: Try not to disturb living plants and animals; the best items to collect are those that have already been discarded and are easily collected from the ground.
  • Connect with animals. Visit a local animal shelter, take shelter dogs for walks, spend time socializing with the kitties, or visit a humane zoo.  Support no-kill animal shelters or refuge centres by volunteering time or money.  The animals will thank you!
  • If you’d like a pet but can’t commit long-term, try fostering a pet from a local shelter. This keeps them out of small confined spaces, helps them socialize, and provides them with love and support while waiting for their forever home.
  • Keep track of the moon cycles, and try to catch a glimpse of the moon in the sky through the buildings, if you can.

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  • Embrace city living. There is a lot of energy in the city, the buzz of people and life.  Tap into that energy and use it to your advantage.
  • Living in a city means there is probably more chance to meet like-minded pagan individuals. Look online or on notice boards at your local metaphysical store for pagan groups who share your views and values.
  • Find the magical in the mundane – Take time during your busy life to notice things like a patch of grass growing from a crack in the concrete, a glimpse of the stars beyond the skyscrapers, birds nesting in the balconies, or the rooftop gardens.

Reblogged from my original post at Pagan Pages (March 2014)

© The New Pagan (2014-5)

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