I never went to church with any regularity, but I do appreciate the appeal of a church community. It’s a lot easier for “it takes a village” to do its work when you have a group of people you see at least once a week and are connected to through the church. So what’s someone to do if they’re not religious but see the benefits of community and ritual? I have no idea how to answer the community question. Reddit, the parents of my kids’ friends, and the odd social event? It’ll have to do. But I did come up with a ritual. It even has a physical totem as part of it!

A few weeks ago I met someone at a zine festival who makes zines to go along with statues he makes. The zines explain a rich world of a billion years ago, when a race of creatures lived on earth. They’re written from the point of view of academics who have found various runes, sculptures, and artefacts related to this ancient world and are trying to piece it all together. It’s pretty amazing stuff, so I bought a statue. Technically they weren’t for sale, but a short chat later I have one!

So on Sundays, I hold the statue in my hands and read a prayer/mantra that I wrote, taking from the lore of this artist’s world. He talks about titans existing under the mantle of the earth, shifting imperceptibly like jellyfish. I take that concept of slow but impactful shifting and tie it together with balance and creativity. It’s a statement for the week that lies ahead, and how I hope it holds balance and creation.

I’ve done it for two weeks, and I can already feel the placebo effect taking hold. It means something to me already, and it helps that I have a whole other routine I go through before the statue part. When I’m done, I move the statue from one side of my desk to the other. Seeing the position of the item helps me understand cycles and balance in a visual way that I enjoy.

Midway through last week I decided I wanted a Wednesday mantra too. In the lore of this ancient civilisation, I found a concept of the sun and people who worship it and fire as a driving force that balances dark and light. So now I have a second mantra around balance and focus that I look forward to on Wednesday, the most complex day of my week.

I made a ritual. It didn’t need to come from an ancient book, or from an external source. It came from one artist’s imagination, multiplied by my own, and it will only feel more powerful as time goes by.