Connecting Through Simple Daily Ritual

Sarah Jane Williamson

20th April 2024

Image shows Flowers and element bowls (bowls containing items to represent fire, wind, earth and air - such as a candle) on a table as part of Sarah Jane's daily connection ritual

As a child I was a devout Christian in an innocent, joyful way. I went to both Methodist church Sunday School and monthly family services at the ancient parish church in the small Yorkshire market town where I grew up. I enjoyed singing hymns and my sense of experiencing the angels.

At some point during my childhood my mum received a facsimile edition of a medieval Book of Hours, and, under strict supervision, with only mum allowed to touch the pages of the book, she pointed out the beautiful illustrations of how medieval people spent the hours of their day on different aspects of prayer and contemplative work. I particularly noticed the interesting symbols and depictions of animals in the margins around the Christian illustrations, which later in my teens, I realised were pointing out the astrological rulership of each hour and activity. I remember being quietly fascinated that this ritualised round of the day could provide a framework for a serene life.

At university, I studied earlier illuminated manuscripts in close detail and understood better the traditions of monastic life and contemplative practice. I went to yoga classes and developed a daily meditation practice which I found really helped with the rigours of academic study. After university I was fortunate to have a 2 year apprenticeship with an English Romany teacher, learning how to give soul healing through the unique combination of devout Christian belief merged with ancient shamanic practices.

In my life now my daily spiritual practice still involves an awareness of the round of the day and its simple practices. I mark dawn, noon, dusk and, at certain times of year when off work, keep a midnight vigil practice.

I’ve learnt over the decades that my lifestyle of a dedicated daily spiritual practice, combined with the development of the skills, knowledge and experience needed for my work, has been my own version of the Book of Hours.

Every day when I start work in my home office, I light the candle and incense in bowls that represent the four elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire, and I dedicate my work to the highest good. Even when I have my own desk in a shared workplace, I have a symbolic representation of the elements and do the same dedication but silently.

If asked, I would currently define my spiritual beliefs as polytheistic and animistic. And I still have a contemplative Christian element in my practice, which combines with the shamanic.

I have no doubt that consciously following the round of the day, renewing my connection to spirit, ‘Thy will, not my will’, letting go and letting God/dess in, has enabled me to maintain professional resilience, self-belief and compassion in the most challenging times and to stay present to other people and to our shared purpose.

Picture of Sarah Jane Williamson smiling to camera. She has blond hair, wearing black and a delicate necklace around her neck. Sarah Jane Williamson will be leading our next Diploma course in Spiritual Coaching and Caregiving (Level 3 CFI). She has been teaching spiritual practice and spiritual activism for over 30 years. With a background in education, public health management and the charity sector, she brings a profound awareness of students’ and clients’ needs. Her spiritual background includes Druidism and the Western mystical traditions. She is a qualified leadership coach and equine assisted learning facilitator with an interest in how human-equine interaction guides our connection with and appreciation of the other-than-human world.  sarahjanewilliamson.com