I am a Southern Woman and a Southern Witch.
I may not be a Christian one, and there may still be wars about whether or not Oklahoma’s “southern enough” (the answer varies depending on where you are)… But the Southern concept of grace that women must maintain has still infused everything I do. It also plays a large part in my practice as well by proxy of my raising; manners, traditions, etiquette, movement, and all other things accorded to the concept of grace determines multiple aspects of my practice- from how I approach my entities and how my rituals pan out, to what actions I perform.
Of course, I fail though- I am gangly, I am clumsy; I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut, following social manners, etc.- but grace is still something I at least make an attempt to approach various aspects of my life with. In one form or another, anyways.
But how does one approach your religion with grace in the first place?
Prayer and Christian definitions aside, grace is a simple elegance; refinement of movement; courteous goodwill; and an attractively polite manner of behaving.
Elegance is “the quality of being pleasingly, ingenious, and simple; neatness; the quality of being graceful and stylish in appearance or manner”. For me to approach my religion with “simple elegance” is easy. It is also multi-fold. I do my best to be all around pleasing to them in word, deed, and appearance.
I keep my area as neat and tidy as I can, and keep myself well groomed and bathed regularly. I do these things as devotional acts for my Entities and dedicate these tasks to them or perform them in their honor.
Additionally, I dress simply and in a manner which my Entities find pleasing when approaching the Shrines for religious matters, performing rituals, or otherwise interacting with the Entities on a spiritually important level.
I also fall back on etiquette, using proper manners when interacting with the Entities.
Refinement of Movement
The practice of Ingenuity carries over here versus being included in the aspects of Elegance, as I believe that ingenuity is more a part of refining movement.
Refinement of movement, to me, includes breaking down and refining ritual practice; cutting down on unnecessary flourishes and embellishments, saying things in smaller and more precise words, reducing the necessity for elaborate actions and ingredients, and more.
Outside of ritual practice, it also includes things such as etiquette and refining mannerisms, improving and practicing correct posture, altering how I carry myself physically, as well as my fitness regimen and the practice of certain physical arts which focus on movement. Like cleaning, these are done in the name of my Entities and the acts devoted to them, bringing a religious tinge to the actions.
Courteous Goodwill and Polite Behavior
Goodwill is a “friendly, helpful, or cooperative feeling or attitude”; it is hospitality, how we treat our guests and our neighbors, and so much more. I attempt to bring this into my practice by treating my Entities as I would a neighbor or a guest. They get the best drinks, the best food, they are served first in my household, have their needs attended to, I am eager to please them when needed, and attempt to come to compromise and the like when conflict arises. I attempt to be polite and respectful (unless the opposite is seen by me as necessary), and considerate.
Likewise, I attempt to do this to others who enter my household or domain as well- both Spirit and Human.
There’s several other ways that Grace could be incorporated into a practice- religious or otherwise- and there’s definitely more to it than I can even begin to cover here… And sometimes it’s not so easy. I joke; I sometimes speak in ways others may seem as disrespectful to my Entities; sometimes I don’t take things seriously enough. I have flaws and am human. But grace is- nevertheless- the way in which I attempt to confront all religious things in my life. It is an integral part of not only the area and culture in which I grew up, but also my religion and practice.