Simplicity is pretty underrated these days, don’t you think? Everything has to be complicated. Get an app for that, an app for this, make sure you have the exact right amount of fats in your diet, count calories, etc. Nothing is simple anymore. And for a lot of the things we do on an everyday basis this is a very good thing. Complicated systems help us live relatively comfortable lives, without the hassle of starving to death in a particularly bad winter or walking two miles for a glass of water. However, in spiritual practice, this might not be such a good thing.
An interesting challenge I saw on tumblr made users give up their tools and extras, stripping them down to the spiritual essentials. This was, predictably, hard for those who were used to working with extra tools and help. This reminded me of a lot of Christian theology: In theory, to have a fulfilling relationship with God you don’t have to have anything but belief and prayer. I was of this mindset when I was Christian, and it seemed like a foreign concept that many Christians needed such things as confession, rosaries, bible study guides, etc. I understand now that ritual is pretty helpful in any kind of religious ceremony or spiritual practice on a psychological level. As a believer in Magick I also believe that it comes from within one’s mind, and the only thing you truly need in order to perform it is sheer will; however, the symbolism in ritual objects, color associations, etc. are helpful in communicating with your subconscious in order to achieve desired effects.
But, like I said, you really only need intent.
And, for the most part, the gods I worship would be content as long as I cleanse myself before I pray. Everything else is extra, because I have such a deep respect for them and I wish to worship them. Stripping down to the bare essentials truly puts your faith into perspective: it can reinforce your beliefs and make them stronger, or make you question what it is, exactly, that you’re doing. And I’d reccommend that at some point in your life you do this challenge, stripping down to the very minimum for thirty days. You might see that once you go back to your practices with all the trimmings, it’s even stronger than before.