GUEST POST: An easy, one-minute daily Atheopagan micro-practice
If you’re unsure where to start with ritual or looking for something new to add to your daily practice, consider trying the 13 o’clock mindful moment.
By Michael H.
In Ireland, the first thing you notice about the 6 o’clock news on public television is that it is not the 6 o’clock news. It’s the “Six One News.” This is because it starts at one minute past six.
Those first sixty seconds are dedicated to the Angelus, a Catholic devotional prayer and the longest-running TV show in Irish history… even if it jumped the shark many years ago.
Since the beginning of Irish TV, a static religious image would appear on the screen, and then a bell would ring for the full minute, giving the average viewer time to drop everything and pray along at home. Here’s an example from 1983:
As the country has become more diverse, culturally and religiously, there have been calls to eliminate this daily dirge or make it more representative. In recent years, it has morphed into a “moment of reflection” but still retains the Catholic-specific name, “The Angelus.”
Take this recent example from 2021, where you can see the stark difference from its 1983 ancestor:
In addition to the 6 o’clock airing, the Angelus is played on Irish radio at noon… it is played on the radio in many countries, I believe. And, of course, it rings out from Catholic churches worldwide. So, it didn’t seem strange at all to me when I moved to the Midwest and heard that meridian belling as I sat in the park eating my lunch. Kind of nostalgic!
The Midwest Angelus?
There was something odd and new, however: the noonday tornado siren also kicked in. Yep, it’s tested every day at noon around these parts. This routine was particularly strange when we went to a birthday party last year at a specially built sensory playground. Why they constructed a playscape across the road from a tornado siren, I have no clue.
In any case, noon came around, and the ol’ siren stretched its lungs like an iron rooster. The birthday picnic was abandoned for a few minutes, the shrill and rising “wheeeeeeeeee” driving us to our cars like cockroaches, clutching our four-year-olds with their little hands cupping their ears. It went on for a full five minutes. Talk about a noonday demon. Here’s an example of the kind of scene we scrambled from:
This is all to say, why do tornado siren enthusiasts and Catholics get all the fun when the sun is at its highest? Surely, this is a place where Atheopagans can hustle. But we’re not stuck with 12:00 p.m. either. We’ve got a whole clock.
The 13 O’Clock Ritual
Ritual is hard. Maintaining a daily practice takes work. But I still want to try. While thinking about simple daily habits, I alighted upon that idea of a secular Angelus… a moment of self-reflection, meditation, or just taking a moment to breathe or light a candle. Or a chance to listen to music, sing a song or write a special word I might like to hold on to for the rest of the day.
One idea you could try yourself is taking an item that represents your Atheopagan practice, holding it in your hand for a minute, and thinking about everything this symbol means to you. For me, it’s the Suntree pendant I received at the Suntree Retreat in 2022.
I don’t particularly feel comfortable doing this at noon—I need to put some space between my practice and those other things mentioned above. Instead, I’ve chosen 13 o’clock instead. 1:00 p.m.
Thirteen is just a fun number for pagans— and it’s taken on meaning for us as Atheopagans. So, I invite you to join me every day at 1:00 p.m. to take a moment and think about what your practice means to you.
I look forward to hearing how this micro-ritual works for you all.