This year, I started running and I've really been enjoying it.* I'm basically only running outside. I've done a few hotel gyms when I've been traveling and I have found that running through my older, urban neighborhood is a lot more fun. I love the old growth trees, the fun and funky stuff people do with their yards (orginal sculpture, native plant gardens, etc). I run by a park where SCA folks have practiced hitting themselves with padded swords. I love the fresh air, sunshine and getting to know my neighborhood.
I also try to weave spirituality and magic into my running by doing a few small things. First, I do a couple of basic practice I frequently and where I ever I am. I ground and center and (in my tradition) open to the life force that runs through all things. Through that connection, I think the running itself is a little easier and I feel closer to the spirit of place. The second basic practice is acknowledging the elements of life and drawing themselves into my aura. (I have this thing where I view the aura as essentially a sacred circle we all bring with us where ever we go and so I invoke the elemental energies into my aura like I might do a circle, but closer to my skin and it feel a bit more intimate.)
As I said above, the above is a basic practice that I do more than once during my day as a way of staying connected the Earth. Not that I think we are ever NOT connected to the Earth, but sometimes we forget that we are and certainly that connection can become cloudy. The only thing that I do in addition is to invoke Hermes. Hermes and I go way back. See, some folks talke about patrons or being tapped or adopted by some gods. That has never really happened to me. As a babyWitch I looked around for a god that I was interested in. Hermes handles communication (which is important in my work) and magic (also an interest of mine), so I though hey, I can start venerating him. We are not BFFs and he never stops by for tea. Still, after 10 years of fairly consistent veneration, we're on good terms. In fact, as a trickster, he's really helped find some clever solutions to problems I've had. Also, I credit him with helping avoid speeding tickets.
Hermes is also the god of running and gyms. (I know a Greek gym was a bit different that what we have now, but still.) As part of my practices I do a small invocation to him and invite for a run with me. I think he, like many Mysterious Ones, delight in the physical as much as they are able to partake in it through us.
Now, you might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with the title of this post? Good question. See, my runs generally loop, so that during my cool down walk I pass the same intersection. When ever I invoke Hermes in my run and I reach that light during my cool down walk when I'm all ran out. Almost without fail, the light turns so that if I were to jog through the light I could make it, otherwise I have wait for the full light. It happens too often for it to be coincident. I've decided that it most be his idea of a joke. But hey, I can take a joke. And I don't mind waiting a bit to cross the street.
*Ok, I didn't enjoy the running so much at first. It took a lot of training, aches and pains before running became enjoyable. But I'm really glad I stuck it out.