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Author Topic: Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual  (Read 1170 times)

Lana288

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Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual
« on: May 01, 2014, 05:26:28 pm »
So, lately I've found myself inclined to turn daily tasks into forms of worship. This happens particularly with the tasks that 'support' me, by which I mean that part of me flamekeepers would call the Dark flame. Whatever I'm doing stops being just me, and starts being a... 'a prayer in action'.

It's actually kind of wonderful. However, part of me isn't convinced I'm not being disrespectful when I do so, since aproaching the gods during physical work means that I'm not exactly perfectly clean (which is what I generally try for before ritual). Does anyone else find themselves doing similar things, or is it just me?

Thanks for your replies!

MightyAntler

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Re: Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2014, 07:49:36 pm »
Quote from: Germandragon;146533
However, part of me isn't convinced I'm not being disrespectful when I do so, since aproaching the gods during physical work means that I'm not exactly perfectly clean (which is what I generally try for before ritual).

 
Personally I wash up nicely (and put on perfume oil) before doing formal worship. Today I went out to eat in celebration of the day being the first of the month and part of that meant feasting in honour of Khonsu. I did not wash up as I do before ritual because of the context, i.e., it was informal.

If one of my friends is the President of the United States and invites me to dinner at the White House I would shave, shower, groom myself to look good, etc. before going. Now if she or he were the President yet invited me to eat out at a pizza place after we play a game of soccer I would not bother with all the preparation. Same person and friend, but different contexts of interaction.

I do not know what your tradition or personal gnosis requires, nonetheless I thought I would share this with you. :)
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TheHumanAxiom

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Re: Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2014, 11:55:06 pm »
Quote from: Germandragon;146533
Whatever I'm doing stops being just me, and starts being a... 'a prayer in action'.

It's actually kind of wonderful. However, part of me isn't convinced I'm not being disrespectful when I do so, since aproaching the gods during physical work means that I'm not exactly perfectly clean (which is what I generally try for before ritual).

 
Quote from: Germandragon;146533
So, lately I've found myself inclined to turn daily tasks into forms of worship.

 
Coming from the perspective of someone who struggles a lot with self-care, I've definitely received the feedback that acts of self-care can be perfect choices for daily devotion. It makes sense that they'd be invested in our well-being, too - after all, we cannot offer the best of our support to the gods if we are not taking care of ourselves.

The required cleanliness for approaching the gods likely differs based on the deity and source culture, and on the context (as Djarty pointed out). I do think that, particularly for Western cultures, the focus on immaculate cleanliness is a few degrees more extreme than in historical cultures. I also find myself thinking of forms of ritual that involve dancing, drumming, and other physical activity. Physical acts can be a tangible way of raising power (so I've heard), but they're bound to get you a bit sweaty!

So on the one hand, we want to be respectful, clean, and composed to the degree that it is appropriate. At the same time, I just can't imagine they would hold us to inhuman standards, and expect us to never cough, sneeze, belch, fart, or sweat at their altars. Should we just let 'em rip? That probably depends on our relationship with that deity, and the gods in general, but may default to no (especially if we view the act as disrespectful). But if something sneaks out while we're at the altar, will we be shunned and exiled? Probably not. You still have to be yourself, and part of being a human is all the biological stuff that goes along with having the types of bodies that humans have.

I also want to say that if you feel inclined towards approaching these tasks in a devotional manner, and the experience is of being uplifted, joyous, and content, you're probably doing okay. If any deity becomes deeply offended, I would expect they'd find a way to let you know.

Redfaery

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Re: Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2014, 08:28:31 am »
Quote from: Germandragon;146533
So, lately I've found myself inclined to turn daily tasks into forms of worship. This happens particularly with the tasks that 'support' me, by which I mean that part of me flamekeepers would call the Dark flame. Whatever I'm doing stops being just me, and starts being a... 'a prayer in action'.

It's actually kind of wonderful. However, part of me isn't convinced I'm not being disrespectful when I do so, since aproaching the gods during physical work means that I'm not exactly perfectly clean (which is what I generally try for before ritual). Does anyone else find themselves doing similar things, or is it just me?

Thanks for your replies!

 

I don't know how connected you are to your deities, but I'd suspect if they thought you were disrespecting them, they'd give you some sort of heads up. Especially since you yourself said you're finding this very helpful.

I'm reminded of the Trappist monk who was interviewed and said he considered sweeping his kitchen an act of prayer, because a clean kitchen gave glory to God. I don't think anyone would fault him for that, and for what it's worth, he seemed pretty darn happy with his relationship to the Christian God.

I personally tend towards very informal worship these days. I often just light a candle and some incense, and then chill out with an appropriate book. Sarasvati is a goddess of learning, so as long as I'm reading something that teaches me, she seems to be pretty cool with it.
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Sophia C

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Re: Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2014, 10:34:53 am »
Quote from: Germandragon;146533
So, lately I've found myself inclined to turn daily tasks into forms of worship. This happens particularly with the tasks that 'support' me, by which I mean that part of me flamekeepers would call the Dark flame. Whatever I'm doing stops being just me, and starts being a... 'a prayer in action'.

It's actually kind of wonderful. However, part of me isn't convinced I'm not being disrespectful when I do so, since aproaching the gods during physical work means that I'm not exactly perfectly clean (which is what I generally try for before ritual). Does anyone else find themselves doing similar things, or is it just me?

Thanks for your replies!

 
This may just be me, but I don't feel a great call to perfect cleanliness around ritual and the gods. I have a very informal primary goddess, and my other household gods are gods of the hearth and the wild, rather than of temples (at least, not anymore). Also, there's no obvious equivalent of the Hellenic concept of miasma in Celtic polytheism. Saining, on the other hand, is really important, and I start most rituals by burning juniper or mugwort for that purpose. But I can't do that out in the wild, and I wouldn't try.

I think these things depend very much on a) tradition, b) how much formality your own gods expect, and c) the setting in which you're encountering the gods.
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Lana288

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Re: Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2014, 03:52:23 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;146568
I don't know how connected you are to your deities, but I'd suspect if they thought you were disrespecting them, they'd give you some sort of heads up. Especially since you yourself said you're finding this very helpful.

I'm reminded of the Trappist monk who was interviewed and said he considered sweeping his kitchen an act of prayer, because a clean kitchen gave glory to God. I don't think anyone would fault him for that, and for what it's worth, he seemed pretty darn happy with his relationship to the Christian God.

I personally tend towards very informal worship these days. I often just light a candle and some incense, and then chill out with an appropriate book. Sarasvati is a goddess of learning, so as long as I'm reading something that teaches me, she seems to be pretty cool with it.


Thanks for the replies, everyone! It's true, there are a couple dieties that would *thwap* me if I was doing it wrong. That's happened before, though not for the amount of self-cleaning I do- I think I'll work on worrying a little less, all things considered.

@redfaerie: I like the analogy of the trappist monk. That's actually really close to what I find myself doing, particularly with the dieties I'm closer to.

Your informal worship sounds divine, by the way. Would you mind if I stole the concept? (Perhaps not candles and incense, but the general form of informal ritual that you've described)

@Djaty: I like the thought of eating as a form of worship. It seems proper, as a form of thanks for what's being given to sustain us. Do you go out to eat in worship every month, or was this an exception?

Redfaery

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Re: Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2014, 03:53:07 pm »
Quote from: Naomi J;146576
This may just be me, but I don't feel a great call to perfect cleanliness around ritual and the gods.

 

I just wanted to comment on this.

I actually DO worship a goddess from a tradition with pretty rigid requirements about hygiene and cleanliness, but in my own experience, she doesn't seem to expect that level of precision from me. She does, however, like me to wash my hands and rinse my face every now and then. I wash my hands pretty often now, actually. It's gotten so if I don't, I feel kind of icky.

But there are other things about my experiences with her that make me wonder if the gods simply have different expectations depending on who they're dealing with. For instance, Sarasvati seems to be OK with me eating beef, as long as I give her a quick salutation before I tuck in. I don't know if this is true of everyone who works with Hindu deities, but I just know that Sarasvati expects me to at least check in before I eat a steak.
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Altair

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Re: Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2014, 03:53:23 pm »
Quote from: Germandragon;146533

Does anyone else find themselves doing similar things, or is it just me?



It happens when I'm making French toast; no joke. I connect with the four elements as I prepare the batter (pinch of salt, and I envision my flesh/Her earth dissolving into the mix, etc.) and light the stove. I find this very satisfying and meaningful.

For the life of me, I have no idea why this only occurs when I make French toast in particular.
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Redfaery

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Re: Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2014, 03:55:14 pm »
Quote from: Germandragon;146587

@redfaerie: I like the analogy of the trappist monk. That's actually really close to what I find myself doing, particularly with the dieties I'm closer to.

Your informal worship sounds divine, by the way. Would you mind if I stole the concept? (Perhaps not candles and incense, but the general form of informal ritual that you've described)

 
Thank you. I don't mind at all if you tried my "ritual" out, if you think one of your deities would appreciate it.
KARMA: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Lana288

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Re: Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2014, 12:42:04 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;146588
I just wanted to comment on this.

I actually DO worship a goddess from a tradition with pretty rigid requirements about hygiene and cleanliness, but in my own experience, she doesn't seem to expect that level of precision from me. She does, however, like me to wash my hands and rinse my face every now and then. I wash my hands pretty often now, actually. It's gotten so if I don't, I feel kind of icky.

But there are other things about my experiences with her that make me wonder if the gods simply have different expectations depending on who they're dealing with. For instance, Sarasvati seems to be OK with me eating beef, as long as I give her a quick salutation before I tuck in. I don't know if this is true of everyone who works with Hindu deities, but I just know that Sarasvati expects me to at least check in before I eat a steak.

 
I'd actually agree that expectations do seem to differ. I imagine it's partly that gods can see us clearly and thus have a very good idea how we work and what we're capable of as individuals.

As far as the meat, I have heard that some Hindu worshippers eat beef, just that they're in the minority. I forget where I heard this, though... I think it was a travel guide.

-In response to your second comment, thank you. There is a specific diety I think would appreciate a 'ritual' like that, and she's close enough to me for me to try.

MightyAntler

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Re: Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2014, 03:20:55 pm »
Quote from: Germandragon;146587
@Djaty: I like the thought of eating as a form of worship. It seems proper, as a form of thanks for what's being given to sustain us. Do you go out to eat in worship every month, or was this an exception?

 
This was the first time that I went out to eat to celebrate a new month. I intend to do this on the first day of every month for now on.

I agree that eating as a form of worship seems proper. The Divine give us enjoyable gifts for our wellbeing, and They are the kind of Persons who like festivity. :)
Yours in hobbit homes,
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Lana288

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Re: Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2014, 10:00:22 pm »
Quote from: Djaty;146628
This was the first time that I went out to eat to celebrate a new month. I intend to do this on the first day of every month for now on.

I agree that eating as a form of worship seems proper. The Divine give us enjoyable gifts for our wellbeing, and They are the kind of Persons who like festivity. :)

 
In honor of the same God, or a different deity every month? (Sorry if this is nosy. I'm just curious.)

MightyAntler

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Re: Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2014, 12:14:37 am »
Quote from: Germandragon;146762
In honor of the same God, or a different deity every month? (Sorry if this is nosy. I'm just curious.)

 
It will always be Khonsu. :)

He is a Kemetic lunar Deity who from what I have read somewhere is associated with beginnings.

Don't worry about being nosy – any lurkers who have yet to become registered members might appreciate this. :p
Yours in hobbit homes,
MightyAntler

Redfaery

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Re: Methods of Worship Beyond Ritual
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2014, 09:16:36 am »
Quote from: Djaty;146628
I agree that eating as a form of worship seems proper. The Divine give us enjoyable gifts for our wellbeing, and They are the kind of Persons who like festivity. :)

 
I second (third?) this. Sarasvati appreciates it if I sit down with a big glass of fresh, good milk and drink it in Her honor. There's a dairy in my home county that has pastured cows. They have GREAT milk, and I can get it at Whole Foods. Not as good since I'm one county over now...but still much better than the stuff you buy in a carton.

What was I saying? Oh yeah. Sarasvati really appreciates milk. I don't see why other gods wouldn't also appreciate a quick snack of appropriate food taken in their honor.
KARMA: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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