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Author Topic: Towards daily worship  (Read 2257 times)

Snowdrop

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Towards daily worship
« on: October 16, 2012, 07:08:21 pm »
(I'm putting this here instead of in the worship and ritual forum because . . . really, it's such a newb question.)

I'd like to start doing the type of daily morning/evening devotions that I've noticed a lot of people on this forum do, but I have no background whatsoever in this sort of thing and I'm floundering around a bit trying to figure out where I should even start.  

Can anyone who does devotions of this sort tell me how you got started?  What did you begin doing first?  (I'm pretty eclectic at the moment at least, and most of the gods I feel drawn to are either Celtic or Egyptian, but I think this is a general enough question that advice from someone of any path would help)

First I feel like I should buy a small table and an altar cloth and set it all up so that I can have an altar area.  But what would be the point in that I still have nothing to put on it and nothing to do with it?  Or I could start collecting images of the gods --- but my room is awfully messy, and so I don't want to do that until I have somewhere to put them.  I don't want them to sit on my dirty floor and get trampled by my roommate.  Or I can start collecting relevant hymns and prayers before objects . . . but not having an altar space and so forth would make it difficult to do offerings, wouldn't it?  

I keep going around in circles like this, and it's really frustrating to me because I do feel like this is something I should be doing, but I can't figure out how.

Nachtigall

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Re: Towards daily worship
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2012, 07:28:02 pm »
Quote from: Snowdrop;76860
(I'm putting this here instead of in the worship and ritual forum because . . . really, it's such a newb question.)

I'd like to start doing the type of daily morning/evening devotions that I've noticed a lot of people on this forum do, but I have no background whatsoever in this sort of thing and I'm floundering around a bit trying to figure out where I should even start.  

Can anyone who does devotions of this sort tell me how you got started?  What did you begin doing first?  (I'm pretty eclectic at the moment at least, and most of the gods I feel drawn to are either Celtic or Egyptian, but I think this is a general enough question that advice from someone of any path would help)

First I feel like I should buy a small table and an altar cloth and set it all up so that I can have an altar area.  But what would be the point in that I still have nothing to put on it and nothing to do with it?  Or I could start collecting images of the gods --- but my room is awfully messy, and so I don't want to do that until I have somewhere to put them.  I don't want them to sit on my dirty floor and get trampled by my roommate.  Or I can start collecting relevant hymns and prayers before objects . . . but not having an altar space and so forth would make it difficult to do offerings, wouldn't it?  

I keep going around in circles like this, and it's really frustrating to me because I do feel like this is something I should be doing, but I can't figure out how.

 
Cleaning up your room as a devotional act might actually be a good start. While physical and spiritual cleanliness are not the same thing, maintaining one will actually help with the other. Besides, if you invite the higher powers into your house, cleaning up the mess would simply be a respectful thing to do.

Regarding statues: you don't really even need any, in order to start doing your devotions. Start with something small - a candle, an incense holder, an offering plate, or even just one simple object that will symbolize the deity you are praying to (it may be something to put onto your altar, but also a piece of jewelry you can wear with you, or prayer beads, or anything, really).

Also, reciting hymns may be an offering itself, if you are having troubles with "material" offerings.

Aster Breo

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Towards daily worship
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2012, 08:16:04 pm »
Quote from: Snowdrop;76860
I keep going around in circles like this, and it's really frustrating to me because I do feel like this is something I should be doing, but I can't figure out how.

I think the best place to start is by figuring out *why* you want to do daily devotionals.  then let their form follow their function, so to speak.

Do you want a daily practice that specifically honors deity?  If so, who are you honoring?  Learning about the god/desses you want to worship will lead you to appropriate offerings, prayers, etc.  And understanding their "home" culture, history, and mythology will guide you to images, statues, etc.

Do you want a daily practice that gives you time and space for meditation?  If so, learning about meditation techniques should help you figure out how you want to set up your space and schedule.

Do you want a daily practice that focuses on magic?  Learn about that.

Etc.

Because you've specifically said you're looking for daily devotionals, I assume you're most interested in honoring deity.  If that's the case, you need to work out who or what you're devoting this daily practice to, and take it from there.

F'ex, my practice is focused on Brighid.  So my daily devotionals involve keeping Her flame, making offerings, praying, etc.  Occasionally, I do some divination as part of that.  I also consider my creative work to be dedicated to Her, but that's not a daily thing.  (In my case, most of my creative work is theater related, so it's not constant.)  I do other things for Brighid, too, but I don't consider that work to be part of my daily devotionals.

Does that help?

~ Aster
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

Shine

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Re: Towards daily worship
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2012, 08:50:38 pm »
Quote from: Snowdrop;76860

I'd like to start doing the type of daily morning/evening devotions that I've noticed a lot of people on this forum do, but I have no background whatsoever in this sort of thing and I'm floundering around a bit trying to figure out where I should even start.  

Can anyone who does devotions of this sort tell me how you got started?  What did you begin doing first?  (I'm pretty eclectic at the moment at least, and most of the gods I feel drawn to are either Celtic or Egyptian, but I think this is a general enough question that advice from someone of any path would help)

 
I agree with Aster Breo about figuring out why you want to do daily devotions, then building something around that.

I'm a Kemetic (roughly), so I got started by taking daily rites from my religion and scaling them down until they were manageable. But I started small. First, it was a small space for Bast on my dresser and a quick prayer in the morning and evening. No candles, shrine cloths, cabinets, incense, libations, offerings, etc. at first. Just prayer and a small statue of Bast I got as a gift about ten years ago.

Two years later and my entire dresser is devoted to Bast, Set, and Atum, with a bit of space for Shu and Tefnut. Lately I've been depressed so I haven't been doing much, but when I'm at the top of my game, it's the morning rite with all that entails; sometimes the offering of dinner later in the day; and then a bedtime rite with libations and prayers.

I'll sit there and just talk to the Netjeru [gods], commune with them, do an occasional bit of divination, etc.

Quote


First I feel like I should buy a small table and an altar cloth and set it all up so that I can have an altar area.  But what would be the point in that I still have nothing to put on it and nothing to do with it?  Or I could start collecting images of the gods --- but my room is awfully messy, and so I don't want to do that until I have somewhere to put them.  I don't want them to sit on my dirty floor and get trampled by my roommate.  Or I can start collecting relevant hymns and prayers before objects . . . but not having an altar space and so forth would make it difficult to do offerings, wouldn't it?  


Start with a small, clean space where you can direct your attention. If you can, use the space only for devotions. You don't need fancy statues, images, or anything like that. It might be nice to have a candle, a small plate for offerings, and a small bowl or cup for libations later, but not now.

To be honest, you don't always even need an altar/shrine. It's simple to offer dinner at meal time, for example. Just say some words of offering and then let the meal set for a couple of minutes so the gods can partake of the spiritual essence of the food. For a libation, take a clean bowl and cup, and pour libations that way.
Leave your darkness with me, and I will make you shine.

Blackswan

Towards daily worship
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2012, 03:41:27 am »
Quote from: Snowdrop;76860
(I'm putting this here instead of in the worship and ritual forum because . . . really, it's such a newb question.)

I'd like to start doing the type of daily morning/evening devotions that I've noticed a lot of people on this forum do, but I have no background whatsoever in this sort of thing and I'm floundering around a bit trying to figure out where I should even start.  

Can anyone who does devotions of this sort tell me how you got started?  What did you begin doing first?  (I'm pretty eclectic at the moment at least, and most of the gods I feel drawn to are either Celtic or Egyptian, but I think this is a general enough question that advice from someone of any path would help)

First I feel like I should buy a small table and an altar cloth and set it all up so that I can have an altar area.  But what would be the point in that I still have nothing to put on it and nothing to do with it?  Or I could start collecting images of the gods --- but my room is awfully messy, and so I don't want to do that until I have somewhere to put them.  I don't want them to sit on my dirty floor and get trampled by my roommate.  Or I can start collecting relevant hymns and prayers before objects . . . but not having an altar space and so forth would make it difficult to do offerings, wouldn't it?  

I keep going around in circles like this, and it's really frustrating to me because I do feel like this is something I should be doing, but I can't figure out how.

Others have given you some great advice, all I would add is that each morning when I wake I say good morning to the gods and good night before I go to bed,  it's just something simple that I've done for a long time and it just feels right to do.

Snowdrop

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Re: Towards daily worship
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2012, 05:26:39 pm »
Quote from: Nachtigall;76863
Cleaning up your room as a devotional act might actually be a good start. While physical and spiritual cleanliness are not the same thing, maintaining one will actually help with the other. Besides, if you invite the higher powers into your house, cleaning up the mess would simply be a respectful thing to do.

Regarding statues: you don't really even need any, in order to start doing your devotions. Start with something small - a candle, an incense holder, an offering plate, or even just one simple object that will symbolize the deity you are praying to (it may be something to put onto your altar, but also a piece of jewelry you can wear with you, or prayer beads, or anything, really).

Also, reciting hymns may be an offering itself, if you are having troubles with "material" offerings.

 
Yes, I'm sure you're absolutely right about cleaning being an act of devotion.  I don't have much space, so no matter where in the room I decided to make space for the gods, the rest of the room would very much be pressing into that space.  

Also, thanks for the advice about small things!  That does make me feel less overwhelmed.

Snowdrop

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Re: Towards daily worship
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2012, 05:46:16 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;76869
I think the best place to start is by figuring out *why* you want to do daily devotionals.  then let their form follow their function, so to speak.

Do you want a daily practice that specifically honors deity?  If so, who are you honoring?  Learning about the god/desses you want to worship will lead you to appropriate offerings, prayers, etc.  And understanding their "home" culture, history, and mythology will guide you to images, statues, etc.

Do you want a daily practice that gives you time and space for meditation?  If so, learning about meditation techniques should help you figure out how you want to set up your space and schedule.

Do you want a daily practice that focuses on magic?  Learn about that.

Etc.

Because you've specifically said you're looking for daily devotionals, I assume you're most interested in honoring deity.  If that's the case, you need to work out who or what you're devoting this daily practice to, and take it from there.

F'ex, my practice is focused on Brighid.  So my daily devotionals involve keeping Her flame, making offerings, praying, etc.  Occasionally, I do some divination as part of that.  I also consider my creative work to be dedicated to Her, but that's not a daily thing.  (In my case, most of my creative work is theater related, so it's not constant.)  I do other things for Brighid, too, but I don't consider that work to be part of my daily devotionals.

Does that help?

~ Aster

 
Yes, that does help.  The gods I feel closest to now are the Celtic ones; so I'm looking to honor Brighid also, as well as the Morrigan and Arianrhod.  (What are some small things to start out with that Brighid likes?)  

My reason for wanting to start is that I want to show gratitude to Them; I hope that by setting up a regular practice I'll be more grounded and connected to Them, and basically be less like a needy child who keeps yelling, "Pay attention to me!" but then never shows any real appreciation in return. :whis:

Aiwelin

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Re: Towards daily worship
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2012, 06:06:23 pm »
Quote from: Nachtigall;76863
Also, reciting hymns may be an offering itself, if you are having troubles with "material" offerings.

 
I think this is a great one.  I don't have time to gather all my ritual offerings in the mornings; so I made a set of prayer beads and gathered some hymns and prayers from various sources to say with them.  Now all I do is grab them from my altar and recite my prayers as an offering every morning.
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Aster Breo

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Towards daily worship
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2012, 07:25:21 pm »
Quote from: Snowdrop;76952
(What are some small things to start out with that Brighid likes?)  


The simplest thing you can do is light a candle/lamp to Brighid, with a little prayer.  I keep a flame for Her every night.

In general, traditional offerings made to Celtic god/desses include milk, cheese, bread, beer, whiskey, mead, honey, and similar traditional foods. Water is almost always an acceptable offering, if your options are limited.  Small, symbolic portions of whatever you're eating are usually fine.

Opinions differ on whether modern variations are acceptable.  Personally, I think they are.  I've used ice cream, cake, cookies, pasta, various vegetables and fruits, modern alcoholic beverages, etc. with no problems.  Chocolate is my go-to offering, and Brighid has not objected.  :cool:

Non-food offerings are also common, including fire, incense, and flowers.  Many people also make offerings of their writing, artwork, and other "products".

Individual deities have their own tastes, too, of course.  I can't speak to others' tastes, but traditional offerings to Brighid are flame, dairy, and beer.  She is associated with poetry, so writing is a good offering, and with smithcraft, so many people offer their crafty work.  I always dedicate my theater work, usually lighting design, to Her.

If you're interested in traditional prayers to Brighid, there are several in the Carmina Gadelica, which is a collection of (mostly Scottish, IIRC) folk prayers and charms collected in the 19th century (I think -- sorry, I'm not braining very well tonight).  You can adapt them to your needs.  Or write your own, of course.

You can find more info on Brighid, including a long list of online and book resources, in the TC Cill SIG.  I can't link you to it because I'm posting on my phone right now and it won't let me link like that, but you can find it on the Religious SIGs section of the forum.

If you have other specific questions about Brighid, feel free to post them.  There are a number of us Brighid Folk here.  ;)

~ Aster
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

Aniera

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Re: Towards daily worship
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2012, 05:10:47 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;76969

In general, traditional offerings made to Celtic god/desses include milk, cheese, bread, beer, whiskey, mead, honey, and similar traditional foods. Water is almost always an acceptable offering, if your options are limited.  Small, symbolic portions of whatever you're eating are usually fine.
~ Aster

 
I know this is a not so bright question, and I really should know the answer :ashamed: Blame it on my long Friday at work. But how do you go about "disposing" of offerings. And by that I mean. I can't have milk or bread on my table for days. I am not meaning this to sound coy or funny and in fact I'm unsure of how to ask it. Thanks so much for patience and responses!
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Re: Towards daily worship
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2012, 06:27:00 pm »
Quote from: Aniera;77234
I know this is a not so bright question, and I really should know the answer :ashamed: Blame it on my long Friday at work. But how do you go about "disposing" of offerings. And by that I mean. I can't have milk or bread on my table for days. I am not meaning this to sound coy or funny and in fact I'm unsure of how to ask it. Thanks so much for patience and responses!

 
Do you have a garden? If so, liquids are easily sent back to the earth - in fact, it's part of many heathen traditions to pour the contents of the offering bowl onto the earth at the end of the ritual. If not, a houseplant can serve as long as what you are offering will not harm the plant.

Food is a little more difficult - you don't want to encourage rats! However, if you plan your offerings carefully, a bird table could be perfect for this. In fact, if you can use one, a bird table is to me almost an altar in the making. You can honour and help nature at the same time.
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Towards daily worship
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2012, 06:55:05 pm »
Quote from: Aniera;77234
I know this is a not so bright question, and I really should know the answer :ashamed: Blame it on my long Friday at work. But how do you go about "disposing" of offerings.

That's a perfectly reasonable question, and one that comes up pretty regularly.  If you search the forum for "offerings" and/or some form of "disposal", you'll probably find numerous threads discussing this topic.

The answer depends largely on the path in question, the individual practitioner's situation and preferences, and the kind of offering.  In some cultures, food offerings are given to the gods for a certain length of time, then consumed by the worshiper.  In other cultures, they are disposed of after the gods have had their chance, so you speak.  Some cultures even forbid consuming offerings because their energy has been taken by the gods, leaving something that might even be harmful to humans if ingested.

The disposal process also varies.  Some people burn food offerings, some put them in a stream or river, some leave them outside for the wild creatures or to decompose, some compost them.  For those who have no alternative, there's always the trash can -- although many people who use that method make a point of wrapping the offering separately, so it's not touched by the garbage.

Personally, I make offerings every night of flame (and the olive oil for the lamp) and of very small amounts of food or liquid.  I use a special shot glass as my offering vessel, so it's really a token.  I leave it on my altar for roughly 24 hours.  When I light my lamp the next evening, I dispose of the previous night's offering by putting it outside.

Non-food offerings are different, obviously.  We know that the ancient Celts buried hoards of things like weapons, horse gear, jewelry, pottery, etc., and sometimes animals or parts of animals, or even humans. They also placed hoards in bogs, lakes, and rivers.  Frequently, the items were broken -- presumably so they couldn't be dug up and used against the tribe that offered them -- or were ceremonial, possibly made specifically to be offerings.

I do occasional non-food offerings.  I have buried pieces of jewelry as offerings, for example.  For important offerings -- like if I'm asking for special assistance or something like that -- I make offerings in the form of monetary donations to organizations doing work I believe to be important to Brighid.  

That's just me, though.  Other people do things differently.  You have to decide for yourself.

~ Aster
"The status is not quo."  ~ Dr. Horrible

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