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From Christian to Pagan (Part III)
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Daily Activities, Meaningful Ritual
Article ID: 13974
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,183
Times Read: 4,522
RSS Views: 14,441
Author: Bronwen Forbes [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: May 9th. 2010
Times Viewed: 4,522
The intent of the ritual went something like this: To honor and thank Hekate for the gifts She has bestowed upon me and those I love and to take the opportunity to do Her work in the world. As rituals go, it was pretty short, maybe twenty to thirty minutes long, and completely devoid of anything resembling candles, ritual garb or incense. The ritual *did* take place outside and it *did* involve a crossroads or two. I can also report that the ritual drew the participants closer together, reaffirmed the bond between them, and accomplished exactly what it was supposed to do – just as all successful rituals do.
The actual rite? My nightly pre-bedtime “business” walk with my dog.
Here’s another one:
The intent of the ritual: To be a good steward of the land, bring prosperity and health to my family, work with the energies of the earth, increase my connection to the Divine, and show my family how much I love them (and yes, that is a lot to pack into one ritual!) . Again, it was a very successful ritual, although a bit on the long side (six to nine months) , but like all ongoing workings it had long-term effects that were, in this instance at least, quite positive.
The actual ritual? My husband planted his annual vegetable garden, tended it, and fed his family with the results.
Don’t you just love it when our daily activities are, in fact, acts of devotion and/or service to our deities? It’s even better when we don’t consciously say to ourselves, “I’m knitting these mittens as an act of homage to Freya” or “I’m petting my cat to worship Bast.” Ideally, you can knit mittens and pet your cat because it brings you pleasure *and* honors your deity – *that* is effective ritual. You’re probably already drawn to a God and/or Goddess whose aspects and activities are compatible with your own, so do what both of you like and consider it an act of worship. I’ll bet your God already does.
Even if it’s something you don’t enjoy, you can still serve your deity by doing it. With the exception of my husband’s family, I don’t know anyone who likes to clean his or her house. Maybe I just have messy friends, but I do know several people who are devotees of Freya or Frau Holla – two Goddesses who expect their followers to keep their homes very clean. My friends grumble and complain, but they vacuum and scrub floors *way* more often than I do. Since I hate cleaning (picking up clutter is a different story) , I’m grateful my deities don’t require that of me.
Another interesting twist in this whole “daily activities as a form of worship” is when your deity embodies specific aspects or worship activities that for some reason you cannot or will not participate in – or even understand. What do you do? As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, my patron deity is Herne, Lord of the Hunt. I do not hunt. I have never hunted – I have nothing against people who do, but it’s not for me.
I’ve watched the Outdoor Life Channel/network (I find the commercials fascinating – they’re for items and services I didn’t even know existed. Plus, they’re generally wonderfully yet awfully amateurish, and they amuse me. But I digress.) and I see the elation on the hunters’ faces when they successfully shoot something and their reaction frankly baffles the heck out of me. I get upset if I accidentally hit a squirrel with my car. I’ve even been known to cry about it *as an adult.* Yes, I technically have a hunting dog – a retired show beagle who has never chased, much less killed a rabbit in her five years of pampered, constantly monitored existence. In short, my beagle, a breed I love *because* having one boosts my relationship with Herne, is as much of a bust when it comes to Herne’s hunting aspect as I am.
Fortunately for my sense of spiritual connectedness, Herne is also the Lord of the Forest and Lord of the Dance. Since I love spending time hiking and camping in the woods and since I’ve been folk dancing since I was nine years old (and also wrote a book about the Pagan origins of the English folk dance tradition) , Herne and I get along just fine without my needing to deliberately shoot something.
Another sign you also may want to pay attention to is whether or not a change in activities indicates a need in your life that you aren’t aware of – and whether or not the different activity is acting as a subconscious ritual and/ or God-sent message for change. Let me give you an example. I grew up in Berea, Kentucky where every other craft shop (including the one literally next door to my house) was filled with some of the most beautiful handmade quilts I’ve ever seen. And even though my 7th grade social studies teacher devoted a whole week of class time to teaching all of us how to quilt (boys included) , I never really got into making them.
Until one day I decided I *had* to have a padded bag to hold my (overlarge) collection of ritual jewelry and it *had* to be quilted. And a crazy quilt (randomly-shaped pieces and no straight lines) . And made completely of velvet scraps. In short, not an easy task. But I did it – buy hand – and then I decided I needed a vest, also crazy quilt-looking, and made that. Fortunately, before I decided to quilt some patio drapes or an entire bedspread (and I was seriously considering both) I sat down and finally asked myself the obvious question I should have asked at the beginning of this six-week piecing frenzy: What the HELL is going on here?”
The answer, quite frankly, wasn’t pretty: I was living with a man who frequently brought home several of his other lovers (despite my protests) or would take off to spend every other weekend with them (also despite my protests) . My job was about to end because the business was closing – and it was a crappy job anyway. My friends all lived two hours away and actively hated the guy I was living with (with good reason) . Oh, and somewhere in here my father had just left my mother (temporarily – *that* time) . Plus, I was broke. And my truck needed some serious engine work.
So, gentle reader, my life was – literally – in pieces. And my quilting fit (duh!) was my unconscious ritual to try to sew it back together. Or maybe the Gods were trying to tell me my life was a mess, since up to that point I wasn’t actively doing anything to fix it. Whatever. I got the message, put the fabric scraps down, and started piecing my life back together instead.
Pay attention to what you do regularly on a daily, weekly, monthly or seasonal basis that make you feel fulfilled, happy and closer to your Gods. You could be doing more ritual than you think!
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
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