Going before the Altars…. and going to Church

Dear Friends,

So not too long ago Teo Bishop was musing about offerings and daily practice and our relationships with the Gods…. which has me thinking about my own regular practices…

I would love to tell you that each morning I roll out of bed and into a lotus position for meditation, followed by a nice walk, a cup of tea, and some quality time before my altar in worship and reflection before I hit the ground running and start my work day…

Unfortunately I would be lying like a cheap rug!

I am blessed with the challenge of Attention Deficit Disorder, which I do strive to work over and around and through on a regular basis.  I also work in the hospitality industry in Orlando, Florida… this means I work a sometimes surreal mix of overnights, week-ends, evening shifts and mornings… with busy periods when other folks are on their vacations.  My time and attention are all too often not entirely my own.

I have also been in a creative and spiritual rut… sitting blankly in front of the screen or the writing pad maybe stringing a few sentences together and then going on to something else… or standing before my altar, taking a deep breath, kissing the top shelf… and calling it a spiritual day…

I ~am~ working on both of these ruts…

Each week I will be contributing something here… and working on other writing projects….

I’ve already been working on the spiritual rut…

Each week, sometimes 2 or 3 times a week… I empty out the cups and glasses I use for libation offerings…

If the offering is water, I bless it..

“I cleanse thee, and consecrate thee, and charge thee,

Oh creature of water, that with thee I may work Wonders and Worship,

By the Holy Mother in Whom we live move and have our beings, Blessed Be.

By the Holy Father Who lives, moves, and has being in every atom, every cell, and every soul, Blessed Be.

So mote it be.”

Sometimes as I am making the offering I make reference to what is being offered, “clean drinkable water” for example, other times I simply make the offerings..

The first offering is usually to the Household Spirits, it goes into a green coffee cup that sits on the tiled shelf of the kitchen window… sometimes it is water, or coffee, or tea… every once in a great while it is wine..

“I make an offering unto the Spirits of this Place,

This Hearth, This Home, This Apartment of Greyhaven,

I thank you for the blessings you have granted,

I wish blessings unto you,

Be welcome in my heart, and thank you for sharing this hearth,

Blessed be and may you never thirst.”

The ancestors, are usually the next set of relations to be honored, currently they have one of the larger of our drinking glasses… eventually I’d like to get them a wine-glass or other special offering cup… they are most often given water or wine or pomegranite juice…sometimes coffee or a red tea…

“I make an offering unto the Ancestors,

The Beloved and Honored Dead, Those to Whom I am tied

By the red threads of Blood,

By the silver threads of Witchcraft,

By the Pink threads of Queerdom,

I Thank you, I thank you for Life,

I thank you for the gifts of Inheritance and Inspiration,

For all that You have given me over the years,

For Your Guidance and Protection,

I thank You, I wish blessings in return upon You,

Be welcome in my heart and hearth,

May You never thirst.”

Then, at least once a week, I continue forward with the Gods… offering either water or wine, sometimes coffee or tea…

First to the Goddess as All That Is…

“Holy Mother in Whom we live, move, and have our beings,

Triple Goddess of the Witches who is at once Maiden and Mother and Crone,

I thank You for Your blessings and presence in my life,

Blessed be, be welcome in my heart and hearth, and may You never thirst.”

Then to the WitchFather…

“Holy Herne, WitchFather, Sweet Sacred Father,

Who lives, moves, and has being within every atom, every cell, and every soul,

I thank you for your presence in my life,

For your blessings and guidance,

Blessed be, be welcome in my heart and hearth, and may You never thirst.”

and finally to Hecate,

“Thrice Holy hecate,

Keeper of the Cosmic Keys,

Mistress of the Earth, the Skies, and the Seas,

I thank you for your presence in my life,

For you blessings and guidance,

Blessed be, be welcome in my heart and hearth,

May You never thirst.”

These are, roughly, the words I speak to the Holy Powers in my life… to some extent inspiration of the moment plays a part in how I word things to Them and to Whom I make offerings… They are All honored at least once a week, and then sometimes individually or in sets depending upon the occasion and inspiration of the moment.

Now Teo’s post asks the question

“Do you feel that by making a “good sacrifice” you enable the gods to perform the “obligation of their station?” Or, do you have different language for what the gods do? If you have a daily practice, do you perform your ritual in order to win the favor of the gods?

Why do you show up at your shrine?

I show up at my shrine, because these are some of the fundamental relationships that sustain and support me in my journey…  The Gods and Ancestors and Spirits are there, whether we see them as entities or as ideas/metaphors, and being there we need to be engaged with Them.  This is the way our ancestors navigated the complexities of their lives and how I try to navigate the complexities of my own.

Like any other relationships, these rites take work and effort and thought.  They require an attention to not only ones own self or needs, but the needs and desires of The Holy Powers… What guidance would Herne or Hecate give… what advice might the Honored and Beloved Dead share?  How might I honor the Spirits of my Hearth?

When I approach the altar I am forced, again and again, to ask and answer these questions and more.

Who am I?

Who do I wish to be?

What relationships to I desire or need and what does my Beloved Community call upon me to do?

I’ve written before about the intersection of my Pagan and Unitarian Universalist beliefs, I have learned a lot about Religion and Community as a member of 1U Orlando.  All too often lately I have let my schedule keep me from Church… I will be going there again as well… I am realizing that we Pagans and Polytheists need to carefully balance our immortal and mortal Beloved Communities.

Peace,

Pax

3 thoughts on “Going before the Altars…. and going to Church

  1. I have been remiss in my personal practices, as well, of late. Summer always does this to me. I go from being the only one at home, to being surrounded by kids and adults (sis works in the elementary schools) who all want my attention. “Writing” doesn’t look much like “working” unfortunately. :) This past couple of weeks, I have taken to praying in the shower, which has been working out *really* well for me. I put my face cleanser on, and then it has to sit for a minute. So I take that moment with my eyes closed and let the water run down my hands, and give thanks for all the good things. I’ve tried to make it a worship moment rather than a “pray for help” moment, although I have asked things for others a couple of times. I’ve been feeling much cleaner spiritually coming out of my showers. It’s a small thing, but it works. :)

    • Hey,

      Sorry it took me so long to reply… Summers are always crazy for me now that I am in the Hospitality industry here in Orlando… As my most recent post A Few Days After Lammas highlighted for me, I seem to go through a Summer-time Slump every year.

      For me, as I was recently reminded, it is whenever I am just waking up and coffee is brewing that I can take a few moments to connect and reconnect…

      Peace,
      Pax

  2. Hello Pax, I was just reading the article on Pagan Apologetics. I myself am an apologist, a Christian apologist. I was wondering if you would like to have a discussion on the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. Here is why I think htis topic is important. If Jesus did rise from the dead, then Christianity is true, if not then it is false. However, if you do not wish to engage in a discussion, I was wondering if you knew of anyone that would be. Thank you for your time, Mike

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