Initially, when I began paganism, I threw myself in spirit-spousery with Guinevere. I didn’t really allow myself time to construct devotional relationships. Even with the Norse gods, I tried to craft DEEP INTENSE BONDS IMMEDIATELY.
This was worsened by reading the godsmouth blog which posted about pagan Ordeals. I have nothing against Ordeals, if that’s what you feel called to, but for me as a sick young pagan, it left a bad impression. So I daydreamed about all kinds of things: godslavery (I kid you not), godspousery, priesthood, and so on. I even attempted to craft some of these bonds, but it all ultimately feel apart in my mental illness. That was healthy, frankly. There was no pagan foundation to speak of, so nothing stood.
I do not think my illness was shamanic. I do not get sick if I refuse the gods something. At the beginning, my illness was self-induced via insomnia and then rolled into the depths of hell and stayed there for a few years.
At the very beginning of my time with Team Norse, I worshiped Odin, Loki, and Freya. Freya is now calling me to return to this practice.
Actually, Loki and Freya wish to know when they are getting their statues (Odin already has one). In their words, they are “pressing their suit” so to speak and are moving in as household gods. Today, I got this quick impression of Freya sitting in a chair, shifting around trying to get comfortable. She smoothed over her dress with her hands. (I also think, by association, Loki and Odin are also trying to get comfy in their chairs.)
My friend M. is a Hellenic pagan. He has a really solid devotional practice where he has a daily water-related shower prayer to Aphrodite (water being sacred to her) and a monthly devotional rite 12 months of the year. For the past several years–actually possibly as long as I’ve known him?, he has also been working on a massive cross stitch project for Aphrodite, carefully stitching scenes from her mythology and bordering these images with flowers sacred to her. He is an example to me as a consistent, thoughtful devotional practice.
I think if I use his praxis as a role model and measuring stick, I could puzzle out how to craft a devotional practice for myself that is solid, functioning, practical, and sustainable. I might ping him for ideas. It’s funny to feel so new at this despite having been pagan for nearly 9 years now.
I have, at least, managed to do daily rune pulls since Nov 7th. I tallied the results today and noted missed days. I’m thinking that by the end of the year I will do a blog post musing on what the results meant to me, and did I actually learn anything?
Anyway, just like in my last post, I am really thinking about how devotion is important right now. Any deepening of Norse studies/religion can only come after my Masters degree. And this degree, mind you, has nothing to do with my religion and everything to do with my profession as a teacher. (*squints* well ok if you perceive Odin as a scholar god, then yes my religion and profession have some crossover)
So now, I want to focus on building a devotional practice, even if the rites only end up being a hymn and an offering of coffee. Later, once I am established in my profession, I can consider deepening my heathen studies. (I must keep telling myself this!) I really want to preserve my free time. I have this option to pursue 3-4 months of studies related to the pursuit the gods asked of me but I checked in with my friends and they really encouraged me to preserve my free time before starting my MA. This seems sensible.
So I have made a list of books I want to read before going back to school. ^^ One of them is Diana Paxson’s book on Odin which I picked up (as ordered) from a local indie bookstore. As long as I keep devotion firmly in mind, I think the book won’t send me on a daydreamy spiral of ‘Big Things To Do For the Gods’.
I want to do small, actionable things. Things that feel doable.
What are small things you do for the gods?