I want to build a better community.
One where we stop wondering which candle colors this or that deity prefers, or what libation is the most appropriate, or sticking up a yardstick to one another about who is the best devotee and most pious. One where we stop worrying so much about small differences in praxis and start honoring the gods in deeds in our immediate lives and out in the world.
More and more, my impression is that the gods do like offerings of food and drink and objects, prayers and thoughts, but they value offerings of actions with them in mind and dedicated to the action even more. Old time blots seem to have only been held something like twice a year. It’s awesome if someone has their own personal devotional practice where they do something every day, but you’re not Doing It Wrong if you don’t.
I spend every day thinking much more about how to represent the gods in the world, and what they’d most like to use my hands and mind to accomplish in this realm. Let’s not just light candles and pour out libations. Let’s go forth and DO. To our lives. To the lives of others. To the environment.
We need to build and come together in order for us to survive.
The philosphers tell us that the gods do not need our worship – rather, the point of worship is so that we may learn to make ourselves more like the gods, living lives of right action. But because living lives of right action is the more difficult thing, we too often allow ourselves to become distracted by the details of worship: the acquisition of books and other sources, perfect objects for the altar and suitable garments to wear at worship, time spent composing and performing rituals, worrying whether we are “doing it right”, and warning others they are “doing it wrong”.
Reciting hymns is only the first step. The most precious offering we can make to the gods is striving each day to align our lives more closely to the virtues made evident by logic and reason, and the examples of wise and heroic people throughout the ages of history.
Let us resolve to try to live more authentically each day, and spend less time trying to acquire things to mimic the authenticity of the past. Let us encourage each other more, and disparage each other less. Let us spend less time proclaiming the superiority of our personal practice, and more time practicing right action in the real world. Because this form of worship transforms us – and through us, can transform the world!