Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nightly devotions

Most evenings, I take ten minutes or so to make devotions to my Gods. This is an outline of the general things I do each night:

Get ready for bed, taking the time to wash your face, brush your teeth, and wash your hands. As you wash, take a few moments to visualize the "emotional dirt" of the day washing away. This may take only a few moments, or longer. Don't feel rushed - this is your time to prepare yourself, as necessary, to present yourself to the Gods.

When clean, put on appropriate clothing. This could be anything from a robe to your night clothes. The only thing of true importance is that it is not dirty, and that it is comfortable.

Approach your altar. If you wish, cover your hair with a scarf or shawl. Light your candles, and incense if you use it. If you have offerings for your Gods, have them near at hand. Be sure to have a small snack and drink to share with the Gods.

Generally speaking, if you are talking to Olympic Gods, you should sit or stand with your hands palm up, and if you are talking with cthonic Gods (such as Hecate or Hades), your hands should be palm down. Talk to the Gods out loud, or if necessary because of family or roommates, whisper. Address the one(s) you wish to talk to by reciting epithets or singing a song. Then thank the God(s) for previous things granted. Close up with pleas for those things you desire. You may wish to promise some offering if your desire is granted. For example:

Lord Dionysus, God of the Vine,
You of joy and excess and wine,
I thank you for the wisdom you granted to me
In regards to the necessity of letting go from time to time.
You have given me love, and healed me of my anger.
I ask for your help finding a job for my love.
If you grant this, I will bring you fresh rosemary for your altar.

You may wish to meditate quietly, after this. Sometimes, answers are given during quiet moments. A wise man once said, prayer is asking the Gods for something, and meditation is being quiet long enough to get an answer.

Make your offerings, if any. They may be put into a small bowl if you are worshipping indoors, and then later taken outside or burned on the hearth. If the offering is something special to keep on the altar, of course, you wouldn't destroy it afterward. Share your food and wine, as these, too, are a type of offering.

When you are done, say goodbye. Then put out candles (and incense, if necessary) and dispose of your offerings in an appropriate way. Food and wine offerings can be burned in a fire or left outdoors under a tree or in a garden, as can anything else which is biodegradable. Never throw an offering away, though - that could easily be seen as offensive to the Gods!
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