Been reading some posts about devotional work around the blogosphere of late — not all of them by any means, because there is not time, and because I stay away from the ones that I know are going to push buttons. Because it’s me, I think of what I’ve read, and I think of the language being used — not the harsh language, just the working language. Caer’s post on Belief and Doing the Work comes immediately to mind, but really, she’s using the language that we all use. I’m not picking on her (in fact, I greatly enjoy much of her writing, and I suggest if you haven’t already discovered her blog, you give it a look) And it’s a combination of a few things — wanting to be the change I want to see, wanting to cultivate joy in my life, wanting to shed the burden and distraction of guilt (oh, all the should-be-doings!) but I see talk about doing the work, about toiling away at our traditions because if we don’t who will, about doing things our gods are asking of us, and today, this morning, I’m contemplating: where is the joy? The love? The thrill of getting to do these things? If we’re called to study and build a cultus up from them, to delve into historical record and bring forth that which could have a place here and now, that which speaks to our hearts and minds . . . isn’t that joyous? Is that wonderful?
I’m devoted to both Poseidon and Odin, but I leave the bulk of the work of the official Odin learnin’ to Beth, because there’s only so many hours in the day, because she’s going to do it anyway, and because I find it fascinating, but my relationship with Pops is largely rooted in the here-and-now. If I had to narrow my tradition, my tradition that is my contribution to our household tradition, it would be narrowed onto Poseidon. I observe 8 holy festivals for Him over the course of the year. He has a place in other rituals and fesitvals that we celebrate on top of that. I read translations of the works of original Hellenic or Roman pagan in the off chance that they’ll mention Him. I find most of the material boring to read but interesting enough to have read, if that makes sense . . . I’m not trying to recruit people to my tradition, because I’m not interested in leading at all, and so maybe that’s the place where I begin to not understand where others are coming from. Maybe that takes some of the joy out of what one is doing?
If we are pagan of any stripe or another, chances are we’ve come from a different religious tradition to begin with — this alone shows that we are devoted to our path in a way that people who are not compelled to delve into spiritual matters are not. Devotion is, I believe, ultimately a private affair that can not reliably be measured empirically by outsiders — and in this case, outsiders means anyone other than you personally.
I am rediscovering, over the last year, joy that there are so many differences within the pagandom, and I’m thrilled to be pagan, to be a polytheist, to rub up against ideas that are different from mine, ideas that get me thinking, etc. I am less thrilled with the prevalence of the “devotion Olympics”. (edited for clarity).
In the end this is another: look to yourself, worry less about what others are saying, if it amounts to them saying you don’t measure up enough. You know your heart, you know your relationship with your gods, you know the extent to your devotion — Trust that.