I’m in the process of learning a lesson regarding my devotional work.

Ideally speaking, I would like to be one of those people who does worship every day, morning and night. In my mind, in my heart, I view myself as being a ‘mystic’. “Of course I can do this indefinitely!”

However, the reality is that after months of doing that, I crash. I become emotionally burnt out. I get physically ill and then use my sickness as an excuse to take time away from my devotional practice or, often, any sort of religious practice.

This makes me feel awful. I feel like a failed devotee.

What this is telling me is that perhaps I should limit my devotional work to specific time periods.Six or 8-9 weeks, maybe, of daily practice. At the end of that time period, I can decide (or ask a diviner, procuring their services) whether to keep going or not for another set period of time.

Perhaps I can use that time to focus on different deities.

Maybe it’s the time of year when I think of Gaelic religion, not to mention the cold weather coming, but I’ve been feeling a calling to pay attention to Brighid lately.

(And, in full disclosure, I didn’t abandon my religious work entirely while ill, but did give offerings to Brighid, the Healer, for health. Some deities I won’t approach when ill, but Brighid seems always open.)

I deal with health issues frequently and, while I still have some issues currently, I’d given Her offerings to help with my respiratory ailment and it’s gone now. So, naturally I’d like to take some time to thank Her publicly here.

There’s a place in my heart for Brigid. There was since I was a “baby Pagan”. She is both goddess and Christian saint. I’m especially fond of the work done by the group Clann Bhride in putting together a Book of Hours full of prayers. The Catholic-like Pagan aesthetic of it appeals to me (who would have liked to have been a monk had I had the faith to do so).

(Though let’s be honest, if I couldn’t hack doing a few months straight of daily devotion, I probably would have been a piss-poor monk.)

In some way, I feel as though the future of polytheism should be using traditionally Christian techniques and methods and adapting them to polytheistic worship. It’s something people are familiar with.

I worry that reconstructionism fails sometimes because we cannot duplicate the native culture in which the original polytheistic religion had its home. Instead, in order to get wider support, use the forms that people are familiar with and adapt them.

It’s what Christianity did 2000 years ago, in part.

Clann Bhride’s Book of Hours is a move in that direction. Christians, especially in Catholic areas, can understand the language of lighting candles for people, using prayer beads.

It’s not that we need to make ourselves appealing for them. We don’t. But now that Paganism is growing away from its rebellious youth stage (Wicca) and maturing, I think it’s time to ensure our future so that we do not become simply a fad but a long-lasting religious movement. Let’s not be the next Spiritualists.

We don’t have to reject everything related to Christianity. They (especially the Catholics and Orthodox) have 2000 years of religious technique that we can learn from. (This is what I’ve been trying to do with my other blog, Pagan Mysticism.)

I don’t think we should proselytize, necessarily, but coming out of the shadows and making ourselves more visible in our worship might attract others.

How many people would be Pagans and give praise and offerings and worship to our Powers if they only knew that we existed? People who would probably be put off by skyclad rituals and pentagrams?

We can still emphasize the core values our deities promote and which Paganism has associated itself with (sacredness of life and of Nature, equality of women and LGBT people, etc.).

Recently, there was a community on Facebook that I joined called Pagan and Polytheist Monasticism. People talk about their prayer practice and such. It’s really cool. It feels like there’s an energy here already and it’s something I find I’m relating to far more these days than something like Reconstructionist Polytheism. Or anything Wicca-related.

~ by R.M. McGrath on 10/28/2016.

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