Monday, June 2, 2008

In practice

Putting the various discoveries I am making about the Gods and my relationship with them into actual practice is not something I can speak of as many others do because I am very much a solitary. There are no other Hellenistoi in this area that I can think of and for me to put my beliefs into practice as ritual has therefore become very simple.

Prayer, the burning of incense, the making of simple offering at the altars of the Gods, etc. are the core of all my practices. The blessing of my home with incense smoke while invoking the Gods is something I do when I am preparing to celebrate any festival through fasting or making special offerings, etc.

Putting my ideas on Hera into practice was something I had already done. Placing her altar at the entry way to my home, invoking my idea of her as a protecting goddess and offering to her there in that aspect. Making a statue of Hebe my representation of her, for I see Hebe as an aspect of Hera that represents the goddess' maiden aspect, an aspect that to me represents potential, both lost and to be fulfilled, and in reference to the ancient ways, an aspect that represents a certain sadness as women were so often treated with such disdain and with attitudes of ownership, and one has to wonder how Hera, the Goddess, must have railed against these attitudes among Greek men. Along with Hera, her altar includes an image of Mother Earth, who I do not see as an aspect of Hera, but who also represents here the chthonic aspects of Hera. Aspects that are often connected to death, war, and the defense of self at the expense of another and for another, as warriors did in the defense of their cities.

When I invoke Hera, however, it is usually as Queen of Heaven, and this is an aspect that requires more than the usual simplicity of an incense burning. It requires a certain humbling of the self. It requires putting oneself in a mindset that one might when meeting the Queen of England, except this is a Goddess, and while the Queen of England is just a human being like you and me, this is the Queen of Olympus, the Sky Queen, a deity. It causes awe in me to think of her, and this awe translates to a feeling that my practice is simply insufficient to her majesty.

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