Just what are the logistics behind devotion? I haven’t really talked a lot, specifically about my devotional beliefs…not really. I talk a lot of generics, a lot of technicalities. But not much about my own personal devotional work–those things I do when I’m worshiping and practicing alone.
I got this inspiration from Jack of Wands–since he asked a few good questions and made me realize I hadn’t actually done much talking about this before. Or at least, not about me specifically, and just what all this is for my practice and beliefs. So I’m going to delve in a bit deeper and talk a bit about my specific devotional work and practice. It should be a fun endeavor, and I think perhaps a nice change of pace.
Basics of Devotional Work
Just some ground-setting to start
I started off blogging and in being a “pagan” as a witch. Or at least, that’s how I was always identifying myself. But, obviously (given the new direction of my blog & just how long I’ve been writing this way) that all changed. I jumped through a few…hoops, so to say, and things just kind of got set aside–things that I always meant to blog about, but things just changed. I started focusing more on the polytheism, the paganism…and well, the more spiritual aspects of belief.
But, I haven’t actually talked much about my own personal devotional work. Actually, I don’t think I’ve really ever talked about it much as all. I’ve talked loads about technicalities, or other people…or articles. Not myself though. I hadn’t really realized or noted that I’ve been very light on the personal clarifications; not until I was pointed out that I didn’t write anything about this.
Part of the reason I never wrote about it when I started: I was a “baby pagan”, and I was sure there was something not cool about me going out and talking about my own devotional work like some kind of expert–because I was the farthest thing from an expert. I’m still no expert. But back then, I was sure that you had to have some kind of…eh, I don’t even really know what I thought, to be honest. Maybe I thought you had to be famous, or just more experienced. I just know that I was sure I should not be the one writing about it, because I was new and had no clue what I was doing.
A lot’s changed since then. The difference now: I know that everyone (from newbie to expert) has their story and their practices; and every single one is just as valid to write about–or not–as the author chooses. Perspectives have validity no matter how long someone has been practicing, devoted or in the community. So, even if I were brand new today, I could comfortably write about my own devotional work; because that’s just as important as someone who has been practicing for years.
I’ll also admit back then, I was totally unsure what I was doing. Sure, I was big into the research. I still am. Really, my ability to research is brilliant–I’ve got quite a bit of time and effort put into research and resource gathering. That’s my strong suite, always has been. But, in terms of actual practice & work, when I first started blogging (and the few years before that), I was totally nervous and unsure about what I was doing and what I should write about.
The other big part of my original hesitation was that I was not sure who I was dealing with. Sure, I started off all Celtic–but I kind of knew that was not totally proper and correct, not for me. I might be head blind, but even I could tell something was up. And it’s kind of hard to really get into writing about your beliefs when you have a nagging suspicion that you’re not even going in the right direction.
When I was a kid, I did so much mythology research; I loved it all. So I had, once I was pagan, no idea just what devotional practice or work would look like. I knew I wanted to be respectful of the deities, spirits, entities and others–by utilizing their culture as much as possible. I wanted to make sure I could research the culture, the time period, and the society that worshiped these gods. I always wanted to be able to utilize some kind of proper reconstruction/living traditions and practices.
But! that’s difficult when you don’t know who you want to work with, who you should work with. And that can just get worse when you’re dealing with some real, deep-seated community-ingrained self-consciousness & doubt about whether you’re even “pagan”; all because being head blind was absolutely not talked about. Or at least, not much. With everyone trying to “out-pagan” each other online, talking about their god popping in to tell them not to wear purple, or to complain about breakfast, etc ad nauseum….well, my utter lack of any connection was debilitating in how it froze me from really writing further about certain aspects of my practice.
And, pretty much going back through my blog archives here, you can kind of see just how much I changed. I bounced from Celtic, to some Norse, and then just unsure. And then I came into my own with the Slavic polytheism; and I’m comfortable now. It’s enough that I feel far more confident in my beliefs, and so I feel like I’m in a better place for talking about my devotional work.
That’s how I started–lots of uncertainty & self-exploration. Then I got into the technical, the abstract, the research…and the devotional interest in writing, what I had originally wanted to write about, was just, well gone. And that’s how I ended up 5+ years into this blog without ever really delving into my own devotional practices.
Today is a good day to start to change that though! Or at least, to open up my mind to new themes.
I’ll be posting Part II shortly, delving into the specific questions about my individual practice & devotional work that were put to me.∗