Thoughts on Domestic Worship

Some folks may have noticed that while the address of the blog is the same, the subtitle is now “One Pagan’s Journey”

I am still a Witch, I am just acknowledging my growth as a Pagan and my persuit of Hellenic and Greco-Egyptian Polytheism.

My thoughts today are focusing on domestic worship.

We really no next to nothing of everyday Paganism in the ancient world only the ‘High Church’ Paganism associated with Temples and official Cults.  In many cases those with direct access to the temple would have, even in Ancient Athens or Rome, numbered in the dozens… not hundreds.

In the ancient world of the Mediterranean, and possibly throughout europe (any Heathen or archeologically minded readers please chime in!) it was quite common to have an altar of some sort in the home where the members of the family, perhaps represented by the Man or Lady of the House, would make small personal offerings and prayers to the Gods.

I have recently had the epiphany that this style of worship is one that I have been attracted to for years.  Long before I thought of expanding my Paganism beyond Religous Witchcraft.

Frankly, for me, as a Solitary Pagan there is not the need for the complex bells and whistles.  As a Witch I am glad for knowing how to perform the Circle, and am glad to take part in or share and perform this rite with/for others; but if it is just myself and the Lady and Lord I really don’t have to go through all the effort.

NOT that They are not worth the effort!  But I mean seriously, having established my relationship with Them and with the Elements… Why do I need to use the Circle?  The Witches Circle is a wonderful ritual and does it’s job marvelously, but it was specifically designed for certain circumces.  Having performed that rite on more than a few occasions I have learned and internalized some of it’s lessons.

I will admit as a Witch though I am still drawn toward the Witches Circle as a ritual format and will continue to use it a few times a year, but for now I think I need to focus more on the substance of my relating to the divine than the style.

Then I look at my relationship with Hecate, and Dionysus, and the other Gods of the Greek and Greco-Egyptian Pantheons.

Even many of the personal or private rituals that I find seem so full of.. well,. STUFF!  Statues and dishes and plates and censers and thises and that’s… not that I would MIND having more stuff, it’s just that I am lacking in the cash and physical space department these days.

Even if I had the room and the money though, I think that I would still be keeping it fairly simple.  A lot of religious rituals for groups, including the ritual models we have from the Ancient World and too  the Witches Circle, are designed for groups of varying sizes.  Part of what makes a group ritual successful is the symbolic acts and images that help to focus the minds and spirits and energies of the participants on the rite at hand.  This is what the complexity of Ancient, and indeed Modern, ritual is all about.

After so many years studying and practicing magic and ritual and theurgy, when it is just myself and my Deities, I don’t need all the triggering outer stuff.  I just need my Will, my connection with the Gods, and a few simple spiritual practices.  Me and the Gods, offering up a libation of water or some sweet-smelling incense; the simple reaching out to Them and offering them some of what I have.  Offering up prayers to Them to thank Them for the blessings in my life.

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2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Domestic Worship

  1. Great blog post, Pax. I couldn’t agree with you more, and that’s why there’s such a strong emphasis on the domestic aspect of worship within Neos Alexandria.

    I would say, however, that we do actually possess a lot more on domestic religion than many people assume. Check out these two essays for starters:

    http://neosalexandria.org/domestic_worship.htm
    http://neosalexandria.org/domestic_religion.htm

    I could recommend a number of great books if you’re seriously interested in delving deeper into that.

    • Please do! am sure I and some of my readers would be interested in resources to delve deeper. I will have to wait until I can really afford books again (may it happen soon!).

      The two links you mention are two of the ONLY online sources on the topic I can find… I find it surprising that there isn’t more discussion of this…

      Then again I suppose it is natural to keep ones intimate moments with the Gods to oneself… that is probably part of the reason we have so much more information on the Temple, and State, and City, and Cultic worship from Ancient Times than we do the domestic!

      Peace,
      Pax

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