Ad majorem deorum gloriam: worshiping and serving the many gods

In broadly pagan circles, it’s fairly common* to hear a sentiment expressed about our relationship to the gods that boils down to “we don’t ‘worship’: that’s subservient, and it’s what Christians do; we meet our gods as equals.” My more druidic circles tend to be a little less hardcore about this — we do often talk about worship, for one, though more commonly it’s phrased as ‘honoring the gods’ — but even here it creeps in around the edges. I’ve gone along with it for a long while, because that’s what you do when you’re finding your way, but last night I gave up on the whole rigmarole. If you want to try and have a non-worshipful, equal relationship with your gods, more power to you. But I’m dropping that pretense, because for me it’s a sham. Continue reading “Ad majorem deorum gloriam: worshiping and serving the many gods”

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December 24th, Part 2: Modraniht

[This continues the thoughts from “December 24th, Part 1: Christmas]

At Christmas, the figure I latch onto — the one who means the most to me, and who even through my conversion process has never felt far from me — is Mary, the mother of Jesus. The little babe, lying in the manger? He’s the centerpiece, certainly, but her sacrifice is far more compelling: to bear a god, to brave the opprobrium of her community as an unwed mother, to watch her son grow to manhood only to suffer and die as a common criminal, and to steadfastly care for and support him throughout his increasingly strange behavior and eventual death? That, I contend, is true strength and power. That is divinity. Continue reading “December 24th, Part 2: Modraniht”

December 24th, Part 1: Christmas

This past week my husband and I were out of town visiting his family. It was a great trip, full of beautiful locations, plenty of good food and drink, and lots of family fun. The only thing making it difficult for me was the holiday of Christmas, around which the whole holiday season revolves in both my husband’s family and my own. It’s not that I have anything against Christmas as such. I retain deep respect for the religious tradition in which I was raised, and from an entirely irreligious standpoint the civic celebration of yuletide is definitely festive and heartwarming — as the Andy Williams tune has it, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”  But when it comes to the feast of Christmas itself, I have such a welter of emotions and associations around the whole thing that I have a hard time with it.

Continue reading “December 24th, Part 1: Christmas”