This. 👇 So fucking much this.
Bring up prayer and inevitably someone is going to say, “our ancestors didn’t pray.” Well, first of all bullshit…
…People in our communities who refuse prayer, devotion, veneration, sacrifice, and basic piety are parasites. They want the blessings and good things the Gods and a religious community can give without the potential inconvenience of having to show basic respect.
It boggles my mind how many gatherings I’ve attended where more importance was placed on the mead, than the rite for the Gods. Or gatherings where the focus was given to “stuff” or “loot” than it was to the numinous regin.
It’s a huge problem when you have a group that’s been meeting and supposedly worshipping together for years and all they can say individually is “Hail <Deity>”, even the Godhi/Gythia could barely say more.
But religion shouldn’t be mere entertainment, social hour, or a commercial act. Just this week I learned that there’s a Viking Festival here in Texas, and they’ve decided that with purchased admission for their December 21 event you can also attend a blot. Blot is not for commercial entertainment. That is one of our most sacred rituals. Think about it, we don’t sell tickets to Weddings, or Funerals. Those we understand to be sacred occasions, and yet here we are with what should be the most sacred of events, being treated as some cheap carnival act and money making scheme to tack onto the concert that’s part of the offered event.
If you want to pretend to be a Viking, there’s the SCA. If you want to enjoy Viking Metal, there’s tons of concerts and festivals for you. But if you’re going to say you are a member of the religion, then there is PRAYER, there is VENERATION, there is SACRIFICE, there are OFFERINGS, and yes Virginia, there are GODS, many of them in fact. Let us not forget that the Gods exist beyond the confines of the “lore” too. They’re not powers confined to the pages of a text.
I’m thankful we’ve got devotional books out there (thanks to Galina Krasskova leading the way with her seminal work: Whisperings of Woden) that help people with examples they can use directly, or be inspired to create their own prayers. On my facebook feed earlier today, there was a post about a new book of Heathen prayer “The Gods’ Own Country” (published May 2019), and as a bonus it comes with new illustrations. I hadn’t heard of the book before, but I think I’ll be ordering it here after Yule. It makes me happy to know it even exists.
I’ve used my own prayers, and invocations to create (and hoard other creations) shareable images for social media to show as an example that yes, Heathens do pray. We do venerate. And more importantly we should be. I understand not everyone is comfortable being public with their devotions, and that is fine so long as my co-religionists are actually engaging with THEM.