September 5th, 2007
|09:30 am - Festival angst, on the horizon|
At Summerland, Nora asked me if I'd do a workshop/ritual on my sunrise and sunset devotions for Desert Magic next year. I agreed, and also agreed to talk about Vedism in a workshop as well. I'm pretty sure that I can talk about Vedism for a while with no real issues.
The more I think about it, though, the more issues I have with the devotional aspect. The central problem, for me, is that my sunrise and sunset devotions are so amazingly simple and unimpressive that I'm almost embarrassed by how. . . "un-theatrical" they are.
Theatrics play a large role in group ritual. It's just the nature of the beast. They do not play a role in my own rituals, because there's no need to reinforce cosmology, intent, or anything else. I admit what might be described as a "deep fear" that someone standing outside my personal practice would find it weak, lacking imagination, and undeniably simplistic.
I think what I'm most afraid of is that I'll do my devotional in the morning and one of two things will happen:
As an example of how fast my devotions go now, my entire sunrise devotional can be summed up like this:
- I'll bore folks out of their skull, or they won't have enough time to achieve a ritual mindset
- I'll plan a lot, but get so lost in my devotion to Usas or Ratri that I'll forget that there are other people there with me, and I'll either speak too quietly or personally to the deities for anyone to "follow along" into a ritual mindset
It took me about six times as long to type that as it does to actually do the devotional, where the longest item, the prayer, clocks in at 15 seconds. (Ratri's prayer, in the evening, takes a total of 18 seconds, and is one line longer.) My average devotional lasts between 30 seconds and one minute.
- Strike a match
- Sing the Clergy Charm while lighting the candle(s)
- Pray a seven-line prayer to Usas.
- Stand "still" for a moment
- Put on my necklace
- extinguish the candle
Sure, some days I might add other prayers, such as my "Prayer to the Absent Epona," or a prayer to another deity, but these are actually fairly rare: most of my prayers to deities other than Usas (or Ratri at night) are done during regular ADF rites at my altar.
In the end, I am not sure how to do a sunrise or sunset devotional for a group of people who have no investment in Usas or Ratri. There are so many nuances in my own worship and adoration that even I do not understand them all.
Interestingly, as uncertain as I am about the entire concept of doing a group devotional, I'm not uncertain about the key aspect: I'll get up that morning and pour out my adoration to Usas, and I will pray fervently to Ratri that night. The twin daughters of heaven will be pleased, even if no one else is. And honestly, that's okay.
Then again, no one attends sunrise services at DMF anyway, so the point is probably moot.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: frustrated
Current Music: "Hula Girl at Heart", -JB
Michael, not sure if you were going to go in this direction, but I would LOVE to attend a workshop on how to develop a simple morning/evening devotional.
Especially helpful would be tips on how to train oneself to get into that ritual mindset within only a few moments instead of having to take time to center and ground and whatnot. (Of note here is that I still find that I'm roadblocked by the "meditation thing", especially when it's done in group ritual, it's certain to bore me to the point where I want to be doing anything BUT ritual at that point)
I still have issues with developing my own personal practice, (after almost 10 years in ADF, mind you) because I feel downright SILLY, doing what I would feel [u]quite[/u] comfortable doing in a group ritual, when I'm home alone standing before my altar. I haven't been able to completely develop a personal ADF-style ritual that feels right yet, so I end up not doing one at all, which is truly a sad thing.
At the very least, I'd like to be able to come up with something I can do as soon as I wake up in the morning, and just before I roll into bed at night. My altar is a few steps away from the bed, so this makes perfect sense to me as the times of day that I should do my devotionals to Freya and Thor.
Along this line of thinking, it might be beneficial for some of the workshop time to be spent allowing folks time to write and run through, privately or publicly, such a simple devotional of their very own to their very own patrons and gods. It allows for personalization, praxis, and something else that starts with "p" that I haven't thought up yet.
That said, my own morning devotions to Oghma take a full five minutes. He will have words involved. Motormouth.