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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

September 5th, 2007

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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:
  1. I'll bore folks out of their skull, or they won't have enough time to achieve a ritual mindset
  2. 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
As an example of how fast my devotions go now, my entire sunrise devotional can be summed up like this:
  1. Strike a match
  2. Sing the Clergy Charm while lighting the candle(s)
  3. Pray a seven-line prayer to Usas.
  4. Stand "still" for a moment
  5. Put on my necklace
  6. extinguish the candle
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.

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: frustratedfrustrated
Current Music: "Hula Girl at Heart", -JB

(19 comments Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:September 6th, 2007 02:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Simple = Good

I was thinking about this yesterday. Or maybe today. Hell, I may have been thinking about this tomorrow at this rate: I'm befuddled on my days. That aside:

I think that the most useful thing for folk who wish to be clergy can learn is actually how to achieve religious meaning from the theatrical aspects of public ritual, and/or how to ensure that his/her religious needs are being met through other, more personal interaction with the Powers.

I remember a time when I used to get all the fulfillment I needed out of public ritual. Then I started doing public ritual regularly, and realized that I needed a lot more ritual to get anything out of my religious life. :)

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