ad·o·ra·tion (d-rshn): n. 1. The act of worship.
2. Profound love or regard.
While I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, I’ve also been having a difficult time figuring out what to call this part of my practice. I’ve also been worried about offending people with my opinions about worship; but taking Gordon’s only blogging tip to heart (“only ever post something that gives you trepidation…. [o]therwise you’ve probably just pitched shit at everyone”), I’m writing about it anyway. Here we go.
For the record, I’m violently allergic to the pseudo-Christian way in which many devotional polytheists interact with their gods.* In an effort to distance myself from that mode of thinking, for quite a while I’ve been defining my practice as not involving gods. However, that’s not entirely true. I do have relationships with several “large” beings—what Waincraft would call “Powers”**—but devotion doesn’t describe my practice.
Thus, I’ve been looking for term other than “devotion” for a while now, and yet again I have discovered how the thesaurus is my friend. Devotion, with its current connotations (at least in the Pagan blogosphere) of servitude/slavery and low self-esteem, is something of which I wish to avoid. But adoration, that’s another story. I do adore my gods. I love them, I’m inspired by them, I share food and drink with them as I would my mother and father. I do not worship them for why would one worship one’s own family?
Bearing the aforementioned information in mind, the following is a rough outline of my calendar of adoration, presented using the Waincraft titles for the Powers as those resonate most strongly for me.
The Star Mother/The Holy Earth—Beltaine/Samhain axis. The outermost circle of the wheel, the beings who encompass the whole of my practice. These two ladies are the balance between the supporting ground and the inspiring skies.
The Lord of the Green/The Lord of the Hunt—Alban Eilir/Alban Elfed axis. The second circle of the wheel, the god who guides me through the wood, and the god who guides me through the otherworlds. They are the balance between growth and decay, tutor and psychopomp.
The Red Lady/The Witcher—Imbolc/Lughnasadh axis. The third circle is the goddesses who bring magic into my life, though passion and patience, sex and death.
The Long Flame***/The Maker—Alban Arthan/Albin Hefin axis. This is the innermost circle, the creative dance that fuels my reason for being. These gods embody the Divine Twins, the Fire and the Smith.
My celebrations now span three days (with the exception of Alban Arthan, which lasts twelve). On the eve of a high day, I acknowledge the fading of one influence; on the day of, I celebrate the zenith of a second; and on the day after, I welcome the beginning of a third and new presence in my life. I began working this model at Imbolc this year, and I’m looking forward to see how well it suits me in the year to come.
The other tweak I’ve made to my celebration schedule is to try to observe the cross-quarter days at 15 degrees of the fixed signs (Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, and Scorpio). In many ways, this works very well for solo practice as it is much less likely to conflict with other Pagan groups who follow the calendrical cross-quarter model.
There you have it! A work in progress for one Druid’s personal practice.*I’m also violently allergic to the rampant improper capitalization of pronouns and common nouns, but that’s a rant for another time. **This is a collective noun, whose capitalization does not irritate me for some reason. Go figure. ***Long Flame is my personal epithet for the Lord of the Winds, for those following along in the Waincraft lingo.