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I am more than what is seen with the eyes

May 19, 2013

You know the hardest thing about being a solitary is when you get stuck between what you are told and what you feel.  I used to do my daily devotional not long after my son left for school.  I hadn’t showered, I hadn’t ate breakfast, I hadn’t even combed my hair.  But I was there because I was ready to commune with my ancestors, nature kin and gods.  Daily.  But then I read something about miasma and showing up like you were going out with a friend.  Showered.  Dressed. Nicely even. And so I started to stumble.  To worry that my lack of a shower was offensive.  That my yoga pants and sweatshirt weren’t good enough.  So I started to wait until after I had showered and dressed in clean if not nice clothes.  Other daily matters sometimes intruded causing me to bump off the daily devotional.  Some days it wouldn’t even get done.  I felt bad.  I felt guilty.  Which made me less likely to do the devotional.  Some days it was forced.  Some days I wondered if they even noticed or even cared…

Enough.  I need to stop worrying so much about the do’s and don’ts of ritual practice.  I’m going to go back to doing what feels good, what feels right.  I need to be me.  A modern female, in modern times.  I’m going to ignore that persistently negative voice in the back of my head that says I’m doing it wrong and going to piss someone off.  I need to trust in the Kindreds that if I’m doing something offensive, unintentionally, that they will let me know, correct me, teach me.  All in an appropriate manner.  Not live with the nameless fear of some nameless horrible fate because I didn’t shower before greeting them in the morning.  I’m going to take this time to try to remember how to love myself, love my body and love the Kindreds without the anxiety of not being good enough, of not doing well enough, of not being enough.  I’m going to find that joy again of starting my day on a positive note, despite what my physical appearance may be.  Because I am more than what is seen with the eyes.  A little dirt don’t hurt.

And I’m going to post this on both blogs before that annoying voice talks me out of it too.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2013 11:39 PM

    Well said!

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  2. naiadis permalink
    May 20, 2013 6:56 AM

    If it helps at all: my morning devotional happens before showering, before getting dressed, before even washing up. When the dog allows, it happens before our morning walk — and the dog allows more and more the older he gets and the less willing he is to get out of bed in the morning. I don’t even brush my teeth or hair. But, tea is poured, incense is lit, prayers are offered, blessings asked, basking in the Presence of my Gods, most especially Poseidon takes place.

    I know within Hellenism miasma is a Thing. I know there’s been talk recently about it applying across the pagan board. But, I wonder how much of ancient pagan miasma concepts were social constructs and/or ideas about the gods, how much of it was about cultural concerns and keeping good with their “folk” as it were, remaining part of what was essentially one’s tribe. And, i wonder a lot how having so much extant records may actually hurt us in our growing relationships with our gods. Poseidon has so little, compared to some, and my spiritual landscape is more comfortably Northern rather than Hellenic, so miasma is not a concept that comes into play in my practice, much.

    It changes, when i’m dealing with rituals that are more formal and/or are in honor of Gods who are not a part of my immediate Family. I will shower and dress and purify before I approach Zeus, for example, or Hades — who are a part of my Family, kin to my kin, but are not my immediate Family, as it were.

    As a hard polytheist, I sort of maintain: it’s between you and your gods. Everything, all of the details of your worship and spiritual practice. And, picking at an idea — because observing rules and conditions of miasma could be a very good way to honor our spiiritual ancestors, right? — isn’t a bad thing. But if it hinders you, it likely doesn’t have a place in your practice.

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    • May 20, 2013 7:28 AM

      I understand the concept of miasma for formal rituals or for group rituals, but I rarely do or go to those. Usually it is just little ol’ me. I’m highly doubtful that such things were observed before the household altar or even at the hearth. I think there is a lot of mix up between the every day observance and festivals.

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      • naiadis permalink
        May 20, 2013 8:08 AM

        “I think there is a lot of mix up between the every day observance and festivals.”

        I agree, yes.

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  3. May 20, 2013 11:03 AM

    I actually do one of my daily devotions IN the shower, have done for many, many years; I started doing so when my children were little and it was the only time and place I could guarantee being alone to do it–they are teenagers now and I still do it. Obviously this particular devotion doesn’t involve candles or offerings but it does involve prayer, and I have been doing it consistently for well over a decade now with no complaints. (And hey, at least I am clean! :))

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  4. J_Agathokles permalink
    May 20, 2013 12:22 PM

    I actually think showering every morning is a bit much… I usually shower/bathe about every two/three days. Or when I got extremely dirty for some reason or other. Before my morning and evening devotionals I simply wash my hands and face. Though when celebrating more important events I do try to shower or bathe. But if you have to shower for every little devotion to the Gods… Then your bills would drain your money away more quickly then the water drains from the shower.

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    • May 20, 2013 2:01 PM

      I have blond hair…it is really obvious if I do not wash it every day. 🙂 Good point on washing hands and face though.

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  5. May 28, 2013 9:47 AM

    Here, here!

    I agree that miasma makes sense for big formal (and by all means public!) rituals, but we worship the old gods. What are the odds that our ancestors bathed before daily devotionals? My Gods and Goddesses are of the forest and the hearth. If I were shiny whenever I spoke with them, I truly believe they’d wonder what the heck was wrong with me. 🙂

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    • May 28, 2013 10:02 AM

      Well I know Zeus isn’t a dirt-ophob and neither is the rest of my biggies…I’m worrying about it less but have gone to making sure my hands and face are clean. 🙂

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      • J_Agathokles permalink
        May 28, 2013 12:12 PM

        I indeed think those are most important 🙂 You use your hands in gestures, in lighting any candles or incense or handling libations and such, and your face is used to speak prayers and such. Plus washing the face can help you empty your mind and focus on the deities 🙂

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