Gender Politics in Worship?

As part of my efforts to shake up my home practice, my husband is creating a random deity “generator” for me, a program that will email to me a specific deity or entity to honor during my nightly ritual. The list of deities comes from me, of course, and tonight I sat down to make it.

I listed all the deities I’ve worked with and felt connected to, as well as all those I’d like to get to know better. I put a lot of thought and care into those Beings I’d like to draw closer to my hearth. But as I began to glance back over my list, I realized that it’s pretty lady-heavy.

Am I, as a woman, inclined to worship goddesses rather than goddesses? Have I connected with them because of our shared femininity? Do I feel more comfortable praying to a Being who has, on some oddly-perceived level, more in common with me? Am I (I say this in a whisper) sexist?

What an interesting and alarming thought. I’ll be exploring this a bit more in the coming weeks.

How about you? Are you more inclined to worship a deity that shares your gender identity?

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I resigned from my grove this weekend, readers. It was a big decision, and one that took me a long time to do. For a variety of reasons, it was the right choice, but there’s “a bend in the road” now, as Anne of Green Gables would say, and I’m not sure what’s around it.

I’m happy to be returning to solitary practice. As a grove member, I was often unable to balance my grove work with my personal work. That’s a failing of mine, but it became dire enough that I had to take steps to shift my focus. Home practice is the foundation of all practice, and because of that, it’s the most important.

Wish me luck! These are big changes, but I think they’ll be for the best.

A Short Nightly Devotional

This is the devotional I do at my altar every evening before bed. It’s short (10 minutes, give or take, depending on your preparation level, and how long you want to meditate), and designed to create a state of peace and gratitude at the end of the day. Each phrase starts “global,” by thanking the Being for a wider part they play, and then moves “local,” thanking the Being for helping me in personal ways.

I say “designed,” but a better word would be “evolved”: the words I use have changed and fluctuated a lot over the last years, and they’ve finally settled into something I’m happy enough with to share. Last night I wrote it down, because a friend of mine told me she rarely has time to do daily work at her own altar, and when she does, she has a hard time finding the words to speak.

I mentioned preparations, but not much is required beyond standard ADF Hallows: a well, fire, and tree. My well is always filled, and it sits with my candle-fire and tree on my altar, along with three candles for the three Kindred. Beneath my altar, I have a basket with bags of oats and other dry offerings, a bottle of whiskey, and incense, so offerings are at my fingertips.

The truth? You don’t even need the Hallows. An offering bowl and a bag of oats will do the trick.

So, here you are:

Grey Wren’s Short Nightly Devotional

I come before the Sacred Well, the Sacred Fire, and the Sacred Tree to give thanks for the blessings given me this day. If desired, spend a moment meditating on the Well, Fire, and Tree: a short Two Powers meditation works well here.

I give thanks to the Earth Mother for the support and sustenance she gives me, in this rite as in all things. (Make offering.) Hail Earth Mother.

I give thanks to the Ancestors for making my life possible, and for the guidance and blessings they give me. (Make offering.) Hail Ancestors.

I give thanks to the Nature Spirits for sharing this world with me, and for the guidance and blessings they give me.  (Make offering.) Hail Spirits of Nature.

I give thanks to the Gods and Goddesses for the magic they bring to this world, and for the guidance and blessings they give me. (Make offering.) Hail Shining Ones.

Optional: Repeat this pattern to thank your patrons for their presence and for in your life. For example, I might say:
I give thanks to Brighid for the warmth and inspiration she brings to my home, and for the guidance and blessings she gives me. Hail, Brighid.

Optional: At this point, I draw a tarot card to serve as message for the day to come. I leave it on my altar throughout the next day as a reminder.

I gave thanks to all the Kindred for the presence in my life, and the blessings they have given me.

 

And that’s that.

Doubts, Dreams, and Other Things

I’m still here, readers. I’ve been through some very exciting personal things, and some very intense doubts about — well, lots of things.

But my daily practice has remained. It is my rock, the one constant thing in my life, every single day — aside, of course, from brushing my teeth and dealing with my contact lenses. Every night, before bed, I make offerings, give thanks, and perform a divination for the coming day, and that decompression time is frequently the quarter of an hour each day that keeps me sane, in spite of all the wonderful craziness in my life right now. I’ve even added to my practice with monthly retreat days, and I find myself looking forward to those retreat days like a traveler in the desert seeks an oasis. Those days ‘refill the well’, as writers often say, and they give me the spiritual sustenance I need to carry on in the midst of daily life.

That daily practice is what proves to me that I’m on the right path. In spite of my busyness, in spite of drama and conflict, in spite of my insecurities and occasional doubts, my dedication to the Kindreds and to the druid path have no wavered.

Did you know I’m working on the pre clergy training program classes, readers? It’s true. I’d like to be an ADF priest one of these days. My life has just gotten so much more complicated, and I’m about to start dedicating 110% of my time to my fiction writing, so this dream will take a little bit longer to accomplish than I would like. But I will make time for my studies, just as I make time for my devotionals. I feel the call, and nothing—not even achieving my professional dreams—will change that.

In the mean time, I just need to learn a little bit more balance and call on the discipline I learned in my DP studies. I’d like to finish my first essay for my first class this Sunday and submit my work, just before the legal new year begins. Keep me in your thoughts, and wish me much distraction-free time!

If you miss my writing, and if you find yourself looking to refill your own will, check out my post at SolitaryDruid.org, and browse a bit while you’re there. Teo’s liturgy is wonderful, and I think my own contribution is nothing to sneeze at. Be well readers, and pray with a good fire. I hope to return more regularly in 2013.