Thoughtful Thursday Presents: Devotional Practice
A lot of thought must go into developing a devotional practice, so I thought this would be the perfect topic for this weeks Thoughtful Thursday post. First I would like to apologize this is going up so late! I took the day off yesterday and the day before to spend time on my devotional practice- preparing and celebrating Lughnasadh.
Devotional Practice for Hekate
At the end of every month, I perform a ritual for Hekate. She is the Queen of the Underworld, the Torch Bearer, the Keep of the Keys to All Realms. Her torches light the way to the path you must take to reach the next phase in life. She is found in liminal locations, that is places that are in two places at once – putting it simply. She is older than time, and people have been leaving offerings to her at crossroads and intersections for centuries. The ritual I perform is an adaptation of the deipnon.
The Deipnon, meaning “evening meal” and it was how the Athenians honored Hekate each month. A portion of the last meal of the day was placed out for Hekate and the restless dead. This offering was to purify the household, atoning for any misdeed a person of the household may have committed. It also was given to gain Hekate’s favor, as well as appease the vengeance of any spirits residing with her. People would place meals at crossroads or in shrines dedicated to her outside the entranceways to the home. This was done on the last day of the Athenian calendar, and many modern devotees, like myself, have adopted it as a monthly practice honoring her. The Athenian calendar, or the Attic calendar, followed the lunar cycles. The new moon marked the end of each month, which is when they would perform this ritual. So, modern devotees may perform this at the end of the calendar month or on the new moon.
Because of the reasons behind my offering, I perform the deipnon on the last day of each month. I give offerings to thank Her for guiding me through the month, lighting the paths I needed to take to meet my goals and to ask her to do the same for the month to come. I also give offering to ask Her to protect my home – to lend me her hounds to scare away anyone or anything that means me harm. I create my own black salt which I pour in front of the threshold to keep nasty spirits and entities from wandering inside.
Devotional practice is how you build and maintain relationships with the gods. As the Morrigan is my Matron goddess, I go to her altar at least once a day to give her an offering and to communicate with her. I talk with her all throughout the day, but I make sure to go to her altar and give her my undivided attention at least once a day. If I don’t have anything in particular to ask her about I will just go and count my blessings. Gratitude is a major component of my witchcraft practice. I believe gratitude empowers much of my magickal workings. I will recognize the blessings I know/feel were from the Morrigan and tell her how they helped me. Of course, she knows this already but it’s important to say so.
I work with Lugh and Cerridwen quite often as well, so I make sure I honor them regularly as well. I have three altars – one is my Morrigan Priestess altar, and the other is my working altar. On that altar, I have a candle and offering dish for Lugh and Cerridwen. These are both in my ‘witchy room’ – where I meditate, cast spells, hold ritual, and store my herbs, crystals, wands, cauldrons, staff – you get the idea. Outside I have a makeshift altar for Hekate – a tree stump on the corner bu the corner of my home. It’s where I leave the food for the deipnon.
If you are polytheistic like I am I hope that you put time and thought into your devotional practice. The gods are not magickal vending machines! If you only talk to them to request their blessing on your spell or rite, they will get fed up and stop coming around when you call. I believe they love us, but I also believe they can get annoyed, even pissed off, with us at times. I know the Morrigan gets pissed when people litter! Being a people pleaser I feel compelled to pick up litter whenever I see it. The Morrigan is not the most convenient Matron goddess but it has been rewarding and fulfilling to have her in my life. All of the gods have become rewarding and fulfilling parts of my life, and I think having a regular devotional practice has made all the difference.