30 Days of Paganism: My ways of worship

You are the hole in my head
You are the space in my bed
You are the silence in between
What I thought and what I said

You are the night time fear
You are the morning when it’s clear
When it’s over you’re the start
You’re my head, you’re my heart

No Light, No Light — Florence + the Machine

My religious journey has been one of expansion. I have expanded so many of my thoughts on how to do religion, and ideas on how to worship is no exception to that.

the Morrigan made it clear, early on, that She wanted action from me more than anything else. As time went on my idea on what that action was expanded. At first I thought only my activism “counted”, but She wants my writing, too. She hungers for my sacrifice — not the blood itself, but the act of cutting, of knowing when to stop.** She needs my resistance — in any way I resist capitalist, colonist culture, I am worshipping Her. (Yes, just breathing is worship. In this land, just existing while indigenous is resistance. Existing while socially classed as female. Existing while queer. Existing while disabled. The list goes on. There are so many people our society is hellbent on eradicating, so if you are one of them, and you are still alive — you resist. You fight, with your every breath. No one has any right to ask any more of you.)

My choice to continue living in the face of wanting to die for so long is also worship of Her. It is an action, a choice I make, that contributes to further resistance of the continued violence against me by our oppressive society. Finding joy in a life so shackled by despair — that is worship.

All of these things are so much more important to the Morrigan than my lighting a candle on the shrine and saying a prayer — though I do that, too. And both She and Brighid appreciate a well-brewed cup of tea.

For Brighid, I give offering of french fries and whiskey, and I pray to Her while I knit. I speak Her words when I read tarot for people; when I write, She guides my hands. She gave me the gift of prophecy and speaking Her truth is how I show my devotion. I worship Her at the altar of my own brokenness, when I put aside my shards and use whatever’s left within to raise up those around me. I have worshipped Her in bed with my lovers, learning my own body’s worth through their exploring hands.***

I have worshipped Her in song, in drumming, in standing half-naked under the frozen November sky. I have worshipped Her in giving loans on Kiva to help someone else get back up on their feet. I have worshipped Her by sitting at this computer until my fingers ache from all the words that spill out of me, a flood of fire, the burning in my head too much to bear.

And I have worshipped Her before I even knew Her, spending time in service of my fellow human at the soup kitchen. And later, when I did know Her, I knit hats for the homeless, and I did it for Her, and later realized it was for Manannan, too.

I give my Father cups of tea or sips of my Apple Lime cider. I make apple crisp at Samhain and it’s for Him, and for the dead, and for my living family, so we always remember the bonds that hold us together. Below the roots of the apple tree are the dead, nourishing that which gives us life — it is only right that we give back some of it to them, that we leave some out in the rain that keeps those apples so shiny, and so crisp. Apples, and the dead.

He wishes for peace in all lives, so when I light a candle and let it loose in a paper lantern on the ocean’s quiet waves, I am praying for peace too. When I walk for peace, when I write for peace, when I work on the Peace Poem initiative — I am doing His work.

When I offer comfort to the disturbed; when I disturb the comfortable, I am worshipping Him in the ways I know how. I feel His sorrow at the pain of people; I feel His need to put a blanket over the shoulders of the suffering, to help them forget. And I feel His need to seriously fuck up the preconceptions of people who can’t handle too many queers at their gathering — “Let your freak flag fly, darling,” He whispers to me, as He puts on Mary Jane shoes and a wig in flaming rainbow colors. “Queer the fuck out of everything.”

So I do. I queer the fuck out of everything and I make no apologies, high-fiving my Father as I come home laughing at the looks on their faces.

I worship Him when I swim in the ocean and feel the water cleanse me of my sins; when I dance in the rain and feel it run in rivulets down my face, like tears that give you clarity. I worship Him when I use soap that smells like the ocean, and I scrub away the pains of the day.

I worship Him when I pick up litter at the beach. I worship Him when I do whatever I can to save our oceans. I worship Him, though I often feel powerless to, though I often feel helpless in the face of so much destruction.

I worship Them all when I sit and listen to the songs that remind me of Them; when I sing to these songs; when I let the music move me; when my spirit is on a precipice, ready to jump, knowing They’ll catch me.

~~~

Worship is so much more than sitting at the shrine and praying, though I do that too, and it matters just as much. I expanded my view on worship, and now I try to worship in everything I do. Lighting a candle can help me, yes, but it’s not the only way I can show my devotion. There are so many ways I can live in my faith; so many ways I can find the gods in my everyday life, and show Them how I feel.

There are so many ways of worship, I feel I cannot talk about them all in one post.****

~Morag

**I only cut in a religious capacity these days, and I do it very rarely, making sure I’m in the right headspace to handle it and not get back into cutting as a way to deal with my depression. It’s something that works for me but may not work for everyone who has struggled with self-harm in the past.

***One of those lovers turned out to be toxic to me — but even a broken tool can be used in a goddess’ hands to reshape someone’s soul, to prepare them for what is to come. And She did.

****I only touched on worshipping the Three in this post. There are many other ways I worship other gods in my life, but like I said — more than one post’s worth.

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