Having recently gotten back into somewhat of a routine, and begun to establish new practices in addition to resuming lapsed ones, I thought it might be a good time to write out what my religious life looks like these days. Having asked around a little, it seems posts like these are generally of interest to others too, so here goes. In many ways this is an updated version of an older post of mine here.
Every morning, after I go downstairs and open the cat-flap, I perform three prostrations, something akin to a yogic sun salutation, facing east to greet the sun as it rises. This is repeated in the evenings facing south to mark the sunset, (south rather than west, as west is the direction of the dead, whereas south is thought to both be the direction of the sun’s peak in the sky of the northern hemisphere, as well as being the direction of the Nile river’s source in Egypt).
As is written in the Corpus Hermeticum XIII.16:
“Thus then, my son, stand in a place uncovered to the sky, facing the southern wind, about the sinking of the setting sun, and make thy worship; so in like manner too when he doth rise, with face to the east wind.“– Mead, G.R.S. (tran.) (1906) Thrice-Greatest Hermes, vol. 2: I. Corpus Hermeticum: XIII. (XIV.) The Secret Sermon on the Mountain. Available at: https://www.sacred-texts.com/gno/th2/th227.htm.
Similarly, Asclepius XLI.1 says:
“Now when they came forth from the holy place, they turned their faces towards the south when they began their prayers to God.– Mead, G.R.S. (tran.) (1906) Thrice-Greatest Hermes, vol. 2: II. The Perfect Sermon; or The Asclepius: Part XV. Available at: https://www.sacred-texts.com/gno/th2/th251.htm.
For when the sun is setting, should anyone desire to pray to God, he ought to turn him thitherwards; so also at the rising of the same, unto that spot which lies beneath the sun.“
This is done whilst chanting “Dua Amun-Ra-Banebdjedet, dua Heru-Akhety, dua Asklēpios-Imhotep” at sunrise, or in the mornings, and “Dua Banebdjedet-Ptah-Tatenen, dua Sokar-Wesir, dua Asklēpios-Imhotep” at sunset, or in the evenings.
After washing and getting dressed, I put on my ankh pendant and say a short prayer asking that Taweret, Aset, Wesir, and Heru-sa-Aset watch over me and guide me throughout the day, then similarly, I put on my donarkeule pendant and say a short prayer asking that Airþa and Epona watch over me and guide me through the day ahead. This is then mirrored when changing for bed in the evening, with prayers of thanks for guidance and being watched over as the pendants are removed and hung up for the night. On particularly low days, this might simply be shortened to a quick mumbling of “Dua Taweret, dua Aset, dua Wesir, dua Heru-sa-Aset. Haila Airþa jah haila Epona” (“Praise Taweret, praise Aset, praise Wesir, praise Heru-sa-Aset. Hail Airþa and hail Epona“). These pendants are always worn under my shirt, partially to feel them against my chest as subtle reminders throughout the day, partially because I do not consider it particularly necessary to show them off, and partially so as to not deal with the annoyance of their swinging around as I work.
Throughout the day, as I make myself coffee, when stirring it and letting it brew I say a short prayer of thanks to those Gods, spirits, and ancestors involved with its creation, discovery, cultivation, trade, and distribution, that the coffee help me with the motivation, creativity, and drive to get through the day. (Much less regularly but similarly, if I drink any alcohol, I will say a prayer to those of the earth, agriculture, and alchemy, honouring them and giving my respect to the drink and those involved in the various processes from the creations of the plants required through to my being able to pour myself a beverage).
I endeavour to find times for meditation during my day, whether for two minutes or three-quarters of an hour, whether formally sat in a cross-legged position on the floor, or sat in a chair, whether having opted for a dedicated meditation time, or taking advantage of a few moments as I wait for a bus or a loading screen. I take these moments of meditation to ground myself, to be open to my surroundings, perhaps to reflect upon anything significant or contemplate something I heard or read, or to silently ask for guidance with a problem or an uncertainty.
There are other statues, figures, and pictures around the house that serve more as reminders and calming presences than anything. Statues of various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, a carved figure of Ganesha, a Krishna, and then a statue of Baphomet on my bedside table.
Roughly twice, or thrice, a week I aim to perform a full ritual at both shrines in my house. These are preceded by my washing my hands and face, if not having a full shower, and covering my head with the knitted beanie my partner created for me that is kept aside for religious rites. These rituals are typically done in the mornings, but if that is not doable between parenting, work, and so on, then they are done in the evenings, typically around cooking dinner, or later at night before bed.
At the one shrine, I light a candle and welcome Þaibons as hearth-deity, offering incense and asking that She oversee the rites, that my offerings and prayers be worthy of the Gods and received well. Then I pray and offer to Airþa and Epona, (my Divine Mothers), Milukaiþei, Aƕa, and the Raznahma, (or house-spirit). I ask that my friends and loved ones be safe, happy, healthy, and blessed; that I may progress in every facet of my life and be the best version of myself I can be, honouring Them and those around me as best I can; but primarily, I give thanks for all that I have received, all that I am receiving, and all that I shall receive. I offer water, at minimum, or I offer, water, tea/coffee, and rice/oats, and pause in reverent silence to spend time in the presence of the Hailagans, (“Holy Ones”), observing whatever thoughts or feelings may arise, before giving thanks for Their presence, thanks to Þaibons for presiding over the ritual, bowing and extinguishing the candle. Offerings at this shrine are disposed of after the ritual, or are left overnight and disposed of the next morning.
At the other shrine, I light a candle and praise Wepwawet who opens the way, with offerings of incense to Netjer before welcoming and praising Taweret, Aset (who is known in Greek as Isis, and whom I am coming to understand as Aset-Hatmehyt), Wesir (who is known in Greek as Osiris, and whom I am coming to understand as Wesir-Banebdjedet), and Heru-sa-Aset/Harsiese, (who also appears as Heru-Akhety, Heru-pa-khered, and is known in Greek as both Horus and Harpocrates). I give thanks for guidance, love, and support. I ask that my loved ones be blessed, happy, healthy, and safe. I give thanks for my astrological learnings, and a deepened understanding of the interconnectedness of all things. I offer water, and occasionally will offer flowers or meal portions in addition, before, again, having that moment of silence, thanking Them, bowing, and extinguishing the candle. Offerings given at this shrine are reverted and consumed following the ritual, before the candle is extinguished.
I also, typically once a week, will leave a propitiatory offering of some description in the garden, and I will make an offering with a word of thanks in the living room, as the centre of the house, to the Raznahma, the house spirit, who devours all that would harm us, and within whose coils we may be kept safe and secure.
Holidays ⁊ Less Frequent Undertakings
As a member of Sidjus Reidarje Sauilis, I observe holidays on the dark moons, new moons, and full moons. Our calendar is viewable here.
On these holidays, I typically give offerings of cookies, meal portions, and milk, but during such times as that is impractical for various reasons, my usual staples of water, tea/coffee, and oats/rice are offered, or at the very least a simple offering of water is given. These are holidays to give thanks and praise to Mena, Keeper of Time, Pale-Faced Watcher, and Master of Secrets, as well as any relevant Gods, spirits, and ancestors.
Using the Gregorian calendar, I perform a ritual offering of incense to Ianvs (Janus) on the first of every month, to mark the holiday of Kalends, where I give thanks for the month ending and the month arriving, that the upcoming month be fortuitous and that any hardships of the leaving month be resolved and become lessons.
I occasionally, also, celebrate traditional Irish or Gaelic holidays on the cross-quarters, solstices, equinoxes and so on, such as Imbolg (nó Lá Ḟéıle Bríd) and Lá Saṁna. These are often more family-oriented, and less solitary.
Any mystical, or esoteric undertakings are undergone on a much more infrequent and irregular basis. Sometimes they may occur in a cluster over a week, other times there may be very little in the way of such things happening for months at a time until a specific holiday occurs, or I feel compelled, or inclined, to do so. But these are always bookended with prayers, offerings, and chants to relevant Gods and spirits, as is the same with any divinatory rites I perform where I ask the great seers, diviners, and liminal ones to accept my love and offerings, that They may see fit to grant revelations, directions, glimpses, or answers, and that I may interpret them well, to the best of my ability. These are largely done in the evenings or at night, at a time I find it easier to focus on such things, and these are the hours I connect to the Gods I venerate in accordance with such workings.
I do observe deathdays, whether I simply silently acknowledge the anniversary of someone’s passing and reflect upon them and their impact upon my life, or whether I perform a ritual, giving offerings and thanks, asking that they were carried safely over and are cared for and at peace.
Whenever I take from the herbs, fruit, or vegetables grown in the house or garden, I ensure I thank the plant, the earth, and the Gods who oversee agriculture and allow for the crop, as I do so. Adjacent to this, I have been known to write lengthy prayers and perform rituals to give thanks for much-needed weather, whether a rainfall after a dry period, or a cool breeze after a heatwave, or a thunderstorm to break atmospheric tension.
I am fascinated with the idea of performing rituals to mark the sun’s advance through the decans, that is the 10° intervals of the zodiac (therefore each of the twelve zodiacal signs is comprised of three decans, each with a different ruling planet and differing significations), which is something I have become much more attuned to noticing since joining the Starsdance Mystery School; or to mark the moon’s progression through the lunar mansions, the moon’s journey across the zodiac, (of which there are twenty-eight in Arabic and Medieval European astrology, or either twenty-seven or twenty-eight in Vedic/Indian astrology known as “Nakshatras” (नक्षत्रम्), again each having differing significations astrologically); or to observe each planet entering its ruling sign, (Mars into Aries or Scorpio, Venus into Taurus or Libra, Mercury into Virgo or Gemini, and so on). However, I am currently abstaining from such a practice due to having a good sense of my routine now, and do not wish to over-extend myself and burn out. As wonderful as such plans are, they would add a lot to my calendar.
If it is of interest to readers, I can attempt to wax theological in another post about how I reconcile all of this and am always happy to share any theological musings of my own to interested parties, but in short, being a polytheist is defined by its multiplicity and plurality. Polytheistic religions are “Yes, and…” religions, accepting many truths simultaneously. So, I see no contradictions in venerating, worshipping, and acknowledging various “solar deities”, or “lunar deities” or so on. Nor do I see contradictions or clashes in living as a Gothic Heathen, as well as practising Kemetic, or even Greco-Egyptian, religious rites.
It may be worth mentioning that the vast majority of this is performed as a solitary practice. I do not live alone, nor am I without co-religionists in my online communities, but in practical terms this is my home practice and as such is done largely in solitude. I do not view this as a negative, on the contrary, it allows for a great deal of customisation, flexibility, and so on. If I am sick, or such, I do not have to worry about contacting people travelling to arrange rescheduling. In group settings, there is always some degree of compromise as to who to worship, what order to put events in, and so on, which I am only subject to when partaking in rituals done online through video-calls or such. Otherwise, I am my own priest, and the few times my step-daughter has participated in domestic cultus she has done so under my lead. Thankfully, both my partner and step-daughter are respectful of my practice and if they hear what sounds like prayer, or see me wearing my head-covering, or gathering incense, they either manoeuvre around me quietly, or keep out of the way until it is visibly clear that I am finished.
As always, when topics such as this arise I am reminded of something I hear a lot in relation to meditation and martial arts: It’s called a practice; if you were there already there’d be no need.
Also, these are relationships with the Gods, spirits, and ancestors. As with any relationship, they are journeys, with ebbs and flows, twists and turns, sometimes it seems like it runs on auto, and other times it does require work. But it is not a destination, there may be little goals along the way, but there is no finish-line.
Written out like this, I suppose it seems like a large amount of time spent on religion here. But in reality, it is simply a matter of a few minutes or seconds here and there. I think there are two routes to consider here as well with great implications: 1) fit your religious practices around your day; 2) fit your day around your religious practices. Either way, it is doable.
Additionally, to my mind, it is of paramount importance to focus on what is sustainable and maintainable here. Religious undertakings, routines, holidays, rituals, rites, and so on, ought to bring a sense of connection, reverence, peace, or comfort. If they feel overly forced, exhausting, highly impractical, or draining, then something needs reviewing, altering, or even dropping. If a monthly offering of half a cup of water with a mumbled thanks is all that is manageable, then do that. If you are sick, or otherwise too distracted to focus on ritual, then leave it and try again at another time, or even the following day. It is not uncommon to see people celebrate a holiday at some point across a three-day period of where the day sits on the calendar, with the day itself and then a day either side to allow for practicalities. Sincerity and earnestness ought to be prioritised well above frequency or scale, and practicalities are always a consideration. As Epictetus says in the Enchiridion:
“At the same time, it is never wrong to make sacrifice, pour libations, or offer first fruits in the traditional manner, as long as it is done attentively and not carelessly or by rote, and you neither offer too little or spend beyond your means.”– Enchiridion XXXI.5, “Enchiridion,” in R.F. Dobbin (tran.) (2008) Discourses and Selected Writings. London, England: Penguin, p. 235.
I suppose a not insignificant, but oft overlooked, question would be: “Why?“.
I certainly feel a sense of calm, peace, and things seeming right in that ineffable way described as “just knowing”. Beyond that, I think these are relationships cultivated for our own sense of wellbeing, understanding, and progression. We learn where we are, when we are, who we are, through our relationships, and I think relationships with the Divine are definitely major contributors to such learning.
As Iamblichus says in De Mysteriis I.XI:
“For of the things which are perpetually effected in sacred rites, some have a certain arcane cause, and which is more excellent than reason; others are consecrated from eternity to the superior genera, as symbols; others preserve a certain other image, just as nature, which is effective of invisible reasons, expresses certain visible formations; others are adduced for the sake of honour, or have for their end some kind of similitude, or familiarity and alliance; and some procure what is useful to us, or in a certain respect purify and liberate our human passions, or avert some other of those dire circumstances which happen to us. It must not, however, be on this account granted, that a certain portion of sacred institutions is employed in the service of Gods or dæmons, as if they were passive.“– Iamblichus on The Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Assyrians, Universal Theosophy. Translated by T. Taylor (1821). Available at: https://universaltheosophy.com/tt/iamblichus-on-the-mysteries/ (Accessed: March 5, 2023).
“For of the ceremonies performed from time to time in the Sacred Rites, some have an ineffable cause and a divine principle; others are consecrated to the Superior beings from eternity as symbols are consecrated; others preserve some other image, just as Nature, the Supreme Genetrix also from invisible concepts, moulds visible semblances. Others are brought forward from some motive of veneration, or they are endeavours at figurative representation, or some concept of a family relationship. Some prepare us for something that is useful, or in some way purify and free our human passions, or turn away some of the evils that may be impending over us. Yet it may not be admitted that any part of the Holy Observance is performed to the gods or dæmons as to impressionable beings.” For the essence which is subjectively everlasting and incorporeal is not of a nature to permit any change from the bodies (offered at the Rites).“– Theurgia or The Egyptian Mysteries. Translated by A. Wilder (1911). Available at: http://www.esotericarchives.com/oracle/iambl_th.htm (Accessed: March 5, 2023).
Believing the Gods and spirits to be active agents in our cosmos, I think it behoves us to have an awareness of Them to some degree, be that intellectual or experiential, and to build, maintain, and sustain relationships with Them. Even if one rejects a Platonic, Hermetic, or other such tradition’s, notion of seeking to unite or join with a Divine Source, or transcend an understanding of a mundane, physical reality, having such relationships, performing such rituals, and carrying out the practices can help with a sense of grounding, a sense of connection to something bigger than oneself, and a sense of orientation.
More than anything, I give Them thanks. I give thanks for all that has been, all that is, and all that shall come. I give thanks much more than I ever ask for anything, and hope to always be open to hearing Them, and following Their path for me through life. As I have explained before, my place in all of this, and the gifts of the Gods, did not begin when I began my praxis, rather I realised my place in all of this, and have grown to see the gifts, creations, and blessings of the Gods with an ability to give thanks with prayer and offering.
If you like the stuff you’re seeing around here, feel free to help fuel my coffee habit, send in any questions, or suggest a topic you would like to see me write about.
5 thuairim ar “A Day In The Life”
Thank you for sharing your practice! I’ve been toying with writing an updated “this is what I do” post (prompted by a moment a few days ago when I wrote out my actual holiday observances), and seeing your post is very inspiring. It sounds like you have a lovely routine-vibe going on, and I appreciated reading about how you approach the Gods. Do you separate your shrines due to the different ritual protocols or is it a “where I have space” decision?
MoladhMolta ag 2 duine
Thank you for reading! I would love to read it if you did write such a post. It’s a bit of both, regarding the shrine separation. They are different ritual frameworks and such, but also the practical considerations of house space and so on. I suppose “Where do I have space?” came first, as I could put the two alongside each other on a long shelf or table, or one above the other on a set of shelves or such, but that’s not currently doable.
MoladhMolta ag 2 duine
Thank you for sharing!
MoladhMolta ag 2 duine