Okay, so very often I come before outdoor shrines without adhering to certain procedures that I think are proper. One day I'll forget to cover my head, (Is that necessary for all theoi, such as Hekate and Hermes?) not bowing, not using khernips, etc. Today was such a day and I tried to remedy that by praying, "Please forgive me for my impiety." Did I do right by that? Or did They not even hear or acknowledge me for coming before Them improperly? In what ways do you remedy your wrongs? Would you even go before your gods if you hadn't prepared appropriately?
Hi friend! I'm also an Alabamian polytheist, though central and not northern. There's a couple of other practicing Greek polytheists around, too, so perhaps if you find yourself in the big metro part of AL you can shoot me a message and we could chat!
I think that such things are completely dependent on circumstances, the particular occasion, the reasons you might be doing such a thing(genuine scarcity of time or resources vs this is a quick prayer and maybe the formality for a big ritual is excessive here vs I could do this but I just really don't care enough right now, etc), and what They in particular might expect of you specifically. In my personal experience with Them, They are very kind, especially to those who are new, and don't necessarily reject Their worshipers just because they didn't dot all the T's and cross all the I's every single time they came before a household shrine, UNLESS the attitude and approach was irreverent or disrespectful. I don't do more than wash my hands and my normal cleaning-up-for-bed most nights when I pray at their shrines(and sometimes forget to do that), and to be honest I've never had a sign in particular of Them being upset about that. I do more for more formal offerings or rituals, of course. BUT my relationship with Them is one of a casual lay person, and They would have different requirement of someone who had been doing things longer, or who had devoted themselves to a more serious path, or whom They had called to observe greater or different restrictions than others.
There was on occasion where I was a little more cavalier and less respectful where I got a subtle sign; I offered a sort of leftover, subpar offering as a second thought once instead of specifically setting something nice aside for Them. I apologized, got a better offering and fixed it the next night when I could. My life is not currently in shambles SO far, knock on wood...
Learning a form of divination is really good for helping with this sort of thing, and eventually you will likely start to develop a sense of Them, and notice signs around you during the prayer or ritual and the days after that relate to something you said to Them, or that They want you to know. There are also a few clergy people online who can do divination if you find yourself in a bind, and there's some around here too, but of course most will ask for compensation for their time, effort and skill. Learning a simple form of divination is, I think, something everyone should do regardless of how deep they go on their particular path, and I think it's also good to have more experienced people to go to when help is needed.
Yes! I understand what you mean by it being dependent on the circumstances. My only concern though is that I have a distrust of divination. I probably need to study up on the various things folks have written on discernment so I can get over that. Its comforting to know there are other polytheists in Alabama. Maybe I don't have to run like hell after I gain my independence after all. =D
I'm not always a very good diviner! But I can tell a huge difference in my clarity when a God is speaking to me than when I'm just trying to pull a reading from my own self. Just be persistent and allow yourself room and time for error and to stumble; it's the only way to learn!
Well, there are more of us in Alabama than I would have thought...so we have North, Central, and South Alabama covered, with many a mile between but hey at least someone's honoring the gods in this state!
As to the question at hand, I think marybeth covered things rather well, if you have done something to really offend the gods then you are going to know about it in no uncertain terms, but being in a harried rush and still getting time in to pray and make offerings isn't going to be one of those offensive things. If you make it a habit of being heavily polluted and don't bother with washing up before making offerings, then eventually that's going to become insulting, but remember that cleansing yourself need not be a real long process for daily devotions.
Personally I wash my hands (up to the elbows if I'm not already dressed for work), face and neck in water that I've poured some khernips into almost every time I go before the shrine in my home...but I do occasionally have to do without. If you don't have khernips or some other purification method, just try to wash your hands and face and unless you have been told by them otherwise, remember that being purified before you come before the gods is for You more than them. It is so that You have a better chance of hearing them when you pray...it is also good manners, but the gods are harder to slight than that.
As for divination, learning what works for you (ie: what lets the gods speak to you) is absolutely essential if the system is actually going to work. For a traditional method of divination I suggest looking into the Greek Alphabet Oracle here: web.eecs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/GAO.html
Personally I use astralagoi and am still in the process of trying to memorize the various oracles to internalize them. I've also found that blending this oracle with the system of shagai bones to be helpful, but then bone-work is something that I'm being nudged to do so your mileage may vary.
I like that idea. Totes should do it. Recently I completely forgot the deipnon and rushed outside around 11:00 when I remembered. She hasn't flung me around or 'tsk tsk'ed at me from the shadows yet though. I don't think forgetting the deipnon is like a 'you've disappointed me' situation but more like a 'No offerings=no purification or protection' kinda deal. Less personal more business is the idea I get but I could definitely be wrong.
Last Edit: Apr 4, 2014 18:03:52 GMT -8 by albatross
That'd be great, except I rarely have any time to get online when at home where I can access Skype...that and limited bandwidth hurts since I live in the boonies. The best way to get a hold of me is here or via snailmail really, though I do check my e-mail on occasion.
I'd say that it Usually isn't personal albatross...but the more heavily involved you are with certain things, the more you'll miss that protection.