There are many ways to honor the gods. Prayer, rituals, and offerings are the ones we think of most often; they are so very explicitly god-directed that it can be hard to look beyond them.
But we all have our own gifts and talents, our strengths and inclinations, that can be used and directed in ways that honor deity. Not all of us are ritually and dramatically gifted, nor do we all have the knack for spirit or energy work (if you do, it’s wonderful and I love to hear about it, but it will never be my experience because I don’t have that in my skill set). But we all have something.
If you are an artist, art! Images of (or for) the gods, made with loving hands and heart, are a wonderful way to express devotion.
If you are a craftsperson or artisan, you can work your craft in a similarly devotional way, making representations of the gods, or gifts for them, or items made with them in mind, in many different media. My altar to Aphrodite has on it (among other things) knitted shawls, handmade jewelry, handmade oracle stones, and a hand-bound book; all were made by me, some more skillfully than others :). There are very few arts and crafts that cannot be worked with a devotional focus if desired. The connection can be quite direct in some cases (candlemaking, weaving or embroidering of altar-cloths, hand-making a book for use in one’s personal devotions, etc.).
If you are a cook (or a baker) you can make food with the gods in mind, either as an offering, to be eaten in a ritual or other sacred setting, or as a way to bring the gods into another aspect of your life.
Those who make wine, mead or beer can make libations of their own crafted drink, giving extra love, strength and a personal connection to these offerings.
If you love to study or have an academic focus, it can be very rewarding to read and learn from the work of scholars on ancient religion, either ancient or modern-day; even for those who do not have any sort of a reconstructionist bent, it can be illuminating to discover how others have connected with your gods in the past.
Poets can write prayers and devotional poetry. Creative writers can write similarly in prose. Writers of non-fiction can write essays, opinion pieces, or informational writings. In all these cases, the result of your work is not only a way to honor the gods but one that can be easily shared with others.
If you keep a garden, there are many possibilities–you can dedicate your gardening work to a god or gods (this is particularly appropriate for a goddess like Demeter). You can maintain an outdoor shrine for a deity with plants chosen to please that god (roses for Aphrodite, an apple tree for Idunna, an oak for Zeus or Thor). If you are more of an indoor type you can keep and care for houseplants with a devotional focus. I’ve often thought that a nice kitchen herb garden would be a lovely and subtle altar/shrine for some gods, although since my kitchen faces north (and my thumb is only the very palest shade of green!) this is probably not something I will do myself.
I would love to hear about ways others have used their own gifts, talents and interests in ways that have connected them with the gods or otherwise enriched their spiritual or religious life!
Categories: Pagan Practices