The monthly devotionals are opportunities to commune deeply with the honoured god. Traditional offerings like wheat, strawberries, wreaths, and incense are given, but there’s also a huge range of possible activities: creative work (in clay, wood, paper, or other materials) physical exercise, singing, music playing, touring a particular area, volunteering to help cleaning the local woods or distribute food and warm clothing to homeless people, making a donation to organizations that protect animals or plants sacred to the gods, taking the day off to take care of abandoned dogs, gardening, or farming. Even playing some sort of game close to a shrine or altar to the god of the day can be a form of offering, as is participating in athletic or sporting events and giving part of the prize to the deity or a related charity group. It’s a kind of modern version of the ancient games that were part of the old religious festivals and where participants offered a wreath.
Yet, I feel the need to do more. Not to every deity, but to the few who are closest to me. Those I seem to draw the most from and, as such, I want to give Them more. But I do have the feeling that there is such a thing as too many offerings, so my dilema is how to do it without, so to speak, cross the line between devout and plain annoying. Especially since the things mentioned above can be done more often than just once a month. Actually, most of them can and should be done regularly, but uttering formal prayers or performing formal ceremonies of every one of them is, at the very least, highly time-consuming to one’s daily routine.
I thought of several solutions. Prayers beads were one, but it turns out there it’s less practical than one could think. Having separate sets for different deities means I’d have to carry two or more all day long with me; having one that could work for several gods is a better option, but I’m not yet sure about its exact elements and how it would work. I also thought of something along the lines of an ancient Roman bulla, a sort of pouch worn by children where they would keep protective charms. And then, one night, a solution presented itself before sleep.
Every day, after waking up and washing my face, I salute several gods and goddesses, along with my ancestors and housewights. I thought of taking that daily practice and add small prayers that create a framework where experiences and moments can be normally and informally shared with the Gods. This is still work in progress, but at the moment it goes along the lines of: May I honour You daily and may You find in my every day actions reasons to smile and be pleased. In the case of my ancestors, it’s a bit different: May I walk daily in your pleasing company.
The exact wording may change over time, as can the gods to Whom the prayers are directed. For the moment, I use it for Freyr, Mercury, and Minerva, but that may also change. For the moment, it seems to be a balanced solution and allows me to concentrate the greater and more formal ritual structures in the less regular occasions. Which makes them all the more special.