Going weekly

It’s been almost twenty days since I posted something and there are several reasons for that: academic life, for one, with articles, conference papers and a possible book in the making; also sports, from daily activity to Lisbon’s half-marathon, which took place on this month’s 16th and went very well; and then some ritual activity, namely Minervalia, when I gave my marathon medal to Minerva (She now has four). But when it comes to spirituality, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need more structure. Not in the sense of less spontaneity, but of a greater frequency of ritual.

See, I’m not a priest who lives in a temple and gets paid to perform nothing but religious service. To be a priest, regardless of for how long, you first need training and experience (a lot of it!), enough discipline to strictly maintain your ritual duties and a support system that sustains you through your service. The latter can come from a community (donations or communal funds), but you can also set one up yourself (book sales, courses, personal savings, etc.), both of which cannot be instantly created and most certainly not without a good reason, a lot of work and a good deal of organization. But I’m not a priest, nor will I be one in the near future, because even if I was treading that path, I do not have the necessary training and experience. Not everyone can be a walking window to the divine and those who can will not be one without a cost and a lot of effort.

I’m a layman, one who tries to make as much room as possible for the Gods in his mundane life. I start everyday by greeting or praying to several of Them, I make monthly offerings to some and have at least one yearly festival to over twenty individual deities, plus divine groups (e.g. ancestors) and five heroic figures. And this is what’s scheduled. Libations, adoratios or other quick and easy informal offerings can also be made on a daily basis as opportunity presents itself, be it the sighting of a special bird or a moment of luck that calls for a gesture that says “thank you” or “I hear you”. But these are things that I do as go about my mundane life and sometimes it clashes with my religious life. I may, for instance, have to go on a journey or be abroad on the date of a yearly festival and be therefore unable to perform the proper ceremony. The date may fall on a work day and, since I’m not a full-time priest, I need to work to earn money and cannot simply quit my job. Now, there is nothing wrong with that per se – indeed, it is only to be expected in a layman’s life. It is the natural consequence of a life shared by mundane and religious routines and, as with other instances of shared things, the solution is to be found in compromise. So if I’m away during a festival, I can make a symbolic offering with the vow of performing a proper ceremony as soon as possible; at times, I may skip work on religious grounds, but on other occasions I may have to momentarily change the date. I did just that this month: the Ides of March fall on the 15th, but by then I was already in Lisbon in preparation for the half-marathon, so I made and burned my offerings to Jupiter, my Lares and Penates on the 13th (and consequently celebrated the Nones on the 5th instead of the 7th). But I did this because I have a monthly structure and it is on the basis of it that I work the compromises.

All of this to say that, in an effort to ensure the vitality of my religious practices in the face of mundane life, I’ve decided to start weekly practices. Because it will further consume my time, I’ll be doing it to one god only, though I may expand it in the future. Unsurprisingly, the deity in question is Ingui-Frey, not just because He’s my oldest standing devotion, but also because I’m doing for Him and His kin something that I’m not doing for other gods, which is creating a Latinized cult for Him and other Vanir Powers. And that, besides demanding a right synthesis of two traditions with a modern context in mind, also calls for an open channel of communication, so to speak, which is more easily established if there are frequent offerings, meditation and divination. It is, after all, His cult and as anything new that aspires to become a tradition, it requires divine input as much as it needs human effort.

The choice of the day of the week was almost self-evident: Sunday! It seems entirely appropriate for a bright and golden god who’s also Lord of Elves, the sun being called alfröðull or Elf-wheel in stanza 47 of the eddic poem Vafþrúðnismál. Even the Christianization of the day’s name in modern Latin languages helps: Dominicus, the Day of the Lord, but in this case Lord or Dominus Ingui. So every Sunday, one way or another, I’ll be offering food, prayers or poems to Frey, maybe dance on the fields, bake bread, divine His insight and hopefully keep an open channel with Him.

5 thoughts on “Going weekly

  1. It seems more and more people are no longer content with already established religions and are turning to forming cults of their own…offering us more choices, more diversity, more ways to adore the gods. This can only be a good thing, and I though I’m not a member of your cult, I thank you for taking that step.

  2. With each post you make involving even a small mention of Ingui-Frey, I find myself getting more and more excited about the work you are doing. Recently the Norse pantheon has come into my world with both Odin making himself known and Apollon leading me towards Freyr as a Syncretic connection in the Hyperborean myth.

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