I probably have touched on this before, but it has been on my mind a bit today, and that is the subject of using more of what we have locally in worshiping the gods. This doesn’t mean throw out the frankincense and hand-rolled incense sticks imported from India, but it does mean using more of what is found in nature as a regular staple. It is easy, especially when worshiping in a tradition that is not native to your locality, to get caught up in what you should be offering in accordance to tradition. And definitely it is important to do so and I encourage to add a good measure of that, but sometimes we get so focused on this that we are disconnecting our worship from our local environment. There is very little then that is tying directly to the world that we live in.
As an Alaskan this is important to me because Alaska is A LOT different from the Mediteranean. In fact it would probably be alot easier for a local Heathen or Asatruar to sinc with this environment in their worship than it is for a Mediteranean religion like Hellenismos. Firstly, all those trees are are called evergreens in ancient literature: the laurel, the olive and the oak. Yeah…that is not an evergreen in Alaska. In fact at best it is a summer green and then by midwinter completely dead tree. Oaks don’t grow here, nor do olives (though perhaps a russian olive would but those aren’t real olives in any case), and laurel will only grow babied indoors (though I am still more than happy to get one and do so!). Even the laurel substitute I ease for sprigs, the rosemary, has to be grown in the warmth indoors as it won’t weather our cold winters. What do we have for evergreen trees (and for the worship of some gods it seems a necessity to be connected with an evergreen tree, as in the case of Artemis and Apollon)? We have pine. That is it.
Therefore I have taken to using pine in replacement of laurel locally in my worship of these divine twins. Though pine has no known connection I have found to Apollon, that pine was a sacred tree of Diana in the cooler parts of Italy in the north, I have extended this tree towards Apollon just as the laurel is shared between the gods and the cypress. This also provides me for an excellent source of incense through pine resin. This will cut my use of the more expensive frankincense that I can reserve for specific occassions or even perhaps blend with the pine and bring in something from the local nature. Meanwhile willow twigs have been used by me in his honor in the past as these are the first signs of life with their small furry buds in March when King Apollon returns. That willow is also a natural form of asprin also makes sense. I have also used willow for Athena as a decor for her shrine in the past. Pine also provides another natural gift. As the Arcadians ate acorns, we have pine nuts that are pretty easy to acquire at local stores.
There are of course many possibilities that I have yet to explore. And I thoroughly encourage everyone to take a look at what they have around them and see what exactly they can make use of to bring the gods home so to speak and connect them with our local environments and lives.