Why I write: The Social Value of a Devotee’s Work

As most people know I do a lot of writing about Apollon, about his cult and his domain in nature, society and domestic worship…all for the purpose of furthering his cult in this modern era. Aside from random poetics and bits of art, I consider this my biggest contribution to furthering his worship, or rather passing on knowledge regarding the basic foundations of his worship. Of course there may be some who could easily say: why bother? There are university libraries and various published academic material that are publicly accessible. So why do you bother to blog regarding his worship or put out published material?

I do it because I acknowledge that being a devotee serving a deity, means not only serving the deity (which should always come foremost) but also often (but not always) includes working towards furthering the traditional worship of the god. This is because as a devotee I consider it part of my task in my devotions to find and absorb all information I can find regarding his worship and putting the fragments of information into a cohesive context. A devotee often takes a great deal of pleasure in this task, and considers it part of their calling into service to be as familiar as possible with their deity that they serve. But we also realize that most other worshipers (for even devotees of other deities are lay worshipers to deities they are not devoted to) do not have the time, passion or inclination to do the same. To seek the god in every space is a time consuming and exhausting practice, and one that demands a lot of personal sacrifices. Not to mention that when it comes to research many devotee’s personal libraries (especially for those who don’t want to go back and forth borrowing from a library that may or may not have what they want) end up rivaling university libraries when it comes to academic texts in the same field of study, which incurs a lot of personal expense as well in pursuit of this passion.

Not every worshiper should *have* to go dig through thick academic texts to find grains of information, to constantly recreate the same foundations for themselves that others may have done more thoroughly over years of work. I mean to say that they can if they want to, but in recognition that it should not be a mandatory thing, or that anyone should have the gall to suggest someone to go read a stack of academic books when they have access to current thorough work being done by devotees that allows them to begin with a framework, and grow from those roots that have slowly been established is what motivates many devotees to write. Because it pleases part of our obligations to our respective deities and because it helps new people entering into relationships with the gods to be able to begin with basics ironed out and provided to the benefit of the worship the god (or goddess) will receive. It is not typically about personal glory (although I can imagine that there are rotten apples out there) but strictly about service to the gods that we are facilitating the growth of their cult to continue beyond us. That how many polytheists after us will be able to take it to new levels from the foundation we have established and the hard work that we have done….and what more may be achieved by new devotees down the road by having something ready to build upon.

We are the foundation builders right now, and this is a good purpose for those called to research, assemble and write. I can’t even image what will be done in the future!

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4 thoughts on “Why I write: The Social Value of a Devotee’s Work

  1. In talking over thoughts with Beth today — pointing out again that I have zero interest in tradition building, but that I very much want for polytheism to be visible, for future polythiests to not have to do so much rebuilding – Beth argued that even just making _an_ approach to Poseidon worship visible (Something I am very much doing), i am involved in tradition building, even if it’s a teeny one.

    I’m not sure I agree, but I’m beginning to be less sure that I don’t.

    I never want to constrain a person in their approach to Him. I never want to say “x is the proper way.” But there’s something to be said for, here’s a bunch of ways I found value in; may you find value, too.”

    I want to see a multitude of examples of what polytheism might look like. *that* makes me excited to be a polytheist, here and now.

  2. Another thing of importance is that when polytheists like you write about these things, they do so from a practicing polytheist’s perspective, not from an academic view that is secular (or not even that) and based in a cultural background that is decidedly (Christian) monotheistic, with all the problems of interpretation that this entails. I think it’s very important that polytheists are writing about these things, so we don’t remain stooped in material that is not written by, or even for, polytheists, but can read the work, thoughts, interpretation of people who practice these traditions and worship those Gods and have interactions and experiences with them.

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