Thursday, July 19, 2012

QoD Is daily (clergical) practice neccessary?

Here is a taste of a post from the blog Aedicula Antinoi: A Small Shrine of Antinous that kicks around the idea that for many modern pagans that we do not need to engage in daily duties that would normally be the job of the full-time clergy of ancient times (please note that this idea may not actually apply to ceremonial magicians and apprentice witches, but I still encourage you to go read the rest of the post):

The notion in many sorts of paganism that everyone is “their own clergy” and thus has clergy status, and therefore must in a variety of ways perform as if they are clergy, is rather erroneous in my view. As much as certain teachers and practitioners would suggest all of the modern pagan/polytheist population have some sort of daily practice (which usually looks like “daily meditation” in most forms I’ve seen it), I can’t really support that necessity from a general viewpoint, either as a reconstructionist or as a general spiritual practitioner who has many strong deity devotions, including Antinous. What I do and what I am is not to be taken as “an example” of what all people who are devoted to Antinous should be doing, any more than my current unemployment or being without romantic relationships should be taken as “required” for anyone who is devoted to Antinous.

See what I did there? Taking any person’s style of life as “exemplary,” even in one area of their life like spiritual practice, is a very big mistake. Every relationship with every deity, hero, or other divine being requires individualized, particularized, and highly unique negotiation, offers and counter-offers, efforts and counter-efforts, and all sorts of reciprocity as well as contractuality coming into the picture on the part of the gods/heroes/divine beings and the humans who are devoted to them.

1 comment:

Andrew B. Watt said...

That's really quite elegant, actually. Thanks for sharing it and highlighting it, Morgan.

In a lot of ancient temple cults, as I understand it, the high priesthood was an elective office, and one which the god or goddess herself could be chosen to fulfill for him/herself. There's a list of the high priests of Athena that survives, as I recall, and Athena herself appears often, and sometimes several years in a row. I'm not sure what this suggests, except that perhaps Athena was regarded as having not taken care of the community in some sense, and her priesthood thus delayed her rites. Or maybe the oracles came back unfavorably. Hard to be sure.