Wednesday, April 1, 2020

To Love The Gods For No Reason: A Blissful Life

I recently made a new friend in my community who follows old religion like myself, although a completely different tradition from an entirely different continent. I don't know if he'd like being called Pagan even, but for the sake of the reader, and for the respect of his privacy, we'll use the general term. 

Even though we've only known each other for a short time, he's already taught me a lot. What I'm going to talk about is something I've realized for many years, but it's wonderful to know that others affirm it, and an even greater blessing to be able to share it with a world of like-minded people. In fact, in one way or another, I have tried to teach it to my temple members over the years.

My friend, while dedicated to a specific religious structure, is also quite eclectic and very respectful of all Gods. If in a temple to Gods other than his own, he will recite his own cultural prayer of veneration to them. But one thing he didn't seem to include was a request for a personal gain for himself. He simply loved being in the presence of the Gods, nothing more. I am able to fully relate to him on that level. When we talked about theology and religious devotion, we discussed the fact that so many people, in various religions, worship God or Gods because they want something in return, that they don't see the need in worshiping Divinity who doesn't reward them for it. Why not worship the Gods simply because they are the Gods? Why not think of their presence and recognition of you as the best reward of all?

While it's true that Hellenic religion does have a system of reciprocity, it's normally engaged when that specific need arises. It's also true that veneration of a God was done for that simple reason. I once said that, before I became Hellenic, I never knew the joy of staying up all night just to pray to the Gods. It remains true today generally. Just to be able to understand and worship the Gods, and feel the joy of being in their presence, is invaluable alone. It's worth more than money, than material, than anything physical you may receive in the mundane realm. It's also not just prayer, sacrifice and ritual either. Often I will read ancient Greek literature not necessarily for the knowledge, but just to have the wonderful experience of learning about the Gods. I may paint statues, draw pictures, or even erect shrines just for the purpose of seeing the Gods' beauty. Once you find that you have gained this level of bliss, your life always will be.

All your days, be devoted simply because you love to know them.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.