Looking deep into who we are as a Coven, we believe having a devout devotion is paramount in our faith.
One of the major aspects that has seemingly been forgotten, is Paganism has roots older than neolithic times. We do not know what faith or spirituality was called by the faithful aside from hints. Pagan is simply a label that was eventually thrust upon people who are not of an Abrahamic faith. We have forgotten and lost most of the knowledge of who we were, what our faiths were called, and how to practice them. I think we are all aware that it is not so simple as just being lost or forgotten, but the point of this, is our faith is older than writing and the words used to label us.
We see in this world ancient monuments, places of worship and ritual. Tools to track the motions of the sky and counting of lunar cycles. We find ancient sites like Kamyana Mohyla in Melitopol, Melitopol Raion, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine. Places that are a bridge between the neolithic and the beginning of writing systems, we grasp the hint of echoes of civilizations long lost. We were more in tune with nature, and we began to find deity. We began to learn as above so below.
Now we are beginning to realize that what is now called Paganism is the womb of spirituality. With that revelation, we realize many paths are an evolution from these early neolithic belief systems, and we come to realize that some modern paths are an attempt to reconnect with the spirituality we had long lost and in many ways had taken from us.
This is where a major disconnect is in devotion. For many of us, especially those who were raised in an Abrahamic faith, we find it difficult to let go of the faiths we had left behind to go on this spiritual journey in Paganism. Many of us try to carry it with us and mix it together in ways that “click” for us.
It takes a great deal of time and learning to be able to take off the lenses you viewed the world through before and see the world in a new light as a Pagan. It also takes a true desire to begin seeing the world in this new light.
We don’t like discomfort, and we try to rationalize avoiding our growth and potential. As with discomfort, we don’t like to shatter long held illusions that shape a world view, we do not like to realize we had lived less than our truth.
But there is comfort in this realization, if you have a desire to become Pagan or have started that journey, you have already discovered you were not living your truth. You have taken the most painful step in your own spiritual discovery. You are already stepping into a new light and making discoveries. Actively learning, most likely reading a lot, calibrating, and trying to understand many new ideas. You may be trying out a few paths to find one for you, or you may find your truth in many paths, and are following more than one.
No one simply wakes up one morning and decides they are out of nowhere a Pagan and start devotionals and offerings to deity(s) or nature like they had been doing it their whole life. It is a journey and it is something we come to in time.
An easy way to begin a devotional, especially if you had come to Paganism from an Abrahamic faith, is to have a practice that is familiar yet new. In our Sanctuary and Coven, we have blessings. The very origin of the act of prayer is blessing, and the origin of blessing is blest. Blest comes from Blotham (Blot) which is a term for offering, a term for blood, and also related to consecrating Pagan Altars. So our Sanctuary and Coven drops all use of the term Prayer and we use the older term Blessing. This brings us closer to our roots. It was a practice that started in Paganism, and we wish to embrace that.
Our common mealtime blessing:
“We thank the Gods and Goddesses for this beautiful day and this opportunity to to enjoy this nourishing meal. May the Gods and Goddesses bless this home, our friends and family, and this meal. Blessed Be”
This blessing can be adjusted to whatever intent you need, and we use a variant on our streams. Giving thanks to deity is a simple devotion, but it is wonderful in that simplicity. It is familiar to those on the outside looking in to a point they can understand what is going on. Also it is different enough that we in our Pagan faith can thank our deities. In this general blessing, we like to hold the deities we follow in our hearts. That way, you are giving them your loving devotion from the heart.
However, this is not the end all be all of showing devotion. There are many ways to show devotion, some individuals make Shrines to specific deities, and leave offerings. Some leave offerings of teas on their Altars. Some have entire rituals where they invoke their deity of choice and ask their blessings as they give devotion. For some, devotion is helping the community in which you live. There is a multitude of ways to show devotion as an individual and as a Coven.
Our Coven at Sanctuary of the Phoenix believes in Devout Paganism, part of being devout is of course showing devotion. But being devout also means our beliefs are exclusively Pagan in our Coven. Paganism is not just some label, lifestyle, or some kind of fad. Paganism is a spiritual identity.
~ High Priest Odin