Tag Archives: discipline

To Be Graceful…

Some days I wake up and feel so utterly boring and conventional. On such days, I never feel like anything I offer to my Lord is adequate.  I just feel that something is missing.

When I give food, I try to be mindful of the hours of work my husband has put into earning the check that paid for the food. When I give plants and flowers, I keep in mind the energy and time that went into the plant creating the leaves and/or blossoms. These things all have a signature, they were all first touched by other spirits long before coming into my possession.

What claim do I really have to the offering, if I am so far removed from the labor, and thus, the reward of love that is required to create it?  This thought kept bothering me, just nagging like crazy.  I finally had to sit down in a quiet space and really think about my choices.

I, first, must contend with having little free time to spend creating labor intensive votive offerings.  I try to grow what I can with a thumb that, sadly, was never green, but those few plants I do manage pretty much grow themselves, anyway.  So, what could I do?

Well, the number one lesson that Apollon has drilled into me, over and over again, is this:  Waste nothing.  If all I ever seem to have the time and energy (most days) to do is clean my house, balance the finances, educate the child, and cook outstanding meals… then I’d better damn well figure out how to do all of that, while at the same time pushing the limits of my spiritual discipline and dedication.

How many adorations or prayers can I speak out to Him while sweeping?  Can a reach an adequate trance state while washing the dishes?  Can I properly shield myself while out running errands?  Can I do it quickly?  Can I take it down again? Can I be aware of what, and Whom, is surrounding me?  Can I live my mundane life, while taking it a step further, into other Places? Can I cultivate a sense of oneness with my god, from the moment I awaken, to the moment sleep catches me again?

The answer is yes, and I’ve taken it further still, by tailoring every movement of my day (so far as I am able, with my coordination such as it is) toward efficiency and grace.

To me, this means in part, cleaning up in every room I enter into, and never leaving a mess to sit until I “feel like” fixing it. It also means keeping lists.  Lots of lists, so nothing gets forgotten.  But, even more than all of these, grace is the art of being graceful.

It means presenting a flawless curtsy to my Lord when passing by His altar.  It means standing and sitting with the proper posture, and walking lightly, almost delicately.  It means carrying a small, serene smile on my lips when I may be seen by others. Grace is a beautiful mask that hides every secret thought behind a screen of pleasantness. All of this helps me to create that comfortable distance between myself and the fast-paced world of humans.  It is only this veneer of distance, which allows me to fulfill my duties to the spirits, and to my gods.

And, of course, grace is also the knowledge of being in the presence of the Divine, and the feeling of love and warmth that surrounds whenever I don the veil.  Grace is beauty. Grace is efficiency. Grace is modesty. Grace is the naturally flowing course, because my life is so touched by the gods.

But, of course, I know all of this will mean different things to different people, and that my life will never measure up, by some standards. However, it is not my place to care about the biases of others. I will simply do my Work, and in the doing, shall be graceful.

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Tending Apollon’s Hearth

  Homeric Hymn #24: To Hestia

“Hestia, you who tend the holy house of the lord Apollon, the Far-shooter at goodly Pytho, with soft oil dripping ever from your locks, come now into this house, come, having one mind with Zeus the all-wise–  draw near, and withal bestow grace upon my song.”

~

The goddess Hestia is the foremost deity of the home in Hellenic religion. The first to be born of Mother Rhea, and the last to be spat forth from the belly of Kronos, She is both the eldest and youngest of Their Children.  It was She Who spent the most time within the confines of Her divine Parents’ own Selves.  She alone Who reached the contemplative bliss that would prove necessary for Her reign over the hearth and home.

Now, I do not know Hestia very well yet, but as a Hellenic, I have an obligation to get to know Her… on Her terms.  This means, of course, that I will have to take domesticity seriously.  As a woman who grew up with high-minded Wiccan ideals in a matriarchal family situation, I’ve never really been too inclined toward the role I now fulfill.  And though I never thought I’d be a power-chick, I also never imagined I’d be a housewife.  (I think my actual aspirations were somewhere between secluded priestess and concert violinist.)  It isn’t something that comes naturally to me, hence why I needed to be passed along to our most gracious Lady Hestia.

If you recall, Apollon (along with Lord Poseidon), once courted our Lady for Her fair hand in marriage.  Hestia strikes me, firstly, as a very demure and reserved deity, so that bit of history between Them is none too surprising.  I know that my Lord is attracted to those qualities.  I also know that is precisely why I’ve been encouraged so strongly to strengthen my bonds with Her.

[I realize that since I don’t know Her very well right now, that I may not be seeing all of Her personality.  Forgive me if my understanding of the goddess is as yet a bit one-dimensional.]

The Prince wishes me to study under Her for a while, to gain the poise She exhibits, and the discipline.  He feels these are very specific lessons which I would benefit most from learning under Her care.  And I must agree.  If there is any god(dess) Who embodies the very ideals of demure and discipline, it is Hestia.  It takes a rigorously humbled individual to perform Her duties, day in and day out, on Olympos, and in each and every hearth-fire on the planet. She is our ultimate role-model in these matters, and the debt we owe Her is great, as attested by the simple fact that She receives the first and last portions of every offering.  Even before Zeus, our King, we honor Hestia.

She is that sacred flame, the spark of life which dwells at the heart of every oikos, including the Oikos of the gods.  And in this capacity, though highly limited, I find that I am most like Her.  The spark… the passion for service is where She and I find our common ground.  I simply need to embrace the domestic end just as readily as I embrace the more formally ritualized aspects. Service is service, after all, which is the true lesson of the Hearth Goddess’ tutelage.

Thanks in part to Hestia’s presence, I feel like I’ve finally been able to establish this home as Apollon’s home.  As the title of this post suggests, I now tend the hearth of Apollon.  Which, honestly, is just a fancy way of saying that my Prince has officially “moved in”.