The Lesser Banishing Ritual of Not Paying Enough Attention to Your Patrons

This morning began with my second performance of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. The performance was less smooth, somehow, than yesterday’s – I kept almost forgetting small steps, like the Sign of Silence or the line connecting one completed pentagram to the one I was about to start – but no less effective. Actually more so, as I could feel the Archangels start to respond.

More to the point, I could feel the gods on my altar start to get jealous. They want daily attention, too. 

Which is in no way an unreasonable request.

I apologized to them when I was done, did my daily tarot at the altar, and lit them a stick of incense because that was the best sacrifice I had on hand.  And now I have an interesting dilema on my hands: how to perform daily devotionals to gods who haven’t quite gotten around to telling me what they want from me.

Now, this problem does not come entirely from the realms of things unforseen.  As a modern neoPagan, I had some concerns about invoking the Archangels of the God of Abraham in front of the same altar where I worship Dionysos, Hephaistos, Raea, and the Nameless; more to the point, as someone who’s been shit on by the world made by the worshipers of the God of Abraham, I have some strange reluctance and insecurities related to anything that might smack of that worship, and a closeted fear that my gods might not be able to help me if I piss that one off and he decides to shit on me.  Now, as Jack Faust rightly points out – albeit in a somewhat problematic attack on Star Foster, but what can you really say to someone who admits outright to being a condescending ass? – my paleoPagan predecessors didn’t see things that way.

My gods don’t give a flying fuck that I’m invoking Archangels, per se.  They couldn’t have cared less about the last month I spent daily performing the Quabalistic Cross, except perhaps liking that it made my offerings extra tasty/potent.  They also don’t care that, once I’ve gotten a handle on what I’m supposed to be doing, I might well replace those Archangels with them. 

They care that I invoked four Archangels into the Sunrise Temple two mornings in a row, and didn’t make them offerings of equal or greater value.  Which, again, is totally fair.

The problem lies in that the (neo)Pagan sources I have the easiest access to are lazy hippies who seem to see daily devotion as patriarchal oppression.  Unfortunately, I’m way too early in my studies of the Classics to have much knowledge of what ancient cultus practice entailed (not that I have any intention of reproducing it, but it’s damn good place to look for inspiration).  Now, I can – and will – turn to my copy of the Homeric Hymns and see what clues those can provide me.  I can – and, again, will – make underworld journeys to see if they’ll actually tell me what they’d like.  Until those tactics pan out, however, I’m stuck with good, old fashioned, incesne-and-candles-and-prayer ass-kissing.

So mote it be.  @_@

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Lesser Banishing Ritual of Not Paying Enough Attention to Your Patrons

  1. From what I understand, prayer back in the ancient world was a public affair. Sacrifices, vows, and the like were made in public (most often a temple open to people, less often personal shrines) with an oration (sometimes florid, sometimes laconic), and, at least in the Roman model, followed the principle of “do ut des” (“I give that you may give in return”). I’m sure daily practices were part of a classical lifestyle, depending on when and where you grew up, but probably only for the little guys, genii, lares, penates, etc. The big guys, save for maybe Zeus (being king) and Hestia (getting first dibs on everything), didn’t likely get daily treats, but most likely on a particular day sacred to them or in times of need.

    Check out Mikalson’s books on Greek religion; I had him as a professor in college, and he’s one of the world’s experts on ancient Greek practice and theology. Really knowledgable in this regard.

    That said, listen to your gods. If they want attention, give it to them. Whether it’s giving them sacred images made by your hand or by machine or fruits, cakes, wine, or the like, start with something simple and tailor it to their specific wants once you find out what they liked and what they want from you.

    • Also, wow, I dunno why this post turned up as new in my reader (over half a year old!). Sorry for the extra-belated comment here. ^^;

      • It came up in your reader today because I just got around to updating the tags, and because the wordpress reader is totally borked lately. I have read some of Mikalson (possibly not the same guy). If it’s the same guy, though, that’s super cool. I actually just cited him extensively for my final paper on the cult of Dionysus in Hellenistic Greece and Rome. His work was a little broad for my purposes then, but I do intend to go back and read the whole book next semester. (I”m heading back to Kansas City for the summer tomorrow morning.)

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