Sunday, August 9, 2009

Time as sacrifice

Sacrifice, for most pagans and polytheists, means something different when compared to what most people define it as. During the season of Lent, many of my Catholic coworkers let go of something during this time as required by their faith - most of them decided to give up things that were bad for them, like Diet Coke or coffee. I found that to be odd personally, for sacrifice means to "make holy, or sacred." I really don't view Coca Cola to be particularly spiritual, nor do I offer it as a libation, unless I discover that Hermes has a weird particular taste for it.

I have had to curb some habits in my life due to some large changes I had to do, and in regards to ritual and daily practice, I found myself doing less and less due to the lack of time, or just lack of convenience. Convenience being the key [bad] word. Looking in my life I found that I needed to learn to better manage the time I did have: saying I was tired, or I had no time meant I was more than likely spending it doing unimportant things with it when it didn't pertain to work or school. So I reformed myself. I sold my car a year ago in order to save for future out-of-state tuition and living costs for next year, so I've been taking public transportation or walking, to get to work, school and home. Living in southern California made this something to get used to, and it also meant that the hours became something I could not waste - they became invaluable. If I need to do something simple like go to the pharmacy or the bookstore, it meant rerouting my entire commute and scheduling ahead of time to avoid missing a bus. With the current financial crisis in California, many of the routes have been cut or removed. While I find time for work, school, volunteer work, leisure and exercise, I needed to make daily practice higher up in the scale regardless of how late or how early it was.

Today, as I walked home from the market with my green reusable bag full of peaches, bread, soup and Merlot wine, I couldn't help but think that this long walk back to my home was in part, not only preparation for my libation to Hermes, but in essence part of it. It is perhaps no different than those that would peregrinate, with offerings and prayers, to the temple of Hermes in Samos. Every step, every drop of perspiration and each thought full of love and anticipation.

We give much of our time, effort, intellect and sweat in order to reap rewards in the form of monetary currency, to obtain things that support and provide enjoyment in our lives. In the same vein, I find that using my time, effort, intellect and sweat in preparation, service and ritual to my gods to be itself another sacrifice to harvest the joys of life.



Hermes, draw near, and to my pray'r incline, angel of Jove, and Maia's son divine; Studious of contests, ruler of mankind, with heart almighty, and a prudent mind. Celestial messenger, of various skill, whose pow'rful arts could watchful Argus kill: With winged feet, 'tis thine thro' air to course, O friend of man, and prophet of discourse: Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine, in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine: With pow'r endu'd all language to explain, of

care the loos'ner, and the source of gain. Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod, Kerukeion, blessed, profitable God; Of various speech, whose aid in works we find, and in necessities to mortals kind: Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere, be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear; Assist my works, conclude my life with peace, give graceful speech, and me memory's increase.

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