Devotion, Offerings, and a Response to Rhyd
So I have been following the issue with offerings (started by relative outsiders to Morrigan cultus commenting on whether or not it was appropriate to make certain offerings to Her) with growing dismay. I want so much for our communities to be more devotionally sophisticated than some of these debates allow us to appear. Perhaps though by the very act of discussing and debating these things, we’re forced to consider our own position, and that relative to our traditions and those are good things. So, I’m going to be wading in.
Markos, the Dionysian Artist has been talking about this here (and he gives all the relevant links) with Rhyd Wildermuth and others. Rhyd posted an article to which Markos responded and the conversation continued via facebook. I flat out questioned the relevancy of Rhyd’s argument, which seems to me to be little more than reducing our gods and Their cultus to meaninglessness to which he responded:
“On the contrary, rather than reducing anything to meaninglessness or getting out of something inconvenient, this is doing the really, really inconvenient work of worlding a god beyond just what we give them. Gods can’t be bought off with offerings anymore than humans can; what they want (as you well know) is what we really have to give them: the world. That’s how they become our meaning and we theirs, and how they become known to others through our actions.”
To which I will now share my response, because these are issues in which we should all have a vested stake.
“Ah I see your confusion. I should have realized this would be difficult for someone with a Marxist mindset to understand. It’s really quite simple: the purpose of offering to the gods is not to buy Them. It is not the equivalent of bribing a human being. The purpose is an expression of devotion that interweaves Them into the fabric of our world and that augments and develops a “language” if you will by which we may engage and that is a tremendous privilege.
What you are suggesting is no different at its core than something John Halstead might write. You are denying the Gods a material presence in our reality and privileging the human fear of meaning, of infinite relevance. You’re also privileging your own personal leftist dialectic over the parameters of devotion (parameters that the gods have clearly already laid down for us — sometimes the work is done for us, not often but sometimes), parameters that mark a clear and cosmic hierarchy in which our “place” is a limited one (yet one with infinite potential to evolve and grow). It’s a position that ignores that the gods do not need us to give Them relevance; instead maybe we should be looking to Them and the navigation of our relationship with Them, to define our own relevance.
As much as you rail against power structures in your writings, what I see here is no more than resistance to Their sovereignty.
The Gods already have the world Rhyd. As much as They are transcendent Powers, They are likewise deeply immanent and inscribed in every atom. They don’t need us to give the World to Them. Perhaps They need us to wake up and realize it is already Theirs and return to right relationship with it and Them but the world is not ours to give.
That is in part the paradox of devotion: There is nothing we can give Them that They do not already possess and yet perhaps we in some way are cleansed and ennobled spiritually by entering into the offertory cycle. It nourishes that right relationship. Not as alley Valkyrie assumed is it the culmination of ones relationship devotionally with the Gods. It is the beginning, the baseline, and act of vulnerability that positions us relative to the Gods as suppliants, those who acknowledge Their sovereignty as Gods with all that implies.
You also high handedly criticize those who would accord to the ways of our ancestors, who would restore rightful and pious practices like sacrifice. You not only do so with us but with all the many indigenous religions in the world that reverence rites of sacrifice ( the Afro-carribbean religions, Hinduism, etc.) and all because you have a knee jerk reaction to acknowledging with our offerings the capacity for devastation inherent in each of our Gods. For someone who criticizes oppression of the Other and condemns racism as you do in your work, I have to say that was very white of you.”
I encourage people to read all of the relevant articles and to familiarize yourselves with the parameters of this debate. The future of our traditions is something that should involve us all and in which, we should all have a vested interest. It’s important not only to know what’s happening but to understand where ideas may ultimately lead. To venerate the Gods has consequences in our lives, each and every day. That’s no small thing.
Posted on February 19, 2016, in Polytheism, theology, Uncategorized and tagged devotion, Markos the Dionysian Artist, offerings, Polytheism, Rhyd Wildermuth, theology. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.