Joy and Devotion

It’s easy to forget sometimes the tremendous, heart-shattering joy that lies at the center of devotion. It’s easy to close the mind and heart to it, because there are so many things in daily life: work, relationships, stress, anxiety, exhaustion (especially exhaustion) that sap our energy and our attention. Also, devotion can be hard sometimes. It can challenge us to our core. It can hurt. There’s such a tremendous vulnerability inherent in the act of opening oneself up to the Gods, of nurturing that relationship, of adapting to the demands of the radical integrity of being that such relationships by their very nature cultivate in the soul. Devotion can be very hard and in the midst of some of the challenges it may bring, it can be difficult to remember the joy. 

Let me tell you what devotion is. It’s like drinking fire. It’s a frenzy. it’s an ecstasy that fills the bones and runs in the blood like a drug. It consumes and the soul explodes into pieces of light. It is breathing in a God and being devoured, like ripe, rich fruit in turn. It is joy, a terrible, all-consuming joy that leaves no room for anything else, not even breathing. It is a dance, a wild, laughing dance. It is agony that suddenly turns, all unexpectedly, into magnificence. Devotion is a dance with the Gods that bracket and infiltrate our lives. It’s a whirling, laughing, sobbing, maddening dance that, if we’re very lucky, plunges us into the heart of our Gods, into a place beyond the worlds and from which they sprang. It’s a dissolution that liberates and at the same time compels the heart — freely, willingly, joyously–into veneration. It’s liberation, ecstasy, terror. Devotion takes courage and dancing down that ragged road will squeeze every ounce of it forth, like blood from a stone as we go. 

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at

Posted on February 17, 2017, in devotional work, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. You have written a lot about devotion over the years, and I totally think you have a valuable point. I am simply commenting on the differences between people and maybe some of it has to do with how each individual is cut out of the mold of a different cloth. As you describe devotion, that is how I experience joy, and I cannot contain that violent, ecstatic depth of joy. I cannot sustain it, I am not a god. But that said, I am happy and content as I go about my daily work, because I am often thinking of the Gods and Goddesses that I have relationships with, and these hold me so excellently in an inner sense of peace and well-being that serves me when they ask me for more. And they reward me so richly from my tiny practice of mindful devotion within my thoughts and my being with knowledge, which is most of what really matters to me now that I am in my crone years. Just sayin’

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  2. i think there are differences in the way people experience devotion. Much of it likely has to do with how far each person is willing to give of themselves and much of it with the Gods each person is devoted to. I belong to Odin, a god who slaughtered HIs own ancestor in order to work His will upon the substance of the cosmos. He is vicious, ruthless, glorious, and made of the violence echoed in the worst of storms. I think that devotion is not meant to make us comfortable. it’s meant to open us up ever more and more fully to our Gods.

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  3. “It hurts to set you free” -Jim Morrison

    I would love to experience such joy. Perhaps that is why Hathor has come back into my life.


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