We must never in any way neglect the Gods, neither by day nor night, in public or in private, neither in word nor deed; in working and in repose let the soul be continually directed to God.
“It is not so much knowledge that lifts me up, but rather the ardor of a burning soul that urges me to try this. What if it is not given to me to reach the goal I strive for? What if I falter in running the course? Well, I will rejoice that I totally ran, labored and sweated to the extent of my powers in seeking the face of my God.”
—Richard of St. Victor, Book Three: On the Trinity (he is writing on the topic of study and contemplation of spiritual things)
In response to this article, one of my friends said:
“Just saw a thing that said for witches and pagans to put our differences aside and stand united so that nothing can stand against us and I’m like bruh…you are under the very strange impression I want to stand in alliance with cosplayers, children that thing they can hex Allah and the moon, and other varieties of asshole in fluffy robes.”
Which pretty much sums up my feelings too. As to what the article says about not forcing anyone under the “Pagan” umbrella…they don’t have any problem doing this with polytheists who want nothing to do with their anti-theism, foolishness, and other assorted grossness.
This is not a social thing for us. The Gods matter.
We find our faith in the depths of darkness and fear. We find it when evil comes for us, when suffering is there, when there is only one choice: to raise our hearts and hands up to the Gods or to bow down to desolation. We find it when we must, in the depths of battle, the battle fought within every human soul.
The worst thing you can do in your spiritual life or practices is seek peer acceptance or approval from others. Your service must have the Gods at the center and must always come back to the Gods. You don’t need approval from human beings. You need approval from the Gods.
“If the Gods are the fundamental entities, and the precondition for all else, then perhaps we have to consider Them as good, regardless of what They are like in any particular respect. Perhaps our conception of “goodness” is too narrow and too cosmically insignificant otherwise.”
–Edward Butler, PhD and polytheist.
Epicurean Piety –I like this one, though I’m not generally a fan of epicureans.
“Therefore, I think it is especially necessary to despise those who transgress or mock the traditional rites. Furthermore, it will appear that Epicurus loyally observed all the forms of worship and enjoined upon his friends to observe them, and not just be in accordance with the laws. For as he says to pray is right and natural for man, not because the gods would be hostile if we did not pray, but the act of doing so helps us gain a better understanding of those who surpass us in their power and excellence, enabling us to fulfill our potential. He also said that every wise man holds pure and holy thoughts about the divine, namely that the nature of divinity is great and august. And it is particularly at festivals that we attain our greatest understanding of things for during a festival all that a man can think about, and all that is upon his lips, are holy matters. He didn’t just advise others to participate in the worship of the gods – indeed, he was very active in religious matters, sharing in all festivals and sacrifices, and especially the Khoes festival and the mysteries celebrated in his city and elsewhere.” – Philodemos, On Piety 25-28
A Christian author discussing Polytheistic and Pagan piety –of course by “idol” he means the Gods, or images thereof:
“Pagans, when they daily rise from their sleep, go in morning to worship and minister to their idols; and before all their works and undertakings they go first and worship their idols. Neither at their festivals and their fairs are they wanting, but are constant in assembling – not only those who live close by, but many travel from a great distance to attend such assemblies and dramatic spectacles.” – Didascalia Apostolorum 13
A Polytheist On Polytheistic Piety and Asceticism:
“Aquila to Sarapion the philosopher, greetings! I was overjoyed to receive your letter. Our friend Callinicus was testifying to the utmost about the way of life you follow even under such conditions – especially in your not abandoning your austerities. Yes, we may deservedly congratulate ourselves, not because we do these things, but because we are not diverted from them by ourselves. Courage! Carry through what remains like a man! Let not wealth distract you, nor beauty, nor anything else of the same kind: for there is no good in them, if virtue is not joined to them; no without her they are vanishing and worthless. Under the protection of the gods, I expect to see you in Antinoopolis. Send Soteris the puppy, since she now spends her time by herself in the country. Good health to you and yours! Good health!” – P. Oxy. 42.3069
Finally, another Christian complaining that piety still existed in the early medieval period.
“You must give up the names and inform me of the nature of their crime of all those in our diocese who foolishly make and observe their vows by springs, trees and stones for reasons of health, protection or as some kind of devotion.” – Ghärbald of Lüttich, Capitulary 2.12
(“all those…” implying it was not an isolated set of practices).
I’ll post more as I come across them. They’re educational and a good reminder that piety and reverence didn’t begin with monotheism, not by a long shot. We need that reminder sometimes. The inspiration is helpful.