A recent discussion on The Cauldron about kneeling in prayer got me thinking about the attitude with which we approach our Deities and specifically how I approach Brighid.
As I said last week, I have no defined path and I am not a reconstructionist but my practice is inspired by Celtic tradition, specifically Irish and Scottish. From what we know of the Celts, they were a proud and boastful people. Therefore, they were perhaps more likely to approach deity with an attitude of worthiness – something that I feel is very different from the approach taught to those of us with a Christian background.
In my personal experiences of Christianity, the attitude with which one was taught to approach God was one of unworthiness. That I would never meet God’s expectations but that was OK because God is forgiving of our flaws. There was also an undercurrent of: we worship God and follow his rules because if not, we will go to the bad burny place upon death. I understand that this will not be the experience of other people, but it was mine.
Now, I do not believe in Heaven or Hell or divine punishment – although I’m sure that Brighid could punish me if She saw fit. So, without the fear, why worship Her? Why do the work that I believe She wants from me? What attitude do I show towards Her and how do I do that?
I worship Brighid in part because She touched my soul and claimed me. Despite that, I could have chosen to turn away but as I researched Her I developed respect for Her. I am in awe of Her boundless generosity and with Her concern with improving the world. She takes my breath away and inspires me to be something more than I am. I worship Brighid because she is deserving of my love and devotion and I am humbled by Her. I do Her work, as best I can, because the work itself is worth doing. Because it makes me a better person and hopefully, in some way, improves the lives of others.
I do not kneel in prayer to Brighid. When I begin and end my flame tending shifts I tend to be standing with my head bowed but most of my prayers happen when I’m lying in bed at night or in the shower in the morning or when I’m cooking dinner, or feeding the baby or any number of other daily tasks. So, if I’m not kneeling, how do I show Her an attitude of respect and devotion? I believe that I do this by doing Her work. By talking to others (in appropriate circumstances) about Her. By trying to live my life every day in a way that does Her honour.
What attitude do you have when you approach your deities and how do you show this?