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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in temple worship

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

scattered shoes | Caseykate | caseykate | Flickr

 

You can tell you're entering a temple by the shoes.

Men's shoes, women's shoes. Adult shoes, children's shoes. Sandals, brogues, sneakers: even a few dress boots. All scattered, higgledy-piggledy, across the floor of the entryway. Metaphor meets reality: to reach the holy, you have to dodge the profane.

In a standing temple, the doorway would be lined with wooden shelves to hold the shoes, but this is a temporary temple: a Lutheran church lent (with a generosity and hospitality that I find, in this time of bitter division, deeply moving) to the local Hindus for their holiday celebration.

(Back in the old country, there would be a mosquito-cloud of shoe-wallahs hovering around the door: young boys who, for a small consideration, will guarantee that your shoes are still there waiting for you at your worship's end. Here in well-fed America—let us acknowledge the fact with all due gratitude— they're not needed.)

For some, taking off your shoes before you enter a holy place might be about cleanness and uncleanness—think “ritually fit” if that language makes you uncomfortable—but for me, it's a simple matter of touch. For me, a pagan—a guest at a sister community's celebration—Earth, the ground of all being, is also the source of all sanctity, and shoes come between us and her.

After the midnight worship, my friend and host—himself a temple member—retrieve, on our way out, the sandals that we'd earlier left in a corner.

(Having arrived early to help with set-up, we'd managed that prime stashing-place; we'd kicked them off because those fortunate enough to carry the god-images to the altar need to be barefoot. The pujari—priest—preceded the god each time, ringing tiny cymbals and chanting a praise-song as we went. Music accompanies gods wherever they go.)

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    In general terms, bare feet as a religious practice seems to be more characteristic of Semitic-speaking, rather than Indo-European
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    God said, 'Come no nearer; take of your sandals; the place where you are standing is Holy ground.' Exodus 3:5 When did that cus

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 White House warns Russian invasion of Ukraine may be imminent

 

Gods, it's like watching a rape that I'm powerless to stop. I can't bring myself to look away, but the very act of looking seems in itself unclean, an act of complicity.

I feel like a war voyeur.

Putin's invasion of Ukraine has become a hideous kind of live entertainment as we watch it play out in real-time. Somehow my obsessive interest in what's happening seems to me prurient, ghoulish even. Something Nascar-ish is happening here: you don't really want wrecks, but the potential smell of blood has its own allure. In candor, the wrecks are the draw.

Well, war is interesting: a terrible truth, but a truth nonetheless. I think of the Iliad, the Mahabharata, the Táin, those culturally-foundational war epics. War is reality of the most extreme sort.

From the safety of somewhere else, I watch the suffering of others with fascinated horror. Try as I might, I feel myself in a state of perpetual uncleanness. How do I dare make offerings, do the sacred and necessary work, in such a state of mental impurity?

Yet the sacred work must still be done: without it, the world would fail. Better an imperfect offering than no offering at all. I turn off the radio, take a deep breath, wash my hands, and do my best to clear my mind as I enter the temple to make the morning offering.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 The Mystery of the Golden Censer. | Truth Pressure

 

As I turn from the altar toward the gathered people, I feel a sudden sense of panic. Things aren't quite going to plan.

In temple worship, once you've offered incense to the deity, you turn and cense the congregation as well. There are reasons and reasons for this, but it's perhaps easiest to think of it as honoring the god within.

I'm not exactly fluent on censer, but I do know the basics. My plan had been to swing the censer toward each person in turn, but seeing all the faces, I realize that this would be impossible. There are a lot of people here, more than I had expected. One swing per person would take far too long; we'd be standing here with nothing else going on for at least five minutes, which in liturgical time might as well be an hour. As in broadcasting, in ritual you can't have dead air.

How do you cense a large group of people? Why don't they teach us these things in Witch School?

Thank Goddess for ritualist's instinct. H. Sapiens: the liturgical animal.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

The offering bears the prayer. Every ancient pagan that ever went to a temple knew this.

Unfortunately, I strongly suspect that many—perhaps even most—modern American pagans, accustomed to a very different theory and style of ritual—the standard modern Ceremonial Magic-derived circle—do not.

So: when leading temple-style worship for a roomful of folks accustomed to summoning, stirring, and pointing knives at, what's a ritualist to do?

That's my dilemma. In March, we'll be kicking off Paganicon 2022 with a temple-style offering to the many-colored and many-named Lady of Spring.

Myself, I've always been of a mind that it's a poor ritualist that needs to give directions in ritual (“and now we're going to....”): the parts of a ritual should flow organically into one another. That said, if you have to give directions, make them part of the ritual itself.

So here's what we're going to do.

Just before the Threefold Libation of water, milk, and (red) wine, the presiding priest (= yours truly) will turn to the people and say:

 

Call to Prayer

 

Priest:

My sisters and brothers,

the ancestors said:

The offering bears the prayer;

so today, as we pour out

the traditional Threefold Libation

of water, milk, and wine,

I would invite you to pour out

the prayers of your own hearts as well.

And so we begin.

 

[Libations are poured.]

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Secret Temple

The secret temple stands in the heart of the war zone.

Few people even know that it is there.

Through the chaos, the mayhem, the uncertainty, the liturgies continue.

May the people have life. May the people have food. May the people have beauty.

Twice daily, the priest makes the offering and prays on the people's behalf.

May the people have life. May the people have food. May the people have beauty.

In all times, year in, year out, the liturgies continue.

May the people have life. May the people have food. May the people have beauty.

Now, in time of conflict, to the three traditional prayers, the priest adds a fourth:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Work of Love

More than 35 years ago, we kindled a fire in the old way, wood on wood.

That same fire has burned here at Temple of the Moon ever since.

Candle lit from candle, fire from fire: the long, slow, patient work of years, keeping the Fire burning.

At midnight tonight, by order of the governor, the state of Minnesota goes into covid lockdown. All non-essential businesses are to be closed. All temples and other houses of worship will shut their doors. People will shelter in place.

So today I head across the River to pick up a case of temple candles. Some things are too important to lay down.

Here at the temple, the twice-daily offerings will continue. The prayers, the praise will not end.

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An Invitation from the Temple of the Moon

Here at Temple of the Moon, we offer and pray twice daily to the Moon and the Horned for the health and well-being of pagans everywhere.

In numbers lies efficacy. No matter where you are, you can join your prayers to ours.

Here's how.

 

(Note: The Threefold Salute is a gesture of reverence and affirmation that takes several forms:

Threefold Salute

Touch heart, lips, and brow

or

Touch brow, lips, and heart

or

[if you're really pious and/or spry]

Touch brow, lips, and heart

Bow, touch ground

Rising, touch heart, lips, and brow)

 

Daily Offering, with Threefold Prayer

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