What “Love Languages” Have To Do With Devotional Practice

As a Ceremonial Magician, I am given to understand that ritual actions are supposed to mean something to the one who is performing them. I’m going to put forth what should not be a controversial opinion: devotion is about expressing love and commitment. When we talk about “building a relationship” with a deity, the emphasis inevitably falls on offerings, whether they are gifts for the altar, incense burned, or wine spilled out. While this is a normal part of group ritual, I always found it deeply unsatisfying in my personal practice. It didn’t feel like it meant anything to me. I didn’t […]

All Paths Do Not Lead To The Same Destination

Two guys are drinking in a bar. One turns to the other and says, “Hey, are you going to Saint Mary’s for Mass this Easter?” The second guy replies, “No, I’m an Atheist.” Says the first guy, “Well, I never heard of that one. But I guess we all worship the same God.” Obviously, he doesn’t, and we don’t. The urge to gloss over our differences and imagine similarities, even where none exist, is very real. I keep running across it in Pagan and Polytheist circles, although the problem — and it is a problem– obviously impacts society much more […]

The Power of Fixed Prayers

If you are new to the concept, it can seem daunting. A long, fixed prayer that you say daily? What even is the point? Isn’t prayer supposed to be a reflection of your up-to-the-moment feelings about things? An outpouring from your heart? Where do we even find fixed prayers for a tradition? If we write them, will anyone bother using them? Though it can take a lot of work to get started, these pieces of liturgy, which have been adopted by many religions around the world, are powerful and, I believe, an important tool to consider when building a devotional […]

Understanding Ares

Ares is a controversial figure, and a favorite villain in cartoons, comics, and movies. For some people, making the most basic statement that he’s a deity, an Olympian, and worthy of respect is so unthinkable that they assume that I must be out of my mind to say it. But, I’d go further. Ares is the first deity I call when I am on the verge of losing my temper. He’s the first god I call when my fear is about to make me do something stupid. No, this is not a Neo-Pagan thing. It’s a Homeric thing. Please enjoy […]

Save The Planet: Embrace human power and agency as sacred.

Welcome to the Anthropocene, and congratulations: you are now the now the dominant natural force on the planet. There is an island of plastic bits and shopping bags in the Pacific. Sea life is turning up dead on our shores. The ice-caps are melting. The seas are rising. Global warming is transforming once fertile grasslands into deserts. We are facing the planet’s sixth mass extinction, and the majority of scientists believe it to be our fault. We are members of the most deadly, most powerful, and most monstrous species on the planet. Properly trained, a human can run down a […]

How To Write An Initiation

Having spent the last decade and a half bumming around fraternal orders, convivial societies and esoteric groups, I have seen my fair share of initiations, and have run my fair share of degree teams. I’ve worked on ritual committees for fraternal orders to create and revise initiations. Because I have seen initiations that were both mystical and non-mystical, I think a bit differently about initiation than your average Pagan or Polytheist. The first thing you need to know about initiatory traditions is that, at one point in the past, it was simply a part of the genre that traditions would […]

Involving Deities In Your Spell-Work: Yes, It Can Be Done Respectfully

Once, apropos of nothing, while meditating with Hermes, he let loose with the following rant: “It’s not like I don’t want to help. I do. I’m helpful. I like being helpful. And I get that I’m useful, too! I’ve got commerce and diplomacy and language and invention and the afterlife — and who wouldn’t want to call on me? But could people like, ASK before either touching my balls or yanking on my intimate divine bits?” And it’s true. I have seen countless spell books that “use” deities as symbols in spells, or which “use” the names and symbols belonging […]

My Definition of Sacred

I’ve decided today to explore my take on the sacred. What is sacred to me, how I decided what I found to be sacred, and to cast in relief those things which are definitely not at all sacred to me. The process of articulating what is sacred is one that should be on-going. How I defined sacredness ten years ago is not how I define it today. Refining my understanding of it is also refining my understanding of my spiritual self. Herein, I give three definitions, and an explanation for each. I do not expect these to be universally applicable, […]