Practical Practice · virtues

Long Nights and Sleepless Skies

I don’t know how many people here know this, but I struggle with a pantheon of my own mental illnesses. Often I am unable to function, I can barely eat or leave my bed. When I get like that, it leaves little time to devote to my deities. I am a teacher, in spirit and profession. It feels hypocritical to advocate for devotion when I struggle so much with the simplest offerings.

I don’t know what my deities think. Over and over we hear to not compare ourselves to other polytheists and devotees, but hearing that doesn’t make it better. Your tarot deck is still dusty. You hear them less and less as the prayers dry up like your zoloft prescription.

But you cannot teach well if the materials come easy to you. To be a good teacher of anything you need to struggle. To be a mentor you need to understand what it means to go through hell so you can guide others. If worship is easy for you, great. But that’s not me and that’s not who I’m here to help.

I don’t say prayers everyday. I give offerings most days, but not all. I don’t remember the last time I did a full-out ritual. But in matters like this, it’s not the outcome that matters. It’s the effort. You do what you can.

Arete and I have a complex relationship. I’m no hero. I’m barely functional. However, arete doesn’t mean being Hercules. It means devoting what you have, a gallon or a drop. And sometimes a “thank you” to Aphrodite or Bast or Ares or the Sun or the Moon. It can be a sigh of contentment at the Pleiades. It’s a blog post. It’s sex after a fight. It’s sex after a good day. It’s work, physical and draining but at the end of the day you made something, you did something.

You strive for excellence. Your arete, no one else’s.

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