An Anonymous Devotee
You may ask how does one begin to love a god? Not adoration of a favored god but loved with all the heart as one would love a spouse or lover, that involves completely the truest affections of the heart. And like love it is not a decision that you wake up to one morning and just decide, anymore than one typically wake up one morning after analyzing the characteristics of a man and decide logically that that man is who you are going to love. Love doesn’t work that way and the human heart certainly doesn’t work that way in my experience. It is a slow building relationship that will at times falter and have its rocky terrain but will still be one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences.
But also there have been some personal sacrifices in addition to the joys that I had in my life. But these sacrifices were not a hardship, no more than things that you give up out of love for another. And in some cases it was a matter of acting appropriately in regard to the relationship.
Love is what spurred the commitment, to not take another love but to pledge the entirety of my love to Apollo rather than taking a man into my arms. The touch of Apollo was like a heated embrace, something that became more intense as time passed. This is always a powerful experience with the excitement that runs through my body as I feel his heated touch upon flesh but most especially within. There is such complete pleasure in that touch, to be filled with an unbelievable light. And within me my own spirit seemed to stretch forward with welcoming arms to in turn embrace that presence that sank into me. Every part of me has been so in tuned to this relationship with Apollo, which as it is with my monogamous nature, my heart, nor body, could welcome men. So I have lived in a state of chastity, cherishing each touch of his presence and basking in the light of love.
On Thargelia I made a large step towards solid commitment; I purified myself quite thoroughly with the intent that I would retain that physical and internal purity. This also translates into a certain level of physical and internal cleanliness as well as the obvious connection with vows of chastity. In this commitment I realized that there were things that I needed to take seriously. There were old habits that needed to be broken, such as my copious exposure to vulgarity, which has over time seeped into my own language. To the God of the right word, speaking in a vulgar way is quite unacceptable so I have been working hard to root it out and remove it. Overall I have been successful but there are times that I revert back to old bad habits. A far easier thing to be self-aware of is lying, something else that I strongly believe is a behavior that dishonors my love for Apollo. Of course I am dreadful liar to begin with. I could never be accused of having a good poker face. So a little internal understanding that I not consider lying as an option at all has been considerably easier. There is understanding though that as time progresses there may be other things that I add to this list of necessity. To me these things are not optional but tie in strongly with my commitment to my relationship with Apollo.
But there are also so many small things that I do in his honor, things that have increased in importance in my life since vowing myself to him, but may not be meaningful to other people on a larger scale. For one I say good-morning and good-night to him as I would to a spouse, often accompanied with a kiss blown towards his shrine. And as for shrines, they will be eventually spreading throughout my house in rather unnoticeable ways so that in every room in the house that is a physical reminder of his presence, whether that is a symbol tied strongly to him, a painting of the god, or a statue. In this manner my home literally becomes his home as well since he is a part of every room in the fabric of the household.
And in personal practice I have been focusing more and more on the arts to bring closer to home my bond with Apollo for all to see in a rather unobvious way. So I write, I have had incredibly increasing desire to learn how to dance well, and then also there are the physical visual arts as well as music. Music has been a large part, whether in enjoying listening to do or learning to play the violin. All of this has become an integral part of the fabric of my life. Apollo has becoming woven into just about everything done, and every path of the heart. There is little that I experience that I don’t in some way share with Apollo as one would share their treasured moments with their beloved one. During the best moments of my life I feel him there sharing my joy, and in the worse moments his support his near for my comfort in a time of grief.
In retrospect I can say that Apollo entered my life in a very subtle way, I did not recognize his presence for so long, and I was wrapped up in the presence of his sister Artemis for a larger portion of my life. I feel that this prepared me, made his way into my life more thoroughly. That if he had approached me in full force I likely would have rejected him, being the blatant feminist that I was in that period of my life. But when I began to accept him he swept into my life by quickly increasing degrees. At one point it did terrify me, and I did run from him. But I was able to get over my fear at this very strong, possessive and very male presence in my life. Those very things which had terrified me were no longer so frightening, and I was able to walk back to him completely aware of the consequences of things that would change in my life, and embracing them.
Loving a god is not always a happy ever after fairy tale, it is like any real relationship with its ups and downs, with temper and possessiveness, discomfort but also levels of profound love, comfort, passion and a degree of understanding. It is certainly not an equal relationship of partners because it is a relationship with one who is inconceivably more powerful than you, older, timeless and immortal. You are always lesser in that relationship, but that does not mean that you are not loved and valued, but there is no illusion of being on equal standing within the relationship. It is a relationship that is experienced and valuable, but so completely different than the very visible and physical relationship between a man and woman. So deciding to embrace the path of love is not an easy decision but it is one that I make completely and with the blindfold off. I have no regrets nor do I anticipate having any in the long years ahead. At this point in my life I am happily looking forward to laying down formal vows in ceremony to join my heart formally to the god who keeps my heart, and will have it for all time.
I feel this way about Hermes.