In the beginning of my Heathenry path, it was wondered if I should be devotional, as an individual, often. When reading various forums, books and sources, many had said to not go to the numinous often. The reasoning was that to do so would consider them a sort of spiritual vending machine rather than beings of worship.
As I grew into Heathenry however, I learned that though we come to the numinous in order for them to help and guide us, that is not the sole reason we go to them. Many other polytheists also go to the divine in order to give respect and worship, as many of those beings are incredibly worthy of worship.
And now, as a Galatis (and still Heathen), I’ve warmed to the idea of regular devotion in individual practice. I have a few reasons for this. One big one is that we are all descended from numerous tribes from over centuries. Every single tribe had you and me in mind, their descendants. Some went into extinction, but they tried to survive in order to pass their ways and ideas to you and me. On both the winning and losing sides of these tribes, this is a loving act towards us and deserves both respect and acknowledgement.
Now, does this mean we should do this for every single tribe of ancestors we have? That would be taxing and I would not recommend it. And what if you have no lineage to these ancestors of whichever culture you acknowledge or want to revive? Are you forbidden to participate or give thanks to the ones you have no blood ties to? I would argue that you do have that right if you choose. The ancestors that you acknowledge, even with no relation to you, tried to stay alive and pass on their ways. By making them come to life again, you give them thanks in a way.
What about the Galatîs? Though we can revive parts of the Gaulish culture and language, the Gallic religion is harder to reconstruct. Yet, revival is not reconstruction necessarily. Reconstruction is somewhat possible through guesswork, but perhaps revival would be the better frame of mind to work in. We can revive the beliefs in the continental gods of Gaul. We can revive devotion to them. And we can practice our ways the best we can. Whatever we can reconstruct or discover can better our paths.
So, for a daily devotional, I offer incense to the ancestors. To the ancestors outside of the Gaulish culture, I use English (my native language) or Swedish (If I found some stuff in Old Norse, I may try in that as well) for liturgical language.
For the ancestors in the Gaulish scope, I use words that an acquaintance/friend gave to me in the Gaulish Polytheist Facebook group. I’ll now give you the reader the step by step on how I do this offering to the ancestors. This is an offering of one stick of incense, so it can be daily (if you wish).
- Purification. Why I do a purification of sorts is to stop a potential pollution of the space or the self, and it might offend the numinous or even prevent contact with them. Dirt is considered pollution to me in this regard, so my hands will always be washed before working the material ready to be offered. As of now I don’t use any words while performing a purification, but that doesn’t mean it’s not warranted. For my purification, I shower and clean myself with a non-scented soap. Afterwards I wear clean clothes (I try to be a little dressier if I’m not working that day), and rinse my hands in a salt and water mixture. Simply that for now, but in the future this could change.
- Kneel. I like to show deference by kneeling on both knees and nodding once before the offering (or bowing if you prefer) to the shrine I set up for my ancestors (after the offering and words are done, I’ll bow my head one more time)
- Words and materials. While taking the incense in one hand and lighting it with the other, I’ll say “Koryûmi sotun senistrobo, are baton cârinc”, and place it on the shrine, letting it expend for the ancestors. This is where the second bow mentioned in step 2 comes in.
And there it is. My personal daily offering to the ancestors. It will probably evolve later on, but so far it works very well. This small ritual offering was inspired by Ceisiwr Serith’s books Deep Ancestors and A Book of Pagan Prayer. The words used in said ritual were given by Segomâros Widugeni (leader of the Gaulish Polytheism Community group on Facebook and also the author of Nemeton Segomâros on Polytheist.com)
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and hope further that this helped you in some way.