Worship In A Heart That Rejoices
I confess worship is one of my favorite words. But what is worship? When I was growing up my grandmother would say, “Worship is a verb!” Meaning that there was more to being a Christian than just showing up on Sunday morning or worse, just at Christmas and Easter! She is not wrong, as worship is in fact both a noun and a verb.
Worship the action of religious devotion often directed towards a deity.
I’ve been wondering how we as the beloved community gather in worship. As we enter into the Harvest cycle of our year and many magical things fall into alignment, soon it will be all witches and magic in preparation for Samhain, and our worship will be often on display. Or will it?
For many, our ritual will be public but is ritual and worship the same thing? I believe that ritual can be part of worship, but that worship is a distinct entity unto itself in communion with Goddess, whether alone or in a group.
At it’s core worship is about worth, our worth and Goddess. As you know, I believe strongly in the immanence of divinity, and thus I tie worth directly to deity. But did you know that worship the word, is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship—to give, at its simplest, worth to something. One of the things at drew me into Goddess was an overwhelming sense of worthiness within Her presence. Before I was alone in her presence, I felt hopeless. Before I felt Her divine embrace and understood that interconnectedness, I felt worthless. But knowing Goddess, and being connected to a spiritual community that lifts up instead of shames was life saving.
Within the Goddess community, the Pagan community I discovered that being different was ok. I learned that sex was sacred, and not just one kind of sex for example but all acts of love and pleasure. I came to experience that we as a community strive to be authentic, and honor our success and failures, as we lift each other up. I discovered my voice, and most importantly, I learned and continue to learn how to use my voice and magic to help others. Because living within the Goddess is ultimately not about what spell I do or don't do, but the intention I bring to the magic I make. That relationship with you, with myself and with Goddess is all about honoring inherent worth.
Recently, I was asked how do I worship the Goddess? I worship the Goddess first by actively engaging in the inherent worth within Goddess herself. Meaning, I LIVE a life devoted to Goddess. Devoted to the principles ascribed to the Earth as her vessel, to the life forces that are within the vessel and to the vessel that contains Her divine magic. I do this because I make Love the Law. I do this because I live according to a Dharma principle of walking authentically. And, I know I do this correctly when I whisper words about her endlessly, in spiritual communion with Her and the spirit guides.
The Charge of the Goddess mentions worship once. “Let my worship be in the heart that rejoices.” Following this is "all acts of love and please are my ritual." Many people quote the all acts of love and pleasure part of the Charge, as it affirms many marginalized people, and rightly so. However, Henry Ward Beecher, is quoted as saying, “I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love.” It seems Love and Worth and Goddess is the rubric for a heart that rejoices. The divine embrace of the Great Mother is the refuge for patriarchy's battered children, where worship has not been about giving worth. The Goddess leads us back into self, and into our inherent worth, and deeply into Her. It is there we find hope and transformation for each other and for tomorrow.