Dedicated, delegated, consecrated: now leave it the fuck alone (unless…)

Posted: December 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

So, for those of us with shrines and worship spaces (or table-tops and nook shelves, or whatnot) assembled to honor our gods and spirits in one form or another following some structure or tradition or another, it is pretty common to put shit on those shrines. Some folks put shit on those shrines to have them blessed, while others have strict rules that anything placed on such a surface automatically becomes the property of the gods or spirits so dedicated. I’m not going to get into the “how to” process here as I believe there are a thousand different ways to do shit (and not everyone is doing Temple type worship, and so forth, and blah). Instead I’m going to talk about intentionally dedicated, consecrated “stuff”.

If you give a thing in a dedicated way to a god or spirit, that’s a big fucking deal. That shit is their’s now, or else is linked up to them in a direct and tangible fashion. For example, if you take a pair of Mercury Dimes and dedicate them to your preferred god of commerce and luck (discounting the fact that the image upon them is not actually Mercury at all, but Lady Liberty…!) it is probably not a good idea to later sell those on eBay in order to afford a new XBox game (and what the fuck do you own an XBox for anyway?) or to pay for a new pair of Coach sunglasses or whateverthefuck. Unless the god in question is like “OHEY, I WANT THOSE SHADES BRO.” Then, by all means, fuckabout it.

Appropriate uses for these dimes — if indeed they need be used at all! — include things like divination, but specifically “dedicated divination with the deity or deities the dimes are dedicate to”. Consecrated divination systems are not “general fortune telling gumball machine fortune cookie blowjobs” or whatever the cool kids are using this day in place of the Magic 8 Ball. (Though I once dedicated a Magic 8 Ball to the Moirae, and it was fucking great.)

The same is true of the apportioned foods and drinks that are given as an offering or sacrifice (barring traditions or deities indicating otherwise, as their are places where this is not only the appropriate practice but the required practice!). If a whole bottle is given, it is generally assumed that the whole bottle now belongs to Them, even if only a portion is poured at a time. (For example, I have a shrine that has a bottle of Powers Irish Whiskey and a bottle of Sandeman Port; the goddess who lives there received both in full offering, and I use those bottles *exclusively* for regular libations to Her during daily prayers, with the exception of when She Herself visits by means of possession through a human vessel, at which points She may do with Her drink as She sees fit.) Giving a bottle of nice wine to your gods is awesome; giving a bottle of nice wine to your gods and then a little while later deciding you’d like some yourself, is less awesome, and may well render dire offense. (There are exceptions to this: some gods are totally cool with you downing Their booze, or smoking Their cigars, but this is an exception and not a rule.)

I’ve had vicious arguments with people over the use of dedicated tools and so forth. I ascribe to the idea that if a thing is dedicated (especially in a formal way, through a structured ritual process) it should only then be engaged with or used afterward in conjunction with (and to honor and praise or commune with!) the one who received said dedication. Ancestor stones are dedicated to the ancestors, not random spirits. A mountain cloth is dedicated to a mountain, not as a random anything-goes-healing-or-sex-blanket (unless the acts of healing or fucking are indeed meant as offerings to that mountain spirit!) and so forth. A knife to a hammer or a saw dedicated to a god of fashioning or destroying should be used knowing that any purpose it is put toward will be done with that god or spirit’s name attached, and so misuse (or lazy use, or inappropriate use, or disrespectful use, etc) will likely attract that god or spirit’s ire.

The point here folks is to avoid attracting ire. Ire is bad.

So go forth, consecrate shit (well maybe no shit, literally…) and then either leave that shit there or use it in a good and blessed way. Be humble. Be pious. And for fuck’s sake, if you don’t have a reasoned and heartful intention or purpose behind using a dedicated thing, leave it the fuck alone.

P.S. If anyone would like to buy me bags and bags of leapyear Mercury Dimes, linked above, I would not complain. I have uses for those.

  1. Conor O'Bryan Warren says:

    Eyup. Anything that is removed from my shrines and replaced (because it is worn out, damaged, unnecessary, etc) is ritually broken and buried, unless of course someone who has a shrine to that god needs it, then it is given away. Even whenever I was eating nothing but ramen and terrified of losing my place did I contemplate selling my stuff to survive. Just the opposite, I thought “If I have to hoof it out of here, how am I going to carry all this and keep it safe?”. In fact, I sold a lot of my stuff to get by instead (including my Xbox. Though, the boyfriend won one in a contest and is now giving it to me for Christmas, so that’s nice).

    • I wonder if anyone has dedicated a modern gaming system to their gods in a serious and legitimate way? Or the controller for such a system…? 😉

      • Conor O'Bryan Warren says:

        I’d imagine sooner or later it would happen. I mean, folks dedicated weapons left and right way back then, and play things, a gaming console would rest along the same lines right?

        My favorite thing to dedicate are pretty rocks, they seem to be a good ‘standard’ token to give the theoi and ancestors. I’ve never had a pretty rock rejected.

      • I just saw something on XBox Kinect “ghosts” over on Chas Clifton’s blog…it kind of brings up the possibility that through such means, deities might be able to communicate. How one might turn it into a divinatory system is a big question mark for me at this stage, but nonetheless, it seems like a possibility…

  2. “Ire is bad.” Huh, that just seemed to coalesce some vague thoughts about when magic “doesn’t work.” This adds to the Gods have agency point from Morpheus. If one is just making half-assed motions with offerings and ritual, there’s no reason for Them to answer or help and may instead irritate Them.
    It dawned on me *why* this all needed to be said:

    Quote of the day: “Treating the gods as people only works if you are in the habit of treating humans as people.” From Ember, in a comment on “Gods with Agency.”

    Because some people don’t have a good grasp on what respect looks like, they need it spelled out.

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