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Impossible Standards of Devotion?

By Galina Kasskova

I hear this a lot, and see it percolating every so often through elements of both the Pagan and Polytheist communities, this idea that some of us are advocating impossible standards of devotion. I always wonder what that means. Devotion after all is such a personal thing that even within the most structured and rigid of traditions, there’s usually room for individual exploration and balance there. Still, this idea, insidious and unhelpful continues, that there are somehow impossible standards in this area.

I’ve come to the conclusion that this idea usually arises from one of the following:

1. Sometimes a person is intimidated, thinking that he or she must live up to the work of another. (I had the daughter of a good friend say to me once, “the amount of work you do intimidates the hell out of me!” I was surprised, because it’s my work, not hers — her skills are in very different areas and the Gods to Whom she is devoted are very different too. Shortly after, I heard the same thing from another tremendously talented colleague. Before that, i’d never thought about it. I am often inspired by people’s work, but not intimidated. I didn’t realize this might be a “thing,” but it is). At any rate, there’s no need for it — I tell people all the time: do the work that presents itself to you. Maintain your devotions, prioritize the Gods and ancestors, and take advantage of the opportunities for deepening your devotion that come your way. That’s all.

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