On the Spring Equinox of 2015, I took the first step on my own path: I dedicated myself to Venacia. I chose this date (which happened to be on a new, super moon during a full lunar eclipse) because of the dramatic way in which it spoke of change and the beginnings of something new. I can’t imagine anything more “new” in spiritual terms than starting a completely new religion.
The Venacian faith is something I’ve been working on for a few years, mostly by myself but with occasional input from some fantastic people. Well, I shouldn’t really say “by myself”, as I feel I’ve had the Gods with me every step of the way, as well as the written words of some of history’s greatest and most treasured thinkers to build on. The Latin for this is “nanos gigantum humeris insidentes”, or “discovering truth by building on previous discoveries”. Venacia, which I took from the Latin words for “hunter” and “thread”, is about the search for religious truth by examining the common threads found throughout the world and its people. It encourages you to seek wisdom in yourself, in the teachings of others, and in the practices and traditions of every culture. By respectfully weaving these threads together, it is believed we have a stronger and fuller picture of both the divine and ourselves.
Venacia, then, acknowledges that it incorporates wisdom and practices originally found in other places, and mixes them with new material. An emphasis is placed upon not just what you believe, but also what you do. You cannot have a healthy spiritual and mental life without balancing it with a healthy physical life. You must also be mindful of the responsibilities you have, both to yourself and to others, at all times. It is not enough in Venacia, therefore, to simply “believe”…you must “do”, as well. Within Venacia, there are a few central beliefs to form a framework. These include:
- Belief in the Thousand Gods as actual entities with distinct personalities
- Belief that the purpose of life is Life, its spread and cultivation
- Belief in the Twelve Virtues
- Belief in the sacredness of life and death
- Belief in the inter-connectivity of all beings
- Belief in the value of thinking, seeking, and questioning
There are a number of practices that are essential to being a member of the Venacian faith, as well. These include:
- Doing prayer and sacrifice to the Thousand Gods
- Doing work to promote life and the spread of it
- Doing periods of study to improve our knowledge
- Doing public works to promote community and enhance lives
- Doing outreach to those beings which need assistance
- Doing honor to those who are deceased
At this stage, I would say that I am a Dedicant, meaning only that I have pledged to myself and the Thousand Gods that I am now a part of the Venacian faith. The eventual goal is to declare myself a fully-vested priestess in service to the Thousand Gods and the people within the Venacian faith, but I don’t want to do this right from the beginning. I want to do things right, and so I plan to undertake the same course of study and rituals as I would expect anyone else to take. It doesn’t make much sense, I believe, to tell others what they should be doing to become a priest/ess if I’m unwilling to do it myself.