We Stick to the Plan
Gustave Caillebotte’s “The Gardeners”
To recap since it’s been a little bit since my last posting, last year Galina Krasskova did an excellent post in which she urged everyone to answer a series of questions about their religious faith. Naturally, I am writing about Venacia. Here’s the next in my series:
2. What does your tradition do to increase the power and flow of blessings?
Venacia teaches that we are the hands of the gods, that our position in life is similar to that of “gardener” or “groundskeeper”. It is our job to tend to life, to ensure that it spreads and that it is well taken care of. We don’t always succeed at that (and we’ve certainly dropped the ball in major ways), but when we act in accordance with what we were made to do, good things happen. Part of this is because it makes our “bosses”, the gods, happy. Part of this is because when anything is taken care of, it tends to work the way it’s supposed to and good things come of it. The more we act in accordance with our purpose, the more these good things tend to build up momentum and keep on moving, long past the point we had any input on the matter.
In Venacia, we take active work on our part and couple it with prayer and offerings to the Thousand Gods. This serves several functions:
- It lets the gods know that we appreciate them. Do the gods NEED our worship and offerings? No, probably not, no more so than your spouse needs flowers on Valentine’s Day, or your children need birthday presents, or your friend needs you to treat them to coffee. But it’s nice to let our loved ones know that we care about them and appreciate them in our lives.
- When humans stop placing themselves at the top of importance and start placing the desires of someone else (the Thousand Gods) at the top, it trains us to be accustomed to ignoring feelings of greed and to instead act on feelings of charity and the desire to please. For example, having made a habit of sacrificing to the Thousand Gods each morning by offering up some honey and rice, later on in the day when you encounter a hungry person it is much more natural to you to give them some of your food. It’s like a muscle memory at that point.
- Seeing the people around them pay homage to the Thousand Gods in all of Their many forms lets people know that you are mindful of differences and the richness of other cultures. If the visitor from India sees that you honor and respect Ganesh, a god who first revealed Himself to the people of India, they will know that the two of you share common ground.
- Taking the time for prayer and offerings clears a space in the day for us to listen to the Thousand Gods and remind ourselves of our place in creation. Like calling your mother during your lunch break at work, it carves out a time during an otherwise hectic day to remind yourself and your mother about the bond that the two of you share. When we pray to the Thousand Gods, we remind Them that we are Their children, and we remind ourselves that we were created with a purpose. This act of centering, of touching base with the divine, acts to recharge us for the day ahead.
Within Venacia, there is not a belief in karma. You can do everything right, and still have a falling tree land on your parked car. Being a good person does not protect you from the bad things in life that can happen. By acting according to our purpose and giving devotion to the Thousand Gods, however, we work to create a world in which life is sacred, so that just as you gave help to someone in need, so too will someone give help to you.