Not long ago, I was e-corresponding with man in England on Dionysian subjects. During the course of our conversation, I said something about worshipping Dionysos. He wrote me back to the effect of “you wouldn’t catch me worshipping anybody or anything!”
I suspected we had a definition problem—and that turned out to be so; because when I explained that what I meant by worship was an expression of love, appreciation, and honor toward the Divine, my Dionysian pal wrote back saying he’d decided that, in that case, he guessed worship was okay with him.
I think a lot of people share my friend’s ideas about worship. For many, it has come to have a hollow sound and worse yet, a hollow feeling. Some associate it with merely going through the motions of worship—attending church, sitting in rows, singing ill-harmonized hymns, and finally passing the collection plate. Others may associate worship with bowing before some cold and distant deity.(I am reminded of Monty Python’s toadying minister,” Oh God, You are so gosh-darned BIG…”) Such prostration appears to them to have no respect for the sacred possibilities of either humankind or Nature and leaves a nasty taste in their mouths.
Yet worship is one of the most significant ways we can relate to the Goddess; and it is certainly an appropriate way for a priestess or priest of Isis to relate to Her.
True worship has to do with reverence and appreciation for the Divine, as well as for that which is sacred in others, in ourselves, and in the manifested world. Worship is a meaningful way of expressing our feelings and inner selves to the Divine. It is a way of speaking about that which we find sacred. Worship requires our participation not by the mere rote actions of our bodies, but by the focus of our minds, the openness of our hearts, and the willingness of our spirits.
When we speak to Isis, sing to Her, listen to Her, express our gratitude to Her, and commune with Her—consciously and with the intent to expand our souls and spirits—it is then that we truly worship. When we sense Her heartbeat and know She senses ours, we are participating in worship. As we come to know Her through our acts of devotion, we come to love Her and to understand that She has always loved us. And love; love is the true essence of worship.