It took me nearly a decade of paganism to recognize the story I was hearing. Maybe you’ve heard it too. It goes like this.
Reverence is something religious people feel or perform. It’s a Church thing. Congregations might feel reverence during Mass or when watching a blessing. Maybe they feel it when they pray to God or when they believe that God has done something for them/is watching over them. Reverence is a bit of a helpless feeling, in that it is something an observer, not a participant, feels. Above all, reverence is a thing they feel, not a thing we feel.
Much of that can be true, yet there is plenty of space for pagans to reclaim our reverence. I feel reverence when I gaze at the moon or stand silently in a redwood grove. Many pagans get twitchy about reverence. We fear giving up our active role after finally having claimed it. There is no need. Prayer predates Christianity by a long while, but it is far from the only way to show our reverence. We can feel reverence for our ancestors while we light incense to them. We can pour reverent libations to our God/ess/xes. We can light reverent bonfires to Fire or create reverent mounds to Earth.
Beyond this, there are hundreds of opportunities for daily reverence in daily life. Reverence is what we feel in the face of something so grand that it strikes us as Divine. Who is to say what that is for each of us? We are!
When I curve my arms up into Isis’ wings before I cast my spell of protection or healing, I do Her reverence
When I bike to work, I do reverence to nature.
When I stretch in the morning, I express my reverence for the sacredness of the body.
When I make love and whisper Aphrodite’s holy name, I do reverence to Her.
And you? How and to whom, do you do reverence? Share in the comments!