Honor and Respect: Salutations Along the Path

(previously published on Medium.com December 2015)

When people discover I follow a shamanic path, they usually have a lot of questions, which is absolutely fabulous. It’s even almost as good as the show, but I digress.

PRAYING MANTIS 1BOne of the questions that I hear most often is something along the lines of “Who do you pray to?” or “Who do you worship?”

I do understand what they’re asking, and sometimes even why they are asking it. People will often use questions like these to try and find some common ground with another person. Finding common ground is a great way to start building a relationship with something or someone.

For the longest time, I lied when someone asked me this question. Not out of malice, or the wish to deceive, but rather because it was simply easier. You see, I neither pray nor do I worship the various entities that I encounter along my path.

The word “pray” according to www.dictionary.com is defined in relationship to a god or deity as either “to offer devout petition, praise, thanks, etc., to God or to an object of worship” or “to enter into spiritual communion with God or an object of worship through prayer.”

The same website defines the word “worship”, as it relates to a deity or god in this way: “reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage or to any object regarded as sacred”.

In other words, both the act of prayer and the idea of worship places something above another, indicating that it is inherently superior to something else. They are not deemed superior because of their wisdom, their actions, or their knowledge– those criteria are not even mentioned in the definition. Rather, the object or entity that is prayed to and worshiped is seen as superior to everything else– simply because it is so.

Everything about these two acts goes against the ideas of equality, respect, and fair treatment that I strive for in my practice and in my life.

All are teachers. All are students. All are worthy of my honor and respect, for I may learn from them. The single ant has just a valuable lesson to teach as the most powerful god.

Does that mean I treat everything I encounter the same way? Of course not. You would not treat your husband or wife the same way you would treat a co-worker or boss, would you? But you would show honor and respect to all three. At least, I hope you would.

So when I encounter someone or something in my travels along the path, I will always do my best to treat it kindly, with respect, and always hold it with the greatest of honor. To do otherwise would do a disservice to what I hope to become.

© 2016 – 2017, Laura Seeber. All rights reserved.

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