Diet, Attitude, and Orientation

Last post dealt a lot with culture and I would like to continue that a bit in a discussion on daily life and how it relates to my polytheism. The first sections are about food and are only my beliefs. I do not wish to tell other people what is healthiest for them. I don’t know what’s healthy for them.

The latter two sections are my advice for life as a polytheist. Maybe it applies to you, maybe it doesn’t. It’s an ideal that I personally try to live up to. Of course, as always, I could be wrong.

 

 

  • Plants are sacred

 

 

I believe it is important to honor the things that nourish us. Nature provides complex food that nourishes us in ways that we do not yet even understand. Food made in factories full of additives, emulsifiers, and preservatives are not as healthy as that which comes from soil and plants. 

 

Though the ultimate origin of many of these processed foods is as a plant, we alter them in order to promote shelf-life and stability. When done in traditional ways such as fermentation and pickling, this can be healthy. With other ways, it can be unhealthy.

 

I believe that a diet full of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and other plant-based food is ideal. So-called “whole foods”. I believe Michael Pollan puts it best when he wrote “Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants”.

 

 As in my last post where I placed an emphasis on “local” things, I also think it’s best to eat what comes from where you are. Of course, that implies that we (as a society) should start growing things locally again.

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  • Animals are sacred

 

 

I am personally a vegetarian. I do not wish to tell you that you should be a vegetarian as everyone has their own health needs. But I do think that the way we handle animals raised for milk, eggs, and dairy in this society is reprehensible. Factory farms, in my opinion, are torture and unethical to the animals and horrible for our environment.

 

I am not opposed to hunting for the purpose of food, particularly when it is done in a way that honors the animal. I am opposed to hunting for sport.

 

I worship a goddess (Brighid) that is especially associated with dairy. However, I am unsure that the dairy in our society taken from tortured cows is worthy of giving as an offering to Her. Raw milk from respected and loved cows? Absolutely. Even pasteurized milk from loved cows is acceptable. In India, a place which views cows to be sacred, there is a tradition of “cruelty-free” milk. I would love to see this become more prevalent in Western society. 

 

If you are a meat-eater, I’m not here to put you down or judge you. Again, people have different dietary needs. I think that we can all work together, though, to promote ethical treatment of animals. Torturing animals for our nourishment dishonors Nature.

 

 

  • Health and Exercise

 

 

Go outside, if you’re able to.

Cultivate a sense of awe and wonder in the natural world.

Learn your local plants and trees. Learn about the local fauna.

Walk out in the woods or in the desert or on the shore. Meditate on the almost infinite sea. Whatever you have near you.

Try to get out to a place where you can really see the stars.

Watch the sun rise. Watch the sun set. Follow the cycles of the moon and/or the stars.

Get out of yourself, your perspective and problems, the media, and the world created by other people. There is a bigger world out there. Connect to it.

 

This doesn’t mean that you have to give up your smartphone, tablet, or laptop any more than it means you should give up reading books because they’re written by people. Just limit it to what is healthiest to you.

 

 

  • Daily Life

 

 

Our society is oriented around the ego. This can prevent a person from knowing the gods. Do what you can to overcome that. It won’t be permanent. The ego will always come back. But try to make it a daily practice through prayer, offerings, and taking your mind away from your Self.

 

Abolishing the Self entirely is an unrealistic goal but try to orient your thoughts and actions toward your particular god or gods. Serve your gods, not your ego. 

 

When you do focus upon your ego, use that attention to make yourself into the best person that you can be. You will never be perfect. That’s not realistic. But according to the values and ethics of your polytheism, there will always be room for improvement. To me, that means being more hospitable. That means being compassionate and kinder, extending Brighid’s flame of hospitality to others. Even when it takes me past my comfort level. 

 

Let your life become a life of prayer and offerings. Purify yourself. If you don’t know what to pray, simply repeat the name of your god or gods while thinking of Them. Give what you have. Even if it’s just water and a candle. A little bit of what you eat is fine. If you have more, give more.

 

Give to the ancestors and Nature spirits, however your polytheistic religion interprets these. 

 

~ by R.M. McGrath on 11/15/2019.

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