Hospitality: it’s not just for dinner guests…

Ciao a tutti,

I can’t believe that it’s been more than 6 weeks since my last post!  I have no excuse other than I’ve been busy – like that’s something new?  :-)

I’ve been spending my non-work time doing a lot of reading and personal socializing.  One of the recurring themes has been hospitality.  In Sicilian culture, hospitality is a big deal. Even among the non-Pagan Sicilians, hospitality is considered virtually a sacred act.

Among the Pagan Sicilians that i know, it most definitely is considered a sacred act that goes so far as to influence their relations with their Gods.  In Sicilian craft, our relations with our Gods is intimately tied to the concept of hospitality and reciprocity.  When we make offerings to our Gods it is because, as hosts, it’s the right thing to do.  We invite them in, we make offerings, sing appropriate praise, make Them feel welcome. They are part of our extended family and we treat them as such (and in return, we expected to be treated the same.)

It appears that many modern day pagans take a very sterile “plug and play” approach when working with Gods. They’re more focused on the praxis or “right way” to do something in regards to a particular God or Goddess rather than being focuses on their guests in that moment.  In Sicilian Craft, we may have guidelines as to what constitutes “proper hospitality” and we may have “rules” or guidelines as to how to offer hospitality but the focus is less about “standardized praxis” and more about “what would be right for our guest right now.  Our Gods (Ancestors, spirit allies, etc.) are part of our lives and as part of our (extended) families, they’re treated as such.

That’s not saying that having standard praxis is a bad thing.  When done properly, it can add to the relationship because it lets you be a good host by knowing your guest, Their likes and dislikes, and give you a baseline from which to be hospitable.  But like with so much, focusing on praxis to the exclusion of all else is just as lopsided as exclusively “winging it”.

The saying mhden agan (meden agan) was inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi. It means “nothing in excess”. Or to quote Oscar Wilde: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”



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