If you’ve been following this blog for quite a while, you’ve probably seen mention of where I’m from and if you’re new, I’ll simply state this: I am an American. That means Thursday, this past week, was our Thanksgiving Day. Now, while this is a secular holiday, I have incorporated some of my religious practice into the day. The ancient Greeks didn’t have religion as we know it. They had life. The Theoi were such an integral part of daily life as was the worship of them that it wasn’t necessary to set a specific few hours every week aside for devotions to them. It was in everything. It was your life.
So I saw no reason to exclude the Theoi from this occasion, no matter how secular the celebration. This year my husband and I played host to seven other people for dinner. Some of them were family by blood, some of them family by choice, all of them cherished. On this day I spent a good eight hours in the kitchen, the modern hearth, and prepared, served, ate, and cleaned up the meal.
From the second I stepped foot in the kitchen that morning, I said a silent prayer to dear Hestia, lit the candle I have next to her image to represent our hearth and let it burn until I finally went to bed that night. Many modern Hellenes I have seen tend to leave candles burning unattended for Hestia with the good faith that nothing will go wrong. I have seen too many fires in my day to trust a candle unattended for more than a few moments. Regardless, I asked Hestia for her blessing on our feast that way, on our home and welcomed her among us if she so chose. I thought it fitting, on a day where we give thanks to that which are grateful for in our lives that since that includes the food on my table and the roof over my head to honor Hestia as well.
I also took the time and offered a bit more than my usual blessing to my Good Spirit of the home, the Agathos Daimon. The candle on the household altar was lit and incense was burned, all of this before I started preparation of the meal.
There were only three snags the entire day and those were all minor: the spillage of some wine all over the kitchen floor, the part where I shut the oven off before putting the casseroles in the oven while the turkey rested and didn’t realize it for a half hour, and the inability to find the paper gizzard bag in the turkey -that was hidden in the most bizarre space, before roasting and was found after roasting as the bird was being carved. Those things aside, and those were all fixable, it was a great day into a great evening.
I set some portions of food aside for the Theoi, not only in proper honor but to give thanks for their blessings in my life. I have been blessed. I complain many times about things I feel slighted on and maybe I don’t post enough about what I’m grateful for, but I am very grateful for what I have. I’m going to take a moment and list what I’m all grateful for.
- My friends: those who have shown me true friendship through the ages and stood by my side when things got a little more rough than most would care to endure
- My family: those who would not so easily cast me aside and treat me with the love and respect I deserve
- The Theoi: who bless me daily with strength, courage and inspiration
- My husband: who while he challenges my patience daily, loves me for who and what I am
- My pets: who have helped me, in their own ways, return from some very deep, dark places
- The roof over my head: there are many and more in this economy who cannot afford to keep a roof over their heads. I am blessed enough to not only afford the house, but to keep the heat on in it
- The food on my table: Sometimes it is difficult and sometimes it seems impossible, but I have been luck enough to never know true hunger. I may have want for specific foods from time to time, but I have never been completely without
- The clothes on my back: Something simple that so many people take for granted. I try to donate to the homeless shelter yearly because I know that there are many people who cannot do much more than have a single change of clothes
- My employment: I’ve done what seems to be the miraculous. I’ve held done a good job at a good company for a livable wage for over four years now. This is not something everyone can say anymore. Too many of my friends are out of work or searching for better work. I love my job and I’m good at it.
- My faith: It may seem such a simple thing, but considering all the trials I’ve been through the past few years, I have somehow managed to retain my faith in the Theoi and the greater universe that goes with it
And so much more…
It strikes me as odd that so many people take all these things for granted. I’ve mentioned in my post on Entitlement that there is very little that we, as humans, are entitled to. We have to be willing to work for things. I’ve been lucky, so luck and so incredibly blessed. I may piss and moan, especially online, but not a day goes by where I’m not grateful for all the things I have in my life.