So as I woke up on this holiday Monday, to the punishment of the bright-light of the blazing summer sun, head-pounding from partaking a bit too much of the drink during last-nights festivities, and at times like this I wonder why I do this to myself. The answer is probably not what you’d expect. It’s part of my religion…
Those who are acquainted with me will have at some point heard me vociferously denounce all gods and religions so it might be confusing but in fact I practice an atheistic religion, if there ever were such a thing.
I am primarily a philosopher of the ancient Stoic school, My studies of the varying schools has fostered in me a natural interest in the religion of the classical Hellenes. It would not be unusual for a Stoic Sage to serve as a priest to one of the mystery cults of the empire or like Marcus Aurelius to serve as the High-Pontiff. Even the Stoics who were atheist found a way to reconcile their beliefs to the religion of their fathers. The gods were no more than representative of certain ideals, the myths about them were how the people were educated about the value of ideals. I do value ideals, so it seemed incumbent on me to take up some of the old gods…
It being proper for a man of full-age to select a household god, it is also acceptable to choose a god for personal devotion. I quite easily and naturally came to Bacchus and Veritas; in many ways I already was an unknowing devotee of these gods by the nature of my character. Choosing your own gods seems so much preferable to being born with one and brainwashed as a child to believe in it as most in the world do.
Veritas is the goddess of truth and knowledge, she is often venerated by scholars and teachers, she is naked, as the truth should be, In one hand she holds the book of all knowledge in the other a mask being removed, or sometimes a mirror pointed away from the goddess. She may be astride the globe as master of the world.
I pay cult to Veritas by being blunt, direct, and honest in my speech, by seeking out ever more knowledge and wisdom through study and reflection, and by sharing that knowledge with others.
Bacchus is the god of wine, fertility and the arts, his title is Liberator, he is depicted as a somewhat effeminate man holding a bunch of grapes in one hand with the wine tasting vessel in the other. Bacchus wanders the earth, especially the woodlands accompanied by centaurs and nymphs, his trusty band of rowdy drunkards, and the Bacchae, his frenzied sex priestesses…Wine, women, and song; if it wasn’t for the casual goat sacrifice, this is a religion I could really get behind.
I pay cult to Bacchus in the ways you might expect, I partake of the drink during festival days, I strive to live free of all societal expectation, I am passionate in the arts of lovemaking, but even small things like taking a hike in the woods takes on a spiritual significance.
My gods make a good couple; Freedom and Truth, as tongues are loosened through the liberation of the wine and the excesses of Bacchus are tempered by the wisdom and knowledge of Veritas. The sacred male and female worshiped not through prayer, but through the way in which you live your life.
Maybe you should ask yourself if your gods are as cool as mine…