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Between Love and Devotion

Updated: Mar 19

The emotions and sentiments we associate with the deities or principles we follow can vary greatly in the spiritual journey. The spectrum of these relationships is broad, encompassing love, respect, admiration, and devotion. Recently, I found myself pondering this diversity of spiritual connection, particularly in my relationship with Hecate, the ancient Greek goddess known for her associations with magic, crossroads, and the night.

The word "love" often conjures feelings of deep affection, warmth, and a personal attachment that is both intimate and emotional. In spiritual or religious practice, love for a deity can manifest as a profound emotional bond akin to that felt for a guardian or a cherished mentor. This love might be characterized by gratitude, personal closeness, and comfort or belonging. Devotion, on the other hand, is a term that encompasses a broader and often more action-oriented relationship. To be devoted to a deity or a principle does not necessarily require the emotional warmth typically associated with love; rather, it involves a steadfast commitment, respect, and reverence for the ideals or teachings represented. Devotion manifests through actions, rituals, and practices that honor and uphold these values, irrespective of the emotional intensity that might accompany them.

In my spiritual practice, the relationship I share with Hecate is one of deep respect and reverence, characterized more by devotion than love. This is not to say that emotional affection is absent, but rather that the foundation of our connection is built on the principles she embodies—wisdom, temperance, justice, courage, and compassion—rather than on the personification of these virtues.

Each day, as I light incense in her honor, my actions are not merely ritualistic; they are expressions of dedication to the values Hecate represents. This daily practice is a physical manifestation of my commitment to live by these principles, to seek wisdom in the face of uncertainty, to exercise temperance amidst excess, to pursue justice where there is inequity, to embody courage when faced with fear, and to offer compassion to those in need.

Devotion, in this context, transcends the act of worship. It is a living practice, a conscious choice to integrate the teachings and virtues of Hecate into the fabric of my daily life. This form of spiritual engagement is dynamic, requiring reverence for the deity and an active commitment to embody the ideals she stands for. It is about making the principles of wisdom, justice, courage, and compassion actionable rather than abstract concepts to be admired from afar. In addition to my daily rituals, this devotion extends into other aspects of my life. I create devotional pieces for altars and Hecate that I sell on my website. The creation of these pieces is both an act of worship and a means of sharing the essence of Hecate with others. The proceeds from these sales are not for personal gain but directed towards a cause close to my heart. I use the money to buy supplies for my sanctuary commitment of supporting The Blessing Box of Goldsboro and Furever Paws, a local TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) organization. For me, this act of giving back to the community and supporting those in need is a direct manifestation of the virtues Hecate stands for—particularly compassion and justice.

In a modern context, where the literal belief in deities may vary among individuals, devotion offers a bridge between the ancient and the contemporary. It allows us to draw inspiration and guidance from mythological figures like Hecate while grounding our spiritual practice in the tangible actions and decisions that shape our lives and the world around us. By focusing on devotion as a practice rooted in action and principles, we open a pathway to a deeply personal and universally relevant spirituality. It encourages us to look beyond the personification of virtues in deities and to see the potential for those virtues within ourselves and in our interactions with the world.

Reflecting upon my relationship with Hecate, I am reminded that spirituality is a tapestry woven from many threads—emotions, beliefs, actions, and commitments. While love for a deity can be a profound and moving aspect of one's spiritual journey, devotion offers a complementary path that emphasizes the embodiment of virtues and principles through our daily actions and meaningful contributions to our communities. In honoring Hecate, I find that the truest form of devotion lies not just in the depth of our emotional attachment but in the strength of our commitment to live by the wisdom and virtues she represents, actively working to make a difference in the world around us.

What do you think? Do you see a difference between love and devotion? Feel free to share your comments.

Remember, stay present and mindful.

Rev. Renee Sosanna Olson

Torchbearer & Keybearer to the CoH

Founder of the Sanctuary of Hecate Brimo

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