This series, which I hope to publish every Friday, will focus on specific prayers for the Thiasos of the Starry Bull. These prayers may be original creations, chants, translations of ancient prayers, or analyses of modern ones, but all will be useful for members of the Thiasos. That said, let’s get started!
I started back at work this week.
If you’ve read my tag at the end of each post I write, you’ll notice I’m a high-school teacher. Anyone who has been a teacher, had a family member who was one, or befriended one will know that we cannot predict from day to day what will happen on our campuses. (If you’d like a fun example–we’ve had no air conditioning in our school this week, and our new maintenance crew has only now gotten around to waxing our floors–making most of the classrooms inaccessible. I don’t blame them for this; our school switched contracts to a new set of custodial staff, and they may not have had the right equipment or paperwork until just now.)
No matter your profession, if you’re anticipating bad news or a bad outcome, getting up and preparing for work can be the worst part of the day. I don’t mean that in the sense of psyching yourself out–we’ve all had days where we know we’re going to go in to work only to face an irate customer, or a scolding boss, or a group of students who just don’t want to be there. Some of us have professions to which, at times, we must dedicate what feels like our whole lives–and the guilt and anxiety garnered by that devotion only adds to the feeling of “ugh” upon waking.
What Dionysos Lysios–the Liberator–teaches us is that this job is not the whole of who we are; it is one mask we wear throughout the long drama of our lives. If we lose ourselves to the mask, we are lesser for it.
If you’re having the sort of day (or week, or month, or year) where you don’t want to get out of bed to go to that job, I’ve written a prayer for you to use as you see fit:
This mask, Lysios, is not me.
In the mirror, what I see–
The uniform, profession’s clothes–
They are not me, I am not those.
I am the love that flows within.
I am the soul that’s claimed this skin.
There is no thing so firmly bound
That freedom can’t in You be found.
Give me the strength to play this part.
Help me to keep joy in my heart.
May mem’ry, as the day goes by,
Remind me I’m of Earth and Sky.
Emily Kamp is a Hellenic polytheist, devoted in particular to Hestia, Hermes, and Dionysos the Starry Bull. When not teaching high-school Latin or making horrendous puns, she is the moderator of an online shrine to Hestia (which doubles as a daily devotional for polytheists of all stripes).