I just got back from the hospital, where I went to donate my blood. I feel truly blessed to be able to do this, as I feel that it is my duty, as a human being, to help the world in the best way I can. Unfortunately, at the moment, I’m not in a financial position to donate money to any causes – and yet, the contribution I made is even more precious than that. I gave part of my own body. I gave life. Someone, somewhere, is going to live a little longer thanks to my blood, and that makes me extremely proud.
I can’t stress enough the importance of giving blood.
Not only it saves lives, to me, as a Hellenic polytheist, it’s a form of kharis – a gift to honour the Gods. By donating my blood, I am contributing to the medical domain, which is also Apollon and Asklepios’s domain. That’s why I feel even more honoured to have been able to do what I did today. I made a physical gift, but I made a spiritual gift, too.
You see, I lead a busy life. Maybe not as busy as some, but between tutoring, writing a novel, looking for a new job and generally being out and about, it’s hard to find time, or room in my brain, for daily devotionals. Some Hellenic polytheists make sacrifices every day, do elaborate rituals involving processions and multiple hymns and libations, and pray several times a day. I’m not one of these people.
Sure, I offer a part of my evening meal to Hestia, make sure to give thanks for the blessings in my life, and recite a couple of hymns before going to bed (including the Orphic hymn to Hypnos). But that’s pretty much it.
I’m sure I don’t believe in the Gods any less than those people who spend half their day honouring them. I’m sure I don’t love and respect them any less. Still, it’s hard, when you see people devoting so much time to their faith, not to feel inadequate about your own practise.
After today, though, I have come to a realisation: I don’t want to spend half my life in rituals. What matters most to me – and, I believe, to the Gods – is not how much we put on show. It’s how much we do for them, truly, wholeheartedly, to the extent of our ability.
I don’t want to honour the Gods half my life, and forget about them the other half. I want to live my faith. I want it to be in my every action, and I want it to make me a better person and to inspire me to contribute both to this world and the one beyond.
So I give my blood. Simply, wholeheartedly. Because I can.