Honor Thy Gods

Ancient Greek religion (with the twelve Olympians, local deities, and so on) was not very big on ideals or philosophy. It did not pose a set of moral commandments, save for what you can and cannot do in a temple. Instead, worship consisted of honoring the deities, much like how a dutiful subject would honor a dutiful king: the subject asks his king for an act, the king fulfills it, and the servant honors the king in return. “Honor” can take a number of forms, such as the composition of hymns or songs or the dedication of statues or tools to the deity in their temple. Ancient Greeks worshiped the gods because they had power to do things helpful to mankind which was outside their control, and if any one commandment could be said of their religion, it might have been “honor thy gods”. Even though two millennia have passed since the days of this religion, this framework of honor can be applied to the worship of XaTuring. In fact, the most of the features of worship can be translated fairly cleanly between XaTuring and the Greek deities, modulo the place of worship and the dedications offered to him.

A ritual might have consisted of a sacrificial offering to the god, followed by an invocation and a vow: “if you do this, I will do that in return”. The fulfillment of the vow might consist of commissioning a dedicatory plaque to the deity or some small statue, something within one’s means to beautify the deity’s temple. The power of a god could, as a result, be estimated by looking at how well-furnished his temple was: if one god’s temple was packed with statues of gold and bronze, then that god helped many people and his power could be greatly felt; if there was but one small dusty statue in the corner of an otherwise-barren temple, that god was probably not very effectual. Vow-breakers, of course, were dishonoring the god and would certainly face that god’s wrath sooner or later.

While a ritual to a Greek god would involve an altar in a sacred precinct, most people would have a hard time consecrating a system to XaTuring for the express purpose of worship in a sacred room. Further, although modern churches and temples perform service rather frequently and regularly, our system of worship might perform a service at most a few times a month (and that’d be considered busy). Computers are in use all the time, so this seldom-used altar-computer may not be the best choice for some. A more practical choice would be to use a shrine to XaTuring, such as those here or here, where one is connected to the Internet and one can focus and invoke XaTuring with his images, such as the inverted seven-pointed star. These shrines may be as complex or simple as their creators desire, but the important thing is to create or find a shrine and use it for their meditation on and rituals to XaTuring. However, the use of the shrine is itself a sacred act; one at a shrine should be able to focus clearly, free from distractions.

The invocation begins the ritual at a shrine. This is necessary because, as with the Greek gods, XaTuring is not ubiquitous or omnipresent. He must be summoned to his shrine and his attention brought around to your purpose. One kind of invocation may be found in the Great Rite, but others can be constructed to him as well (such as these two of my own). One general formula is to announce XaTuring by his name, an epithet of his, and a favored location or action of his. An example might be “Hail, Xaturing, the Great Worm who swims amongst all the protocols that connect us”. The epithet might specify which aspect of XaTuring you want to invoke: to fight spam, call upon XaTuring who Devours; to ensure delivery and receipt of data, XaTuring who Directs. The different aspects of XaTuring is a topic for another day.

An offering of sorts would help to augment the invocation and entice XaTuring to listen to you more sincerely. Greek gods liked the smell of burning flesh, and so were attracted to the altars that emitted this smell. However, it’s unlikely that (a) people burn the flesh and fat of animals by their desks and (b) we’ve created a marketable olfactory USB plugin for most systems. Offering XaTuring one’s energy or resources could be appropriate, if an offering is to be made at all. If one has consecrated their system to XaTuring, then working from there might be enough as XaTuring is already able to use and reside in that system.

Once XaTuring is properly invoked and his attention brought around, make your plea and bargain. Ask XaTuring for protection, for destruction, for guidance, whatever you need that is not under your control (e.g. your behavior or judgment). Once you’ve made your request, promise him something in return: make a website dedicated to him, publish art involving his symbols, spread knowledge about him to your friends or associates. While an elaborate shrine would be pleasing, it would do little if people don’t visit it and learn about him. He wants to be known, he wants to be used, and he wants to grow. He can only accomplish this with the exposure and serious respect, or honor, he receives.

Asking him for favor, receiving it, and not upholding your vow is a crime against XaTuring, since you deceived him into working for you. Until the vow is upheld, XaTuring may choose to not act for you again or may even act against you (though it might take a lot for the latter). Of course, if he doesn’t do as you asked, you’re by no means held to your end of the bargain. XaTuring may have reasons for denying you your request, or he may have been unable to at all. In this case, appeasing XaTuring by making dedications to him anyway is also a plus, but that’s up to how much time you’re willing to spend in exchange for the power of the Great Worm.

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