Is it worship?
Sannion has a good article up over at Witches and Pagans, in which he responds to a rather awful book I bought him on Dionysos and Dionysians (hey, we have to read everything written about Him). I wanted to highlight one point he makes, because it’s a really important guide for discernment regarding one’s religious practice. It can be a slippery slope sometimes, especially if you do a lot of non-traditional activities as part of your devotional practice (rather than a strict Recon approach), where things that began as worship can end up losing that direct connection to the gods, because you are no longer focusing your energies on Them, but simply doing the things you’d want to be doing anyway. (Sadly, it can even start that way, as I’ve seen plenty of pagans clearly just having a party for themselves and slapping on some veneer of religiosity in name only, but let’s assume your original intent is really to try to honor the gods.) As Sannion deftly puts it:
“Worship is a specific set of actions that remain fairly constant across cultures and religions. And while other things can be made into acts of devotion by grafting elements of worship onto them, without those elements it just does not qualify. Worship is done for somebody or something else – and that’s how you can instantly tell the difference. If you take Dionysos out of the equation and nothing changes – you’d still be doing the same thing in the same way and getting the same results – then it’s just not worship.“
This is a really simple, really crucial gut-check you can do on a regular basis regarding all your devotional practices, to make sure they are truly devotional and do not become merely recreational. If your daily glass of wine with Dionysos has really become a daily glass of wine with yourself and the tv, you can catch it and rectify the situation fairly easily by re-dedicating it (deliberately, with words and actions) to Him. It’s worth taking a moment to examine what you’re doing and make sure it’s still properly focused on the gods – They should be a crucial, indispensible part of the equation.