I’d like to float an idea for discussion.
Worship largely consists of three things:
- Knowledge of and appreciation for what a deity stands for.
- Love and the desire to connect to that deity
- The awareness that a deity is greater than oneself.
And any two out of the three is sufficient.
If you know that Apollon is a deity of nature, oracles, and you’ve got the lowdown on the nine muses, you acknowledge that he is greater than you, but primarily engage in Hellenic religion to prevent deities from noticing you and becoming angry, it’s safe to say that you are religiously Hellenic.
If you appreciate all the hard work Hekate does in caring for the dead, love her for her connection to magic, want to bask in her presence, but don’t particularly spend a whole lot of time thinking about the power differential, that’s still worship.
If you have no idea whatsoever what Hera stands for, but you know that she’s greater than you, and you want to experience her, that’s worship, too.
If you know all about a deity but don’t connect to them and don’t think of them as a greater being, you’re a mythology buff, but not a religious person with respect to them.
If you have this vague sense that deities are very powerful but don’t want to read about them because you don’t want to open any doors, that’s actually the opposite of worship. It’s a conscious decision to avoid doing just that.
There are many ways to connect besides sex, but…
You can also have a relationship with a deity that is just sex. Maybe you don’t know the lore, and aren’t interested — they’re just hot. And maybe you even think of a deity as an equal. That’s not worship.
Or maybe you don’t know or care who deities are or even if they exist, but you want to connect to a community that worships them, or to ancestors who had a connection to them. Still not worship.
“Just sex” with a deity generally turns into more than just sex, however. You can’t really share energy with them without eventually becoming aware that they have a lot more of it than you do. You can’t fall in love with someone and remain disinterested in who they are forever. The moment either of these things happen, there is no longer any “just” about sex with a deity. It becomes a devotional act.
“Just connecting,” likewise, can be a slippery slope. At some point, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks, it’s a duck.