The word “Fidelity” has many definitions: It can mean the strict observance of promises, duties, etc; loyalty; conjugal faithfulness; adherence to fact or detail; and even accuracy or / and exactness.
No matter what definition of the word (well… Maybe except that “conjugal” part. I’m not a Godspouse), Fidelity plays a large role in myself and my practice in all aspects… But how does one show Fidelity, exactly? For me, it varies and I’ll take you through it definition by definition.
Strict observance of duties, etc.
For me this means a few things; near-daily rituals of various sorts are included in my spiritual duties. They can range anywhere from the physical (performing flows dedicated to an entity, or washing my hair and following a beauty or fitness routine), to the mental (in depth meditation on the various entities or my spirituality). Both physical and mental aspects play a large role in my practice, and performing the rituals (magical and non) which go along with them are considered important duties to be carried out.
Physical: Daily offerings and the servicing of the Shrines are probably one of the largest and most important examples of physical duties I perform for my entities.
I believe that the entities require worship, offerings, and gifts, in order to sustain themselves. When you agree to work with an entity you, essentially, enter into a contract with them. You are offering your services and ability to give them sustenance and housing in exchange for their protection, guidance, and presence in your life; the creation of household Shrines, daily offering, and the regular servicing of the shrines is the repayment you give for the services they render to you.
One such Shrine that is important to maintain efficiently is the Spirits’ Shrine. I run maintain a Shrine which is, essentially, a “halfway house” for spirits who cannot cross over for one reason or another, or just plain don’t want to yet. This is a spiritual service I provide, at the behest of my entities and in their dedication. Fidelity as defined as the strict observance of my spiritual duties means performing my duties and not placing spirits on back burners; housing them, making offerings to them, communicating with them. and other things.
Physical duties also means a lot of time in study, gathering resources, running resource blogs, helping others in need, offering counsel and guidance, lending a helping hand, or anything similar.
Because so many duties contain physical elements and are a large part of my practice, it creates the requirement that things such as Fitness, exercise, flows, and general health / wellness also be a large part of my belief system. It stems from the fact that (through personal experience) I do not believe that one can operate as a dedicant to their entities efficiently unless they are in good health- mentally and physically.
As a dedicant it is my duty to keep myself in peak physical and mental health so I can perform all other duties efficiently, and with the proper attention; placing my mental and physical health (and therefore the act of keeping myself healthy) within the spectrum of my spiritual duties has not only increased my ability to manage my conditions, but also ensures that I can perform the rest of my duties on the level expected of my by the entities I work for and am dedicated to.
The view shouldn’t be taken as ableism, however, or be taken as to imply that the mentally and physically ill have lesser practices. I’m definitely not saying that an individual with mental or physical illness cannot perform to par for their entities, nor am I saying that they shouldn’t try or have no place within Paganism if they do suffer from them, only that being as healthy as you can be is integral to mine and my own belief. I do suffer from a number of mental and physical health issues ranging from chronic sciatic nerve pain to severe depression… Which is a large part of why I’ve come to the personal belief that I have within my practice; I cannot perform my duties accordingly, or offer the entities the devotion and attention they deserve, if I’m having a depressive fit or my sciatica has flared up. My spirituality suffers, and so does my relationship with my entities without the ability to perform my duties.
Mental: Mental duties are just as important as the physical ones, and indeed there’s a lot of crossover between the two.
For instance, taking care of Spirits and other people gives me the ability to do good in my community and for someone other than myself- which helps with ego and a number of things, including my mental health state. Likewise, studying increases my mental awareness and knowledge, as well as helps me to help others better. Again, this leads to a better mental health state for me, as well as many other things.
Performing flows or physical health tasks gives me an opportunity to perform necessary shadow work, as well as an opportunity for in depth meditation, self analysis, and reflection on my faith and entities.
They all seem really simple, but it’s a lot more work than I’d originally have guessed going into it. They include things like meditation, taking care of my mental health, building and developing my practice and religion, expanding my knowledge, metaphysical ability, paranormal ability, self-awareness, understanding of my entities, and other things.
Strict observance of promises
This basically boils down to “doing what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it”… Of course, life happens and it’s not always that easy. I have even outright broken promises to Entities, even, because of my own vanity. We are human, and we are no more perfect than the supernatural entities we work with. But observance of these promises also means informing others that you’ll be unable to perform them by the allotted time when life gets in the way- as well as doing them as soon as you’re able if it does.
Loyalty and conjugal faithfulness
Loyalty is defined as “giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution”; faithfulness as “1. loyal, constant, and steadfast; 2. having a strong belief in a particular religion”… As already stated, I’m not a Godspouse so the conjugal part of the definition might not have any part in my practice, but the concepts of loyalty and faithfulness definitely do- and they don’t just pertain to the entities I work with and am dedicated to, either.
For me, spiritual loyalty and faithfulness extends past the entities. It encompasses not just them, my religion, and my practice as a whole… But also community, friends, family, and even myself, personal morals, and everything else. Yes, even abstract concepts- whether it be to balance, education, knowledge, femininity, industriousness, or to any other concept which plays a large role in my practice.
Showing this fidelity (or Loyalty and Faithfulness) means living as true to these concepts, beliefs, and people as possible; performing my spiritual duties and rituals; and abiding by the laws and paradigms of my own practice.
Adherence to fact or detail; accuracy and / or exactness; I’ve combined these two definitions because both are in a somewhat similar vein for me.
Accuracy, exactness, facts, and details are extremely important to my practice. I spend a lot of time in study not only to expand my knowledge and help others better, but also to continue developing my faith and practice. It is important to both myself and my faith that I pay attention to details, get the facts correct, use accurate data and sources, and a whole slew of other things. Without these things- as a practice with heavily influence from history and anthropology, science, and similar things- my spirituality fails. But through these things, it flourishes. There are also some aspects of my practice (such as medical herbalism), which I cannot perform efficiently without 100% correct and accurate information.
Showing Fidelity through an adherence to facts, details, accuracy, and exactness, means not only adhering to these things, though… It also means having the ability to accept criticism as well as the ability to correct myself and my information when I’m wrong about something. I’ve had issues doing this in the past to some extent (after all, no one /really/ likes being told they’re wrong), but I like to think I’ve gotten better at doing so.
All of these aspects of Fidelity are a large and important part of my practice and take me closer to my religion and my entities.