I read through the Delphic Maxims regularly. At least once a week, I lay them out in front of me and read over every single one, every single word and try to glean every bit of meaning from them. Of all the Delphic Maxims, this Maxim is one of the ones that I always pause at. I take a deep breath, feel something in my head connecting and nod before reading on.

There are three parts to this Maxim; the first is to be silent. When you're silent, you allow yourself to listen. you open yourself up to the (proverbial) voice of the Gods, your own needs and even your own demons. When you're silent, you have nowhere to hide from all that we tend to run scared of. Being silent is a virtue. Too many people, myself sometimes included, talk because we need to talk. To not think, not hear, not acknowledge. There is honesty and purity in silence.

Being religiously silent is completely different. There are echoes in those words, whispering voices, secrets. Mystery religions, oaths sworn, experiences which can't be put into words. In my years of practice, I have experienced things I can not possibly put into words. Not because I'm not allowed to but because I simply can not adequately convey what I heard, felt, tasted, saw and smelled.

Many ancient practices have been lost because those who partook in them, practiced religious silence. There are days I wish they hadn't, but when I read this maxim, it reminds me that being religiously silent is an honor. It's a sign of respect towards the Gods; when they show Themselves to us, in whatever way, we acknowledge that they came to us--and only us--for a reason. We keep our mouth shut about these experiences and don't boast about them. We accept them as the gifts they are.

Words have power. They can hurt, flatter, curse, bless and a million other things. Words carry weight. Picking our words carefully when we do choose to speak is another thing this Maxim reminds us of. Say only what you must, and think about every single word. So the next time you open your mouth to speak, consider your words. Look for the positive, avoid gossip, avoid lies, avoid revealing things that should not be revealed. Practice piety. Honor silence.