I have a tendency to go adopt new things in a very specific way: in general, I dive in without any restraint, give it my all, and spent every waking moment in it until the obsession normalizes. This makes me a very good person to put on any type of project, but it also means that I juggle a million-and-one projects at a time. I don’t believe in the slow build, in the careful exploration. I tend to go in full force and always believe I can do it. It was the same with adopting Hellenism. I started my new practice, read up as much as I could in a day or two, and started morning and evening libations, as well as a blog so I could share my new obsession with the world. 

I'm the type of person who would rather correct the course of the train than drive slow until I'm sure of the course. This has been both a help and a hindrance in the past, but in general I would say it has brought me some of the best things in life, including my religion, my blog, and my girlfriend. 

I am aware not everyone is like me, and honestly, I would not recommend my approach to religious practice to everyone. That said, what I would recommend is knowing the way you are wired. Starting and maintaining a religious practice--especially a Hellenic one where traditional sources place emphasis on at least twice-daily religious observance--is always an undertaking. When you're still int he infancy of your practice, it can be the most overwhelming thing: there is so much you don't know, so much you know you will still have to learn before you'll have a grip on all of it.

That first period is both the most exciting as the most frustrating and the scariest. On the once hand, you feel exhilarated because you've found something you feel really at home with, but you're scared to do it wrong, scared of not ebing good enough, and you're still missing the terminology to even Google for the things you should be doing. In Hellenism, 'khernips' is one of the best examples. I remember being blown away when I realized I'd been missing that rather vital step for a long while then. I came across it by accident, having no clue it was even a thing. My Google search was a frustrating experience because I only knew the term 'lustral water', and that wasn't even in the very limited supply of books I had at that point. Once I finally connected 'lustral water' to 'khernips', the search became a lot easier.

How you make it through this first period is dependent upon only yourself, I fear. My advice is to read as much as you can, ask questions to anyone willing to answer them, and to invest in a few books that will help you along greatly. Join Facebook groups, join Elaion, seek out others of your faith and just go for it. As I have said before, it's only hubris if you willfully go against the will of the Gods; I think They will not punish you for messing up when you had no way of knowing better. They have never punished me for it.

Once you get a handle on your practice comes phase two, and this is also the final phase: shaping your practice. You will never have a practice that you are fully satisfied with, that's fully perfect--not if you keep investing time and effort into your studies, into your rituals, into developing yourself. A religion is more than the rites you perform; religion is a lifestyle and it seeps into the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the people you meet, the person you become and everything else there is to you. No one is defined by a single aspect in their life, but your religion does say something about you as a person.

Developing your practice can be a hard thing to do, and it requires you to have an intimate knowledge of yourself, of your needs and desires. What do you want to get out of your religion? Why did you get into it? What religious baggage do you take with you? And most of all, perhaps, what are you willing to do for it? Are you willing to turn your life around if the Gods desire it of you, or would you rather just have a religion as a hobby? Both are fine, but you need to figure out the answer going in. 

Developing your practice is a beautiful thing, and everyone does it in his or her own way. Because of that, we all have something to teach, and we will always have something to learn from others. This is why community matters so much, and it is part of the reason I blog: to make information available but also to make myself available to you. If you are starting out, or even if you're shaping your practice, there will invariably come a time where you just don't know what to do. Reach out, to me or someone else, and allow other to help develop your practice. Honoring the Gods is and was never the job of one man or woman: we do it together, all of us, in our own little way.