Even a year ago, I knew that I would be performing the Vigil for the Bulls again. This was the first observance I performed in my home temple, as part of my studies to become Poseidon’s priest, and I internalized the vigil as part of my own liturgical year, blending with the celebrations proscribed by my temple as well as festivals uniquely my own.
There are lessons learned by doing deep work again and again. Going into it this year I was reminded that there are some Poseidon devotees who believe the running of the bulls, and subsequent bull fights, to be exciting or thrilling. I cannot say that someone who feels this way is doing it wrong; I don’t know that they are. What I do know is that this vigil focuses on the fear and death which descend upon those bulls each day, meaning that it may not be a good fit for someone who is a fan of the whole bullfighting scene.
On the other hand, it’s not beyond rationale thought to imagine this vigil, if followed by such an individual, might not change how they see the world. All I can say for certain is that Poseidon was pleased that I joined him last year. Even as a temple priest who is sometimes sought out for counsel, I can’t presume to guide someone based solely on my experience of Poseidon. He is vast as the ocean, with moods as varied as all the fish which swim. He may well have need of people who think quite differently than I do in order to complete his work.
That’s something for me to sit with as a priest. I recognized something else last night, something I don’t recall from last year at all: the weight of the grief. It’s really too much to bear, and I admit I started to distract myself to get out from under it all. A year ago I think I was more focused on the split-shift sleeping pattern I use to make the vigil possible: down for a nap, awake just before 2 a.m. to do the work, then back to sleep for the rest of the night. It would be a lot easier in Hawaii, but then again, being able to afford to live in Hawaii would have a lot of other benefits, too.
Off to bed. This vigil won’t sit itself.