Sometimes I am stubborn. I get set on doing something, and when it becomes apparent that perhaps my plans should change, I simply refuse to acknowledge it. I do this with shrine a lot. I will get focused on going to shrine on a particular evening, and then when something happens that would stop me – I develop a splitting headache, my knee or back starts to stiffen and ache, or I am washed with overwhelming fatigue – I don’t acknowledge it.
Instead, I try to go to shrine anyway. I start to purify myself, spilling the water, dropping things and stumbling over words I’ve spoken flawlessly hundreds of times before. That’s usually my first clue that maybe I shouldn’t go to shrine. Unfortunately, I usually ignore it. Then things get progressively stranger – tools for shrine go missing. I forget to bring the offerings into the shrine room repeatedly. It’s usually around the third time that I’m going back downstairs to get the crackers that are sitting in the kitchen that I start to wonder if maybe I should just skip shrine for the evening.
Usually I’ll confirm my suspicions via divination, just to be sure. Without fail, I am told to stay out of shrine. I want so badly to be in shrine whenever I am physically present and theoretically able (read: not bleeding and not suffering from acute illness). It’s hard for me to then admit that there could be other obstacles to being in shrine, but when my gods say no, I have to listen. How do you know when to stay away from ritual? What are your “warning signs” that you probably aren’t in the right mindset for heka or worship?