(ORE-thow-SKEE-sis), the state of establishing or maintaining a healthy relationship. From Gk. ορθός orthos correct, right + σχέση skhesis relationship, association, contact.
(ORE-thow-SKEE-zick) Of or pertaining to the establishing or maintaining a healthy form of relationship.
Orthodox and Orthoprax
It's well understood that many religions have orthodox forms; Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Baha'i are all religions where orthodoxy can be distinctive. Orthodoxy, from the Greek for "right belief", demands adherence to certain articles of faith as a necessary part of how the individual participates in the religion. If one does not accept and believe that Jesus is the literal Son of God, for example, one cannot participate in some forms of Christianity, and may be excommunicated. It's more important that action - that belief is more significant in terms of the ultimate goals of the faith than being a good person. A good atheist will go to hell, they say, while a bad believer will still go to heaven.
Other faiths take a more orthoprax approach, very common in modern paganism, folk religion, and other religious traditions derived from ancient faiths. Contrary to the focus on belief, orthopraxy focuses on the correct action. Usually, this is specifically correct performance of various rituals, but it can apply to a focus on correct action, as seen in some forms of Buddhism and Taoism.
Generally, every faith can be described in terms of one of these categories, depending on where the focus of the faith lies. Those that place emphasis on belief, ideology, and faith are orthodox, in a general sense, and those that focus on behaviors, practice, and ritual are orthoprax.
The Way of Spirits, however, is neither. Both ideology and practice take a back seat to the relationship, which means that it cannot be orthodox or orthoprax. Certainly there are important understandings of the world and practices to follow, but the relationship with the People is always the priority.
Since orthodoxy and othopraxy don't define the Way, another term had to be created: orthoskhesis. Orthoskesis is the idea that the most significant feature of a religious path is establishing and maintaining healthy relationships. There are certain forms of Christianity can be considered orthoskhesic, what with their focus on establishing a relationship with Jesus and/or God. The same applies to some forms of paganism, where the focus is not on observance of rituals, but on how one relates to the Gods.
Arguably the largest confusion about orthoskhesis concerns the nature of who defines what counts as "correct" when it comes to describing the relationship. Orthodoxy and orthopraxy both generally appeal to an outside source of some kind - orthodoxy often defers to some sacred text, such as the Bible, while orthopraxy frequently follows the guidance of "tradition" or historic precedent. Reconstructionist Paganism, for example, is highly (and contentiously) orthoprax.
Orthoskhesis generally does not appeal to an outside source of any kind - the definition of a healthy relationship depends on the People involved, not on the judgements of anyone outside the relationship. To some people, gay relationships are inherently unhealthy, for example, but to the individuals actually involved, this is far from true. What individuals outside the relationship define as a correct relationship is not relevant to the focus of the spirituality.
It is certainly possible for the People involved to be be misguided, codependent, or otherwise unhealthy and not recognize it, and it is important to listen to and consider carefully others' concerns about a relationship (particularly in abusive and codependent varieties). Some relationships can seem extremely unhealthy from the outside, but still be healthy and correct for those involved. Dominant/submissive relationships, for example, can be extremely healthy, particularly because these relationships often come with intense self-reflection and communication. Ultimately, the important distinction is not on whether the relationship is healthy or not, and what that is, but that a healthy relationship is the goal.
When talking about orthodoxy, there is no goal of belief - one either does or does not believe. In orthopraxy, there is a bit more leeway, but there is still a benchmark for what qualifies as right behavior, even if that benchmark may be somewhat vague (the Wu Wei of Taoism, for example, is not entirely explicit, and cannot be). But there is no definition of what qualifies as a correct relationship with a non-physical entity, and even if there were, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to know if the relationship met those requirements.
In the end, no one can say but those in the relationship, and that's that.
The Wight Doctor. Diviner. Worker. Writer.