I’m struggling with this, because I want very much to talk about it, but I also don’t know that I can do half as good of a job as Caer with her second post to her Growing Devotions series (go check them all out, if you haven’t! Fantastic material!) The series, and that post in particular, made me so very excited to see, because it was (in my experience and from my point of view) spot on. It touched upon my experiences, it touched upon where I’d been and where I was coming from. I am an integral part of my devotions, my honoring of my gods and spirits cannot happen without me — They may be honored by others, but my honoring of Them will not happen without me. My relationship with Them, and Theirs with me, is dependent upon all parties, not just on the gods — and this is true from the two I am sworn to all the way through to the ones I barely exchange “boo!” with.
The idea the our place in the worship of the divine is incidental, that we are bound to worship the gods simply because They are the gods, bothers me to no end. It makes me increasingly uncomfortable, and not in that “it’s time to push the edges of your comfort zone,” sort of way. It feels far too much like Calvinism for my liking, and I am far, far too much a mystic to believe that the gods and spirits are involved with anyone for any reason other than They choose to be involved. The reasons They may have are going to be as many and varied as any reasons we may have for accepting Them into our lives, or seeking Them out.
Which isn’t to say that if such an outlook works for you that it’s wrong. I will forever support people walking their path as genuinely as they can. All I’m trying to point out is, it is not the only way.
I’ve recently, within the last year, started celebrating my place within my relationships with my gods. I’ve started honoring the relationship, the strength of the relationship, and really, taking home that those involved in the relationship are all equal within the building of said relationship. Yep. My participation in my relationship with Poseidon, or with Pops, is equally important as Their participation. I may be more finite and thus have less, over-all, to give, but my giving is as important as Their giving is. Reaching that place is a bit humbling and embarrassing. On the one hand, after all this time, shouldn’t I have known that already? On the other hand, having the audacity to admit that I matter to Those who care about me just because, is . . . it’s a new place. To admit that, to know that, and to genuinely believe it, and to no longer have to understand why or to secretly tell myself that, well, when They come around They’ll realize Their error (which has never really been a secret) has been liberating. I harp on it, I realize, but it’s still so new.
Maybe some don’t have to go through this. Maybe others do not struggle with self-esteem issues (Yes. I am 35 and only just now reaching this point — and some days, the conviction isn’t as strong, believe me; I am no means totally “there” yet), maybe they believe their inherent worth, and can understand why the gods are involved with them. That’s awesome! I suspect there are a lot of “us”, though.
Please do check out Caer’s series on Growing Devotions — she writes in an accessible way about concepts that may overwhelming to those just starting out on a devotional path. I’m years and years into mine, and she still have me something new to consider. Maybe the series will do the same for you!