I’ll be frank: it has been a long, long, loooooong time since I questioned why Poseidon was interested in me. I didn’t really question it much when w/We first met. I did question it after I gave Him wedding vows. People outside of myself (who were also pagan and/or polytheist) didn’t question it so much to my face (although people did challenge me to come up with reasons why Odin would be interested in me). I did question His interest, a lot, when the relationship gained a new dimension, so I am familiar with that burning need to understand why, to understand is He really interested, though?
This is on my mind today, in part because Silence’s bit about the discernment process in his Worshiping Loki (is it wrong to break out in a standing ovation while reading? Wrong? Maybe not. Awkward? Yes.) and in part because of a question brought up in the comments over at Morgan Daimler’s post on being dedicated to the Morrigan. The question, if you’ll forgive the paraphrase, was essentially: how do you know the difference between actual interest from a deity, and your imagination?
The answers offered thus far are admittedly (by their own authors) unsatisfactory. You just know. It feels different. It’s like being in love, you just know. Now, I’m not going to fault anyone for struggling to come up with a pat, reliable answer to such a difficult question — because how can you quantify this? I’m not faulting anyone for anything here. Instead, I want to ask: does it matter?
Let me bring this back to my own experience. How did I know, as a broken, over-wrought, exhausted teenager, that Poseidon was the one to reach out to me and help me begin my healing process? How did I know He was actually there, hearing me? How did I know that my experiences were really, truly real, and not just my imagination? How did I know that my gut reactions were not just a desperate need for wish-fulfillment? Later on, when I dedicated myself to Him, first temporarily, and then with vows of marriage, how did I know that He even cared, that He was even marking my existence in anyway? Aside from the omens I felt I received, aside from the experiences other had with me when I was by the sea, experiences that could easily be explained away, how did I know? I speak of feeling His affection, I speak of His generosity with me, of the gifts He’s given, of how He’s remade my life, but these can all be explained, from an outsider’s perspective, in a number of other ways, so how do I know, in the core of my being, in the bottom of my heart, in the center of who I am, that this is real, that it’s not my imagination, that He is interested in me, that He loves me, that I am His by His decree as much as by my own, how do I know?
I don’t know, not in any way that I can point to, and name, and hold up for the world to see. This doesn’t work that way. I know He’s real, because my experiences tell me He is, but I can’t prove it to you. I know He loves me, again, because my experiences bear that up, but I can’t prove it to you. I know He’s not my imagination, and again, I can’t prove it to you. And it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter if this is my imagination or if He is real — I’m going to live as though it is, because it makes my world better, and it helps me make our world better. I didn’t know then, and for a while it drove me to distraction, until I realized, I’m not going to change how I live my life. Either He’s interested and this is all really, real, or He’s not interested and o/Our relationship only exists on my end — and either way, I’m going to live my life this way. Until He tells me otherwise. If I offend Him with my devotion, I have to believe He’ll let me know, and until He does, I will continue. I don’t believe I offend Him — I can feel His displeasure at that line of thinking (astonishment, bemusement. “What do you mean, if I’m real??”).
How do you know if they are interested in you, or if it’s your imagination? My answer is, you don’t, and it doesn’t matter. How do I know that Durga is showing an interest in me these days, that Vishnu is interested in a visit, and that it’s not my imagination?
I’m going to invite them over, anyway.