If you don’t read my blog regularly, you may not know this, but I don’t generally like the sort of “do this, don’t do that,” advice. At least, I don’t like to give that sort of advice. I prefer the ‘hey, here’s some things I’ve done, here’s been my experience, here’s how I came into that situation, and here’s why it may be similar to what you’re dealing with,’ sort of advice. I’ve seen too many well-intentioned experienced pagans offer advice that worked for them, that sounded, in the delivery, like commandments. Not everything is going to work for everyone, and unless you’re in a specific tradition, attempting to conform to their standards and ways of doing things, that’s totally acceptable. More, it really shouldn’t be forgotten.
An upside to watching the YouTube pagan challenge vids has been getting to see people talk about their experiences (or lack there of) with their matron or patron deities. While that’s not really the language that we use in devotional polytheism, it’s a phrase that I hope most of us understand. Certainly, I do. It’s been great to watch — but I’m coming away from some of these videos a bit heart-sore, in that people talk about being nervous to approach certain Powers, or that they don’t feel “called” by any One, and so they don’t approach, even when they are interested in Them. This breaks my heart. Why do we hesitate? Why is it not okay for us to make the first move?
I don’t think I’m special. I don’t think I have any secret knowledge (and if I did, you’d know about it already, because I share SO MUCH here, and it wouldn’t be a secret anymore, and so I still wouldn’t have any secret knowledge). I don’t think my experiences are all that rare or grandiose or anything — I’m just a woman, living my life, and worshiping my gods. But, there are some things that I do know, some “truths” that have guided me well these two decades in my relationships with the gods. I am dedicated to two gods who could arguably be considered scary, intense, off-putting (Odin gets more of that reputation than Poseidon does; I suspect it’s the whole sacrificing of Self thing, and His ruthlessness; let me tell you, Poseidon is pretty intense, all the same. Water wight to the millionth degree, I’m just saying to you.)
- If we even know about the Powers, enough to have names for Them, and stories, enough to even grasp a sense of Their presence, it’s because They’re interested in humanity. They could be interested in your personally, or humanity in general, or any configuration between those two points, but if the Powers do not care about us at all, there is zero reason for Them to make Their presence known to us.
- Hospitality Matters and goes a long, looooong way. There’s an idea with (Krisna? Vishnu? It blurs, but I think Krishna) that any offering given with intent and devotion — even a cup of water, if that’s all one has — will be accepted, gladly. Hospitality is a two-way street. We have responsibilities as the givers of hospitality, and the recipient also has responsibilities, and it has been my experience — even with Odin, even with Loki, even with Hekate — that They will not ask of you what you cannot give. In material wealth, in wealth of time, in any area of your resources. This may change as you develop a closer relationship, maybe, but during the initial overtures of connection building, I’d be surprised.
- Making the first move is acceptable. To be clear, Poseidon made contact with me before I knew Him, and Odin was in my realm of awareness before we had any direct experiences. When it comes to the final dedication to Poseidon — my marriage — I made that first move. I proposed to Him. I used to lament that — it wasn’t romantic, at all — but now, I’m kinda proud at my audacity. I asked Him to marry me, and I had the pleasure at experiencing Him go utterly still in shock. (Stillness is a thing with Him, and it’s heavy, and weighted, and intense, and full of past-reactions-gone-horribly-wrong) that had me back pedaling for a bit, trying to pull away from whatever overstepping I had done. This is in direct opposition to my experience with Pops, where He was all, ‘Learn the runes, and also, you’re Mine, we should get to working now.’
If you are interested in a Power and you don’t feel They’re interested in you, or even know that you exist– approach Them. I can’t say that it’ll always go the way you want it to go. What I will say, emphatically, is, there is no good reason why you can’t approach Them first. Also, all the Powers are intense and can be scary. Some simply use fewer masks to make us more comfortable. Opening yourself up to any of Them means opening yourself up, and that is always going to be scary. (And, to many of us, so worth it)