This is an essay I wrote some time ago, it was on my original blog but I think it bears repeating.
We have all watched late night TV and seen those dating adds. Phone lines with thousands of singles sitting around waiting to flirt with you. All of them extremely sensual and sultry, masculine and charming. They dangle the chance of meeting that one special true love out in front of you. We all laugh because we know that it is completely unrealistic. That there just aren’t that many people that “beautiful and lonely”. For the most part the witty charming gorgeous people are either in a relationship or out and about. So we scoff the very thought of those dating lines and we deride the people who use them.
Yet we approach our deity that way.
I don’t know how many times I have seen on Pagan message boards people post about it. They need something. So they pull out their 101 books and look up what God/dess looks like the giving type for that particular problem. If they are feeling a moment of “dedication” they then do a Google search and read the Wikipedia article about this particular God/dess. They then go to the store and buy the right kind of candles and incense and some kind of suitable offering. They write up their chant/spell/ invocation. When the moon is just right they set up their altar, light the candles and incense, and put out the offering. They then do what they do with casting a circle or not, and do the chant/spell/invocation. Then they sit back and wait for the result.
Now you may find yourself asking what my point here is. This is Paganism, this is what we do! If you are thinking that, then you are right to a degree. We do ask our gods for stuff and we ask by means of ritual, be that ritual large or small. So do the Christians, Muslims, Jews, and most every religion in the world. But how often does it work for the average person? Sometimes it does. Sometimes you might have found a deity that is willing to throw you a bone and give you what you want. Or maybe you just manipulated the flow of life or fate or whatever you want to call it and YOU made it happen. This is also how non-deity based magic works as well. I think often as not you just fill yourself with the confidence you need. Anyway you cut it you got that promotion or the cash to get the car repaired.
Here is what bothers me about it though. It’s the look in the 101 book and then hit Google and expect that you can bribe this deity to do your bidding. It’s like calling the singles line. Do we really believe that these beings, divine and powerful have nothing better to do with their time than sit around waiting for us to call upon them to do us a favour? Worse yet do we think that they are willing to do so for some cheap offering and some candles and incense? If so, if they are just twiddling their thumbs waiting for someone to ask them for a favour why do we give them so much respect and worship? Personally I would be disgusted by the thought of that form of Deity. As Gyddons we think of Deity as being entities in a perpetual state of merge. That brings so much power, so much opportunity, and a great deal of responsibility. Not a responsibility to do tricks for us either.
Have a look at the lore. The stories about all of them, from any era of the story writing describes these being and energetic, get stuff done type of people. They did not get to where they are by sitting about looking for split ends. They all are being of action. Beings like that simply do not stop because a new religion caught the attention of the people that honoured them. They continue, vibrant and vital. One of our mottos is “A Gwyddon knows the ways and means of his time”. Well, I cannot see the Gods being any different in that respect. In a world of technology and lack of faith and belief they likely have changed their approach. They have withdrawn from the forefront of the attentions of man, but they are there; they are still in action.
You want a favour? Spend some time getting to know that deity. Spend the time building a relationship with them, show them your worth.
See, I think this is what the lore we have is best for. It shows us the character of these individuals. They were originally worshipped in a culture of braggarts. They were a part of that culture. Not false braggarts, but people and beings that held the action of an individual in high regard. Be it you were a warrior, farmer, poet, scholar, tradesman, mother or father – the dedication you showed to your place in life was a huge factor in judging your worth. I don’t think that basic outlook has changed.
As I stated, I know that the gods are still busy doing what they do. I am not going to be presumptuous enough to say what it is they are busy doing, but I have faith they are doing it. So you want some time, you better be willing to put in the effort and show some dedication to get there. That effort can show itself in a lot of ways. You meditate and merge daily. You study our books of teachings, you reach out to those in our Tuatha and give support in their learning. You talk to that God/dess daily and remind them that you are there, that you seek a two way relationship, a true deep meaningful relationship. One of benefit to both parties involved.
That’s what this is all about and it does not happen with a 101 book, Google, a bag of Doritos, and a Diet Pepsi.
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