Nearly every polytheist I have talked with has heard this question or something quite similar to it:
How did you go about finding the Gods and Goddesses you work with?
To be completely truthful, I would say that its different for everyone. There are similarities and parallels that can be found in each person’s particular “moment” but each individual makes a unique connection with the Gods and Goddesses that they work with. No one connection will be the same. And while some approaches taken to the Gods and Goddesses may be similar, I would still claim each to be unique because of the complexities that exist within any relationship.
So, you want to try and make a connection with the Gods? Its quite an exciting moment when you decide to reach across and work with the Gods in some way or another. And I’m not talking about the $Deity-As-Vending-Machine concept. For me, working with the Gods can mean a lot more than that. And when you start to think about it, it can be a scary concept as well. After all, what happens if you get asked to do something that you aren’t really prepared to do? Well, that’s somewhat easy – you can just say “no”. We have the ability to choose what we will and will not do. We can (and do) create our own lines that are into territory too far. Many people call that personal sovereignty, where you are the ultimate decider of what is a request-to-far.
I have discussed how I met Crow through Coyote. Both remain in my life to this day – Crow more so than Coyote. I pledged myself to Crow as a Priest a couple of years back. But even as Priest, I do have the ability to say “no” – I just don’t normally do so. On tougher requests of action, I ask for time to think things through. One of those things was attending Many Gods West this year (where I am typing this from right now). Crow asked (rather strongly) that I go; that I talk with people; that I get to know them better; that I set my feet back onto the direction of getting out of the shadows and into the observable light. That was shortly before Pantheacon, sometime late last calendar year. I asked for time to think about it. I checked available time. I checked available funds. When I realized it was workable for me, I agreed. I could have just as easily have said no.
Coyote approached me through my dreams. It took a short while before I figured out who He was. That was my first encounter with Coyote. As I said, Coyote passed me over to Crow to learn more. Flidias, on the other hand, has been something completely different. I encountered Her through Dreams and meditations, where She has been hiding behind trees – among other items – beckoning me to follow Her. Most of my time spent with Her has been playing this game. She whispered Her name to me when I managed to catch up with Her – and I had to look that up to figure out who She is. Even then, it was a pain, because I had no idea how to spell the name.
There are many other ways that one might be able to approach the Gods and Goddesses. Study who They are. Find devotional rites and figure out how to do these on your own. Go to places that are sacred to Them, and meditate on who They are. Or just stumble across Them in your everyday practice. Or talk to others who have worked with a deity that you are interested in approaching. Find out how they had managed to come in contact with Them. And then try what they express worked for them. And be patient. Remember, you are trying to court favor with a being that sees the world very differently from you. And realize, They may not be interested. That can suck, but it can be a reality. They have just as much right to say “no” as you do.
I will toss this out there as well…working with the Gods is not the same as rolling dice and looking up Their stats and such in Deities and Demi-Gods. My initial workings with Coyote were about changing the way I see myself; trying to not be so serious about who I am, and having fun with the daily drudgery of Life in general. My work with Crow has been far more specific, far more intense, and a lot more difficult in what I needed to do. In some cases, I have sacrificed what I wanted to do, for what Crow wanted me to do. But there is reward with the hard-work as well. I have learned lessons about myself that I would never thought I would entertain in my best dreams. That’s the exciting stuff. There are daily offerings and rites that I do as well. What I tend to call the “same old drudgery” – but its part of being who and what I am – A Priest of Crow.
I can always say “no” to any of this, so Crow is not my Master. We work in partnership, though I would consider Crow to be far more other-worldly than I am. In this physical realm, for the tasks He gives to me, I am His presence. I am quite sure I am one of my followers…my role is not the same as theirs nor is it bigger or better. It is my role. Our relationship is unique between us, it took hard work, and a lot of trust on both sides of the equation to get here. And I cherish what that relationship is. I celebrate it every moment of my Life.
Do you want a similar relationship with a Deity? My suggestion would be to learn about who They are. Learn what They like, what They dislike. Put daily moments aside for Them and attempt to approach Them in whatever fashion you deem is right. And again, be patient, be respectful, and be prepared to do the hard work. Not every moment with the Gods can be like the movies. Nor should it. The movies are the movies. You are living in real life. And real life….it most assuredly is hard work.