What do you get out of your relationship with Crow and Coyote? Why put your energy and effort into a pair of gods that do not promise you a healthy after-life in Heaven?
I hear this kind of question quite a bit. More than I really care for. There are two concepts at play in all of this. The first is a relationship or partnership built on a quid pro quo concept. The second, well, is the ages-old perspective that Christianity is the only true way to a “healthy” afterlife. So I suggest we start with the second one since it is a faster answer.
I am not a believer in the concept that Christianity is the only way to find “heaven”. However, before you start proclaiming me as the general of the opposition, hear me out. I have nothing against Christianity and the precepts that it sets forth into the world around us all. Goodwill and health to all is always a nice perspective to come with. Proclaiming your perspective as the only way definitely does not wash with me. It is certainly not Christianity that I have the issue with, but rather the zealotry of a few of its adherents. In fact, it would be an easy thing to say that I have issues with zealots of any faith or belief system, including my own. When people start proclaiming their perspective to be better for everyone else, I completely disagree. Each person has their own perspective on the world around them. Being comfortable enough in your own perspective should mean that you have found what works for you, not what will work for others. Showing others your perspective is a perfectly acceptable approach. Damning people to an eternity of pain and suffering because they choose not to follow your perspective…that’s abusive in my eyes. And I will definitely call people out on that, and have.
Now, let’s talk about this concept of “getting something for something” perspective of dealing with the Gods. The Gods are not some mystical Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or vending machine where you put your prayers and devotion in like a coin, and then make the appropriate choice from what is presented. Seriously, if this is your perspective of approaching the Gods, I would offer that you are going about things the wrong way. Certainly, you can offer prayers to the Gods asking for Their intervention in some issue. Just don’t be disappointed when They choose not to do so. I’ll offer it this way – you have the Free Will to approach the Gods in whatever manner you think is best. They have Their own Free Will and can choose to ignore your approach. Yes Martha, the Gods have Their own Free Will. They can make Their own choices.
In conjunction with this set of questions, I often get asked how I approached Crow and Coyote. Honestly, I approached Coyote on my own. I read through the myths, I read a few scholarly articles on First Nations’ beliefs and quickly realized that the approach of First Nations’ folks through their ceremonies was just not going to cut it for me. I needed to fashion my own approach and not lean on an approach that was not readily available to me. So I took to meditation and offering my nightly devotions to Coyote. I attempted tasks that were presented to me, many of which turned me into quite the fool amongst those folks that knew me. And then one night, during a meditation I put my foot down. I demanded to know why I was being made into a fool, and why in the world would Coyote want to work with me if I was being made a fool. I refused to be a plaything any longer. That led to me being told that it was beyond time for me to have grown a spine. My tantrum and there is no other description for it, was precisely what Coyote was trying to provoke from me.
After several months, most of these being used to teach me some humility and perspective, Coyote led me to Crow. I was happy working directly with Coyote, but I was told that I had been taught what I needed to know and needed to approach Crow for my further steps on my trail. Crow and I talked quite often in meditation and dreams. No matter where I go, I tend to find a crow somewhere nearby. Usually in the top of a tree calling out to the world. Crow has always found a way to remind me that His presence is in my life.
So, what do I get out of all of this? Exactly what I need at that moment…even when I am unaware of just what it is that I am to get or how it will come to me. I have learned not to expect anything. If something is provided, I am thankful for what has been provided. If nothing is provided, I am still thankful for the time and presence that I have shared with Crow. I expect not a single thing in return for my prayers, devotions or tasks. The connection that I have is enough for me.
My connection to the Gods is not a quid pro quo. In many ways, it is like any relationship I have with other folks in my mundane life. My friendships and relationships with others is not based on what we can get from one another. My friends have a need, and I can provide for that need – it’s theirs. No questions, no demands. The same can be said for the relationship that I would have with any God. Does that make Them my friend? Maybe. But I wasn’t expecting that either. I was capable of providing what was asked for, and I provided. No questions, no demands.