Working with the Gods can be an intensely rewarding experience. But there are plenty of misconceptions over why someone might work with their respective Gods. One of the immediate perspectives is that such a bargain (ha!) is struck for access to arcane knowledge or power. And that can be the case for some, but I have not run into any large numbers of these types of relationships. Or at least none that may be acknowledged openly. Others agree to such a partnership through pure devotion to a particular God or Goddess, entering service to further whatever Their cause or need on this plane of existence might be. From my experience, this is a much more common aspect. It certainly describes a great deal of the relationship I have with Crow and Coyote, but certainly not the entirety of that balance.
Bargains with the Gods are something one should never enter into lightly. The terms of said bargain are important – because sometimes a bargain just ain’t a bargain, and you never realize it until that particular God or Goddess comes knocking for the rent check. I am reminded of a lyric from the AC/DC song “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”:
If you want blood / You’ve got it / Blood in the streets / Blood on the rocks / Blood in the gutters / Every last drop / You’ve got it
Yeah. Every last drop. Probably not exactly what you intended. Just a small cut and a bit of a squeeze. Smear all of that on the rock. You never expected a demand for every drop. But you agreed to it when you said you would give your blood. A bit of a grotesque example, and one I would likely not agree to. I’m squeamish about blood, in particular my own. But you agreed to give blood…you just never specified how much.
So, dealing with the Gods can sometimes be like working a legal contract for services. You have to be quite specific about what is being done, and what is being established in return. The same holds true when working with a group. I know, it seems odd to compare working with a group of people to be likened to cutting bargains and deals with the Gods, but hear me out.
Yesterday, I ran into a statement on Facebook from one of the Pagan Pride events that is held in the United Kingdom. Essentially, the organization had seen the event grow, while monetary and human resources dwindled. Its always sad to see events come apart at the seams, especially when it comes to getting support from within the community. Now, I am not admonishing the community for its lack of support from a monetary or physical perspective or whatever else might have been an issue.
Having helped plan, organize and run a Pagan Pride Day event for two years, I am well aware of the hard, difficult work that takes place behind the scenes, as well as other internal factors that can easily create internal divisions that the rest of the community is not aware of. There is a lot of work that goes into making these events work, so that many others can enjoy the atmosphere, meet folks they haven’t seen in a long time, and/or meet new folks. All of that behind the scenes stuff comes with implied agreements between folks to make these events come together.
Much like the bargains between yourself and the Gods, these behind the scenes agreements must be beneficial, well thought out, agreed upon, and implicit in what is to be done by both sides, lest there be draining of every last drop.
All of this implies trust. We do not lay as much trust in individuals as we do with the Gods. Or maybe its vice-versa? I have always said that I would take someone at their word until they proved otherwise to me. Yet, I am as careful as a nuclear fission technician when dealing directly with my two Gods. Its not that I don’t trust Crow and Coyote…but….well, Tricksters. Yeah.
Perhaps, I should put the same degree of trust into people as I do with my Gods. But if I did that, the constant Ronald Reagan perspective of “Trust but verify” where would I build the relationships that I would want with others? Those relationships where I know folks have my back, and I don’t have to worry about things?
The reality is that I do have those relationships. Those were verified way back in the day, early in our relationship. Those folks know exactly who they are. They know that I will be there for them as much as I can, no matter what the personal cost to me. My relationship with Crow and Coyote has taken time to get there. I do trust both of Them, but Tricksters are Tricksters…I still have to be on my toes. And be ready to laugh too…
Oh, and one more thing – you want Pagan Pride Day festivals? You want public rituals and celebrations? You want Pagan conferences? Be ready to support those with money, sweat, tears and blood…every last drop.