Its an innocent question, especially if you’re new to Paganism. “How do you worship the Gods?” But it can also be twisted slightly into “How SHOULD you worship the Gods?” I got this question an Email over the weekend..the version without the SHOULD in it. Answering it seems quite simple and easy. But like any other question in the arena of personal Spirituality, its not as simple as it sounds.
Worship of the Gods comes in whatever form you desire. That’s the easy way to view things. You do whatever feels “natural” and “right” in providing worship to Them. If its “wrong” or not “right” you’ll hear about it. From the Gods, from those who worship those Gods, from your hardcore Christian friends…it seems like everyone feels they have the “right” to weigh in on what you do in your veneration of the Gods. Knowing that can happen, many folks shy away from being public about their perspective on stuff like this. Its understandable. Who in the Nine Hells wants a beat-down from every direction? It happens, just not as often as you might think. But it does happen. Except here in this blog post. I’m not about to tell you what you do or do not need to do to worship the Gods. I’ll only say that its not as easy as you think it is.
That’s right. You don’t pick up the Deities & DemiGods Handbook (Dungeons and Dragons), drool over that smoking hot sketch of Freya and offer your horn-dog self up to be Her sex slave. Well, it could happen that way. But I’d offer that She is likely to bitch-slap you into several yester-years when She eventually tires of your shit. Just my opinion there. Worshipping the Gods can truly be as easy as lighting a few candles, lighting some incense, and saying a few words of adoration. However, if you want to tie yourself with a God, its not as easy. Making a pact with a God is like making a pact with the fairies. Its not an easy deal, and likely you’re not covering all your bases. However, if you can work it to a favorable perspective for you, such a pact can be quite fruitful.
I’m tied in with Coyote, Crow and Abnoba. When I started working with Coyote, and Crow – I was made into a fool with the things that were suggested for me to do and try. Eventually, I got frustrated and meditated my frustration and anger towards Them. Why would They want an idiot like me to work with Them? If They wanted to work with me, why make me look like a fool? Was I just to be some kind of play-thing? Their response was simple and took me aback just a bit. They wanted to work with someone who had a spine, someone that could evaluate what was being asked to do something and could say “no.” They wanted someone who wouldn’t be a “yes” person. That took a while for me to acclimate to. Over the years, I’ve said “yes” far more than I’ve said “no.” I’ve also learned to justify my answers as well. But that’s been through years of work – lots of trial and error.
I’ve had plenty of claims of appropriation leveled against me for working with First Nations’ Gods. Frankly, the Gods choose who They choose. As a white guy, I always found it troubling that I had these two Gods working with me. When I thought of trying to add First Nations’ methodologies to my Spiritual practice, I was reminded that I was not of “the people” (Their term for the First Nations’ people). My workings and pact with Them did not provide a pass into that culture. My workings with Them was to be “different.” And it has been.
The Gods do claim whom They wish to. Sometimes, you get the chance to say no. Honestly, I would say “no” if The Morrigan expressed a wish to work with me. I’m just not built in a manner to work in the areas that She tends to be in. Plus, my uber-Libra nature would cause me to question motives, reasons, and such things in a way that might not appropriate to deal with Her. I’d rather keep my life a little less chaotic, thank you very much.
So how should you worship the Gods? Well, that’s more trial and error for the most part. At least in my opinion. How you approach the Gods will be far different than my own. I don’t lie prostrate before the Gods. I stand. In silence. With respect. The Gods are not my equals. They are far greater than I am. But I don’t need to make myself inferior to Them because of that. I exist here, materially. They don’t. Though there are myths and legends of yesteryear that say otherwise. My pacts with Coyote, Crow, and Abnoba (to a lesser degree) are for me to act on Their behalf on tasks that They require of me. Some are easy. Most are not. Far fewer are extremely difficult. While I provide respect and acknowledge Their presence as being special to me – I’m not in the position to place Them front and center in my rituals and rites. Remember, I am not of “the people.” I am not to try and turn myself into something I am definitely not.
There will be those that say that you SHOULD worship THIS God or Goddess in THIS manner. Honestly, I would defer to their perspective on that. Its their way to approach their respective God or Goddess. I could not ascertain the “rightness” or “wrongness” of their preferred methodology. Well, unless they were sacrificing people’s lives or killing/mutilating animals. I don’t believe that the life-force of anything needs to be sacrificed to appease some Being from another realm. Just my two quid into the pot on that.
So, how should someone worship the Gods? Well, whatever way you believe you should. I would posit that most worship is done in the vein of love and respect. Just how you show and convey that, is really up to you, in my opinion. If the Gods show you a different way, as Coyote and Crow have done for me, follow that. But in the end, you’re in control of you. You know what works and are aware when something doesn’t work for you. That holds true in worship of the Gods as well. If you do a ritual a certain way because it was what was taught to you…that’s awesome! If you like to go “off script” and you find that its what resonates with your daily Spirituality and feels like a stronger connection with the Gods and your environment around you….super awesome! Keep doing that!! Your choices are yours to make…
In closing, I’ll share a something I wrote on Facebook about a dozen years ago.
Individual choices are merely echoes within life….the ripples from each provides a cascade we can only fathom in our deepest imaginations.me
Do you wish to worship the Gods within your daily practice? That choice is ultimately yours. As is the choice of how you go about doing so. Your spirituality, your choices.