A long time back, I wrote a post awkwardly titled as “Working with the Gods Does Not Always Have to be Epic in Scale and Scope.” Reading back over it, I realized it’s a reminder that working with Gods is different for everyone. Some folks get called out for huge, epic things – where they are working on a much larger calling. Many other folks, including myself, get called for much smaller tasks, all of which seem smaller in scope, but have large impacts as well. Sometimes, the Gods are there to gently guide you through the rough patches. For a lot of other folks, there’s only silence. What happens when you’re in this last group?
The Gods are rejecting you as a Pagan, right? After all, the Gods speak to all these other Pagans, but not to you. You’re doing something wrong. You’re on the wrong Path. You shouldn’t be a Pagan. Well, the answer to all of that is “no, that’s not true.” But I grok the self-doubt associated with it all. Other folks seem to have such an easy time communicating with the Gods. Its almost as if the Gods start whispering in their ears the moment that their heads leave the pillow from Morpheus’ sweet slumber shrouded within his purple cloak. Right? Well, maybe.
Talking with the Gods is one thing. Talking FOR the Gods is another altogether. For me, this is akin to the Evangelical Christian phenomenon of “speaking in tongues.” I’ve been around enough Christians in my life to have been exposed to this. In fact, one of my roommates (and a co-worker in my duty section as well) claimed to have spoken in tongues. This was back in the mid-1980s when TV preacher Robert Tilton used to broadcast from Farmer’s Branch here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Tilton would have a pile of cloth with attached letters supposedly written by tv viwers which he would pray over. Tilton also beseeched those watching the television broadcast to place their hands on the tv screen to “feel the healing power of Jesus.” He frequently spoke in tongues. Well, only a single phrase: “Koomala Shamala-ba.” My co-worker, who was much younger than I, had recently converted to Christianity. When he found out I was a Pagan, he constantly “showed” me that he had been given the gift of speaking in tongues. Now, without denigrating his belief too much, I personally found it to be crap. Seemingly, he was seeking attention and wanted to seem important. I never told him that to his face. After all, I would only be practicing the same thing that he did whenever he wanted to ‘save” me from the clutches of Satan.
I bring this example up, not to whip it out and piss on his faith, but to provide a point that many Pagans have encountered: the Christian that claims to speak for God and/or Jesus. Jesus wants you to convert to His faith. He has big plans for your future. You will be important in His ministry. Jesus told me that He wants you to be saved for Him. When I asked why Jesus didn’t tell me this Himself, I get told that I am hard-headed or blinded by the servants of the Dark One. ::blink:: ::blink:: No thanks. I don’t need an interpreter to speak with the Gods or intercede on my behalf. Plus, with my dislike of authority, I’m fairly certain that no part of the Christian pantheon, dark or light, would prefer having me around. Just sayin’.
I’ve had things tossed at me from my own side of the fence as well. When I was in Germany, I lived in military housing in Kaiserslautern. Its called Vogelweh Housing and sits on the west side of the city. Just down the small roadway (highway 6) that runs along its southern side is a town called Kindsbach. Just to the north of the town is the edge of the forest that rolls all the way back to the housing units of Vogelweh. These forested trails were my escape from the world. Quiet places to walk, where the only songs and voices I heard were the winds within the tall pine trees. After a period of time, I started taking trash bags with me on my walks just to pick up the trash along the walking trails. My desire was to take care of the forests the best that I could. No one suggested that I do this. I took it upon myself to do it.
I had joined up with various Pagans who were looking for “support” and “fellowship” with one another, since we were all disconnected from our groups back home in the United States. One particular group of folks located near the old east/west Germany border came to one of the monthly meetings that we held. They had created their group on their own. Later that afternoon, I took them out to see some Roman ruins out near Kindsbach, and then brought them back to my housing unit for dinner and to talk. The leader of their little group started talking in a voice that was distinctly different from his own. Everyone got very quiet. He started giving proclamations to various people in the room, claiming to be the voice of Odin. He looked directly at me and told me that I was to be the “caretaker of the nearby forest.” I did my best to not smirk or laugh. I had seen this before, back at Carswell Air Force Base from my Evangelical roommate.
See, there was no mandate from Odin. Just a young man that wanted to seem important to others. Utilizing an aspect of speaking FOR the Gods to provide him with the perspective of being the “chosen” one of Odin. In my experience, the Gods don’t require a go-between. Priests in Paganism are not the intercessors of the Gods, not like the Priests and preachers in Christianity claim to be. At least not in my experience. The Gods will find a way to speak to you, when They have the need to do so.
The idea of the Gods providing epic quests…well, that’s the stuff of Swords and Sorcery fiction, at least where I sit. I won’t rule out the idea that it happens from time to time. I don’t pretend to know the minds and motives of the Gods. Nine Hells, I can barely make out the jumbled aspects of my own damn bird-brain at times. Could these two examples I have provided here be real and actual? Maybe. But neither seemed or felt real to me. I’ve been in a handful of rituals where the Gods were invoked, and I’m used to feeling that presence of Their arrival. Sometimes They don’t reveal Themselves to me either. Its not an affront to who I am as a Pagan. The Gods reveal Themselves when and if They choose, in a manner of Their choosing. I’m not special in any sort of manner. I just happen to have the attention – from time to time – of two First Nations’ Tricksters and a Germanic Forest Goddess. And rarely all at the same time – that would be scary, indeed.
You don’t have the attention of any of the Gods? You want it? You crave it? Careful what you ask for. It could happen. When it happens – if it happens – you’ll know it. It won’t likely show up in some public manner, like speaking in tongues or becoming a mouthpiece for the Gods. It will most likely be a very private, intense feeling in the moment. Still, be careful what you crave….it might not be everything you thought it might. For me, there are times its like getting extra homework from your teacher, which requires eighteen or nineteen hours of additional research…and its due tomorrow morning. And you can’t claim that your dog ate your homework. Unless you’re working with Cerberus. 😉