A Pyrate Perspective
The thoughts and feelings of a Pirate Wiccan on Pagan issues and community.
Forgive me, that should be, "When Deity Approaches You".
I've been a part of a discussion on another forum where someone pledged themselves to a particular deity and is now regretting the decision. It didn’t turn out the way they thought it would.
I'm a firm believer in the idea that when a deity chooses you, they have a purpose for you. Maybe they are just calling you to worship them, but sometimes there is a particular purpose and you aren't walking away from them until that purpose has been fulfilled. I was kidnapped by a particular Goddess and I know that that is one of the reasons that I ended up in New Orleans. While I have no particular upset with this particular spiritual kidnapping, I also knew what was up and know that while I was a part of the whole thing, I was definitely not the instigator.
Personally, I don't think you get to make promises like those and just try to walk away from them when they don't work out the way you want them too. I think that if you pledge service to a particular deity, you're honor bound to deal with the consequences. To be a person of honor and of your word, you have to keep those sorts of promises. These are Gods we're talking about: it is very likely that the Gods do not think about your pledge of service the way you and I think about these things. They will ask of you whatever service THEY think appropriate. And if you approach something dark...well, it ain't gonna be no hearts and roses is all I'm sayin'. So don't be shocked when things turn nasty.
I think the abject lesson from that whole discussion is never to pledge yourself to a deity without thinking carefully about what you're getting yourself into. Sure, you can break the contract later, but you're going to have to pay the price that is demanded for breaking it. And that's if that deity will let you go. This person, who is trying to run from their original promises, has been trying to connect to other deities and these deities seem to want to have nothing to do with him. Well...when you’ve already proven yourself unfaithful and a vow breaker, why are you surprised at the outcome?
What got to me about the whole situation was the whole lack of thinking it through. Did they not do any research into this particular (very, very DARK) Goddess and perhaps think about the promises they were making before offering up all of those bodily fluids? Any time my bodily fluids are involved, I think really hard about what I’m offering and what I’m vowing. If you don't understand the bonds you are creating with those things, this tells me that you don’t know enough about what you’re doing and that you probably shouldn’t be making those sorts of promises in the first place. Before I make any sort of promises to a particular deity, I get to know the deity in as many ways possible as I can manage.
The other part of the whole thing that sort of baffled me was the advice that everyone else was giving this person...”oh, just walk away, it’s your right!” Really? As Pagans, have we forgotten what it means to make those sorts of promises? Have we forgotten that when you bind yourself to a deity, it doesn’t usually mean that you get to casually flitter off? When I take an oath, I understand that there will be consequences if I break it. The threefold law definitely applies to these sorts of situations. An Oath such as this is sacred. It is not just simply words coming from your mouth, it is a magical promise. We live in a society at large where promises are easily broken (just look at the national divorce rate). But shouldn't we as Pagans hold ourselves to a higher standard?
In my experience, deity comes to you. A God or Goddess (or pantheon) chooses you, and you feel it and know it. Everyone that I know who has a strong connection in one way or another to a particular deity has always told me that that deity approached them, not the other way around. Whatever deity it was started to appear to them in dreams or started to show up in their daily lives with things like scent or objects. You can always say no to a particular deity, but you have to do it before pledging your service to them.
Getting to know deity takes years. If you're dedicated to a God or Goddess, shouldn't you be willing to devote your life to getting to know them? Isn’t this part of the point? Most Pagans that I know start out with at least one Patron God or Goddess that called to them at the beginning of their journey, and by the end of it, have gathered several more. They work diligently with their Gods and Goddesses and devote their lives to them. For those in more structured systems, this is part of the initiatory process; to others it is a life process.
I also understand that relationships with deity change. Some appear for a while, demanding some service at that moment: some come into your life forever. One of the reasons that I prefer the Celtic pantheons is that they seem much more understanding of the ebb and flow of life. Things change, sometimes your relationship to them has to change with life circumstances. They are understanding enough (usually) to let you go when the time is right to make alterations.
Have people forgotten what we are doing with our rituals and sabbats? In this modern world, it’s easy to ignore the importance of the crops when you can just walk down to the grocery store and buy food. While people are willing to get upset about Monsanto and modified veggies, they seem to like to forget the fact that our entire society is no longer based around our crops and the life cycles of the world. The Wheel of the Year is there to remind us of what’s going on in the natural world we claim to honor and worship; to make sure that we are doing the things that reinforce the life cycles of our world to continue and to prosper. One of the reasons I am Pagan is to ensure that these things continue. I am not just a “lifestyle” Pagan; I am an active believer in the Old faith and traditions. As we seem to forget the significance of all of these things, our Gods become seem to become less real to us, they become simple archetypes that can be easily ignored. Without the Gods, where would we be? We need to cultivate our relationship to them, to ensure that everything else continues. These relationships are even more vital than the rituals themselves. As my friend Nicole said, “I am deeply saddened at the idea that there are more and more 'atheist' pagans, those who enjoy the ideas of archetypes without any of the meat, the fire in the heart, the passion of knowing their Gods as real, living beings. Sad,sad,sad.” And I think this sums this up really well.
I was baptized as a newborn. I had no consent in the matter. Later, when I was around twelve, my parents asked me if I wished to go through confirmation. Even then, I knew that I didn’t belong to the church that I grew up in. After much soul searching, I said no. I knew this disappointed my parents, but I also knew that to be true to myself, I couldn’t make those promises willingly. Even then, I knew that it would be a terrible thing to make promises to a deity that I didn’t believe in and couldn’t keep. The God of the Christians has never called to me.
And if you are vowing to serve a Pagan deity, the same thought should be applied: Is this my Patron/ess? Am I called to Her/His service? If so why? Will I be asked to do things I will find difficult, challenging, inconvenient? Do I want to devote so much spiritual effort and energy to this deity? The answer to this won’t always be yes: so think carefully before making these choices. I can’t tell you the right choice to make, but if you actually take more than a few seconds to think about what your heart and spirit are telling you, than more likely than not, you will come to the right choice.
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