Friday, April 26, 2013

Finding the Gods

It's fair to say that many, and maybe most, polytheists have one or two deities they consider their special patrons. These are gods who we believe have sought us out, or responded well to our seeking them, to whom we give frequent devotions and offerings, and from whom we expect more regular attention and favor than the other gods we may honor now and then.

Before any of that happened to me, when I was new to polytheism and still trying it on, I approached the gods of the British Isles, especially Ireland. I can't actually trace any of my family tree back to Europe, but based on family names, England and Ireland are good guesses. But I did not feel any particular interest from those gods at the time.

A little while later – just last year, really – I began to intuit that Odin/Woden was trying to get my attention. I had felt his presence at CedarLight's Yule ritual in 2011, and then I began to notice crows or ravens (I'm still not sure I can tell the difference). I am sure crows and/or ravens are always around, but it's the noticing of them that makes them omens.

Anyway, after a period of hesitation (Woden is not necessarily a comforting presence), I began to make offerings to him. Some months down the road now, I can call him a patron, although I still one whom I prefer to interact with only occasionally. I get the impression that this suits him just fine.

More recently, another god has come into my consciousness – Hermes, the Hellenic messenger of the gods, fleet-footed and quick-witted. That began with a book coming to my attention, “The Gods of Reason” by Timothy Jay Alexander, which turned my attention in general to the hearth cultures I'd never given a second look to before, Greek and Roman. The more I read and contemplated, the more the Greeks began to appeal. I started making offerings to Hermes because I had a specific request that he seemed to be the right one for, but I quickly found myself liking his energy and presence. Now I'm giving him a brief morning devotional and incense almost daily, just because I want him to be welcome and stick around.

As I near the end of Dedicant Program, I find that the year and a half of study it has entailed – much required, some on my own – has really changed my outlook. At the beginning, I was approaching the gods tentatively and with very little understanding of what was going on and without even any confidence that polytheism made any sense. Now it just seems to be a given.

I find that the Celtic deities still do hold some appeal, especially as I spend more time with my grovies who are more immersed in that culture than I am. And I would like to expand my interactions with the gods of Olympus as well. Among the gods and the hearth cultures, even when confining myself to ADF's Indo-European focus, I find elements that appeal to reason and logic (the Greeks with their history of rich philosophy, in particular) and elements that appeal to primal energies and earthiness. It's a good mix.  

1 comment:

  1. The rule of thumb I was taught for distinguishing crows from ravens: If you find yourself thinking, 'Is that a crow or a raven?', it's a crow. If you think, 'What the f*ck is that?', it's a raven ;-)

    Great that you've found a rich mix that works for you. I'm finding the DP really useful so far as well.