My Gods Are Good

My Gods are good.

When I first approached Them, They seemed so comparatively small. Young. Egoistic. I was in desperate need of a Power of the arts at the time I introduced myself, and They took me in. Every concrete, mundane thing I have asked of Them – every single one – They have given me.

At first I didn’t ask questions, though it did seem odd how such seemingly small, young, egoistic Gods could pull such mighty strings in the world for me. But maybe each one of us must learn for ourselves and know in our bones that They bear an uncanny resemblance to icebergs: we will only ever see a small portion of Them at any one time, and most of Their being will never see the light of mortal day.

For some reason I had it in my head that They had wanted something specific from me in exchange for these mind-bogglingly impressive favors; something long on rigor and short on sanity. For years – 5 of them, to be exact – I prayed and offered my hands; my back; my time; my craft and skill. But every time I did, I got that distinct-but-indistinct feeling that I was being pat on the head, gently turned around, and told to go back to what I was doing. “Maybe later, dear,” They might’ve said, exchanging a wink and wry, toothy smiles between Them.

Dver told me that my Year with Them was one of healing and benevolence, of all things – two MO’s I was not in my wildest dreams prepared to associate with the Twins. I went into it assuming that it would serve some kind of utilitarian agreement of exchange, or be something like bootcamp training. In retrospect, it was an intensive alright, but one almost entirely of my own unintentional devising. What might have been a mere 12 months of quiet coexistence with Them (albeit in tight spiritual quarters) wound up being so difficult because of my own preconceived ideas of what I thought was happening.

I think They have been holding a mirror to me for most of this time I’ve spent with Them. I saw in Them smallness, inexperience, and ego because I was really looking at myself. Some of those aspects may still be true – their highland myths are just as Real as their lowland ones – but this time, I had been spooked, like Scooby Doo, by my own shadow on the wall. When the Year was over, I could feel that their Masks had changed. No longer so mirrored, there is less of Them now obscured by my own reflection.

This entire thing was inspired by Galina Krasskova’s talk of kind, loving Gods, and chiefly by the quote she used at the beginning of her recent Walking the Worlds contribution*:

God is a thousand times more ready to give than we are to receive.

Why is this? We focus so much on gifts-for-gifts, on spiritual debt, on the instrumentality supposedly so inherent to divine-mortal relationships. But I think back to one of the theses of Star.Ships, that our distant human ancestors might have originally come together to build so many megalithic temples the world over for little more than sheer expressions of admiration and heartfelt devotion to the Gods. Sometimes our hearts are just overcome with joy at knowing them, and we have little else to do than make wondrous things about it.

Maybe the same can be said for Them. Maybe sometimes Gods and devotees just like each other as good friends of any sort do. Yes, They can be terrible and dangerous and full of wrath and fearsome displays of unfathomable power. But They can also be sentimental. Unfathomably kind. 

I still can’t fathom the Twins’ kindness. It’s not without its catches – nothing ever is – but like a parent giving a potent gift to a child, They’ve left me a wide berth when it comes to grappling with the repercussions of getting what I think I need, whether that means being taught a lesson in being wrong, or rising to the occasion and letting it enhance my life.

What They want in return is still hidden from me, but I’m becoming less uneasy about not “owing” them a precise sacrifice as repayment. Friendship and reciprocity aren’t pagan codewords for some kind of spiritual bookkeeping. (Though your mileage may vary.)

But another question is raised, then: can I be said to worship Them? Is this what a real, working relationship with a God feels like? Just who are They?

I don’t know; I may never know. All I know is that my Gods are good.

And if you see Them on the street, be sure to say hello.

When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand
and nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah,
you’ve got a friend.

If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow,
keep your head together and call my name out loud.
Soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there.

Hey, ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend? People can be so cold.
They’ll hurt you and desert you. Well, they’ll take your soul if you let them,
oh yeah, but don’t you let them.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call, Lord, I’ll be there, yeah, yeah,
you’ve got a friend. You’ve got a friend.
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend. Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend.
Oh, yeah, yeah, you’ve got a friend.

_________

*Total Johnny-come-lately with this magazine.

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4 thoughts on “My Gods Are Good

  1. You’re definitely not the only one who’s struggled with accepting the gods just being generous or kind. Most people, for instance, are scared of Dionysos in His terrible aspects, His heart-rending, man-rending aspects, but for me it has always been His tenderness and grace that has been difficult.

    You’re right, reciprocity is not about bookkeeping, it’s a much larger view and more subtle and complex, especially within deep and long-term spiritual relationships. Just as it is in human relationships – you have a much more blatant give-and-take rule with the clerk at the corner store from whom you just need a carton of milk than you do with a friend, from whom you might receive all sorts of intangible benefits, but not necessarily need to return them one-for-one, as long as your friendship is valuable to them in other ways.

    Personally, I think that as long as you still remember in your interactions with Them that They are gods and all the awe that knowledge should elicit, you are worshipping. It’s not always going to look like we think it should look.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, love! I really enjoyed your post and wanted to see if you were interested in something (provided you feel as if you fall into the realm of Gaelic Polytheism).

    I help run The Gaelic Roundtable here on WordPress. It’s a new community building discussion group where we release one topic a month. Users / participants write posts based on that topic and submit them to us by the end of the month. Our aim is to encourage community discussion as well as resources for Gaelic Polytheists. If you’re interested, we’d love to see you participate! http://gaelicroundtable.wordpress.com

    Like

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