"It's not that I don't have faith in the Gods, its that I don't always have faith in myself."
This is something to think on. We all have times of trial, times of bleak despair. We want to stand tall and rail our fists in the air, screaming at the Gods for all that has happened. We bemoan our loss of faith to friends, we tell them we feel distant from our spirituality.
We run around in circles dealing with our heartache and simultaneously hating and grieving the vacant hole in our religious hearts we so casually claim is left by deity. We ask ourselves and each other, "Why would the Gods do this? Why would they leave us to fend for ourselves in such times of trial?" We suffer and blame; we complain of losing faith.
But more likely the problem is ourselves. We don't have the faith in our own strength and perseverance to get through the adversities of life. We don't have faith that the Gods are actually there. When these times happen, when life throws us a curve ball, we want things to be fixed, we want strength and support, and sometimes that is just something we have to do ourselves. The powers, in all their wisdom, know there are sufferings we must have to grow, they know there are trials we have to bear.
So maybe, just maybe, the loss of faith is within our own self, its a lack of faith in our own ability to carry the burden, to persevere. Maybe we need to look within.
These are ideals anyone who wants deific involvement needs to cultivate. If you don’t have them, don’t even bother. You’ll ultimately be hit hard for hubris, you’ll only fill your head with inane sock puppetry, and you will make mistakes in what you feel is your study or work. Let’s briefly discuss each one.
Respect means to show deference and regard for another. I’m not positive there is enough respect in heathenry. Respect towards deity doesn’t necessarily mean you have to worship every power, but it does mean you need to show deference and regard. It doesn’t mean honoring one God and then insulting another- lack of respect for any deity is lack of respect for all.
I kneel, I eagerly get on my knees before my powers. It is one way I show respect, it is one way I give esteem to my deities. A simple physical act that means so much. I have been scoffed at over this and I fail to fathom why. I’ve heard, ‘I’ll never get on my knees to a deity, I’m a proud and tall heathen.’ Proud yes- to the point of hubris in my mind. These are deities, these are Gods. Kneeling before them is a privilege and a way of sharing joy.
I also strongly feel this lack of respect encompasses the, ‘I respect the Gods because they are my kin but I will not go to them ‘cause heck, they are busy’ mantra one hears so often. That isn’t respect, that is avoidance. That is only going to see Grandma when you need to borrow money, and then possibly not paying her back. Respect is visiting frequently, taking your shoes and hat off when you go through the door. Respect is bending down to help her pick something up as needed. Respect is getting on our knees.
Silence. Why do I even need to define this? Because it is more than just being quiet. It is actively listening, it requires a stilling of the mind to allow one to hear what They are saying. It requires what I coin a ‘willful vulnerability’ to actually hear. You see, what deities will impress on one isn’t always what we want to hear. It isn’t always backpats and pink joy joy bubbles. We need to be silently vulnerable and open to actually learn not only the good about us and our surroundings, but also the shadows, the parts of pain. If gibberish is eternally spewing from our mouths then nothing of import can ever be taken within. Silence entails, for once, a point at which we stop talking or explaining or rationalizing or yammering on and just focus on being, focus on listening.
Research. This is not only actively putting oneself into a position of learning, but it is work. That is Work with a capitol as many like to put it. What direction do the powers point us in? What is our role in this life? What do we need to do now, what next? We won’t understand this without first having the respect and silence that allows us to understand how to do the job. Once we do we need to actively pursue this role, we need to grab it by the shaft with a firm diligence that provides the greatest of esteem to our powers.
Put simply, we need to get on our knees, stop talking, and do the job before us. They want to savor our desire, they want to see aggressive application to the work, they want to see determination and staying power. When the job is done with passion and fervor, they will reward with an explosion of joy that one can practically taste as sweet as honey’d dew and with that blessing bestowed one can rise and welcome them in again and again. The lesson has been learned; respect, silence, and research.