How do we interact with the gods? I have been putting together a ritual based on Plato’s cosmology. It is a sequential honoring of the energetic beings that we know as spirits, ancestors, and gods. My friend was disturbed by the lack of closure at the end. Yes the ritual needs work to be sure. But I’m not sure that the intent of having deity depart is what I want.
My experience with deity is deeply personal. A presence, always there. Guiding and protecting even when I was in despair. I did get angry that bad stuff happened, but at one point I realized that I must still believe that God/dess was present because I persisted in talking – or yelling – to her.
There is a concept of deity that says the gods are huge and scary and powerful and we need to be careful to politely invite them to leave when we finish our veneration. If they stay, their energies might wreak havoc. But what does that mean? It means something will change. If we ask the gods to stay they will change us. Whether that change means transition or havoc depends on who is being asked and how intense one wants the experience to be.
At a blot I attended some years ago, one of the participants invited Odin to “lay it on him.” The general consensus was that the guy had enough problems, and what was he thinking by asking for such drama? Odin is not known for his gentleness. Nor is Hel. Inviting some deities into our space, lacking clear concepts about what we need from them may make for a rough ride. Invoking the trickster god of the North is grounds for ejection in many kindred’s, largely because that particular god doesn’t much care about clarity or boundaries.
But sometimes, this sort of dramatic disruption is for the best. A speeding ticket when you can least afford it, might make you slow down enough to save your life at a later date. And not everyone learns quickly. Another friend of mine used to say the when the Goddess didn’t like what he was doing, she would take a 2×4, pound a spike into it, and swing it at him while saying, “Be one with the nail!” And I suppose that if one finds life rather dull without regular chaotic drama, then a trickster deity is just the ticket.
All experiences offer the opportunity for learning and change if we bother to take responsibility for not just our current actions, but what got us to this place. Taking responsibility is being in integrity with deity. I want my gods and ancestors close. They help me (at times forcefully) to be a better person, to do the right thing. They help me figure what the right thing is when the path is obscured. And they love me.