Monday, January 19, 2015

Developing Relationships with Deity...and anyone else...

Relationship is the mutual understanding and exchange between two individuals.  The nature of that understanding and exchange is determined by the nature of the individuals involved.  If they are both persons of honor, the exchange is positive.  This is the type of relationship I seek.  Not every individual is honorable, honest, ethical or worthy of respect and trust.  These people, no matter if they are human or other, are best avoided.  That being said, how do I know that the person with whom I am engaging is indeed someone I can trust?

Meeting someone new is always a challenge for me.  I have a default setting of “do not trust”.  That has not changed throughout my life but, I have learned to trust myself and my own intuition and judgment.   Not every person, human or other, is worthy of trust, but many are and if I choose to never trust anyone, I rob myself of a great deal of joy, growth and love. 

That being the case I take a long time to get to know people.  I learn everything I can about them from as many sources as I can. I seek out the worst that anyone has to say about them and the best. I evaluate the motives and veracity of those sources and try to find as many unbiased opinions as I can. I observe their behavior as much as possible when they are most likely to be uncensored.  Then I begin to test the waters to see how they will relate to me.  I test everything they say against my logical and skeptical mind and with my heart and my inner ear and my “gut”.  When I have finally decided to trust someone, I know that this person is worthy of my trust and perhaps of my devotion and loyalty.
I believe that the process works for any person, human or other, with whom I may choose to build a relationship.  Most people can be trusted to act according to their nature and if I understand what that is, I can trust that.  I do not expect the Dark Mother to be full of light, I do trust that she will destroy that which does not serve my greater good and so long as I do not fight her work in my life, she will dance with me as gently as possible and as brutally as necessary.  If you invoke a Deity into your life, there is a point at which you must realize that they do not answer to you.  I do not surrender my own free will or my responsibility for my choices.  Just because Deity asks me to do something does not release me of responsibility for it, I still have to choose.

Once I have decided that this is a person of honor and worthy of trust and respect and that I desire to build a relationship, how do I proceed?  I begin by learning everything I can about their nature.  I learn their stories, their history and about their culture and family of origin.  I look at images that they have inspired.  I meditate on them and have a conversation.  I ask them if they will work with me.  I find out what they want from me in return and what they think I can learn from them.  I tell them what I am hoping for.  I am respectful and honest.  They may tell me that they will not work with me at this time, or that what I am asking is not appropriate.  That is not the rejection that it sounds like.  If they are worthy of my desire to build a relationship, then they are worthy of trusting when they tell me no.  

If the happy result is that the Deity I wish to work with indeed accepts my petition, then I continue to learn about them and share my stories with them.  They may very well know a great deal about me but, the act of sharing my truth with them can be an important part of the process.  Sometimes as I hear my own words speak my own truth I can come to a greater understanding of that truth or discover inaccuracies in my beliefs about my life and myself. 

I like to create alters to Deity in my home.  I enjoy using them as a focus for my meditations with that Deity and as a place of devotion to them.  It is my way of telling them and reminding myself that they are welcome in my home and in my life, that my relationship with them is important to me.  And sometimes simply as a visual reminder to my own mind and heart that I am not alone and that I need to spend time in communion with my Gods. 

I spend time there talking with my Gods, sharing my heart, discussing my thoughts and ideas, asking for their guidance and thanking them for their gifts.  I make offerings and honor vows made to them.  I do divinations as a way of receiving their guidance.  I sing invocations or recite poetry that they have inspired in me.  I make offerings to them and create gifts for them.   I sit quietly and listen. 

When learning about the Gods I read as much of the original lore as I can get my hands on and as much academic and historic scholarship as I can find. I read inspirational material as well.  I read it all and give appropriate value to those works written by true scholars.  Personal gnosis is wonderful but it is just that, personal.  Every relationship is unique to the individuals involved.  One witch’s experience of a God is not going to be identical to mine. I also take into consideration that often the lore was written by human beings with limited understanding and perhaps personal bias and conflicting agendas, and I try to focus on the actual stories and not on the narrative commentary in which they may be cloaked.

This is the beginning of my process in developing relationship with my Gods, Ancestors or Allies, be they Deity, Human, Fae or Other.  It is a practice that I consider to be fundamental to my faith and my work.  Relationship is an essential part of my path.  I give thanks for the relationships with which I have been blessed.  Blessed Be.

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