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Author Topic: Is it possible for Them not to love?  (Read 3408 times)

NibbleKat

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Is it possible for Them not to love?
« on: August 08, 2012, 11:22:15 am »
I wonder what your experiences are with this particular topic, which is a little difficult for me to face, in all honesty.

Is it possible for the gods you work with not to love? I'm not talking the peripheral ones, the deities you come to now and again and don't have a strong one-on-one working relationship with.  I'm talking about the Main Ones.  The first and foremost in your life, your patrons.

I understand that some pagan faiths, like branches of Heathenism, for example, might believe that the gods aren't as interested in you as you are them, and that's a cultural thing (right?).  I get that, and maybe it's not those that I'm asking about, because that's sort of a given.

The others, though.  The ones that you want to love you, you expect and want to love you.

Is it possible, that even though they chose you (does it make a difference if you chose them? I think so), even though you work with them every day and do offerings and want to love them, that they're not going to/don't want to/can't return that love?
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Re: Is it possible for Them not to love?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2012, 11:33:41 am »
Quote from: NibbleKat;67795
I wonder what your experiences are with this particular topic, which is a little difficult for me to face, in all honesty.

Is it possible for the gods you work with not to love? I'm not talking the peripheral ones, the deities you come to now and again and don't have a strong one-on-one working relationship with.  I'm talking about the Main Ones.  The first and foremost in your life, your patrons.

I understand that some pagan faiths, like branches of Heathenism, for example, might believe that the gods aren't as interested in you as you are them, and that's a cultural thing (right?).  I get that, and maybe it's not those that I'm asking about, because that's sort of a given.

The others, though.  The ones that you want to love you, you expect and want to love you.

Is it possible, that even though they chose you (does it make a difference if you chose them? I think so), even though you work with them every day and do offerings and want to love them, that they're not going to/don't want to/can't return that love?

 
But what IS love of a deity like? Can we humans comprehend it even a little, or are we just projecting our own feelings on Them?
This is the question I've been struggling with.

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Re: Is it possible for Them not to love?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2012, 11:39:26 am »
Quote from: NibbleKat;67795
Is it possible, that even though they chose you (does it make a difference if you chose them? I think so), even though you work with them every day and do offerings and want to love them, that they're not going to/don't want to/can't return that love?

 
I think it is. Gods may have chosen you for different reasons. They don't need to love you to be able to work with you or ask you to do their work.

I also don't think the gods in general love in the same way that we do... I'm not sure how to phrase this, but let's just say that "love" is a different thing for us and for them.

Obviously, YMMV.

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Re: Is it possible for Them not to love?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2012, 11:42:52 am »
Quote from: Nachtigall;67797
But what IS love of a deity like? Can we humans comprehend it even a little, or are we just projecting our own feelings on Them?
This is the question I've been struggling with.


With two of my deities, I get a definite... I dunno. Warm feeling. Protective. Happy, joyful.  I don't feel like this is directly MY feelings put onto them (although I recognize the potential that it is).  Feelings I'd get from, say, my human mother.

With another deity, I get this... less. If at all.  I don't know if I'm putting my subconscious out upon this deity and am making up crap that isn't true to satisfy some dark part of me, or if it's actually how the relationship is, but...

I am getting to the point of being afraid of angering her.  I messed up before, and now? Now I'm over-worried.  Now when I sit down, I get more of the strict school teacher vibe, the kind who'll crack your knuckles with a ruler, rather than the kind who will gently guide you along.  I don't get the "warm fuzzies".   I don't get a sense of love, just a sense of being molded like clay, nudged into one direction or the other, but in a distant and cold sort of sense.

This deity was a deity of healing, a one widely worshipped.  One of fertilty and creation.  One would think that some of those traits would confer to protection and love.

I just can't tell if I'm projecting, or if this deity isn't capable of love, or if I'm not worthy of being loved by her.

And I don't know if I can deal with a relationship where I'm afraid and unloved.

But I don't want to not have this deity in my life.
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NibbleKat

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Re: Is it possible for Them not to love?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2012, 11:43:50 am »
Quote from: IceAngie;67800
I think it is. Gods may have chosen you for different reasons. They don't need to love you to be able to work with you or ask you to do their work.

But what if it's what I need?  Can a person properly do Their work without that sort of relationship/feedback?
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Re: Is it possible for Them not to love?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2012, 11:53:43 am »
Quote from: NibbleKat;67802
But what if it's what I need?  Can a person properly do Their work without that sort of relationship/feedback?

 
I think you'll have to analyze the pros and cons of the relationship. If you can't do their work unless you feel the warm fuzzies, as you said in the other post, then maybe you shouldn't work with that particular deity. And if you need that particular deity in your life, then you'll have to get used to not being loved in the way you want to. :/

After all, that's also a part of life: not always having what we want in the way we want it.

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Re: Is it possible for Them not to love?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2012, 12:08:32 pm »
Quote from: NibbleKat;67795
I wonder what your experiences are with this particular topic, which is a little difficult for me to face, in all honesty.

Is it possible for the gods you work with not to love? I'm not talking the peripheral ones, the deities you come to now and again and don't have a strong one-on-one working relationship with.  I'm talking about the Main Ones.  The first and foremost in your life, your patrons.

I understand that some pagan faiths, like branches of Heathenism, for example, might believe that the gods aren't as interested in you as you are them, and that's a cultural thing (right?).  I get that, and maybe it's not those that I'm asking about, because that's sort of a given.

The others, though.  The ones that you want to love you, you expect and want to love you.

Is it possible, that even though they chose you (does it make a difference if you chose them? I think so), even though you work with them every day and do offerings and want to love them, that they're not going to/don't want to/can't return that love?

 
I sort of fall under the Heathen branch, but I thought I'd give my perspective anyway, in case it clears anything up?

There are definitely different types of relationships with each individual God. It came as a surprise for me, and I'd guess it's the same as others, who move into more hard-polytheism from other philosophies. But just like people, the Gods all have their personality types, and some you're going to get along with better, and some you're just going to rub against the grain. But if you're all in this together, you can still have a functional "work relationship" built on mutual respect, if not "like" or "love".

For me, the Norse Gods actually seem more human and less remote and God-like than some other pantheons, which is one of the many reasons it was clear to me I should pursue them. They aren't up there on a cloud demanding fealty, they aren't immortal or omnipotent or ever-present. They have a variety of desires and traits, positive and negative, some I share and some I don't. There are some of them I honor with respect as part of my ancestral history, but I don't work with directly, because they don't speak to an aspect of my life. There are others I do work with as "primaries", but by no means would I say I "get along" with all of them.

Tyr is a great example. I knew he was important to me and that I would be working with him, but he seemed aloof, distant, bordering on distaste. Made me really scratch my chin. The more I learn about him through research, and the more I interact with him through UPG, I can really see why. We have completely conflicting personalities. He is very conventional but lofty, doesn't suffer fools well, a god of justice, priests and kings and duty. I've never worked well with authority figures, or conventions, or black-and-whites. However, I have strong beliefs about making sacrifices to do the right thing, and taking action to stand up for what you believe - and Tyr's primary story is, of course, the loss of his hand to Fenris to bind him. So we can work together in this way.

I do get what I would call a "warm" feeling from the Gods when things are working, but I wouldn't call it love. It feels something like pride or success or joy or satisfaction...but again, that might be the Pantheon, as they seem more attuned towards those types of feelings.

I am not sure what to recommend if you feel you "need" to feel love? I would suggest trying to re-frame your relationship with the particular God, to find the "warmth" in a different positive feeling, perhaps?

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Re: Is it possible for Them not to love?
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2012, 12:12:48 pm »
Quote from: NibbleKat;67795
I wonder what your experiences are with this particular topic, which is a little difficult for me to face, in all honesty.

Is it possible for the gods you work with not to love? I'm not talking the peripheral ones, the deities you come to now and again and don't have a strong one-on-one working relationship with.  I'm talking about the Main Ones.  The first and foremost in your life, your patrons.


 

What kind of love are we talking about? For me, I get a variety--I have one goddess who is the grandmother kind of love; she protects me, teaches me but is not afraid to kick me when I'm down either. She doesn't think about my feelings as much as my actions. Another is more or less about self-love, respecting myself.

For me, it's not always about the different kinds of love either. In Hades's case, it's about respect and we leave it at that. There might not always be love involved but there MUST be respect as far as I'm concerned. And it must be mutual, that I respect the deity and they respect my choice to honor them. If they don't like what I'm doing, they let me know that they'd rather I leave them alone and I do.

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Re: Is it possible for Them not to love?
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2012, 12:53:42 pm »
Quote from: NibbleKat;67795
I wonder what your experiences are with this particular topic, which is a little difficult for me to face, in all honesty.

Is it possible for the gods you work with not to love? I'm not talking the peripheral ones, the deities you come to now and again and don't have a strong one-on-one working relationship with.  I'm talking about the Main Ones.  The first and foremost in your life, your patrons.

I understand that some pagan faiths, like branches of Heathenism, for example, might believe that the gods aren't as interested in you as you are them, and that's a cultural thing (right?).  I get that, and maybe it's not those that I'm asking about, because that's sort of a given.

The others, though.  The ones that you want to love you, you expect and want to love you.

Is it possible, that even though they chose you (does it make a difference if you chose them? I think so), even though you work with them every day and do offerings and want to love them, that they're not going to/don't want to/can't return that love?

 
Yes.

I don't think a loving relationship with a deity is very common in most pagan cultures of the past. You mentioned Heathens, but also ancient Greeks, as Mikalson phrases it in Ancient Greek Religion: "Unlike in the Christian tradition, the Greek god, even Zeus, is not "our father," and we are not "his children." We are not expected to love a Greek deity as a child would his parent. It is "honor" and "respect" that Greek gods want from humans... the kind of "honor" a subject owes his king."

Personal relationships with gods were not typical, except in ancient mystery cults like Christianity and the cult of Isis, and modern ones like various strans of neo-pagan witchcraft, in which offered all-loving deities who took personal interest in their followers. In modern paganism, people often claim they are BFFs with certain deities, which I personally think is a bit silly, though I try to maintain the attitude that people can do whatever they want as long as it doesn't affect me (and I often fail at that, whoops).

Like the book I quoted said, the relationship between mortals and gods in ancient Greece was not about love, it was about respect shown to deities as much higher beings. I think most cultures of antiquity would have been similar. The gods were great powers of the universe, not imaginary friends whose voices people hear in their head. Not that implying anyone in this thread is like that, it just seems like a common attitude among modern pagans. A joke my Ancient Egyptian Religion professor in university often comes to mind, which was, "if you talk to a deity, it's called prayer, but if a deity talks to you, it's called schizophrenia." I think that's pretty funny.

Long story short, don't expect love and personal relationships from pagan deities, it generally isn't their style.

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Re: Is it possible for Them not to love?
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2012, 01:17:23 pm »
Quote from: NibbleKat;67795

Is it possible for the gods you work with not to love? I'm not talking the peripheral ones, the deities you come to now and again and don't have a strong one-on-one working relationship with.  I'm talking about the Main Ones.  The first and foremost in your life, your patrons.

 
Love is only one kind of relationship. We can have tons of other powerful, amazing relationships in our lives where love is not the main (or even present) emotion in more than a very general sense.

Teachers care about the well-being of their students, but saying they love them is not quite the right word most of the time (not in the "major emotional connection as peers" sense, or even the maternal/paternal sense.) Same deal with doctors, or librarians, or bosses, or whatever.
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Re: Is it possible for Them not to love?
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2012, 01:35:59 pm »
Quote from: NibbleKat;67795



I understand that some pagan faiths, like branches of Heathenism, for example, might believe that the gods aren't as interested in you as you are them, and that's a cultural thing (right?).  I get that, and maybe it's not those that I'm asking about, because that's sort of a given.

 
Yup. I think the question would be reversed in heathenry. "Is it possible for the gods to love us?"
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Re: Is it possible for Them not to love?
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2012, 01:39:26 pm »
Quote from: IceAngie;67805
I think you'll have to analyze the pros and cons of the relationship. If you can't do their work unless you feel the warm fuzzies, as you said in the other post, then maybe you shouldn't work with that particular deity. And if you need that particular deity in your life, then you'll have to get used to not being loved in the way you want to. :/

After all, that's also a part of life: not always having what we want in the way we want it.

 It is a part of life, I understand... it's also not as easy as the above options, I don't think.
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NibbleKat

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Re: Is it possible for Them not to love?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2012, 01:42:14 pm »
Quote from: wadjet;67807



Tyr is a great example. I knew he was important to me and that I would be working with him, but he seemed aloof, distant, bordering on distaste. Made me really scratch my chin. The more I learn about him through research, and the more I interact with him through UPG, I can really see why. We have completely conflicting personalities. He is very conventional but lofty, doesn't suffer fools well, a god of justice, priests and kings and duty. I've never worked well with authority figures, or conventions, or black-and-whites. However, I have strong beliefs about making sacrifices to do the right thing, and taking action to stand up for what you believe - and Tyr's primary story is, of course, the loss of his hand to Fenris to bind him. So we can work together in this way.

I am not sure what to recommend if you feel you "need" to feel love? I would suggest trying to re-frame your relationship with the particular God, to find the "warmth" in a different positive feeling, perhaps?


 I am glad that you gave me your perspective, actually.  So, thank you for it.  Your relationship with Tyr may be as close as an example as I can think of in regards to my relationship with this particular deity right now.

Do you have any suggestions on how to re-frame a relationship? I will look for ways myself, but it's good to have a different opinion, a different tack to try.
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NibbleKat

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Re: Is it possible for Them not to love?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2012, 01:43:55 pm »
Quote from: RoselynLibera;67808
What kind of love are we talking about? For me, I get a variety--I have one goddess who is the grandmother kind of love; she protects me, teaches me but is not afraid to kick me when I'm down either. She doesn't think about my feelings as much as my actions. Another is more or less about self-love, respecting myself.

For me, it's not always about the different kinds of love either. In Hades's case, it's about respect and we leave it at that. There might not always be love involved but there MUST be respect as far as I'm concerned. And it must be mutual, that I respect the deity and they respect my choice to honor them. If they don't like what I'm doing, they let me know that they'd rather I leave them alone and I do.

 
I think I will also have to explore the respect aspect of this relationship.  

I don't know/think it's possible to say, "Oh, no thank you, I don't want you anymore" for me, so...

Is Hades your main patron?
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Is it possible for Them not to love?
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2012, 03:03:45 pm »
Quote from: NibbleKat;67795
I wonder what your experiences are with this particular topic, which is a little difficult for me to face, in all honesty.

Is it possible, that even though they chose you (does it make a difference if you chose them? I think so), even though you work with them every day and do offerings and want to love them, that they're not going to/don't want to/can't return that love?

I don't know if my experience will be helpful at all but I'll share. I worship Brighid. She is the only deity that I'm involved with at all and I'm pretty sure that She chose me but I don't feel love from Her. Sometimes I can't feel Her presence at all and then I'm filled with doubt.

When I do feel Her around it's more like a feeling of rightness than love. Like I'm exactly where I'm meant to be. It's wonderful but it's different from what I think of as love. I'm not sure what it is that Brighid gets from the relationship or if She would even notice if I no longer worshipped Her but despite all that it's still fulfilling for me and it continues to evolve.

I hope you find a way for things to be more comfortable for you. I think the important thing is to remember that your Goddess called you for a reason, it just might not be something you can understand at this time. This experience in itself could be a lesson or a way to shape you to Her work.

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