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Author Topic: What do the gods do for you?  (Read 12281 times)

Waterfall

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2011, 01:46:52 am »
Quote from: AlisonLeighLilly;2146

What do the gods do for you? What gifts or blessings have you received from them or from your work with them? What keeps you coming back (instead of throwing up your hands and just becoming an animist ;))?


Loki saved my life once. Or at least got me out of a situation that was potentially going to kill me. I suppose I could have survived on my own, but I'm honestly glad I never had to find out. I also once asked him to help my brother out of a bit of trouble. Everything worked out for him, although whether Loki actually did anything, I have no idea. I don't have much of a choice about not coming back. For one thing, I promised I would follow whatever god saved me from that bad situation. Also, if Loki doesn't want me to leave, he'd probably turn my life upside down worse than he normally does. But most importantly, I guess everything is more fun with Loki and despite sometimes having serious doubts about why I'm not trying to do everything in my power to get away from him, I like him.

Fireof9

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2011, 02:04:18 am »
Quote from: AlisonLeighLilly;2146
Maybe a bit of an irreverent question! But I've noticed a few threads asking, more or less, "What do you do for your gods, what gifts do you offer them?" So I thought I'd turn it on its head.

What do the gods do for you? What gifts or blessings have you received from them or from your work with them? What keeps you coming back (instead of throwing up your hands and just becoming an animist ;))?

--Ali


A good smack upside the head when I need it, that and love. I don't ask them for favours really, so other than my acknowledgement of them they don't ask much outta me either.
Really?  So, hey, want to go fishing?  I\'ve got a telescope, and it\'s going to be a dark night, so we should see the fish really well.
...what, I\'m not talking about fishing?  That\'s stargazing?  It\'s all doing-stuff, so it\'s the same thing, right?
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Mata

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2011, 02:42:36 am »
Quote from: AlisonLeighLilly;2146
Maybe a bit of an irreverent question! But I've noticed a few threads asking, more or less, "What do you do for your gods, what gifts do you offer them?" So I thought I'd turn it on its head.

What do the gods do for you? What gifts or blessings have you received from them or from your work with them? What keeps you coming back (instead of throwing up your hands and just becoming an animist ;))?

--Ali

 
This is a really good question and one I want to answer without sounding too sappy!

For me, the gods give me a point of reference to orient myself, I can turn to them when I feel overwhelmed, or lost. But I don't turn to them because I think that they have nothing better than to comfort me, but through their grace they do make me feel like there's something bigger than what we can see, more than what we normally perceive, and I think that's literally awesome. :o

So, I honor and worship them both because they deserve it, and because I feel compelled to do so.
" For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy..." - Socrates to Theaetetus.
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Tay Redgrave

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2011, 09:50:06 am »
Quote from: AlisonLeighLilly;2146

What do the gods do for you? What gifts or blessings have you received from them or from your work with them? What keeps you coming back (instead of throwing up your hands and just becoming an animist ;))?


There was this time I got involved with nutcase Satanism and managed to get myself out of it, 3 months later. It badly affected me (mostly mentally) and I tried de-programming myself months afterwards. I thought I was managing to get over it but I guess not. Because last year in April-June, Dionysus popped into the picture and a while afterwards, I noticed that it no longer affected me and that I was finally getting over it. It also took a little while to get me to admit that it happened but eh, crap happens. I messed up. I learned.
So, that's definitely one thing I am grateful for. That might fall under 'what the gods do (or did) for you'.

The months following July last year have felt like major therapy months to me. At least... that's the best comparison I have come up with.

Adding to that, I guess I have someone to turn to when I am (to steal Mata's usage) overwhelmed and/or lost.

Since last year, when Dionysus popped into my life, I've gotten a lot less serious than I use to be (I was extremely serious in high school and probably tried to act more mature than I probably was.) and feel more cheerful. Generally, I've gotten more happier.

I guess mostly support and therapy-like help. (... best comparison I can think of, I'm sorry.) And possibly helped me become more of who I should be now and less of who I was before in the past.

Emma

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2011, 03:52:20 pm »
Quote from: AlisonLeighLilly;2146
Maybe a bit of an irreverent question! But I've noticed a few threads asking, more or less, "What do you do for your gods, what gifts do you offer them?" So I thought I'd turn it on its head.

What do the gods do for you? What gifts or blessings have you received from them or from your work with them? What keeps you coming back (instead of throwing up your hands and just becoming an animist ;))?

--Ali

 
I'll throw an anecdote in here. I must confess that when I developed an interest in Sekhmet about 10 years ago, I did something naughty and immature which got me in scary trouble.

I was at work that day when our oaf of a next door neighboor decided to intimidate my girlfriend because of some mundane issue she didn't want to help him with. When I got home, she told me about it and I was like, screw this guy. He was way too big for me to handle physically, so I turned to Sekhmet.

I performed an impromptu ritual to ask Sekhmet for assistance with a task of vengeance. Seemed the appropriate goddess for the task. Boy, was she. With my eyes closed, I summoned a likeness of her to my visualized circle, and after a long period of concentration, I opened my eyes and swear I still saw her figure, but translucent. The figure then shot through the wall into the neighbor's apartment.

For the next three days, nobody saw that neighbor. In the evening of the third day, I checked the mail and spotted a sheriff-posted notice of eviction on the neighbor's door. I was freaked out. I told my girlfriend and all she could say was "wow, what did you do?" Shivers ran up the back of my neck.

Another three days passed. That third evening, I was coming off the freeway while taking two friends home. Traffic was moderate, but it was so dark I could barely see the reflectors on the road. The car ahead of me speeds up, and I see this large object on the road in the car's wake. It had a very intense gold glow, perhaps because it was reflecting my headlights, I don't know. I couldn't identify the shape of it, but the car in front of me had accelerated and gone right through/over it, so I just kept going. I felt nothing as I drove over it, but suddenly, my rear right tire popped, and the wheel lurched. Luckily, I wasn't going terribly fast, so I managed to regain control and pull over to the left-hand emergency lane.

When I checked the tire, I saw three holes in the sidewall. I felt ill. Three nights passed and my neighbor was gone. Another three nights passed and I got three holes in an unlikely tire while three people were in my car.

Am I reading too much into the circumstances? Is this really just a big coincidence? What do three threes have to do with anything in this case, right? Needless to say, I played it safe and never cast another vengeance spell again.

Malkin

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2011, 12:21:47 am »
Quote from: Emma;3022
I'll throw an anecdote in here. I must confess that when I developed an interest in Sekhmet about 10 years ago, I did something naughty and immature which got me in scary trouble.

This doesn't sound like a big mystery - if this neighbor of yours was the type of guy to intimidate people, not pay his rent, and disappear mysteriously, then he sounds like the type of guy who would slash someone's tires. He may have had a feeling that you or your girlfriend were involved in his misfortune. But you're not responsible for his actions, and I doubt Sekhmet would have assisted you if you had been without just cause (or a cause She personally found just.) Magic takes the path of least resistance - if your spell/prayer was successful, then he was probably in trouble with his landlord already.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 12:23:04 am by Malkin »

cwummel

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2011, 12:56:03 am »
Quote from: Juniperberry;2394

It's a bit like being in your parent's house, knowing everything in it is their's and that they're around somewhere...but the fact that they aren't nagging at you to help with something is a good thing. ;)

 
I love it! That is a perfect comparison of the gods to actual life and how I, maybe most Heathens as well, feel about the gods!  :D

Emma

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2011, 12:19:27 pm »
Quote from: Malkin;3212
This doesn't sound like a big mystery - if this neighbor of yours was the type of guy to intimidate people, not pay his rent, and disappear mysteriously, then he sounds like the type of guy who would slash someone's tires. He may have had a feeling that you or your girlfriend were involved in his misfortune. But you're not responsible for his actions, and I doubt Sekhmet would have assisted you if you had been without just cause (or a cause She personally found just.) Magic takes the path of least resistance - if your spell/prayer was successful, then he was probably in trouble with his landlord already.

 
I'm glad to finally get a practical perspective on the story. It's bugged me for years! Thanks. =)

Malkin

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2011, 09:33:26 pm »
Quote from: Emma;3326
I'm glad to finally get a practical perspective on the story. It's bugged me for years! Thanks. =)

 
No problem. :)

AlisonLeighLilly

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2011, 08:02:56 pm »
Quote from: cwummel;3215
I love it! That is a perfect comparison of the gods to actual life and how I, maybe most Heathens as well, feel about the gods!  :D

 
This is really interesting! I think I've heard that some Native American traditions have a similar attitude - basically, gods are Big Stuff that you don't really want to be mucking about with - but I don't think I've heard of any modern Pagans who shared that view.

It brings up the question for me, though: how do you know? How do you know your rituals and offerings are being accepted and keeping you out of trouble, or if there isn't anyone up there to be paying attention in the first place? How do you know, in other words, that lack of evidence (in this case, lack of the sense that the gods are paying you personal attention) isn't just evidence of lack (i.e. there aren't any gods in the first place)?

Any Heathens (or non-Heathens) have thoughts on this? I'm really curious!

--Ali

Darkhawk

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2011, 09:19:22 pm »
Quote from: AlisonLeighLilly;3726
It brings up the question for me, though: how do you know? How do you know your rituals and offerings are being accepted and keeping you out of trouble, or if there isn't anyone up there to be paying attention in the first place? How do you know, in other words, that lack of evidence (in this case, lack of the sense that the gods are paying you personal attention) isn't just evidence of lack (i.e. there aren't any gods in the first place)?

 
You don't know.  Knowing is irrelevant; you do the things that are expected and required, or you do not do them.

It can be trust.  It can be "this is the thing that gets me through it".  It can be "it may not mean anything to the universe, but it means something to me".  It's not often, in modern paganisms, "this is the way it is done", because we for the most part aren't coming out of cultural traditions in which it is done that way, but it can be that.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

AlisonLeighLilly

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2011, 09:52:10 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;3756
You don't know.  Knowing is irrelevant; you do the things that are expected and required, or you do not do them.

 
....Yes, but..... how is that different from superstition?

That's meant to be a serious question, not snark. Considering that we are re-creating our traditions, where does the authority come from which dictates our ritual acts, if not from our own (or our community's) knowing (at least in some subjective, experiential form)? Simply performing ritual for the sake of performing ritual, out of a belief that if the rituals aren't done "bad stuff will happen" but without any experiential knowledge that this is actually the case - that's the very definition of superstition. So how do we distinguish authentic religious ritual from superstition, if we consider knowing in at least some form to be essentially irrelevant?

And I mean those questions with all due respect and sincerity.

--Ali

Darkhawk

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2011, 10:18:23 pm »
Quote from: AlisonLeighLilly;4083
....Yes, but..... how is that different from superstition?


Is there some profound reason it has to be?

Especially given that "superstition" is commonly a word for "those weirdoes' rituals"?

Quote
So how do we distinguish authentic religious ritual from superstition, if we consider knowing in at least some form to be essentially irrelevant?

 
Does it work for you?

If it does, does anything else matter?

If it doesn't, why are you doing it?
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

AlisonLeighLilly

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2011, 10:40:34 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;4093
Is there some profound reason it has to be?

Especially given that "superstition" is commonly a word for "those weirdoes' rituals"?
 
Does it work for you?

If it does, does anything else matter?

If it doesn't, why are you doing it?

 
My only answer to that is that, I think on a psychological level, we as human animals seek meaning, and we can't continue to do something that we secretly or not-so-secretly believe to be meaningless without requiring us to accept some kind of deep cognitive dissonance or disconnect. We can't even attempt to answer the question "does it work for you?" without having some kind of context in which we understand what "working for us" looks like... which requires some kind of knowing at least at some level. This seems to contradict what you said earlier, that "knowing is irrelevant."

So yes, religious ritual - in order to be meaningful - does have to be different from superstition. And not just because superstition has been used as a word for other-ing certain groups. I don't think we should be obligated to reclaim every negative word once directed at pagans. Otherwise, we would be adopting some pretty unhealthy behaviors in the name of "rebelling" against a majority/mainstream, while in a way still allowing that mainstream to define us. I think it would just be silly to perform meaningless ritual simply because the majority religion sneers at meaningless ritual and, by the gods, we'll show them!

Asking how we distinguish religion from superstition is about taking responsibility for our own spiritual lives. I don't see what's so wrong with that.

--Ali

Juniperberry

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Re: What do the gods do for you?
« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2011, 10:53:55 pm »
Quote from: AlisonLeighLilly;3726
This is really interesting! I think I've heard that some Native American traditions have a similar attitude - basically, gods are Big Stuff that you don't really want to be mucking about with - but I don't think I've heard of any modern Pagans who shared that view.

It brings up the question for me, though: how do you know? How do you know your rituals and offerings are being accepted and keeping you out of trouble, or if there isn't anyone up there to be paying attention in the first place? How do you know, in other words, that lack of evidence (in this case, lack of the sense that the gods are paying you personal attention) isn't just evidence of lack (i.e. there aren't any gods in the first place)?

Any Heathens (or non-Heathens) have thoughts on this? I'm really curious!

--Ali

 
Luck. Tho honestly, I'm really not quite sure exactly how it works, the complexities and stuff. It isn't like you become really lucky and win the lottery or anything. Its more like the absence of bad luck, I suppose. If your home and work affairs are running smoothly and you have a good reputation with your community then you have luck. Which you could always say that that doesn't really prove anything, too.

And that's about all you really want in heathenry, for things to run smoothly. There are some religions where there's a separate goal to attain, like reaching Nirvana, which is an obvious achievement, but there isn't anything transcendental in heathenry.

Maybe you're offering to Freyr and your flowers bloom a little earlier and bigger than your neighbors. Maybe a thunderstorm will roll through (Thor) and your neighbors will get their trees uprooted and your house is fine and undamaged. This happened in my neighborhood just the other day- monsoon season here. I wasn't the only one who didn't lose trees, but if I had been one that suffered damages then I would know I wasn't very...lucky. ;)

So, basically, they're just of the world and you hang out and enjoy it and give honor and thanks. You'll know when you're on the outs.

If I wasn't clear feel free to ask for more clarification. :)
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

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