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Author Topic: "God Bothered" Details?  (Read 3001 times)

Rahni

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"God Bothered" Details?
« on: August 09, 2011, 08:18:50 pm »
Someone suggested I start this thread.

Yes, I believe in many Gods/Goddesses.

How do you know when a God/Goddess chooses you?


I don't think one has. No dreams or obvious signs.

Advice?
Your stories?

Thanks.

Liadine (dragonflyeyes)

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Re: "God Bothered" Details?
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2011, 01:14:34 am »
Quote from: Rahni;11829
How do you know when a God/Goddess chooses you?
Advice?
Your stories?


In my experience, it varies wildly between deities. Sometimes you're smacked so hard in one huge event that there's no doubt, other times you have to piece it together.

Story time!

Brighid, for instance, gave me a good hard slap. At the time, not only was I not interested in her, but I also vaguely disliked her for no good reason (in retrospect, the reason is probably sheer stubbornness). I lit a candle while I was having a bath one night (not even a ritual bath, just... a bath, with a candle), and suddenly went oh, this is why people light candles for her. It was a hugely emotional experience, complete with crying (I never cry), and afterward there was no doubt in my mind that I was hers. End of story. Coyote was even more dramatic about things, but it's a story I tend not to tell much because I'm always afraid someone's going to think I'm making it up.

The horned guy, on the other hand, was more patient. I felt myself drawn to various horned gods from the beginning, coming back to them again and again. There weren't signs or dreams; it was like hearing about a really good book and thinking 'I should read that' whenever you're reminded of it (either directly or indirectly). Despite all that, I only finally went '...oh, that's what it meant' when I was doing some sort of trance ritual (I forget what about now, it was a long time ago), and instead of seeing an anonymous ~mother goddess~ sort of figure, the horned guy was standing there with an overwhelming feeling of 'took you long enough'.

As for advice: you don't have to wait. Not everyone ends up god-bothered (there's a high proportion of us here on the Cauldron, for whatever reason), and sometimes lasting, important relationships with deities are created through approaching them first. If there are deities you feel a connection with, don't be afraid to (respectfully) 'introduce' yourself. Find out what suitable offerings would be, read their stories, learn what you can about them, and go from there.
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Re: "God Bothered" Details?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2011, 08:46:36 pm »
Quote from: Rahni;11829
How do you know when a God/Goddess chooses you?
I don't think one has. No dreams or obvious signs.

I'm not really sure what it means to be 'chosen'. I mean, I think that I chose my patron but how do I know that she didn't choose me through making herself apparent to me in my studies? I think it's quite a complex thing and, as Liadine said, it's not something that you need to wait for or hope for as it doesn't happen to everyone. I don't believe in interventionist gods and I revere certain deities as righteous concepts rather than because I have a personal relationship with them that extends to conversations. However, others who do believe that deities show an interest in you and approach you for attention could well expect that a deity would 'get in touch' I suppose, and it could be disheartening if that doesn't happen. But, introduce yourself and see what happens, it can't hurt! :)
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AlisonLeighLilly

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Re: "God Bothered" Details?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2011, 09:23:52 pm »
Quote from: Liadine (dragonflyeyes);11901

Brighid, for instance, gave me a good hard slap. At the time, not only was I not interested in her, but I also vaguely disliked her for no good reason (in retrospect, the reason is probably sheer stubbornness).

 
This is so interesting! My experience of discovering Brighid was very much the same, even down to the lack of interest and vague dislike. I wonder how many other people this is true for.

My story is similar to Liadine's. I wasn't all that interested in any particular deity and had been making some vague overtures towards some (and getting a pretty clear "no thanks, not interested" response from them). I'd read off and on about Brighid, since I was a poet and so I figured that I "should" consider her a patron even if I wasn't that interested and she seemed a bit like a kind of pop-star/celebrity deity to me. But nothing I'd read about her really connected. Until one day, some passing reference to her suddenly struck me really powerfully with this sensation of, "Oh! This! This is her! When I couldn't connect with other things I've read about her before, it was because I found myself thinking 'that's not really her'... But that means that in some way, I already know what is her!" Or... something like that. Hard to pin down. Just the sudden, forceful awareness that I was already a devotee of Brighid and had just been in denial about it. ;)

My relationship with Manannan came about through Brighid. During my times of prayer and meditation with her, I started to get a lot of water and sea imagery, accompanied by very powerful dreams at night that involved the ocean or the shore. Also, I noticed that during my Cill Flamekeeping shifts, there was almost always a thunderstorm. :eek: From there, I took the hint. :)

That said, I wouldn't say I'm "god-bothered." Sometimes I find it a struggle to connect with my gods, and they feel somewhat distant or aloof. It's not as though they're constantly haunting me or nagging me. It's more like they remain a steady presence of potential relationship in my life, but I have to actively cultivate that and sometimes even when I do, other things in my life can distract me or leave me feeling disconnected from them.

So I'd echo the advice that others have already shared - you don't have to wait for them to make the first move. Do research, follow up on intuitions or sparks of interest. Start showing up to prayer and make a space in your spiritual life for the gods to enter. It's kind of like priming the pump - sometimes you have to do a little bit of work on your end before anything "clicks."

--Ali

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Re: "God Bothered" Details?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2011, 01:37:34 am »
Quote from: Rahni;11829

How do you know when a God/Goddess chooses you?

 
Long story, very very short:  I found Brighid through my interest in all things Celtic.  I've spent much of my adult life reading (off and on) about Celtic art to start with, and then expanding into Celtic history, mythology, archeology, and spirituality.  As I read, I eventually realized that I got a little "thrill" every time I came across Brighid's name.  Once I started paying attention to that, it got exponentially stronger, until I had no choice but to explore the idea that She was "poking" me.  After a couple of experiences, during which I heard Her voice, literally, in meditations, and through oracular seers, I realized She was in my life to stay.

I decided to dedicate myself to Her about five years ago (I think -- my memory for time is very easily confused).  But when I sat down to do a formal ritual, I suddenly understood that I was *already* Hers, and had been for a long time.

Like Ali, I'm not sure the word "god-bothered" really captures my experience.  The "bothered" part makes it sound unpleasant -- and I'm sure the attentions of some god/desses CAN be unpleasant!  But Brighid absolutely is not.  

I've gotten to a point now where I'm pretty much aware of Her all the time -- a lot of which is due to my tats and my jewelry, which I've deliberately chosen as a way to help me stay mindful.  It works!  I haven't heard Her speak to me lately, but, a lot of the time I can simply feel Her with me, around me, protecting and supporting me.  Other times, that feeling is less noticeable, but still there if I "reach" for it.

All that said, it's actually pretty rare to have an experience like this, where someone feels they've been directly contacted by a deity.  TBH, I never expected this to happen to me, and, until it did, I really didn't quite believe it was possible.  I chalked it up to self-delusion or wishful thinking or something like that.  But once it happened to me, I realized that it's an unmistakeable thing.

I still have times when my strong agnostic tendencies push to the surface and I sort of don't believe in it.  ;)  Then something happens to remind me.  :p  And even then, I know that I could be imagining all of it.  But I've made a conscious choice to proceed on the assumption that Brighid and my relationship with Her are real.  Like others here on TC, my thinking is that my beliefs and related actions are not hurting me, and are probably helping me, so I choose to believe.

I'm not sure if I've answered your questions, and I don't know if I have any advice worth reading, but I'll second Ali again, and say that it's not something that can be forced or hurried.  Frankly, I'm not sure it's something that everyone would even want.  For me, Brighid definitely has expectations, and there is work for me to do, whether I feel like it or not.  One thing She has made clear that She wants me to do is to help other people who are exploring pagan paths -- which means posting my story as many times as necessary, providing links and info about getting started, etc.  Over the last few years, She has pushed me to be involved in TC projects like getting the Cill started and creating the Teens and Paganism FAQ.  I'm currently in the (very long) process of building a structured path focused on Her.

There are restrictions, too.  Brighid has been clear that I'm not to reach out to other god/desses or to attempt any magic (which apparently does not include divination or personal shielding).  I'm not sure why, but I think it has to do with the effect those kinds of energies would have on my health issues.

I think the most important thing to do for someone who wants to find a "patron" god/dess is to open your mind by learning everything you can about the god/dess and the culture in which they were first worshiped.  Read everything you can find, participate in online forums, go to workshops, whatever.  If you know Who you're interested in, it might also help to introduce yourself with a simple offering and prayer.  Maybe try some meditation, like the "Active Imagination" technique pioneered by Jung, in which you can create a setting conducive to meeting and talking with a deity-type being.

But it's important to realize that, even if you do all this, it might not happen.  The god/desses have Their own agendas, and those agendas may or may not include you.  I don't think that means you're "unworthy" or anything like that, and it doesn't even mean that you can't worship that god/dess.  It just means you have a different sort of spiritual work to do.  We all have our own, unique paths to walk.  If everyone experienced the same things, the world would be a very boring place.

Just my 0.02, and YMMV.  ;)

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Re: "God Bothered" Details?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2011, 09:40:54 pm »
Quote from: Rahni;11829
Someone suggested I start this thread.

Yes, I believe in many Gods/Goddesses.

How do you know when a God/Goddess chooses you?


I don't think one has. No dreams or obvious signs.

Advice?
Your stories?

Thanks.

 
I'm so glad you posted this question! I've been trying to open myself up to the dieties, if they would like to have me as a devotee. I have a few dieties I've felt close to (Aphrodite, Hekate, Isis, Ma'at to name a few.) but none I really felt "chosen" by. I find it very ironic that those before me are devotees of Brigid! I may have to check that out. =) If you do get "poked" let me know how it goes. =)
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Cirrus13

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Re: "God Bothered" Details?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2011, 03:43:56 pm »
Quote from: Rahni;11829

How do you know when a God/Goddess chooses you?

 
I don't know when it happened, or how, but it felt natural to open myself to Bastet. I've always had a sort of... catlike spirit, and associated with all felines. I've always held them very dear to me. I've seen animals hit on the sides of roads and thought of how sad that was. "Yes, yes. That sucks. Drive along." I'd think. Not disregarding it, but... It wasn't my business to clean them all up, you know? But when I'd see a cat, a cat, I had to stop. Every time, I'd pull off to the side and bury it. I think that Bast has lived in my heart forever.
A year ago, I met my boyfriend. His house has been a haven for the neighborhood alley cats, providing food, water, some shelter, and medical treatments when necessary. It's like Bastet came down and went, "YO! HEY! HI! Here's the guy you've been looking for, and I'm asking you to take care of these cats in return."

On the other hand, Anubis has been.. kinda vague to me. I've always tried to seem disinterested in him, when reading about Egypt. I tried not to like the Jackal-headed god. I've turned my nose up at Jackal pictures and statues. I didn't have a reason, just.. didn't want to be interested. One night, I had a vivid dream. No rituals, medicines, drinks nor psychic preparation had been done beforehand. I was watching the sunrise (or sunset, I'm not sure) in the desert, a sparse palm and pyramid visible here and there. I was floating, I don't know how high. Flying, perhaps? And I looked to my right to see none other than the figure of Anubis. He was about 5 feet away, I guess, about 1 foot taller than me. When I looked up at him, he seemed to look back with a very.... stern-but-not-angry expression. Very calm. I had thought, "Are you...?" And he nodded, looking back to the sun. And he was gone.

It's strange, but it's comforting. It will grab your attention, or grow within you. If it feels right, it's right.
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SatSekhem

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Re: "God Bothered" Details?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2011, 04:14:49 pm »
Quote from: Rahni;11829
Advice?
Your stories?

Thanks.

 
It might take you a while, but you'll just... know. Everyone has different forms of communication: nuances and favorite sayings. So it is the same when a deity contacts you: it's different. I've never once been contacted by a being in my dreams until after they've made their intentions known. I've never had anything like that. I just had a moment of clarity, I guess.

STORY!

So, Sekhmet probably chose me when I was a kid. I knew nothing about gods except that there were myths about them and WOULDN'T IT BE SO COOL IF WE WERE POLYTHEISTIC STILL? (Seriously. I loved the whole many-gods thing versus the single-god thing.) However, I was a kid. Don't worry; it gets interesting from here. All throughout high school, I had a deep connection with anything ancient Egyptian. This is around the time that I started actively studying everything ancient Egypt that I could get my greedy little paws on. After a while, I realized that I really, really, really loved the goddess, Ma'at. She was balance (of which I was not) and I loved that her symbol was just a tiny little feather. No, I don't know why I love the feather so much, but I seriously do.

So, enter a few years later when a friend of mine starts talking about paganism. I do a thousand Google searches about it and pop around on some forums for more information. Then, I think about how paganism is so cool but I really want to have something to do with ancient Egypt because it is awesome. And it's around that time that I think: Ma'at! She's the one!

In reality, the goddess was Sekhmet. She had ignited an intense desire for balance within me, as she is the guardian of Ma'at and the keeper of all things Ma'at. So. Then I think, "Hm. Maybe Sekhmet," because I'm getting zippo-zilch from Ma'at. And I was informed that, as a destructive goddess, it probably wasn't appropriate to worship her. That made sense: I'm a destructive person, period. Embodying/worshiping/loving a destruction deity could quite possibly make things worse. And I was living in a situation that needed some destruction, if you know what I mean.

Then, I fall away from the path. I was completely uninterested in anything. I didn't care about religion. It was around this time that Sekhmet smacked me in the face and threw me into a wall. HEY! STOP IGNORING ME! And it was like, "Oh. Oh. I get it now." I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, I guess you could say. I had been ignoring Sekhmet for five years solid. She was not happy.

Papa Legba tapped Sekhmet on the shoulder and politely asked for an introduction. Hwt-Hrw was thrown into the mix by her fiery other-self, Sekhmet. I wonder, a lot of times, if Hwt-Hrw had any more of a choice about it than I did.
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Stardancer

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Re: "God Bothered" Details?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2011, 04:53:19 pm »
Quote from: SatSekhem;12658

Then, I fall away from the path. I was completely uninterested in anything. I didn't care about religion. It was around this time that Sekhmet smacked me in the face and threw me into a wall. HEY! STOP IGNORING ME! And it was like, "Oh. Oh. I get it now." I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, I guess you could say. I had been ignoring Sekhmet for five years solid. She was not happy.

 
I just want to say that it was probably partly reading about your experiences with Sekhmet, on the previous forum, that paved the way for me to recognize Her when she turned up in a dream. I saw myself fighting with a lioness. I asked for repeat confirmation within 24 hours - no that didn't feel right, make it 48 hours! And sure enough; the next night there was nothing, but the night after I dreamt of a cat defending its territory against much larger creatures. And then I was woken up by my cat jumping on me (very rare - normally the bedroom door is closed).

But my biggest 'smack' came from Mother Earth 12 years ago - she spent a solid 15-20 minutes explaining to me in detail (emotions, realisations, energy, bits of enlightenment and revelations) how much I was worth to Her. After 18 months of near-suicidal depression, I was basically turned around over night. Sure, the path from there has been long, and I still fall over again, but now those arms are waiting for me to fall into them. I had previously worshiped a Wiccish Lord and Lady splashed with some neo-pagan view of the Mother, but this was my first time of understanding at least something of what being close to a Deity could do.
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KittyVel

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Re: "God Bothered" Details?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2011, 05:23:52 pm »
Quote from: Rahni;11829
Someone suggested I start this thread.

Yes, I believe in many Gods/Goddesses.

How do you know when a God/Goddess chooses you?


I don't think one has. No dreams or obvious signs.

Advice?
Your stories?

Thanks.

 
I'm a natural skeptic, so I honestly still don't know for certain if this really is what I think it is, but I'll share anyway.

Story time, hooray!  :3

As long as I can remember, even before I really knew anything about Him, I have been fascinated by Anpu (Anubis).  When I was little all the way up until very recently (like, a year ago tops) I figured it was just because I adored the way He looks and the kind of "vibe" I got whenever I was reading about Him or drawing or painting Him.

Just a couple of months ago, I started having an increased interest in Ancient Egypt and Anpu in particular.  He began to pop up in the artwork of artists that I follow online and His name was even adopted by my boyfriend in the bedroom (his is Anubis and mine is Velvela).  I started reading about Him and posted a thread about Him on another forum site I'm active on, asking if anyone else followed Him or knew of anyone that followed Him.  To my surprise, several people spoke up about Anpu being their patron and other Gods and Goddesses from Ancient Egypt.  Once I finally acknowledged that Anpu may actually be calling out to me, I had a dream.  He was extremely angry with me for having ignored Him most of my life (since I chalked Him up to a mere fascination of mine and nothing more).  Basically, in the dream I was on my hands and knees in front of Him, and He was looking down at me and snarling.  He never spoke, but He gave off an energy that said "STOP IGNORING ME.  YOU'RE PISSING ME OFF."  I apologized over and over again, and woke up somewhat shaken but feeling as though some sort of hole in me had been filled.  The next night, He came to me in yet another dream.  This time though, He was very gentle and loving towards me.  Almost exactly the way my boyfriend acts towards me, actually.  Soothing embraces and a kind energy.  I took it as "I forgive you.  Everything is fine now."  Since then, He has made Himself known in more subtle ways.  For example, when my anxiety takes a nasty turn while I'm alone, I get a feeling of coolness (like the temperature) embracing me, and I immediately feel calm again.  He has shown Himself in a couple other dreams as well, but I have a hard time remembering my dreams, so I honestly can't recall why He was in them.  :/
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Re: "God Bothered" Details?
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2011, 05:12:48 am »
Quote from: Rahni;11829

How do you know when a God/Goddess chooses you?
I don't think one has. No dreams or obvious signs.


The short answer is "you'll know if one chooses you".

The longer answers:

I don't think it makes anyone less of a Pagan to not have a Patron relationship with one or more gods. In a way, I think it's probably better that way, because you're much more free to do what you want, work with who you want, etc.

Brigit chose me, and it's one of those things where I can say I probably "knew" all my life, but only realized it in small leaps and starts as I was starting to study Wicca, until one day I get the "Of course you're bloody mine!" clue-by-four. My husband's been chosen by Bast, and he can tell you much the same story (though he's a much more entertaining story-teller).

So I think sometimes it's one of these things like when you meet someone and it feels like you've known them your entire life. And sometimes it's like meeting someone and having to work at building a friendship. Maybe you never become best friends for life, but you hang out from time to time and the longer you know them, the stronger the friendship becomes.

If you want to begin a relationship with a particular god, there's no reason to wait for a clue-by-four that may or may not be coming. Read the mythology you can find, make offerings, pray and meditate, and ask to start a relationship. See what happens.

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Re: "God Bothered" Details?
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2011, 07:08:26 am »
Quote from: Rahni;11829
Someone suggested I start this thread.

Yes, I believe in many Gods/Goddesses.

How do you know when a God/Goddess chooses you?


I don't think one has. No dreams or obvious signs.

Advice?
Your stories?

Thanks.

 
well i became a christian about three years ago because I thought that god spoke to me. although i am moving away from christianity now.

One afternoon I was lieing down and I heard a voice saying

I love you
I have allways loved
I have allways been there
You will never have to be alone again

at the time I had been reading the bible so I started going to church to try and find out what had spoken to me, god or jesus or the holy spirit. I never did find out but 3 years in a whacky charismatic church has been a trip.

Dujanka

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Re: "God Bothered" Details?
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2011, 03:01:50 pm »
Quote from: Rahni;11829
Someone suggested I start this thread.

Yes, I believe in many Gods/Goddesses.

How do you know when a God/Goddess chooses you?


I don't think one has. No dreams or obvious signs.

Advice?
Your stories?

Thanks.

I mentioned in another thread that this began with me accidentally mocking a god unintentionally.  I accidentally insulted Odin and some corrective actions took place, which I can't explain but it was a mixture of terror and liberation.  It was sort of a meta-physical and physical crucible.  Thankfully I was on unemployment and able to be home until it was over, perfect timing to be rolling around on the floor of your apartment and kneeling repeatedly.  It was a mixture of being liberated, humiliated and re-building my confidence and self-esteem.  I wouldn't willingly go through it again but in the end I was a better person.  

Since then I've interacted with many Deities from a variety of beliefs and it started over me being ignorant mostly but I feel the eyes have been on me since I was a child.  I also have learned many things, for instance these are not 'friends' and do not write about them as friends as I already have.  Always maintain a high level of respect and bearing while delving into this type of interaction.  Even if they become extremely impersonal remain impersonal and respectful as much as possible even if you're told to relax.  

I was in the military and know a lot about respect and bearing when confronted by someone that out ranks you for instance, but you're in the midst of people or beings that can hear your thoughts, hear everything you say from afar.

Just don't give Odin in particular any reason to get pissed off, or any deity.  Odin can hold on to things for a long time.  It's been almost a year now and long since my 'punishment' and every few weeks or whenever for that matter he says, "Hey, remember that one time you made fun of me?"  After we had been getting along for a long period of time and it's completely random.  Then more chastising takes place which I'm not really upset about anymore.

You can learn a lot from them if you desire it but remember, be mindful and respectful.

Many of them if not all can also appear in different forms.  Loki for instance sometimes appears as a man with long black hair, clean shaven and wearing a black robe and other times as a Jester, black and white with a face akin to that of the Joker.  He's very hilarious but regard him not as a friend but as someone waiting for you to say the wrong thing, also.

Odin for me is wearing normal clothes and wearing sunglasses.  Long grey hair and a wizard beard.  He only appeared to me in armor and helm with Gungnir a few times and it was regarding my obsession with the age and him teaching me things about it and warfare on occasion.

These aren't the only two gods I've interacted with.

Zeus.  He is unmistakable and appeared before me, back turned on a balcony.  I refuse to go in to detail regarding the specifics but please look into him if you are interested, I wish many would.

There's been dozens more, many females.  It's more personal and I won't go into detail regarding our interactions either, for their privacy.

- Regards. :dwink:
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 03:03:37 pm by Dujanka »

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Re: "God Bothered" Details?
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2011, 09:39:34 am »
Quote from: Rahni;11829
Someone suggested I start this thread.

Yes, I believe in many Gods/Goddesses.

How do you know when a God/Goddess chooses you?


I don't think one has. No dreams or obvious signs.

Advice?
Your stories?

Thanks.

 
I think that opening yourself to the worship of deities that attract your intellectual interest, even if they end up not answering, is an important step.

When I started, I had no idea that having a close relationship with a deity was even possible, but i knew i wanted to feel a contact with something larger than myself.

I tried Aphrodite, Artemis, Diana...few others from the Celtic pantheon, but anything I felt or imagined then pales in comparison to the spark I felt the first time I appealed to Hekate. Ironically, She was the one deity i had completely snubbed, even after I had learnt she was not the Crone that modern fashions publicized Her to be.

I just thought She was far too clamoured about,  the 'usual' choice for modern witches.

Obviously, She was so much more than I had imagined to be, and looking back, I think She was on me from the very beginning. I used to have an unusual number of dogs following me back from university to home from longest time, and they would stop as soon i reached the door and walked back. I can promise i never gave any of them treats- in fact they were so large that i was a bit scared of even approaching them.

Long story short, I keep going steady with Hekate -it's been years, now- with moments of scepticism as gods pokes are subtle, abstract things.

I once asked Her if She was still with me after a time of apparent silence (on both sides, as I was much distracted by some practical problems to take proper care of spiritual life). The day after I discovered a pack of wild dogs had ripped apart my neighbourgh' sheep right before my childhood home.

Now, whenever I doubt, I think of that episode and smile.

Strange thing, I might or might being back to square one with Hermes. I feel a certain pull and see certain coincidences, but  prudence holds me back.

I say strange because He is a god I used to worship in past, with no particular response on the other side.

I think sometimes worship and prayer are like opening a door for a guest, and then leaving a message on his/hers answering machine to invite them in. You don't know if or when your invation will get accepted, but maybe the waiting is part of the game.

I also noticed that once you get a relationship going, is quite likely that deities that associate with your primary deities will follow right in.

For example, it's unusually frequent in Hekate's followers UPGs that She is buddies with Dionysos and Hermers, even if there's little mythology attesting that ... and often pagans have a relationship with Her end up well aquainted with Hermes or Dionysos too.
“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.” ― Neil Gaiman *
Currently blogging at: http://seastruckbythecrossroads.wordpress.com/
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