Having a relationship with the Divine isn’t as easy as one would assume.
I thought it was very simple, for a long time. I assumed that Netjer (God) would be there for me no matter what, and that all I had to do was keep smiling at Netjer and that It would keep smiling at me. It was a very naïve way of looking at things. I didn’t realize, at the time, that a relationship with anyone, divine or not, requires effort from both parties. It’s the kind of thing you know in the back of your mind, but unless someone gives you the word for it – reciprocal – you wouldn’t be able to name it. I wasn’t entirely unique in this assumption by any stretch. I saw it often in my time in the Catholic church. I mean no offense to Catholics, but I’ve been closer to Catholicism than I have to other religions, barring neo-Wicca and paganism. I noticed the tendency to assume that God would automatically be active in the lives of His followers. I see it in pagans, in Muslims, in Jews and agnostics. God is mighty and will come to the aid of His followers whenever they should call.
I ask this, though: why should a relationship with the Divine be so different from one with other people? Why doesn’t God want a healthy, reciprocal relationship? If we treated our friends and family members the way we treat our Gods, we’d have extremely unhealthy relationships. We’re acting like that friend who only talks to you when they need something from you. I’m sure you’ve know of situations like that, where an individual comes to you only for money, advice or other kinds of assistance. You start to lose patience with their constant pleas for help, and wonder if they really only come to you for your possessions or your abilities. Sometimes, it’s true. They only care about what you can do for them and don’t want to know you any further. Sometimes it isn’t – but that doesn’t make it any less hurtful.
Why, then, would we want to treat our Gods – the Ones who made us, Who inspired our existence, the Divine Beings to Whom we are infinitely dedicated – like we’re that kind of friend? I can understand this relationship in the context of a ceremonial tradition, where the goal is more of a business-like relationship with deities, but not within a tradition where you are dedicated to one or two deities Who then play an integral role in one’s life for a long, if not infinite, stretch of time. I’ve heard parents get frustrated when children treat them like an ATM more than once. If we are meant to have a close relationship with our deities, why should it not be reciprocal? We are so close with the friends who come to us just to be with us. Imagine how close we would be with our Gods if only we went to Them before we needed something, sometimes.
I’d been sitting in the midst of something of a spiritual drought prior to this revelation. When I am at home, I spend time with my Parent Names regularly – at least once a week, if not more. Last year in school, I had more quiet time in my room, where nobody was in either of the dorms and I felt like I could perform my shrine rites in peace at a traveling shrine set up. This year, I haven’t had that luxury. I’ve been reaching out to Wepwawet and Sekhmet-Mut still – but not giving back to Them, not coming to Them for simple reasons, just to say “Hello, I love You.” They grew quiet. I grew lonely and scared, frightened They had abandoned me. Then I started to pray every day. Not for anything, no; I spent a few moments at the corner of my desk, on which I have two small statues and an LED candle, reading a hymn for each of my Parents and a hymn for my Akhu (ancestors). Gradually, slowly, the feeling of a consistent connection with Netjer came back. As I sit here, writing this, looking over at the small shrine at which I pray, I feel nothing but radiant love raining down on me.
Why bother blogging about this topic? I hear a lot of people complaining about feeling unwanted or disconnected from Netjer or their Gods. Make no mistake – praying every day won’t give you great thunderous revelations. It hasn’t even done that for me. What it has done is give me a feeling of connectedness with Netjer, a feeling of give and take. A feeling of knowing that Netjer knows where I am and “has my back”, because I’ve been in touch. You can’t get that with anyone by only coming to them when you are in need. It’s a result of a relationship, of communication with no strings attached.