My experiences in shrine really can run a wide emotional gamut. Since I started tending a shrine daily, I’ve noticed that the demeanor of the gods can change wildly from day to day, as can what They are attending to.
For example: Monday night, I left my shrine feeling totally overwhelmed and a little spooked. I felt like I was the pit crew in the Indy 500, and the gods were just dropping in to get tended and then dash out again. They were armed, They were intense, They were terrifying. I would not have wanted to be in the focus of Their gaze that night. I know my gods are powerful, but to feel how sharp and deadly they can be – to have that immense power poised right in front of me, before They bounded out to continue Their work – I’ve never experienced anything like it. What really astounded me was how little They seemed to actually be paying attention to me. It almost felt like I was interrupting Them in the middle of terribly important business.
Then, Tuesday night, I greeted the gods and was overwhelmed by the image of Wepwawet, sitting at a dining room table, folding down His newspaper to smile at me. Tending the shrine on Tuesday was having a cup of tea with the gods. They smiled at me. We chatted softly and casually. There was laughter and conversation, and a quiet sense of peace and contentment, much like a house during Sunday morning coffee. I approached Them with my concerns and petitions, which They acknowledged. I told Them about my day: how I felt, and what I did. For lack of a better word – we bonded.
I don’t think I’m being treated to some special gift of the priesthood in seeing Them in many different ‘mindsets’. I suspect that if we all step away from our own wants and really look at our gods, we will all find the same diversity. I find it too easy to lose sight of the fact that the gods are responsible for countless other people and domains. I start to feel like my experiences with Them happen in a void, separate from Their other duties. Then I have moments like this, that bring the bigger picture back into view. They’re not just MY gods, They’re your gods, and his gods, and her gods; They’re everyone’s gods.
I’m going to have to get back to you all on what that really means for us devotees, though. 😉