This week, C is for Complicated. Not as in the Facebook relationship status that confounds and depresses us when it turns up on our profile – but as in the perplexing nature of the polytheist’s relationship with the gods.
For example: obviously, as a servant of my Kemetic gods, there is some conflict of interest in going to honor other gods in ritual. When I decided I wanted to attend the ADF ritual this past weekend, there were some negotiations that needed to take place. I asked the gods for their blessing in attending, and They in turn gave me Their requirements. Yes, I could go, but couldn’t participate in certain portions of the ritual, such as the weaving of a community Brigid’s cross with intentions for spring. The logic there is pretty sound, in my opinion. So I went, and I honored Brigid, and the experience was satisfying, and my own gods were not put off.
The strangeness of relationships with the Divine is not an uncommon theme. At that same ritual, I heard many people note the complexity of their dealings with a particular god. There are many possible reasons for this: oaths made prior to a change in path, gods from other pantheons having work or a message, curiosity on the part of the individual that leads to requests for the deity… and so on.
What I think it comes down to is this. If we say there is a single God, or a single source of Divine Power, our dealings with It become much more unilateral. We know where our prayers are going, and we know where the answers are coming from. We don’t have to negotiate different agreements to navigate the different claims spirits may have on us, because there is only one Spirit with which to have any dealings. If we expand our divine power into many gods, many facets, many faces – now we are weaving a web of relationships across the Unseen world.
And when you consider it, it really is no more complicated than our dealings with one another. The difference is that we can usually clarify any confusion we run into between us and a human acquaintance verbally, and expect that our understanding will be better following a conversation. Sometimes people can be as cryptic or indefinite as the gods – and there’s about equal chance of running into both at the supermarket.