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Author Topic: (Admitting to) Loving the Gods  (Read 10427 times)
veggiewolf
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« Topic Start: April 05, 2011, 05:35:52 pm »

While I was at Paganicon 2011 we had a discussion regarding the fact that many pagans use words like "work with", "honor", "follow", and "worship" when discussing their relations with deity but do not use the word "love".  The individual bringing up the topic (an anthropologist) spoke about the overwhelming love for God (and/or Jesus) found in the African-American Baptist community and how members of those church communities are adamant and forthright in their statements that they love God and God loves them...and they worship within the context of this ecstatic love.

Since then, I've been wondering why there isn't more talk in the pagan community (or, at least in the ones I've frequented) about worship of deity from the angle of loving one's gods...and I thought it might be an excellent topic to be discussed here.

So, a few questions:

- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?
- If so, do you admit it to anyone save yourself?  If not, why not?
- If your relationship is not from a place of love, is this something you'd like to experience?  Why or why not?

My answers in the next post.
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veggiewolf
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« Reply #1: April 05, 2011, 05:41:07 pm »

...
- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?

My relationship with both of my deities is (now) from a place of love. In the beginning, though, I was too in awe of each to even think about the fact that I could love Them...and that They might love me.  Now that I am aware of it, however, it has given my interactions with Them a depth that was not previously present.

Quote
- If so, do you admit it to anyone save yourself?  If not, why not?

For me, acknowledging that my gods love me was part of my struggle with being lovable to anyone.  How could They love me when no one else could?  And then, once I realized They did love me, I kept it to myself for fear of seeming too fluffy, or too odd.

Guess my secret is out now, eh?  Wink

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« Reply #2: April 05, 2011, 08:17:19 pm »

- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?
- If so, do you admit it to anyone save yourself?  If not, why not?
- If your relationship is not from a place of love, is this something you'd like to experience?  Why or why not?

What a lovely topic.

As I've stated on a couple other boards, Tapio and Mielikki are like a spiritual father and mother to me.  I feel love from both of them, and try to give it in return.  Their love is the quiet, patient type of love that pulls me steadily closer to both them and Nature.  I'm having trouble "loving" the other gods that I honour, though.  I would like to experience love with all my deities, if possible.  No one has really asked me if I loved my deities before...
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« Reply #3: April 05, 2011, 08:21:48 pm »

- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?

Yes, very much so.

It took me awhile for me to admit this to myself.  It sounded too fluffy, too good to be true, and too Christian, oddly enough.  Since "Love" isn't frequently mentioned in Pagan circles, in terms of relationships with Gods, I didn't feel comfortable saying I felt that way about my Gods.  I think on some unconscious level I was afraid of losing my "Pagan cred." 

Eventually, after talking with some friends about their experiences, I realized I wasn't alone in feeling the way I do about the Gods. 

I think there are various types of love:  Parental love, friendly love, loverly love, etc.  We might feel any of these types of love toward our Gods.  They might also vary in intensity.  Not all types of love are "ecstatic" or intense.  Some of them are more comfy-cozy and relaxed.  Certainly, there is no love that is "ecstatic" all the time. 

Some relationships with Gods aren't "loving," but more transactional.  For example, offering to a given God for a specific petition.  With ongoing relationships, though, I'd have a hard time believing many people have them with no loving feelings.  Just because they aren't intense or ecstatic doesn't mean they aren't there. 

Off the top of my head I can think of at least one reference to "love" between the Gods and their humans.  Utterance 269 in the Pyramid Texts.  The person conducting the ritual offers their incense to the God and then says "I love you, Oh Gods.  May you love me, Oh Gods."

Of course I have also heard it translated as "desire", not "love," which aren't exactly the same thing.  Wink
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NibbleKat
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« Reply #4: April 05, 2011, 08:22:41 pm »



- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?
- If so, do you admit it to anyone save yourself?  If not, why not?
- If your relationship is not from a place of love, is this something you'd like to experience?  Why or why not?

 

1. Yes.  Moreso for Hermes, who I have followed for a long time, but intensely for Sequana, who seems to be to be a goddess who is just... that. Love. Love itself. Mother's love. Sirona I am coming around to loving, but I need to know more of who she is before I can fully do it.
2. Yes! Here, and to pagan friends.
3. N/A, woo
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« Reply #5: April 05, 2011, 08:28:09 pm »

- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?

Yes, I feel it is. My relationship with my Patron is one of a father and daughter, so I have a strong sense of familial love between us. I don't have a strong relationship with any other deity, but I treat the others with respect and pay homage to them. Anpu is the only one I can say that I love.

- If so, do you admit it to anyone save yourself?  If not, why not?

Yes, because I think if Christians can say they love their God, then I can say I love mine. It's simple as that, really!
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Collinsky
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« Reply #6: April 05, 2011, 08:50:41 pm »


- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?
- If so, do you admit it to anyone save yourself?  If not, why not?
- If your relationship is not from a place of love, is this something you'd like to experience?  Why or why not?


Great topic!

Overall, I feel loving toward the gods, and I definitely love Belenos. I don't talk about it with anyone, though... my mother is very accepting, and a panentheist herself, but doesn't understand polytheism. My husband is agnostic/atheist/Taoist, and he's supportive and often interested in my ideas, but I don't feel that he'd understand. When we talk I approach the topic more from my head than from my heart. So even to those who know I'm a polytheist, I wouldn't say outright, I love my gods. We're talking about people who accept, respect, and love me unconditionally. This is really good food for thought... why wouldn't I be open about it? Is it my own doubts and uncertainty that hold me back?

And how on earth could they begin to understand polytheism if the one person they know who holds that belief doesn't talk much about it?
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« Reply #7: April 05, 2011, 08:55:32 pm »

- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?

Absolutely.

Quote
- If so, do you admit it to anyone save yourself?  If not, why not?

Yes, when the circumstances are appropriate - but usually not, because, lo, my family is stereotypically educated-British about its emotions, which is to say, we don't talk about such things much in public. (I will talk about loving ideas a lot in public. Or the cat. Saying I love other people - or deities - tends to happen only around close friends unless I very deliberately think about doing it.)

One of my favorite elders points out that we should have relationships with deities who love us beyond all reason (and who we love likewise), and ever since hearing that, it's been a really good way to frame my most important deity relationships.
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« Reply #8: April 05, 2011, 10:01:49 pm »

- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?
- If so, do you admit it to anyone save yourself?  If not, why not?
- If your relationship is not from a place of love, is this something you'd like to experience?  Why or why not?

Wow, nobody's ever asked me this before! I've been sitting here for a little while trying to figure out exactly how I feel about this...

1. Yes, I think so. My relationships with Them vary- it's very much an archetypal father/mother/daughter scenario, and like any family, there are times of intense closeness and times of distance. It would feel... strange not to come to Them with love and respect in my heart though, and I don't think I could have such a supportive experience without a reciprocity of that love. My brain needs to mull this over a little more.

2. I really haven't been thinking about this for very long, so... I don't know yet! At this moment I'm not comfortable with telling everyone I love my deities, but you folks are safe enough Wink
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« Reply #9: April 05, 2011, 10:15:47 pm »

Since then, I've been wondering why there isn't more talk in the pagan community (or, at least in the ones I've frequented) about worship of deity from the angle of loving one's gods...and I thought it might be an excellent topic to be discussed here.
I'm kind of noticing a bit of a trend in a lot of folks feeling a maternal/paternal connection with their deities and such. I admit that this is one of the reasons for my strong connection to Yemaya.

I really started getting heavy handed with her when I lived in the states away from home. My family system is highly matriarchal where every woman in our family generally becomes very maternal and supportive strong-willed and a bunch of other adjectives. When I lived in the states, i definitely needed that back in my life. I needed a mother to hold me, comfort me during some really dark times, and to push me aside while she knocked some bigoted mother-suckers' teeth in. And also because she was a mother and not my mom (if that makes sense) I could love her in ways I can't (and don't want to, for that matter) love my own mom. I can love her limitless mystery. I can be completely connected to her when she possesses me. I can love her sensuality (definitely don't want that with my mom), and other ways I can't even describe. No - no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should've sent a poet. So beautiful. So beautiful... I had no idea.
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« Reply #10: April 05, 2011, 10:24:16 pm »

- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?
- If so, do you admit it to anyone save yourself?  If not, why not?

I love my patron, yes, but it isn't what I'd call an "ecstatic" love.  It's...  I mean, it's a long-term relationship, you know?  Trying to maintain an ecstatic level of emotion over that period of time will burn you out.

I don't talk a lot about it, but not out of a desire to hide it.  It just doesn't come up a lot in conversation.  I'm not actively avoiding mentioning it, but I don't go out of my way to mention it either.

Other deities, who are in the pantheon I worship but I don't have as much of a personal connection to...  Eh.  For various values of love.  Some of them it's just kind of the love you have for that family member you think well of but don't really see much.  It isn't as strong with any other deity than Apollo.
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« Reply #11: April 06, 2011, 04:39:58 am »


- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?
- If so, do you admit it to anyone save yourself?  If not, why not?
- If your relationship is not from a place of love, is this something you'd like to experience?  Why or why not?


With Gaia and Pan - absolutely. For Mother it's an overwhelming feeling of being cradled and comforted, with Pan it's a mixture of protector, friend and sensual love. Athena and Sekhmet - it's more a feeling of appreciation and gratitude. I can love what they are helping me with, without the relationship going into ecstatic love territory. All the relationships have their ups and downs, intense periods and fallow periods, but I do love them.

I barely even admit to others that I have a personal relationship with individual deities, much less my feelings about it. My pagan friends seem to have more general God and Goddess concepts, and my husband is agnostic/atheist and just tacitly accepts that weird offerings occasionally are placed in the windowsill. I don't think he even knows who the offerings are for.

People are private and sceptical in Norway - admitting to strong feelings about something that one can't even prove? Just not done. Ecstatical forms christianity is very much a (somewhat ridiculed) fringe here.
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« Reply #12: April 06, 2011, 04:49:05 am »

- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?
- If so, do you admit it to anyone save yourself?  If not, why not?
- If your relationship is not from a place of love, is this something you'd like to experience?  Why or why not?

Yes it is was from a place of love but I wouldn't normally talk about it like that.

No I never have said anything like that before but that is because my friends don't even realise that I speak to my gods on a regular basis, they think it is a product of alcohol only. I also don't talk about loving anyone ever because it is just not something that is ever said in my family. (Except to my wee one who gets told it constantly.)
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« Reply #13: April 06, 2011, 07:08:22 am »

- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?

With Brighid and Morrigan, yes. My love with Brighid is...well. Like a hearthfire turned raging blaze. Most days it's smoldering coals, but sometimes it turns into this huge fire that consumes me. I'd call it ecstatic love those times.

The love I have with Morrigan is like the love I have with my hetero lifemate, except the Morrigan is harsher with me.

Manannan...I think I love Him? It's like an Uncle-Niece relationship between us. I'm definitely very fond of Him.

- If so, do you admit it to anyone save yourself?  If not, why not?

Not much, no. It's not the primary word I use, anyway.

-When talking with other Pagans it's largely irrelevant and -- to me -- pretty obvious, so I feel no need to mention it. It's not as obvious as I think it is, but my thinking it is obvious means I forget to mention it.
-When talking to non-Pagans there is a wide range of reactions and I am cautious of being burned.
-Subconscious need to disassociate from Christianity in all ways possible.

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« Reply #14: April 06, 2011, 02:45:48 pm »

While I was at Paganicon 2011 we had a discussion regarding the fact that many pagans use words like "work with", "honor", "follow", and "worship" when discussing their relations with deity but do not use the word "love".  The individual bringing up the topic (an anthropologist) spoke about the overwhelming love for God (and/or Jesus) found in the African-American Baptist community and how members of those church communities are adamant and forthright in their statements that they love God and God loves them...and they worship within the context of this ecstatic love.

Since then, I've been wondering why there isn't more talk in the pagan community (or, at least in the ones I've frequented) about worship of deity from the angle of loving one's gods...and I thought it might be an excellent topic to be discussed here.

So, a few questions:

- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?
- If so, do you admit it to anyone save yourself?  If not, why not?
- If your relationship is not from a place of love, is this something you'd like to experience?  Why or why not?


Very interesting. . . I wonder if this might be a good topic for a panel at Pantheacon 2012, it could be cool to get the discussion going at another big event.

Question 1) Depends on the deity/relationship, but in several cases, yes. Numerous kinds of love - flat-out adoration (Ma'at), awesome big brother love (Nefertum), "mother of my ka" love (Sekhmet), older cousin/role model love (Aenghus and Caer), granddaughterly love (the disir/matronae; are they gods or ancestors or what? Eh, I'll count them). There's possibility for more in future, but as with people, I have more acquaintances than I have friends than I have loved ones.

Question 2) I'm not sure it's ever been a point of discussion for me to affirm or deny. Hm. It feels as though it's kind of unspoken but expected among my mystic friends, but outside of that I'm not sure it occurs to anyone that I might or might not.

Question 3) In some cases yes, in some cases no. I tend to let relationships find their own level, rather than targeting one in particular. There may come a point where I might say "appealing, but no more, thanks", if I feel I have all the relationships I can consistently maintain in a manner I find respectful, appropriate and fulfilling.

Regards,
-- disirdottir.
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