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Author Topic: (Admitting to) Loving the Gods  (Read 10168 times)
veggiewolf
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« Reply #15: April 06, 2011, 02:55:34 pm »

...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...

No one asked me the question prior to Paganicon, and I found the comparison between religious communities fascinating.  Now, Paganicon was held in the Midwest and "keeping one's feelings to oneself" is a part of the overall culture there but I cannot recall ever hearing anyone speak about their love for (non-Christian) gods.
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« Reply #16: April 06, 2011, 03:21:01 pm »

No one asked me the question prior to Paganicon, and I found the comparison between religious communities fascinating.  Now, Paganicon was held in the Midwest and "keeping one's feelings to oneself" is a part of the overall culture there but I cannot recall ever hearing anyone speak about their love for (non-Christian) gods.

I should know that, I grew up in the Midwest.  Wink  Nobody even wanted to know what religion you were; they just stayed out of it.  Here in the South it's like "What church do you go to?". 
Definately, there was a difference from moving there to here.  I get way more questions asked about my religion. 

And you know what...  Before Tapio came into my life I craved a relationship like some have with the Christian god.  The kind where you can tell the other all your problems, happiness, etc.  Luckily with Tapio I feel the love even stronger, because he supports nearly all my decisions and encourages me to work on bettering myself.  But there is no punishment, just a silent stare that says "You can do better, because I see it in you."  Just like a father...  The only way to describe what I feel for him in return is love.
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« Reply #17: April 06, 2011, 03:37:07 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. This is a really hard question!

I find this topic rather fascinating and I'm quite surprised that so many people feel comfortable using the word "love". Not that I don't believe you should love your gods, but I guess I'm just on a different wavelength with mine.

With most of the Greek gods there is a distinct distance between us. They are there when one of us must call on the other. But I never felt much love from them. My patrons however are different.

- Diana: This is a very complicated relationship for me. She's compassionate towards my situation but also very strict and unforgiving about things. So, being a follower of such a powerful goddess, I feel there is a certain boundary that cannot be crossed. Love to me, is a word where both beings are "equal" and I don't feel comfortable saying I am anywhere equal to Diana. Do I love her in the sense that I would dedicate myself to her fully? Absolutely. But equality is not there. I don't believe she would stoop to my level and wavelength, I have to try to rise to hers.

- Apollo and Persephone: These gods on the other hand.. I feel a very deep compassion and pity coming from them, almost an equal "love". So, in these cases I'd feel free to use the word love in exchange with them.

Very interesting thread!  Grin
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« Reply #18: April 06, 2011, 04:18:31 pm »

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." 

Me too!  Somehow, saying "I love Sekhmet and Sekhmet loves me" sounds...wrong, no matter how true it is.  I'm hoping to get over that soon. Smiley 

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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. 

Agreed, on both counts.  My transactional relationships are just that - I respect Tauret (f'ex) but there's no deeper "love" relationship.  My relationships with Sekhmet and Neb.y both include love, but in different forms...and only the relationship with Neb.y is anywhere close to ecstatic.

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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

I'd not thought about that Utterance in this context, but it surely seems to fit.  Thanks!
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« Reply #19: April 06, 2011, 04:29:28 pm »

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

To put it simply, yes.

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

I'll openly admit it if someone asks or it comes up in a conversation, but I see no reason to mention it otherwise. 
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« Reply #20: April 06, 2011, 04:38:22 pm »

Great topic! Thanks for starting.

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

For most (3/4) of my Pagan career, I was pretty much an atheist. No matter how hard I tried to feel the gods I just couldn't, with few exceptions. Last November Brighid found me and now I'm 'courting' a few different deities at the moment (Freya, Persephone, and Rhiannon, and possibly someone from Kemet). Because I've only been a theist and not an atheist or agnostic for a short while, I'm still getting used to feeling like my interactions with deities are not only received but also returned.

I struggle with depression and severe self-esteem issues. Ever hear the saying "You can't love anyone until you love yourself"? Yeah, it's kinda like that. Even though I believe that the gods I talk to are not the omnipotent, perfect towers of morality and judgment of my Baptist upbringing, I still struggle with not feeling worthy of their friendship. (Heck, I don't think I'm worth human friendship most days!) There's a lot of unwarranted fear of criticism and judgment that makes it hard for me to be open and loving with them. I've been working closely with Brighid on healing matters and while I can say I have a lot of affection towards her, I'm not sure if it's love yet.

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- If your relationship is not from a place of love, is this something you'd like to experience?  Why or why not?

Most definitely. I miss the relationship I had with God/Jesus before I left Christianity. That's what's given me the most angst since becoming Pagan - I just don't feel the gods like I did God. It's harder to hear them, harder to feel acceptance and love in return, harder to know what to do. I want to feel that again.
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« Reply #21: April 06, 2011, 05:01:45 pm »

For most (3/4) of my Pagan career, I was pretty much an atheist. No matter how hard I tried to feel the gods I just couldn't, with few exceptions. Last November Brighid found me and now I'm 'courting' a few different deities at the moment (Freya, Persephone, and Rhiannon, and possibly someone from Kemet). Because I've only been a theist and not an atheist or agnostic for a short while, I'm still getting used to feeling like my interactions with deities are not only received but also returned.

I struggle with depression and severe self-esteem issues. Ever hear the saying "You can't love anyone until you love yourself"? Yeah, it's kinda like that. Even though I believe that the gods I talk to are not the omnipotent, perfect towers of morality and judgment of my Baptist upbringing, I still struggle with not feeling worthy of their friendship. (Heck, I don't think I'm worth human friendship most days!) There's a lot of unwarranted fear of criticism and judgment that makes it hard for me to be open and loving with them. I've been working closely with Brighid on healing matters and while I can say I have a lot of affection towards her, I'm not sure if it's love yet.

I started out as an ancestor/nature spirits Pagan with no deity affiliation for some time, myself, so I hear you on that!

I've had some really good interactions with Persephone regarding depression, particularly around "Ok, so you're in a situation you didn't want to be in and you're unhappy. . . what then? How do you move forward and find good things about your life as-it-is, rather than remaining in victim identity/mourning forever?"

(Freyja seems like another Someone good for self-regard, but I was very struck by Persephone's POV and thought it might be useful here; if not, oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.)

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« Reply #22: April 06, 2011, 05:07:31 pm »

I've had some really good interactions with Persephone regarding depression, particularly around "Ok, so you're in a situation you didn't want to be in and you're unhappy. . . what then? How do you move forward and find good things about your life as-it-is, rather than remaining in victim identity/mourning forever?"

I definitely feel that Persephone is a good guide for the Underworld that is depression. In fact, I have some UPG (speculation, really) that Persephone knew well and good what those pomegranate seeds would do and she chose to stay in the Underworld part of the year. Not only is she there to be with the dead (comforting the souls who underwent the Eleusinian Mysteries, convincing Hades to let Orpheus get his girlfriend's soul, etc), but she's there as someone who has undergone the decent herself. Persephone is the light you turn to in the middle of depression, in that dark cave you can't get out of, who says comforting, "It's all right. I'm here, and I know where you've been. Come, and we'll walk this path together." It might take awhile, but eventually she'll guide you back into the world.

Quote
(Freyja seems like another Someone good for self-regard, but I was very struck by Persephone's POV and thought it might be useful here; if not, oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.)

You are totally on my wavelength. Freyja is all about kicking that bad self-esteem in the teeth (and other body parts). Nothing at all subtle about her, just beating up the evil depression giant. Cheesy
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« Reply #23: April 06, 2011, 05:25:44 pm »

I definitely feel that Persephone is a good guide for the Underworld that is depression. In fact, I have some UPG (speculation, really) that Persephone knew well and good what those pomegranate seeds would do and she chose to stay in the Underworld part of the year. Not only is she there to be with the dead (comforting the souls who underwent the Eleusinian Mysteries, convincing Hades to let Orpheus get his girlfriend's soul, etc), but she's there as someone who has undergone the decent herself. Persephone is the light you turn to in the middle of depression, in that dark cave you can't get out of, who says comforting, "It's all right. I'm here, and I know where you've been. Come, and we'll walk this path together." It might take awhile, but eventually she'll guide you back into the world.

I know this wasn't directed at me, but thank you for writing this. I'm currently going through mental turmoil, and very recently been contacted by Persephone. I never... thought about the connections with her, but now I'm truly believing that she has come to help me.
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« Reply #24: April 06, 2011, 06:25:08 pm »

I know this wasn't directed at me, but thank you for writing this. I'm currently going through mental turmoil, and very recently been contacted by Persephone. I never... thought about the connections with her, but now I'm truly believing that she has come to help me.

No problem. Smiley Just know that a lot of people are in/have been in your boat and you're not alone. And there are plenty of deities who not only want to help, but who also empathize with you. Persephone is just one of many, many deities who I feel is worth working with when it comes to mental issues, particularly depression.

In my experience, Persephone is really good people. She's been around the block a couple times, and she knows how to get you back to the light. (And how not to despair while you're trapped in the darkness.)
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« Reply #25: April 06, 2011, 06:45:30 pm »

- Is your relationship with deity (if you have one) from a place of love?
Yes. Though, it's hard not to love Dionysus. I learned more about him when he was mentioned more, found myself instantly attracted but unsure about him, as what he was a patron of... I didn't feel there'd be a connection. Cue how he popped around when I was doing some divination with Apollo, and... fell pretty hard.
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- If so, do you admit it to anyone save yourself?  If not, why not?
Mainly to myself, but I have admitted it to a friend who accepts it and she's pretty agnostic-atheist. I haven't told my parents because I don't particularly feel I have to, and my dad would look at me like I'm crazy. My mom... may probably ask questions, shrug it off, and move on with life.
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« Reply #26: April 06, 2011, 09:45:32 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? 


I think of my Pantheon as I do my human family - there are those I don't really get along with, those that I feel closest to, and still others I have never met (like the cousins that live too far away and never come to Thanksgiving). And then there's my Patron, Who I would say is like a sister to me, or a reflection of myself, one that is actually, in many ways, much easier to love than myself (or rather, She makes it easier for me to love myself). So, then, there are varying degrees of love within my "Divine Family": I love the ones that I feel closest to/have helped me the most, and I feel admiration and respect for the others, but don't know them well enough yet to truly say I love them (or, I've tried and they basically said "nope, no such relationship here").

This goes for them loving me back, as well. Some I get a stronger feeling of love from, and others I don't get any feelings of love from. Things can always change, though!

As for talking about it, I'm not really the sort to...go around proclaiming to everyone around me that I love my Gods...I tend to be more private about religion, in general (and was before I became Pagan, too). With my closer friends, though, or if it ever gets brought up in some kind of intelligent conversation, then yeah, of course I will admit it. I'm not ashamed of loving my Gods, not in the least. But like any topic, I'm not going to talk your ear off about it unless you ask - I'm too shy/respectful to do that Smiley Though, once I do get going, I can talk a lot...!

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« Reply #27: April 06, 2011, 09:48:36 pm »

I definitely feel that Persephone is a good guide for the Underworld that is depression. In fact, I have some UPG (speculation, really) that Persephone knew well and good what those pomegranate seeds would do and she chose to stay in the Underworld part of the year. Not only is she there to be with the dead (comforting the souls who underwent the Eleusinian Mysteries, convincing Hades to let Orpheus get his girlfriend's soul, etc), but she's there as someone who has undergone the decent herself. Persephone is the light you turn to in the middle of depression, in that dark cave you can't get out of, who says comforting, "It's all right. I'm here, and I know where you've been. Come, and we'll walk this path together." It might take awhile, but eventually she'll guide you back into the world.


Yes, yes, yes! Persephone has been my Patron for quite some time now, and I get similar feelings from Her - especially what you said about how she *knew* what the seeds would do. I was always of this school of thought. Smiley
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"...Read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."
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« Reply #28: April 06, 2011, 09:58:56 pm »

Yes, yes, yes! Persephone has been my Patron for quite some time now, and I get similar feelings from Her - especially what you said about how she *knew* what the seeds would do. I was always of this school of thought. Smiley

I have a pretty non-traditional view of the Persephone myth. I guess I'm just not happy with Persephone painted as a damsel-in-distress for most of it. XD Or, alternatively, some of the newer renditions of her myth giving her Stockholm's Syndrome. This is a myth that I interpret very loosely on a personal basis. (I'm also getting to know Hades through his consort and find it challenging a lot of my preconceived notions about the guy. Demeter too.)

I'd love to ask you more about your relationship with Persephone, if that's okay. I'm still getting to know her and have previously just worshiped her at the spring and fall equinoxes (as her ascent and descent, respectively).
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« Reply #29: April 07, 2011, 11:50:18 am »

I have a pretty non-traditional view of the Persephone myth. I guess I'm just not happy with Persephone painted as a damsel-in-distress for most of it. XD Or, alternatively, some of the newer renditions of her myth giving her Stockholm's Syndrome. This is a myth that I interpret very loosely on a personal basis. (I'm also getting to know Hades through his consort and find it challenging a lot of my preconceived notions about the guy. Demeter too.)

I'd love to ask you more about your relationship with Persephone, if that's okay. I'm still getting to know her and have previously just worshiped her at the spring and fall equinoxes (as her ascent and descent, respectively).

Sure, ask away! (Feel free to email or visit my blog too)

I too have always had a non-traditional view of the myth...mostly, I've never been able to shake the idea that Persephone was (after dealing with the very initial shock of just being snatched away from whatever She was doing at the time, of course) honestly attracted to Hades/Death in some way when She was taken, and was curious enough/enthralled enough with it to desire to stay with Him. For a long time before I connected with Her personally, I was curious about Her relationship in a strictly romantic sense - I read the story over and over (I've always enjoyed the Greek myths since I was little) and desired strongly to know what She really felt about Hades after being taken by Him. I'm a romantic at heart, so I was initially intrigued by the possibility that love exists between Them in some way. Not all things are perfect and not all relationships are based on love, even ones of marriage, I know, but I just...felt like maybe more was going on in Her story than I originally thought. I ended up praying to Her quite often, and making offerings, in hopes of discovering some insight into Her particular love story (also sort of looking for advice/a way to relate it to my own love life at the time)...and ended up getting very strong UPG feelings/experiences/energy back from Her. (At this point in my Pagan path I had yet to connect with a Deity so...intensely, and had never had a real Patron before. It was like finding a long-lost sister or something, I can hardly explain it adequately...)

There's a great quote from this UU sermon I read once: "…Persephone knows that death and life are intertwined; She knows both the giving of life in springtime, and she knows the ultimate ending of death. Persephone recognizes the power of life in Demeter, and the power of death in Hades, and she manages to give them both their due.” THIS was the UPG feelings I got from Her. Persephone, to me at least, is no idiot: in fact, She knows a lot more about the connections between living and dying than anyone might ever know. And something else: I truly feel She loves Hades, at least as much as She loves Demeter (though in a different way). It might seem a silly/romantic thing to say, but, after my personal experiences...I feel Persephone and Hades are tied to one another in a way that is, perhaps more complex than, but certainly akin to love, or at least desire: He desired for Her, and She desired for Him. Duality: it's all about duality - Life/Death, Spring/Winter, Persephone/Hades. (Also, there are accounts of Persephone's jealousy...She did turn Minthe into, well, Mint for even so much as trying to seduce/be seduced by Hades ^_^).

Anyway, I won't ramble on too long. If you have any specific questions, just ask. I basically worship Persephone primarily, but I also often pray to/honor Demeter and Hades (as well as the other Greek Gods, when needed). Persephone is kind of like the older sister I never had, and by having a relationship with Her I have also been able to see reflections of myself in Her (I too have a bit of an overbearing mother, who I am very close to, as well as a long-term significant other who is not necessarily who my parents would have picked for me). She helps me come to terms with as simple a thing as the changing of the seasons, and as complex a thing as desiring to be with someone very unlike myself/the attraction of opposites.
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"...Read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."
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