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Author Topic: Your relationship to your deity/ies?  (Read 6843 times)
Waldfrau
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« Topic Start: January 05, 2009, 12:21:04 pm »

In what relationship do you see yourself to your deity/ies?

- Do you see any hierarchy between you and your deity/ies?
- Is he/she or are they like a parent/parents? (In what way?)
- Or more like a friend/friends? (How so?)
- Or is he/she/are they like a business partner/business partners? (In what regard?)

How does that influence your worship?

What do you give to your deity/ies or do for him/her/them and what do you recive from her/him/them?

***

I'm just starting to think about this myself as I haven't had much of a relationship with any deity yet (other than the Christian God in my childhood), but I've recently seen Artemis in a meditation (or was it Diana?). She kind of showed me how to solve a problem (it was hard to understand what she meant though and I'm not sure I really did). I wonder if this could be the beginning of a relationship. She didn't tell me why she tried to help me or if she expected anything back from me, so I'm just wondering how people see their relationship to their deities. I also want to take it slow because she scares me somewhat. I suspect she might be popular with newbie pagans and so she doesn't seem to scare people in general, but I feel that she's a bit of a strong (and wild?) personality. I don't want to have that arrow pointed at me if you can understand what I mean.
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« Reply #1: January 05, 2009, 03:13:10 pm »

Big question: long answer Cheesy

what relationship do you see yourself to your deity/ies?

He's there, I'm there, we work with what's available. Cheesy  There are others around that are not 'my' deities that I acknowledge at the rare times when they present themselves in my life, but that I don't have any actual 'relationship' with

- Do you see any hierarchy between you and your deity/ies?

Well, he's definitely the boss, but since I can theoretically quit/walk out at any time, and equally theoretically he needs/wants me for some reason, that's not really a bar to expressing disagreement or taking unauthorized time off.

- Is he/she or are they like a parent/parents? (In what way?)

Not remotely.  He was the invisible puppy in the crib when I was little, and I remember thinking he was scared of my mom because he wouldn't let her see him.  I was also pretty sure she knew he was there, but I never asked.

Only once in my life has he been even vaguely parental, and I think it was an extreme case of me needing comfort and him not knowing what else to do.  An image of a pile of coy-dog pups sleeping all tangled together isn't most people's idea of comfort from their deity, but it did the trick.

- Or more like a friend/friends? (How so?)

Did you ever have a really close friend that most people who knew you would never even dream you were actually friends with?  A 'best emenies' type.  Arguments, insults, elaborate one-up-manship, keeping score of favours and debts?  You could burn them and they would admire your ingenuity and you couldn't believe a word they said but could trust them with your life?  Like that.

- Or is he/she/are they like a business partner/business partners? (In what regard?)

He's the senior partner.  I'm the temperamental 'talent', the hired gun.  We negotiate hard-ball, but once the deal is struck I'm his until the job is done and he pays off as promised.

How does that influence your worship


My worship is sincere but cranky.  Once in a while I have a moment of absolute adoration, a glimpse of what he really is behind the cultural and personal relationship and I am awestruck.  Fortunately for my self-image that is really rare - as rare as his moments of actual godliness.  I know what he is when he's at home, which helps me feel secure when dealing with what he is 'in company'.

I work really hard to keep reverence at bay, and his typical behaviour helps with that. Cheesy

What do you give to your deity/ies or do for him/her/them and what do you recive from her/him/them?

I act in the world in ways he is ill-suited to do himself.  I can sit through meetings and negotiate with politically minded people and deal with crap that would have him biting and setting fires.  If he followed his instincts and historical ways of protecting and guarding his animals he would end up getting them exterminated by scared humans.  The numbers are so far off that he couldn't protect them if he tried to make them 'take' a territory and he knows it.  Doesn't like it, but the people are ascendant and he preserves what he can through 'his' people acting on his behalf.

What I receive is easier to point to.  I negotiate for favours and he comes through.  I don't know who or what he might have to negotiate with on his end, just as he doesn't care who I deal with on mine.  It just gets done.  Opportunities open up, money unexpectedly appears, a relative miscalculates freezer space when they slaughter and I end up with beef, buffalo, or deer all neatly packaged up.  I finally get the money and time to fix the car and the mechanic says it's a miracle it didn't die a month ago.  DH and I skate pretty close to disaster sometimes (neither of us is very good at 'life preparedness') but we always make it through.  I've been told that my life is full of miracles I wouldn't need if I would just learn to plan, but going with your strengths sometimes means letting your weaknesses fend for themselves.

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« Reply #2: January 05, 2009, 03:26:10 pm »

In what relationship do you see yourself to your deity/ies?

- Do you see any hierarchy between you and your deity/ies?
- Is he/she or are they like a parent/parents? (In what way?)
- Or more like a friend/friends? (How so?)
- Or is he/she/are they like a business partner/business partners? (In what regard?)

All of the above. And then some.  And none of the above.   Roll Eyes  I have trouble quantifying my relationships with various deities in terms of typical human relationships, so forgive me if I stumble a bit in getting my thoughts down.

When it comes to my primary deity, I am daughter, sister, partner, student, partner, devotee, soldier, employee, and handmaiden all at once. Yet that doesn't quite cover it. It's a complicated relationship, but really, it can be simply stated: I am Hers... of her, belonging to her, and devoted to her. What form that relationship takes largely depends on the circumstances of the moment and what is needed.  

How does that influence your worship?

I don't know that it particularly influences my current worship patterns.  The multiplicity of the relationship does however influence the way I view deity in general.  For a long time, I was caught in the idea that relationship with deity was strictly parent/child.  Understanding that there is more depth than that has changed the way I view her, but had little effect on the practical aspects of my worship.

What do you give to your deity/ies or do for him/her/them and what do you receive from her/him/them?

What do we all get out of this? That's the million dollar question, PF.  Wink

It is perhaps easier for me to first address the last part of this question.  In terms of my primary deity, she grants me a sense of well-being, strength, and sanctuary.  From her, I learn lessons, frequent and sometimes painful, that test my limits and stretch my awareness and knowledge. Of course, she also occasionally gives me a swift kick in the rear if I'm not being true to my soul or to Her.

What she gets from me is something that I cannot fully answer.  The best I can say is that I provide her with a body, mind, and heart willing to do her bidding.  She has, in me, someone who is willing to step into the roles of teacher, nurturer, and steward as she demands.  There is the assurance that I will take care of those bodies and souls that matter to her. She also gets complete adoration and utter devotion on my part.  If the relationship benefits Her in other ways, She hasn't shared them with me.  Smiley
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« Reply #3: January 05, 2009, 04:53:57 pm »

In what relationship do you see yourself to your deity/ies?

- Do you see any hierarchy between you and your deity/ies?
- Is he/she or are they like a parent/parents? (In what way?)
- Or more like a friend/friends? (How so?)
- Or is he/she/are they like a business partner/business partners? (In what regard?)
Mostly more like friends.  There's some innate hierarchy that stems from the differences between deity-type people and embodied-human-type people, but it gets downplayed - I really suck at conventional reverence, so I tend to attract deities who don't care about that, or are actively avoiding it (some of my deities suck at receiving conventional reverence).  And the differences aren't one-sided - they can do lots of stuff I can't, but there are quite a few things I can do that they can't.

Sometimes there's a bit of "business partner" tone, but more in the way that one might go into partnership with a friend to achieve some particular goal, which might or might not be a business-y kind of goal.

And various other kinds of nuances, very much like the way that human/human friendships differ from each other, or shift over time; and a lot of it is just as hard to express in words.  They might occasionally function in a somewhat parent-like way, just as friends might do for each other; with some of them, there might occasionally be an element of sexual intimacy (and with the Chaotic Canine, that's an ongoing thing - but being lovers doesn't make us any less buddies).

Quote
How does that influence your worship?
It means that "worship" isn't a very good word to describe it - even leaving aside baggage about the unworthiness of the worshipper, it implies that the object of worship is being worshipped solely because s/he is Big and Mighty and Wonderful.  My deities aren't "objects of worship", they're more like beer buddies, and a lot of why I honor them is because they're damn cool beer buddies.

Quote
What do you give to your deity/ies or do for him/her/them and what do you recive from her/him/them?
When I started, I thought I was going to be answering this directly.  But it's either a) covered in the earlier parts of my answer, b) not readily put into words, or c) personal and private.  (I'd have the same problem answering that question about my "visible boyfriend" JFP, or about other close human friends.)

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« Reply #4: January 05, 2009, 05:13:09 pm »

I am Hers... of her, belonging to her, and devoted to her.

What Aisling said.

I don't seem to be able to accurately put a label on my relationship with Brighid.  I guess "Hers" is as close as I can get.  She permeates every aspect of my life, but not in a controlling way.  It's not like I no longer have free will.  It's more    that I always *want* to follow Her path.  I am Her servant, but not in a slaving kind of way.  If that makes any sense.  She once told me, through a seer in trance, that She can play me like a harp.  I guess that's true.   Undecided

I have trouble with the word "worship", probably left over from my rebelling-against-church phase.  I don't think of what I do as worship, but rather as *honoring* Her.

I have no idea what She gets from me, other than another human working on Her behalf.  And daily devotionals.  Maybe that's what She wants.  I don't know.  What I get from Her is...well, She has saved my life -- quite literally -- at least three times now.  The last time was just a few months ago, when I fell down a flight of steps.

I love the way Marilyn describes her relationship with "Old Dog" -- I think that's what she calls him.   Cheesy  But my relationship with Brighid is completely different.  There's some bargaining, I guess -- I make promises of votive offerings, and She arranges things to my benefit.  Sometimes I have to be very patient.  Like now, when I'm job hunting and waiting for the right opportunity.  I know it will come eventually.  But it's hard to wait.  So, I guess She's teaching me about patience.   Wink

But mostly, I offer my absolute devotion and service.  And She gives me...I can't really describe it.  I guess peace, serenity, and safety.  And, in a very real way, my life.   Cheesy


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« Reply #5: January 05, 2009, 05:57:58 pm »

She permeates every aspect of my life, but not in a controlling way.  It's not like I no longer have free will.  It's more    that I always *want* to follow Her path.  I am Her servant, but not in a slaving kind of way.  If that makes any sense.  She once told me, through a seer in trance, that She can play me like a harp.  I guess that's true.   Undecided

Makes perfect sense to me, as this is one of the things that I wanted to convey, but really didn't do very well.  Free will is still there and she's the first to remind me that I have a choice in the matter. 

Of course, there are those harp moments as well. Experience has taught me that she knows better than I do what is ultimately good for me, so I don't get too upset by it these days. 
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« Reply #6: January 05, 2009, 06:14:43 pm »

I guess "Hers" is as close as I can get.  She permeates every aspect of my life, but not in a controlling way.  It's not like I no longer have free will.  It's more    that I always *want* to follow Her path.  I am Her servant, but not in a slaving kind of way.

Well now I have to say what Moon Ivy said.  Wink

I've said it before, but I am her lantern, and she is my light.  

That's probably the best metaphor I can come up with, and it describes my experience and worship of her pretty well. I am her vessel, but I am distinct. We are related, a little like mother and daughter, but she isn't a mother to me. She is something even closer; I'm not quie sure any other word can describe it except for "soul friend" or soul-sister. Anam chara, but in a deeper sense. She isn't afraid to let me know when I'm going off the path, but she is always ready to comfort me. She is a gentle queen, but she is also a laughing buddy I can drink tea with.

But most importantly, She shines through me, or at least, that is what I hope. Together, we become one thing shining out on a dark path.

I have no idea what she gains from me: love and service is really what I all I have to give, and she has given me so much more in return for it. All I can do is to keep walking, and keep shining, and we'll see where we end up together.
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« Reply #7: January 05, 2009, 06:20:23 pm »

I am her lantern, and she is my light.

That's a beautiful metaphor, Finn, and very appropriate.
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« Reply #8: January 05, 2009, 08:25:31 pm »

In what relationship do you see yourself to your deity/ies?

- Do you see any hierarchy between you and your deity/ies?
- Is he/she or are they like a parent/parents? (In what way?)
- Or more like a friend/friends? (How so?)
- Or is he/she/are they like a business partner/business partners? (In what regard?)

How does that influence your worship?

What do you give to your deity/ies or do for him/her/them and what do you recive from her/him/them?

***

I'm just starting to think about this myself as I haven't had much of a relationship with any deity yet (other than the Christian God in my childhood), but I've recently seen Artemis in a meditation (or was it Diana?). She kind of showed me how to solve a problem (it was hard to understand what she meant though and I'm not sure I really did). I wonder if this could be the beginning of a relationship. She didn't tell me why she tried to help me or if she expected anything back from me, so I'm just wondering how people see their relationship to their deities. I also want to take it slow because she scares me somewhat. I suspect she might be popular with newbie pagans and so she doesn't seem to scare people in general, but I feel that she's a bit of a strong (and wild?) personality. I don't want to have that arrow pointed at me if you can understand what I mean.


The Deathless Ones rule the Universe. They are the givers and sustainers of life. I honor Them as such, informed by what I understand of ancient Hellenic religious practices. I would never define what I do as "Hellenic Reconstructionism". 'Recon' has become a radioactive term for me.

You should be somewhat scared of Artemis. I praise and honor Her, but I doubt very much that She will ever be your 'buddy Goddess'. Her holy power can be seen shining in the wilderness, in the wild part of our souls, even in the Moon's reflected light. It can be seen in the pretty songbird, but also in the cat with a dead songbird dangling from its maw. It is awe-inspiring and terrifying and sometimes even gentle...but always unspeakably beautiful.

May Her holy light guide you in all darkness, both physical and spiritual.

I usually offer the shotgun shells and fishing lures I find, the litter left behind by sportsmen, in sacrifice to Artemis.

Typically, when a traditionally Greek item associated with a particular deity is unavailable, I will either try to find a local alternative or use something related to that deity's sphere of influence. Herakles receives the little pebbles I pry out of my sneakers after one of my weekly jogs, for example.

The Goddesses and Gods have never signalled any displeasure at this.
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« Reply #9: January 05, 2009, 09:02:40 pm »


I'll go with the parent/child model, but I need to clarify here.  When I say that, I most certainly don't mean a young child with a parent who must by necessity be something of an authoritarian.  I am referring specifically to the kind of relationship that I, as an adult, have with my parents.  I'm fortunate to be one of those people who is on extremely good terms with her parents, quite friendly with them, etc.  They are more than my friends, though, much more than my teachers or mentors or my protectors or my elders or the people I'm working with on specific projects, although there are elements of all those things in there.  This is the kind of relationship I mean when I say I view my relationship with my patron as a parent/child relationship.  Complex, close, with myself distinctly on the less-experienced side but not really submissive as such.

It's not really a parent/child thing these days, because the interaction between us is typically more formal than that, but it's as close as I feel I can come at the moment.
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« Reply #10: January 05, 2009, 09:52:46 pm »


Disclaimer: The following is personal opinion/understanding, and no inferences should be drawn that I mean to speak for All Buddhists Everywhere.

First, my pronoun use is shifting from "She" to "He." I'm still sure that Kwan Yin's the one who contacted me--because that's the name with which I was familiar at the time. Now that I've learned a little more (very little, believe me), I know she is another version of Avalokiteshvara (from India), who is also a version of Chenrizig (Tibet), all of whom are the same Bodhisattva of Compassion. So, that said...

He's definitely "above" me, w/r/t hierarchy. He's a bodhisattva, after all; one who has refused his Buddhahood in order to remain and assist us poor mortals in our quest for enlightenment. That said, he is something/someone I can aspire to become. We all have Buddha nature within us. I can become like him. (I can. Whether I will remains to be seen... over how many lifetimes?)

He's a guide, more than anything. Something of a touchstone, as well. I can check in if I'm uncertain and get a fairly simple answer ("Keep on doing what you're doing" or "do this instead" usually takes care of it).

"Worship." Well, hm. "Reverence" sounds more appropriate. I posted about this elsewhere (in the Stereotypes thread, IIRC). The Buddha himself, and the Bodhisattvas, aren't deities per se (although there are those who treat them as such). They're divine beings, by virtue of their ascendance/enlightenment. (In Tibetan Buddhism, there are *other* beings that are referred to as gods/goddesses and demons, but *most* of the time--not always, but often--they came into Buddhism from the indigenous tribal beliefs, and were given positions within the new system. That, at least, is what I've gleaned so far from readings.) All of these beings deserve our reverence; the things they represent (compassion, wisdom, healing, protection, etc.) are worth holding in esteem. The statues we choose to display on our altars, the thangkas, and so on are symbols; there's no deity present within that physical thing.

I'm only starting out on this, after all this time, so as for offerings--I have yet to learn the proper methods. I know it involves either water or actual physical things, and a set of bowls (silver, brass, or wood, from most of what I've found), and prescribed prayers. I'm not there, yet.

I recite the refuge prayer three times on rising, and three times before going to bed. I chant Chenrizig's mantra (om mani padme hum) for three rounds of my mala (27 per round), also upon rising and before going to bed. (I'm sure this will change later once I'm actually *studying* and being taught the right way, but for now, this feels right.)

In return? I'm going to sound like Darkhawk's person who goes on about how "Bob hates peas" for a moment, so please bear with me. :-) Today was my first day back at work after being off (plant-wide shutdown) since 12/24. I rose at 5:30, said my prayers and mantras, did the rest of my usual morning stuff and drove to work. I was calmer on the commute than I've been in years. The atmosphere at work felt less oppressive. People who usually don't give me the time of day (not that they dislike me, we just have no reason to interact) greeted me, and I them. Most surprisingly, the woman I work most closely with was actually smiling and laughing. Haven't seen THAT in months, either.

Is that all due to words I said this morning? Hardly. But I think the act of saying those words, and being in that mindset, left me open to *seeing* things in a far more positive light.
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« Reply #11: January 05, 2009, 10:03:03 pm »

In what relationship do you see yourself to your deity/ies?

Mine's fairly simple to say, though a bit longer to explain: I am M'Lady's handmaiden.

The explanation involves the fact that I seem to be fundamentally wired to function best in a clearly structured feudal-function relationship (which incidentally, means there can be peers at the same level of power). I am happiest when I have a clear idea of my role and structure in the interlocking relationships, and my most comfortable relationships are those where we're explicit about power structure (even if that's something that changes depending on specific role.)

A handmaiden, in classic function, is *not* a mindless process. It's much more like being a very good administrative assistant. The person who knows where everything's filed and what needs to happen a week from Tuesday to set up for the thing on Thursday, and oh, yes, you should call Mary on Friday because it's the anniversary of something, and she might be lonely.

The stuff I do is not that easy to describe, but mostly, I function fairly independently, and check back in regularly to see what the next thing is. (And it's usually not very clearly defined: I've been on "Keep doing more of that stuff you're doing" duty for at least a year now, with a "You'll know when the next thing is needed" thrown in for good measure.) One of the best phrases that came out of some aspecting work was "Reach out to those that thirst" with a very strong knowledge/understanding twist to 'thirst' - something I was already doing in my professional life and my Craft life, so doing more of it is not exactly painful. Very occaisionally (every month or two), I get a particular zing toward something specific.

As far as worship: it leads to a relationship where I am respectful and thoughtful, and do not want to waste Her time - but where I know her well enough that I don't put her on a perfectionist pedestal. She has gaps in her knowledge and understanding of some things, and there's stuff she's not good at, and stuff she's not interested in, even if she's got related skills. And all of that's okay - just like working for a very competent boss who has similar gaps would be, if the job didn't involve those gaps. (Or, in some cases, my skills fill in her gaps - for example, she has reliably been pretty bemused by modern technology that involves communication - of anything more advanced than a fairly early printing press -  and she just sort of does 'Yes, do more of that' vaguely and lets me sort out the technology to make it happen.)  She cares a lot more about content.

My personal ritual work tends to be fairly informal and frank - the way I'd talk to my (now former) boss of 8 years after the first few years. Yes, he was the boss, but most of the time, that wasn't the big thing in the interaction.
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Last Login:January 11, 2013, 10:01:06 pm
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Religion: Kemetic AUJIK Pagan (only half kidding about the AUJIK)
TCN ID: Lykaios
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« Reply #12: January 06, 2009, 02:44:44 am »

In what relationship do you see yourself to your deity/ies?

- Do you see any hierarchy between you and your deity/ies?
- Is he/she or are they like a parent/parents? (In what way?)
- Or more like a friend/friends? (How so?)
- Or is he/she/are they like a business partner/business partners? (In what regard?)

How does that influence your worship?

I refer often to my ‘parentage’ but I don’t mean that so much as a description of relationship, but rather as a description of genetics. I am my ‘parents’ in a very real way: my soul was made of their energies, by their wills. They spoke my name and brought me into existence. Worship…or whatever word one would choose to define an active relationship to the divine… becomes a bit of a nonissue. I am true to them because if I am not, I am not true to myself.  To cease service I would have to cease 'being'.

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What do you give to your deity/ies or do for him/her/them and what do you recive from her/him/them?

I know I have posted about it before, so I won’t retell the whole story here, but they have told me more than once that I am valuable to them because I create, and in the act of my creativity, I further ‘the creation’ itself. I also choose to continue existing and, by the very nature of that act, I oppose uncreation… which is their goal as well.

I get permission to be me, comfort from knowing I am not alone inside myself, and a reason to exist. Since that is all that I asked for...I guess I have received my heart’s desire... or something.  Undecided
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stardancer
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Last Login:January 21, 2012, 08:06:43 am
Norway Norway

Religion: Devotee of Gaia and Pan, and Athena
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« Reply #13: January 06, 2009, 04:24:57 am »

In what relationship do you see yourself to your deity/ies?
How does that influence your worship?

What do you give to your deity/ies or do for him/her/them and what do you recive from her/him/them?


First of all, I want to say I'm fascinated by the different replies. So many ways of seeing things, different relationships, but almost all of them intensely personal and close. I can feel Gaia reading over my shoulder at the same time.. I'm afraid you might be giving Her ideas!  Cheesy She is extremely close to me - like She's in my head almost constantly. I don't think She wants anything at all from me, though - She's my friend - helping, guiding, talking to me, embracing me. Partly as a kind mother, but without the baggage of conditional love. She is happy with what I do to cement the relationship, but She would probably love me whatever I did. At the very start of our relationship She convinced me I was of equal worth to Her as every other being - saving my sanity and probably life in the process - no less, no more.

Odin is definitely more of a mentor/father figure. He'll set me tasks, occasionally give me the awe-inspiring glimpses (occasionally even as a response when I feel He's too distanced and start badgering Him about it), keeping my focus on track. I don't know His motives, why He wants what He wants, or what the tasks will lead up to (if anything) in the end. On the plus side, He is the Allfather of the norse pantheon, which means He gives me a back door access to the other Norse deities if I need them. (We had a discussion about Imbolc - the day is special to me for climate reasons, but I have no particular relationship to Brighid, so He simply said I could call on His son Balder instead if She wasn't responsive.)

Worship? I give thanks. I talk back. I do the tasks They set me. But we're friends, and They don't require me to get down on my knees for them.
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Elisabette
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Last Login:December 11, 2010, 06:22:49 pm
Canada Canada

Religion: Animist pagan
TCN ID: Elisabette
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« Reply #14: January 06, 2009, 02:35:15 pm »

In what relationship do you see yourself to your deity/ies?

- Do you see any hierarchy between you and your deity/ies?
- Is he/she or are they like a parent/parents? (In what way?)
- Or more like a friend/friends? (How so?)
- Or is he/she/are they like a business partner/business partners? (In what regard?)

How does that influence your worship?

What do you give to your deity/ies or do for him/her/them and what do you recive from her/him/them?


I haven't had a lot of interaction with deities for the past year or so; my relationship with deities fluctuates a lot.  If a deity asks me to do something, I'll usually do it, but I don't necessarily have much do with gods on a day to day basis. 

I liked Star's description of the parent/mature child relationship; I'd describe my relationship with a few deities that way.  Others, I might talk or have dealings with from time to time, but it's more like an on-the-street business agreement.

I have a bit of a problem with authority, so while I can feel respect, reverence and gratitude towards deities, worship just isn't my way.  I acknowledge that they are gods and I'm human but it feels more like... circumstance, than innate hierarchy.  At the same time, it means a lot to me that gods notice me at all.

Betty

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