Heather Freysdottir posted:
“I think on some level it’s starting to become a goal to be god-touched, and that stifles creativity and openness in spiritual practice. If you’re looking for a particular carrot, you may be missing a rich experience of your own that someone else could learn from, and even if it’s for no one but yourself, it’s still valuable to you.”
This can’t be stressed often enough, in my opinion: despite the impression you’d get from all of the godspouse and spirit worker blogs online, the vast majority of Heathens and other Pagans, are NOT god-touched, “god-bothered,” or married to gods. Not only that, but the vast majority of them wouldn’t even want to be, because they are happily leading fulfilled devotional lives either in community with other Pagans or on their own. While some of them they may have had mystical experiences (I’ve known a number of mainstream Heathens who have, for example, though they tend not to share them online), they are not desperately reading godspouse blogs and wondering when Loki (just to pull a name off the top of my head) is going to finally show some serious interest in them the way He does for all of their friends, because they’re too busy leading their religious lives. In fact, the bulk of Pagan religious activity happens offline (shocking, I know), although there are also plenty of non-spirit worker pagan blogs online, along with many pagan forums where an assortment of pagans from different paths and levels of experience can be found if you’re looking for online community. (I first met Jolene online at one of these forums, when I was just starting to put out feelers for Pagan and Heathen contacts ten years ago, and although both of us are god-touched the majority of people posting there were not.)
The reason the internet gives this false impression is simple: if you are experiencing these things, you are very likely going to feel driven to write about them, if not for the purpose of sharing them with others then simply as an aid to puzzling through them for yourself. And often you do end up wanting to share them to see whether or not you’re alone, and to compare notes with others; while no one should be seeking validation from others per se, it is comforting to find out that others have experienced similar things. There has been, lately, quite a bit of criticism aimed at the current flock of newbies and the time they spend squeezing over their gods, but as Lykeia comments here, this is only natural and a phase we all go through when we’re new. (If we’re lucky, like those of us in the older crowd, we did it on LiveJournal behind filters rather than on the public internet, but I recently read some of my own filtered posts about Odin from 2002–nope, I’m not sharing them, so don’t ask–and they nearly as bad as some of the things the current newbies are excitedly sharing.)
However, you don’t need a “god-phone” or even a “god-radio” to love the gods, to offer to Them, to learn about Them, to write poems and stories about Them or make things inspired by Them, or (if you are–unlike me–a community-minded person) t0 share the joy of that love with others. Devotion can be a rich and rewarding practice in its own right, because even when you’re not getting specific messages and input back from the gods on a regular basis (or even at all), once you have established a devotional practice you will get a sense of joy from Them at the fact that you are doing these things, that you are remembering Them. Or, the joy your practice brings you may be all within your own heart, and not traceable back to Them at all, and, you know what? That’s also okay. After all, it doesn’t all have to look the same.