I’ve always envisioned a certain progression when it comes to contact with deity. First is the raised eyebrow, my, doesn’t-that-god-look- interesting phase. You know the one – you’re minding your own business and suddenly you spy something shiny that turns out to be a deity that you’ve never worked with. This quickly progresses to the god-crush, which is probably the most embarrassing of the phases. Let’s face, no one sounds intelligent when acting like a love-struck teenager gushing over the wonderfully fabulous new god on the block. Wait, did he look at me? Oh my gawd, tell me he looked at me. I luvvvv him so much I could just die.
I may be exaggerating a little there, but most of us have been through this particular rite of passage at some point in our paths. Many of us are fortunate enough to get past that rather awkward stage. If you’re one of the less fortunate ones who haven’t, stop that nonsense right this minute, young one. Save the giggling for pop stars and show the gods the respect they (mostly) deserve. You young whipsnappers ought to learn a thing or two about the gods. Why, back in my way we had to walk uphill both ways in a snowstorm to even see a god. Talk to them? Ha… we knew our place back then. Who do you snot-nosed brats think you are….
Ahem, sorry, where was I? Oh yes, as I was about to say, that brings us to the next phase, which would be the adoration and worship phase. This might be the most pleasant of them. Instead of focusing on whether the deity has taken notice you, you have the opportunity to pay homage to deity, to worship them, to leave offerings, to follow in their impossibly enormous footsteps. In other words, you begin to serve your deity in some way. This is the point at which many people’s relationship to deity ends.
If your luck runs a certain way – and I’ll leave it to you decide if the luck is good or bad- you will actually get called to serve in a particular way. You’ll find your idea of what it means to serve is suddenly thrown into sharp contrast with your deity’s ideas about what service means. At this point, you have to decide where your path lies – do you stay in the worship phase, paying homage in the way that you see fit, or do you take up the challenge of serving deity in the manner they see fit? Or do you simply check yourself into the nearest mental health facility, because hey, the gods aren’t supposed to talk and humans aren’t supposed to hear disembodied voices, are they?!?
There may be steps beyond this one, but my deity has kindly not made me jump through those hoops yet. Perhaps yours has. My point, and there is one somewhere in these ramblings, is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to deity interaction. There is also no single right answer to the question of how to serve deity. Our relationships to our gods are so deeply personal that no two people will ever have the same experience. The same god who asks nothing more from me than to be remembered with an occasional offering may demand of someone else that they dedicate their lives and livelihoods to service. My patron goddess might tell me walk through fire in her name (don’t get any ideas, please, my Lady) and only ask of someone else that they burn a candle for her. We serve in the ways that we are most needed and I’d like to believe that our service helps to give us the experiences and knowledge that we most need. Whether it is our lot to hoe onions or to carry a flaming sword, we each play the part that is needed of us.
On a side note, I’m going to own the typo (now corrected) that I made when naming this post. I originally typed out “Servicing Deity”. My friends, that is an altogether different topic, one that I’m not touching with anyone’s 10-foot pole. 🙂