Ah the joys of Samhain and the muddled mix of goddesses and pantheons that the Wiccans bring. Don’t get me wrong — I’m a person who believes the Heathen gods and goddesses are the same as gods and goddesses with different names in other pantheons. However, there are differences and I’m not into simply playing the mix-and-match game that many pagans do.
Is the Rational Heathen Against Following Other Gods?
Now here’s where my beliefs get tricky. I get that sometimes we get a call from other gods and goddesses, and I am not one to tell you whether to follow them or not. Chances are, if they’re helpful to you, you’re going to follow them. And you may add them to the list of gods and goddesses you follow. Our Northern ancestors were egalitarian in that way. The god helped you out? Well, follow him until he’s less than helpful.
No, what I object to is the blatant mishmash of religions and customs that integrate the gods willy nilly, without respect for each culture and pantheon. That smush Zoroastrianism with Celtic beliefs and call it good. Or that brings in Christian, Egyptian, and Norse gods and beliefs together in a type of melange that is quite unpalatable.
Look, I get that many religions are closely related. You want to borrow from them? Fine. But don’t tell me the Artemis/Hecate/Selene trio is Mani (who happens to be male). Or that a ritual you mashed together from Greek and Roman practices for Hecate works for Freyja. (It might; it might not.) This is your UPG, and very few Heathens are likely to concur with your interpretation. I am more open to Slavic and Germanic gods and goddesses crossing over than Middle Eastern deities combining with Nordic gods.
Samhain was the Celtic/Gaelic new year which is a lot like our Yule (which, incidentally, the Wiccans also celebrate.) Harvest was an important time for them, and Wiccans believe that the veil between the living and the dead thins during this time. Yule, on the other hand, deals with the the darkest times of the year, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, which is more in turn with the concept of the “Veils.”
Incidentally, my mom died during Yule. I don’t necessarily feel her presence at that particular time, mainly because she manages to get inside my head a lot, but it is certainly a noteworthy occurrence. The colder, darker days are deadlier toward animals, which suggests to me that we may have a closer handle on when the living and the dead have more contact.
I give you all my explanation for Halloween and Samhain in another post, so I’m not going to run through the entire litany here. Given that Halloween is a Christian celebration, it is something that simply doesn’t do much for me. I’ll probably celebrate a harvest festival, using the days after hunting season to celebrate what I will call Hunting Harvest/Thanksgiving as a way to celebrate a good hunt.
I sort of look at Wiccans who follow the Northern gods as “Heathen Lite.” They’re a type of Heathen, to be sure, but when you mix different systems, you can’t help but lose some of the authenticity. If you’re a Wiccan, I mean no insult. I like people who are Wiccans as much (and sometimes more) than some Heathens I know. Even so, you’re in Wicca for the magic and witchcraft. I get that. We have our own (ahem) “magic,” but it isn’t necessarily the spell variety. In fact, it’d be nice if Heathens did court the Wiccans to get some of their numbers in ours. (I guess we won’t do that by calling them “Heathen Lite,” eh?)
If you’re a Wiccan and you’re interested in our gods, talk to a Universalist Heathen and you might just be surprised how much we do have in common, even if we’re not into mixing our gods that much. You just might find our gods and goddesses are powerful and may help you more than others.
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Occasionally I get a comment from someone who’s convinced that the gods don’t talk to us mere mortals that often. That most people who deal with the gods are actually dealing with the ancestors. It’s an interesting part of Heathenry I think is worth addressing. Are Heathens receiving messages from gods or ancestors?
Actually, I think it’s both.
The Unknown Gods
Before I get into the supposition that the gods are with us, let me address the personal nature of the gods, themselves. There are Heathens who believe that our gods really aren’t personal deities. That the concept of a personal deity comes from Christianity and those concepts taint our modern day beliefs. There is some truth to that. The gods aren’t just the gods of humanity, but the gods of all things. In fact, I suspect that there are gods we humans do not know. We don’t know them not because our knowledge of them disappeared, but because we never knew them to begin with. I suspect there are gods who do not deal with humans at all, who instead govern other things and animals other than ourselves. They are never in contact with us, except maybe if we touch their realms.
Not the Gods I’m Talking About
These aforementioned gods that have very little to do with humanity are not the gods I am talking about. The gods I am talking about are the gods who have made themselves known to humans. Who still make themselves known to humans. Odin, Thor, Freyja, Freyr, Tyr, Loki, Baldr, Skadi, Ullr, Heimdallr,…the list goes on. We would not know them if we did not have contact with them. Sure, you could say that hearing thunder and calling it a god is the basis for Thor, but then, why bother to have positive connotations with a thunder god if he didn’t somehow look benevolently on humans?
So, we can assume that the gods we know have had interactions with humans. Who still do have interactions with humans. When someone tells me that they’ve interacted with certain deities, I generally accept their word. Not because I’m gullible, but because unless they give me a real reason to disbelieve them, who am I to say otherwise? I’ve talked with gods and goddesses and I already knew some things that the people who had a UPG told me, so if something doesn’t sound right, I might have to ask further questions.
Is it a God?
I know that gods have taken other forms to get their message through to their recipients, so it would not surprise me if ancestors do the same thing. Could an ancestor mimic a god? Yes, I know of one case where it has happened, and not for the better. There are plenty of not so benevolent spirits out there looking to cause harm, but it’s pretty obvious when they do show up.
One way to tell if it is really a god is to consider the following:
- Do they act like the gods/goddesses of our stories and of other people’s credible UPGs? Yes, there have been interactions with gods/goddesses that all seem to have the same feeling. Or are they different, and in what ways?
- Does the deity ask you to do something harmful to yourself or others? If they do, you may not be dealing with the entity you think you’re dealing with. Chances are its malevolent and you need to get away from it.
- Does the entity inform you who they are? Some spirits do lie, but you have a better chance in deciding if you’re really dealing with the god just by research and talking to knowledgeable folks.
- Does a Gothi/Gythia confirm your experience?
- How does the god treat you? Is it in line with what you know of the god?
My Own Experience with the Gods
The gods are an interesting bunch. Some will just pop in to say hello or see what is going on, but most are reserved and only show up at times they deem is suitable. They seldom come when you call –remember, they’re not your bitches. Even if you ask nicely, you can get complete crickets. They may have more important things to pay attention to. Like the entire universe.
Some landvaettir may also come into contact with you. While you might not consider them gods, per se, they are tutelary spirits who have powers. You may not find them as powerful as someone like Thor or Odin, but in many cases they may be able to help or harm you, depending on your relationship with them. That being said, I am firmly agnostic when it comes to landvaettir. I haven’t seen one, but I have had odd situations that maybe could suggest them.
The gods do occasionally mimic other gods in other pantheons. Odin and Loki, in particular, will shape change to whatever god you believe in to give you information, if you believe in another deity and not them. (Yes, I’ve had that happen.) Tyr will do that too for those who he wants to be his followers. (Again, that’s my experience and your mileage may vary.) Depending on the person, they may do this in order to give you information you need and if you’re only open to Jesus or Yahweh, then that’s where they go.
Is it an Ancestor?
You could be contacted through an ancestor. It’s not all that unusual. If it is an ancestor who has benevolent intentions, you should definitely get a name or an understanding of who or what they are. They shouldn’t be passing themselves off as a god. If they are, I wouldn’t want to deal with them simply because of the dishonesty.
Ancestors are pretty much what they were when they were alive. If they were a son-of-a-bitch when they were alive, they’re still a son-of-a-bitch–maybe more so, because they’re cranky they’re dead. Some ancestors you don’t want to deal with; others are just fine. Regardless, it should be pretty damn obvious if Uncle Milton makes a call. He shouldn’t be saying he’s Loki or Odin or whomever–if he is, tell him to go the Hel away.
My Own Experience with Ancestors
I’ve spoken to my closest ancestors and have had feelings and intentions from them. I’ve also had dreams with an ancestor in them, usually in the form of talking with them about certain things. Not all dealings with those ancestors have been pleasant; I’ve annoyed them the same way I did back when they were alive. They were in shock when they went to Helheim instead of the Christian heaven or hell. (Despite them being devout Catholics and not pagans.) This along with other bits of knowledge has led me to conclude that the Christian beliefs aren’t real and our beliefs are more in line with reality. Call it UPG or whatever, but I’m convinced that if there was a Jesus and if there is a Yahweh, it is a deceptive god.
Are ancestors more receptive than gods? In most cases, yes, but you should be careful with them until you get to know who exactly is knocking on the door. Some ancestors you definitely don’t want.
So, the gods do talk to humans. The landvaettir talk to humans. The ancestors talk to humans. They’re a rather chatty bunch — the lot of them. It’s just up to you to listen.
A fan of mine and supposedly long time reader took umbrage on my statements about folkish beliefs in Heathenry. Never mind that I’ve been stating what I have been stating as long as I’ve had this blog, which puts me in direct opposition of folkish beliefs. Why? Because scientifically, archaeologically, anthropologically, and historically, none of the folkish beliefs have any basis in fact. Unless you count the past 100 years as a reason to be folkish, i.e. Nazi beliefs, there is no record of exclusion from Heathenry.
Anyway, the fan deleted our conversation, left in a huff, and unliked my page (There! That showed me!), giving me plenty to think about why folkish beliefs are a bad idea. So, without further ado, let’s get talking about what folkism is, why it’s racist, and ultimately in league with white supremacists.
What Folkish Beliefs Are
Let’s talk about the root of folkish beliefs. People who believe in folkish beliefs hold that Heathenry is only for those who are of Northern European descent. That our gods can only be worshiped by those whose ancestors lived in the Northern European lands. That our gods do not call to those who are not from those lands.
In other words, they do not believe in a multicultural religion. They believe that people should worship the gods of their ancestors, whichever those are.
Now, let’s talk about the fallacy of their arguments.
First, Some Evolutionary Facts
Let’s look at the human race, that is Homo sapiens. Our race came out of Africa at least 200,000 years ago, according to scientists, although latest findings suggest that our species came from there before that. I don’t want to quibble over time frame. The point is that we all came from a small group of humans. Those who eventually made their way up north eventually became Norse.
It’s not like humans beamed in there. It took a fair amount of time, walking, and generations of living in one place for a while before pushing on. We know that many of them were most likely black (even though there isn’t a specific gene for being black) due to the genetic material that we have found. Our species is black in Africa to provide some protection against the sun’s rays. As humans moved up north, our skin lightened to adjust to the lack of sunlight so that our bodies could make Vitamin D.
Genetics also shows that humans, as a species, nearly went extinct at least twice. We’re inbred apes, pure and simple, because of bullshit patriarchy and polygamy as well as sticking with kindreds. Yeah, I get that kindreds were needed back then to survive, but our genetic diversity as a species is sorely lacking because of it.
Racism as We Know it Today Was Nonexistent
Racism–that is, judging people on their physical appearance and skin color–was virtually nonexistent in Viking and Early Medieval times. People were judged according to their belief system and their allegiances, not their skin color. We know this because Marco Polo seldom mentioned skin color unless it added something to the story. Race was considered as religion. You were considered a different “race” if you were Heathen, Jewish, Christian, or some other religion. That gave people the excuse for barbaric acts (like they seldom needed an excuse?).
Not All Vikings Were White
We know that there was at least one “black” Viking, and yes, there are people who have Mongolian genetics in Iceland from him. We know that our Viking ancestors explored, traded, raided, raped, and pillaged all the way south to Africa, east well into Asia, north to Greenland, and west to North America. They found wives and husbands among indigenous folk and settled in those lands.
Some of our northern ancestors added the gods and religions to our pagan practices. Some fully adopted the other religions. We have Viking hoards with Buddha statues and other religious objects.
Heathen Religion in the Grand Scheme of Things
Now, given the facts I’ve presented (and if you have the doubts as to the veracity of my statements, I back them up in the links provided above), Heathens were pretty willing to take in others who swore allegiance to their leaders and their gods. It made a kindred stronger.
Our northern ancestors practiced a religion that came from an offshoot of a Proto Indo-European religion. That evolved from a much earlier Nostratic pantheon. The further back we go, the fewer religions we have. The fact that there are so many similarities in the Indo-European religions suggests that the ideas and gods came from a central source going back tens of thousands of years.
So, Let’s Talk Folkish
So, how does folkishness fit here? If you say it doesn’t, you get a star. Our northern ancestors didn’t differentiate where you came from. What they did care about was your religion and your loyalties. What was your kindred and whether you were a friend or foe. Given the overall dissemination of Nordic genes, we can assume that everyone had ancestors that lived in the overall Viking sphere of influence, including African tribes and Mongols. Even if this weren’t so, if someone who joined up with the Vikings, raided with them, and worshiped their gods, you can bet they would’ve had status in a kindred.
Segregation or Apartheid, Anyone?
If you take a chapter from history, what the folkish people are doing is the “separate but equal” bullshit that we saw in the United States in the form of segregation. Or the South African Apartheid. They’re saying, “Our religion is for white Europeans, but you have your own traditions. Go do those.” They shut out people just because of the random chance that they were born with different colored skin.
You are on the Razor’s Edge with this if You’re Folkish
Folkish people, you may not be Nazis, but you are so on a razor’s edge with this. What you are doing is racism, pure and simple. If a black person hears the call of Thor, shouldn’t he or she be allowed to practice Heathenry? If the answer is “no, because of their ethnicity” then yes, I am calling you a bigot. Why can’t a black person be a Heathen? Don’t give me that’s not their religion — they should stick to African religions. That is complete and utter bullshit. Separate is NOT equal. We know this from history. People fought hard to end segregation, and you’re dragging Heathenry down with your bigoted beliefs.
Furthermore, separate but equal is bullshit because we’re all the same race. We’re the same people with minor genetic variations. We are Homo sapiens, people. Most of us have a small amount of Neanderthal and Denisovian genes in our DNA, making us not even pure Homo sapiens but a mutt of different races. Hel, that makes Neanderthals more enlightened than you.
Okay, I’ve railed enough on this. If you’re folkish, I hope I’ve enlightened you why you’re racist even if you think you’re not. If you are looking at anyone’s ethnicity and determining whether someone can do something based on it or not, you are a fucking racist. Period.
Quick, without Googling, name five Heathen gods or goddesses other than Odin, Thor, Freyja, Loki, or Hel. Now, assuming you didn’t cheat, can you tell me whether they’re Aesir, Vanir, Alfar, or Jotunn? (Again without Googling.)
If the names came easily to you, chances are you’ve been in Heathenry awhile. If you’ve equivocated on some of the races of the gods, chances are you’ve been in Heathenry for years.
However, if you really can’t name five, let alone understand why anyone would equivocate on what race some of the gods were, then you’re probably new at this. You may have come to Heathenry through pop culture, either from watching one of the Thor movies or watching Vikings. And that’s okay.
Neophyte Heathens and Asa-popes
The other day, I was talking to an agnostic on Facebook (yeah, you know who you are) who quizzed me about being a real Heathen. I wasn’t really bothered by it, but it got me to thinking about the Neo-Heathens who have joined Heathenry from watching pop culture movies and TV shows about Vikings and the gods. (Marvel springs to mind.) I also started thinking about the tendency for certain people in our religion to declare themselves gatekeepers or Asa-popes. Inevitably, there’s a clash between the Asa-popes and the neo-Heathens, because the Asa-popes and Gatekeepers are annoyed with the neophytes. They are annoyed that someone would show interest in our religion because of some pop culture reference.
Loki wives. Not historical. Neo-pagans. Neo-Heathens. None of this is particularly new. So, the Asa-popes discourage the newbies, and the newbies think all Heathens are asshats.
That’s Fine, Except…
That would all be well and good, except Heathens are pretty much a drop in the overall pagan pool. We don’t have the numbers to turn anyone legitimately seeking knowledge away. (Except the neo Nazis, whom we really don’t want.) Heathenry and all its forms (with the exception of the white supremacists) might equal 250,000 in the world. If that.
The Good Old Days of Heathenry
Back in the good old days when Heathenry flourished and people were lucky to live to 50 years old, there weren’t any Asa-popes telling people what to believe. Sure, there were gythias and gothis, but they weren’t connected by some universal Church. Some gods and goddesses were worshiped over others; some stories were told in some parts that weren’t told in others. When the Vikings went to new lands, they’d add gods and goddesses from those pantheons. Or maybe they figured that the names of those gods matched the Heathen gods. We have some artifacts that show the Christian god being worshiped alongside Thor for a time.
My point is that people back then didn’t have a single view of the gods. Like now, they chose their own traditions and their own gods to believe in. The concept of organized religion occurred with the growth of cities and with priesthoods looking to grab power and keep themselves within the power structure. Sure, you had shamans and whatnot doing the power thing if you were in a tribe, but I suspect most Heathens revered ancestors and tutelary spirits, with an occasional major god or goddess thrown in for good measure.
So, How Does This Work for Today?
Heathens weren’t a particular picky bunch when it came to revering gods and goddesses. How you came to what kind of gods you worshiped was probably your own business and really not worried about, as long as you weren’t a dickhead about it. You were pretty much considered a Heathen if you believed in the Heathen gods–as far as we know, you didn’t get singled out because you believed that Thor was better than Odin, or you worshiped Perun or Frau Holle. Hel, our ancestors probably gave you a pass if you revered Loki as long as you were part of the kindred. When you started identifying with Christian ideals that were aimed at destroying Heathenism, that’s when they got a bit tetchy about it.
So, when I look at where new Heathens are coming from, I shrug and think that they have to come from somewhere. If not from pop culture, then where? See, I think a lot of Heathens, especially recons, don’t give our gods enough credit. Who is to say that Bragi didn’t inspire the original writers at Marvel to dip into Nordic mythology and bring Thor to life on comic book pages? Who says that Odin couldn’t have given the mead of poetry to the writer of Vikings? And who can say that the interest in our gods in pop culture isn’t fueled by the gods, themselves?
But It’s Not Right!
At this point, I can hear the recons screaming: It’s NOT right! The stories are screwed up! You know, you’re right. The stories aren’t the legend and myths, and they don’t portray the gods exactly according to our beliefs. Doesn’t matter. They have piqued an interest in our gods and the Heathen ways that cannot be denied. Sure, some will become interested in the context of the movies, the shows, or the graphic novels and that’s all. Some may blend the pop culture and the legends together. But some will dig deeper and explore what it is like to be Heathen. Those are the ones we need to foster.
What About Pop Culture Heathens?
So, what should we do about pop culture Heathens? Nothing. Let them have their fun. Do you actually think that all Heathens were serious followers of our gods? If they were, then why was it so damn easy for Christianity to take hold? Christianity took hold because the powers that be declared it their religion. The masses joined up because that’s what kept them in good graces.
So, that’s my take on the neo-Heathens from pop culture. As usual, your mileage may vary.
Today I’m throwing mud at another pagan religion, which probably will put me on their curse list. So be it. I don’t believe in that shit anyway, so cursing me won’t work.
I’m a full-on Heathen, regardless of the names the recons love to sling at me. Although I do think that most pagan gods are simply other manifestations of our gods, there are some gods that Wiccans and other pagans flirt with that I think are just not a good idea. I look at their veneration and maybe even worship of these gods and wonder how they could put a positive spin on what is considered demons and devils in Christianity.
Are You Really Pagan, or Are You Just Taking Crap from Judaeo-Christian Lore?
I’ve been reading about different pagan beliefs, especially Wiccan, and if I’m reading things right, a lot of current foundation of Wicca is from Gardner, who was heavily influenced by the book, Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches. The tl;dr version of Aradia is about the female messiah who is the daughter of Diana and Lucifer. All of which are supposedly wonderful and nice.
Does anyone see a problem with this? One writer on Patheos talks about who exactly the daughter of Cain is in this book. There are a number of issues with Aradia, the least of which is the racism and antisemitism in the book, itself. I’m willing to pass on it only because the book was written in 1899 and antisemitism and racism was strong then. I’m not, however, giving those modern day witches a pass on using this book, but that isn’t my point at the moment. My point is that Aradia is taking Judaeo-Christian beliefs and fitting them into its own narrative. It is treating the Bible and Christian lore as being factual or real.
Why this is a Big Deal
Okay, so why do I have my panties in a wad over this? Well, it’s derivative, for one thing. And it’s derivative not from pagan belief, but from a monotheistic belief. The exact monotheistic belief pagans are purportedly not believing in. It’s like saying, “I don’t believe in your god, but hey, we’re going to take the trappings and lore from your religion and use it however the hell it suits us.”
And you wonder why the Christians burned these people at the stake? Seriously?
Now again, burning people at the stake not something I’m even advocating, but when you start taking villains of a religion and make them your heroes, you’re bound to get some push back by the dominant religion. Yeah, you might say that your version came first, but really? Really? From where I’m sitting, I’m not seeing it. It looks like an offshoot of Christianity and even smacks of satanism. (Not the atheist satanism, but the image satanism conjures up for most Christians.) Aradia was published some 1899 years after the supposed birth of Christ. Claim all you want to that it comes from older texts, but there’s no proof in that. You just have one author/translator who is spouting some ugly antisemitic words that was pretty much the attitude at that time.
You Either Believe in it, or You Don’t
I don’t believe in the Jewish and Christian god. I think it is a construct that came from one sect of the Canaanites that eventually became Jewish. They put their patron god Yahweh above all the other gods and came up with monotheism.
Given that other religions have come up with monotheism seems to indicate that the idea isn’t that new. It’s just a way to say that your tribe and your god is better than anyone else’s to the point where you discount other people’s gods.
If you’re taking pieces from the Judaeo-Christian religions and putting them together in ways that are insulting to those who actually believe the stuff, you’re really just perpetuating the myth that all pagans are Satan worshipers and evil. Come to think about it, you’re perpetuating the belief that witches worship Satan.
Try Something Different
I get that the Wiccans may take some of their beliefs from other Middle Eastern religions like Zoroastrian, but honestly, aren’t you being a little narrow in your world views? I’ve heard that there were somewhere around 5000 different religions. Instead, you’re mixing Christianity, Zoroastrian, and Roman religions to come up with something you like?
Yeah, I’m a Heathen and I follow the Northern pantheon. But I don’t say Lucifer and Diana bore Odin, or some such nonsense. No, I have a celestial cow who licks the rime off a god who has children that slay a frost giant and build the world from his body. Totally logical.
Okay, maybe not.
But many Heathens, myself included, get that the stories we read are just stories. They may be metaphors for the actual universe coming into being, or they just might be good stories people told. Those who follow the tenets in Aradia may believe that as well, I don’t know.
My point is that of all the religions it could take from, it took from Christianity. And not even the good parts. Cain and Lucifer and Lilith? Seriously? Certainly there are other religions with better beliefs and magic systems. While I, myself, don’t believe in magic, I can appreciate wanting to learn something like magic. Heathen magic is pretty minimal in comparison to Wicca and other systems, so I don’t recommend it for those who want to learn magic. But there are somewhere close to 5000 other belief systems to explore for that.
Just some thoughts.
You’ve been in a religion for some time. Or perhaps you’ve not been in a religion at all. Maybe it is Christianity; maybe it is another pagan religion. Perhaps you’ve been agnostic or even atheist. Or maybe you’re a Heathen like I am. Regardless, now you’re looking at a calling and…it’s not a god or goddess you follow. What do you do?
Getting Beyond the Shock
If you’re a Christian or someone who have been in the Abrahamic religions, this is often a complete shock. Same goes for atheists, who are more likely to think they’ve gone crazy hearing from a god or goddess. Depending on your religious upbringing, you may think the deity is some form of demon coming to tempt you away from the “One True God.” If you fall for the Yahweh argument, you’ll never get anywhere with this. Instead, you’ll turn down a potential positive and more personal relationship with the gods than you ever had with the god of the monotheistic cults.
If you’re a pagan, chances are you’re probably open to it. But there are pantheons and there are pantheons. For example, if you’re Heathen like I am, and you’re called by someone like the Morrigan, you’ll be arguing with yourself over whether you’ve just become “Wiccatru” and not on the straight and narrow path of Asatru. Well, maybe, maybe not.
Who is Doing the Calling?
The first step is to understand who is contacting you. Most of the time, as I understand it, the calls are pretty subtle. Mine was sudden and intense. If it’s a Heathen calling, it could be a god or goddess, it could be an ancestor of yours, or it could be a spirit of the land. If you think it’s another god or spirit from a different pantheon, it could be one of the many manifestations of a Heathen god or spirit. You see, many of the pagan religions came from a singular Indo-European source and the Heathen gods are often their gods, but just different names and manifestations.
Some gods and goddesses are specific to a religion, in which case, I recommend talking to someone more knowledgeable in that religion to understand what is happening. It might be their deity or it might be something else. Without having a clear knowledge of who is calling, you just might not be speaking with the deity you think you’re speaking with.
Do You Really Want to Deal with this God or Goddess?
Once you establish who you’re dealing with, it’s up to you to decide if the god or goddess is someone you want to talk to. Some deities have some pretty nasty reputations and they can be nothing but trouble, even if they’re from the Norse pantheon. Then again, depending on the god, you may or may not have a good relationship with them.
If it becomes obvious that the god you’re speaking with isn’t the god you think it is, it’s up to you to decide if you really want to deal with them. Some gods and goddesses aren’t trustworthy, and just because you’ve heard of them doesn’t mean they’re the right deity for you. Pagan deities are like people–they have their positives and negatives. Even my own god, Tyr, has pitfalls, although I tend to downplay those negatives because of all the positives.
My point is that as someone who is being called, it’s up to you to decide whether you should answer it.
When Not to Work with a God or Goddess
You’ve gotten a call from a deity. Before you get all starry-eyed, think about what you’re committing yourself to. Is this god or goddess asking you to do something against your morals or against the law? Are they looking at having you harm someone or yourself? If the answer is yes, then say no and walk away. Take the high road here. Don’t be like Abraham who was asked to sacrifice his only son as a burnt offering because apparently Yahweh gets his rocks off watching humans squirm, even though he is supposedly omniscient and omnipotent. What was the purpose of THAT mindfuck? Tell me that. Don’t say to prove loyalty, because an omniscient and omnipotent god would already know the outcome.
Look, sometimes what a god wants and what you want isn’t in your best interest. Don’t fall for the “god’s greater plan” bullshit. If it’s a good plan, then there should be a quid pro quo. Yeah, it’s a god, and you can still say no. Can they fuck up your life for saying no? Sure. But then, they’ve shown you their true colors anyway. Do you really want to work with a vindictive and dangerous god who is likely to harm you more than help you?
The Upshot of Dealing with Deities
Dealing with gods aren’t always sunshine and light. If you get a call from a god or goddess, study the Hel out of them and get a good feeling for who they are. Talk to priests or priestesses of that religion and get their take on your contact. Be aware that you may not have been contacted by a god, but by an ancestor, a wight, or some other denizen looking to make contact. When you do finally establish contact, find out what they want. If what they want isn’t against your moral code or the law, then you have to decide if you want them in your life. (If it is against your moral code or the law, run like Hel.) Above all, keep your head when this all occurs. You may have to step gracefully out of the relationship. Lastly, even if the god or goddess isn’t from your pantheon, you should still accept the contact if it is a favorable one. After all, the deity thought enough about you to visit.