I make it a rule not to write under the influence, but tonight I am making an exception.
I have had a religious problem, over 10 years old, and lately it came to a head. A God who I have been reluctant to acknowledge has wanted my worship since, oh, about 2003. But I had what I felt were good reasons to mistrust this God, and some of the devotees of this particular Deity did not help me feel at ease.
I think this is a problem many polytheists have: while not every God you seek out accepts you, it is also true you may not want a relationship with every God that expresses interest in you.
Over the past few months circumstances made me consider this God’s interest in me anew, and I was at a loss. My heart was full of mistrust and doubt, and yet also the nagging feeling that there was something here well worth exploring.
So as a polytheist who believes in having personal relationships with sentient, individual Gods of unique personality and character, I did the only thing that made sense: I looked for a character reference.
I found a friend I respected and trusted who worshipped said God, and asked their opinion of the God in question.
My friend didn’t try to sell me on the God. They provided some context for where some mistrust might come from in the larger polytheist community, stated their own respect for the God with simple, brief eloquence, and provided a modern story of the God’s relationship with devotees.
Here’s the thing, all the historical records, blogs, books, and public rituals would have done little to persuade me to enter into a relationship with this God. All the bling, workshops, popularity, and big names in polytheism/paganism wouldn’t have moved me to seek out this God or open up to Them. It took a personal reference from someone I trusted to push me to leap past my own doubt and make that connection.
I just completed a long, rather intense ritual to acquaint myself with this God, during which more homebrew than I am used to was consumed, and among the many thoughts racing through my head are these:
Can we offer a good reference for the Gods we worship?
Do we live our lives in such a manner that our opinions of the Gods are considered worthy?
When asked, can we give good testimony of the Gods we worship?
Do we live our lives in such a manner that we can give worthy references of our fellow humans to the Gods?
I wish I could answer affirmative to the above questions for myself, but I don’t think I can. Not yet. It is something to work towards.