In polytheism, it’s good to listen to our gods, but first we must hear them
It’s too easy to take this literally. The problem with this is that it sets up unrealistic expectations of what passes for “hearing” the gods. This especially goes for those who personally know those who do occasionally perceive some form of communication from them. However, in polytheism and paganism that communication does NOT have to be auditory or otherwise come in some form of direct contact.
The gods can talk to us in multiple ways.
So how can we hear the gods?
By paying attention to the events in our lives and the world around us. Learning how to interpret signs. This doesn’t mean becoming overly superstitious or taking every little thing to mean something significant. It’s good to be attentive, but not paranoid. We have to learn how to hear, but we also have to learn discernment.
Being able to be discerning means learning how to filter out the noise. And the world around us and our lives in general tends to be filled with noise.
Okay, so how do we do that?
There are a number of ways to tune in and I recommend some, most or all of the below:
Meditation doesn’t mean “sit and think of nothing.” There are a number of excellent ways to learn how to make the mind quieter and gain greater focus. A number of excellent meditation apps are out there that can help, including ones like Headspace. You can meditate using mantras, specific visualizations, or even music. There are walking meditations for people who have issues being able to sit and/or not be able to quiet the mind.
It’s great for gaining clarity and mental focus. Also it’s a wonderful way to train the mind to be able to perceive the subtle.
Divination is useful, too
Divination is a fantastic way to get a beat on a particular situation, get advice, or otherwise get a response from the gods on what’s up. It’s a time honored, ancient practice within many faiths in polytheism.
You can pick any method that works for you. For some, tarot works due to the imagery. Others prefer methods such as the Nordic runes, or the Greek Alphabet Oracle.
Research can give you insights on the gods that can help
Learning more about what is sacred to the god in question, what that god is associated with, etc. can help to break the silence. What is that particular deity associated with? What symbols, ideas, concepts, animals, colors, or things are associated with them?
It’s good to figure out how to perceive signs and synchronicity.
Practice may not make perfect, but it will make better
Engaging more deeply into your spiritual work in this way can help you greatly. Obviously it’s a trial and error sort of thing where you may bump into walls on occasion. But once you figure out what works, you repeat that. And if you don’t find anything at first, you keep on trying.
It’s not an exact science. Spirituality never is. It’s deeply personal for all of us, and we all have our unique strengths and weaknesses on how we process information. Once you find something that works, at least most of the time, you can reliably use in order to get better at hearing the gods.
After hearing, comes listening
Okay, let’s say you’ve got this figured out to the best of your ability. How do you start listening?
Listening begins when you reflect on what you receive. This is done by using your intuitive abilities, reasoning, and/or possibly divination to figure out WHAT you’re receiving. After that, you act accordingly.
It pays to be discerning at this stage. Too often, people can either misinterpret the situation and/or insert their ego into it. And of course, whether or not you’ve interpreted it correctly will be seen in what comes next.
But what if the gods aren’t talking to you?
Then ask them to, and see what happens next. I recommend a specific one, particularly a deity with whom you have a relationship with, or want to have a relationship with.
This is part of how to have that relationship. The rest is through regular practice such as making offerings and prayer. Prayers are just one way communication and doesn’t have to be super formal. Saying “hello” or “good morning” to your gods is prayer.
It’s not just gods, either.
These tips work for any other form of spirit or daimon. Establishing a relationship is crucial. Not just to spirituality, but also for magical work if you are so inclined. One of the best things about polytheism is that you can use this without worrying about an existing relationship with another god or spirit.
And if you’re still stuck and unsure, go with your gut or get a second opinion from someone who has a strong connection to that particular deity.