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Maintaining Relationships With The Gods: It Takes Work


Among the many things I do, I’m a member of a 12-step program. My 12-step program helped me get my life back on track many years ago when things were out of control. One of the things I’ve realized over and over again in my 10 years of working that program is that for any 12-step program to work, it takes constant maintenance.

The same is true for my relationship with my Gods.

Njord longs for the Sea

Hast thou a friend whom thou trustest well,
from whom thou cravest good?
Share thy mind with him, gifts exchange with him,
fare to find him oft. (Havamal 44, Bellows trans.)

Relationships with the Gods and spirits are still relationships. The fall apart if not maintained. Life struggles can easily get in the way of maintaining that relationship. If you have lost the connection to your gods—or if you just feel that you’ve lost that connection—it is not necessarily They who have walked away from you. It could be that you haven’t done your necessary footwork and have let one of your most important relationships lapse. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, and unfortunately, it is one that is easy to fall into.

Like many others, I sometimes hide from the Gods under the metaphorical covers, and then complain because They are not talking to me anymore. If I’m burned out or am not taking care of myself, it’s easy to unconsciously lapse into thinking that my Gods and spirits don’t care and are not around. If I’m depressed or anxious, this is even more easy to do. As a polytheist, theologically I know—and personal experience has backed this up countless times—that the Gods and spirits actually are present, active, and waiting for me to tune back in and get back to work. They are still there, waiting for me (and others) to tune back in and get reconnected. Some wait patiently and don’t lecture when we get back. They understand the needs of a human to just be a normal human sometimes. (Others seem to get hurt or offended for being shut out, which makes sense; relationships with Them are to a large extent similar to relationships with other humans.)

Heathen Altar

If you are feeling disconnected from your deities, try opening up to them without expectations. Don’t attempt limit or define what an interaction with a God can look like.  Gods send messages on all frequencies, as it were. Some Gods will give you an obvious clue-by-four to the head and speak from a burning bush; but most won’t. (Many of us wouldn’t notice it even if They tried.)  Try to keep an open mind and be open to what They do send you. To help facilitate this, make an offering. Say a prayer. Read a myth or an academic treatise on an aspect of their mythology.  Reread favorite articles from Heathen authors. Participate in a blot. Act as though They are there, waiting to hear from you, even if you don’t believe it–because in all likelihood, at least one of Them is. They may just be waiting for you to remember that and reach out to Them.

Frigga and her handmaiden Fulla

If you feel detached from your deities, don’t automatically blame Them for it. Make sure you’re reaching out to Them, too.

Author’s note: This doesn’t apply to specific cases in which a deity has walked away or pulled back a bit, usually for a specific reason; or actual “dark night of the soul” experiences. This is just about the everyday situation in which we let life, stress, and/or depression get in the way of feeling our connections with our deities.

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