Sometimes the drama llamas and misinformation I see on the internet regarding the Gods and relationships with them, just makes my head hurt. I thought it might be beneficial to just say a few things to many of the newer faces we have among us.
When it comes to connecting with any deity, there’s two easy things you can do to start that relationship off:
1) Set up an altar; interact and engage with it regularly. Dusting/cleaning it, putting things on it that remind you of the deity, place offerings on it, burn candles, etc.
2) Pray. Prayer is communication: it includes just talking, it doesn’t necessarily have to be praise or a plea for help. Though sometimes that is what it is.
Remember that just as in your daily lives you have friends, family members, classmates, coworkers, neighbors, team members, and a wide range of other relationships that impact our lives. Relationships wither if you do not take the time to nurture it, to grow it, and to strengthen it. Sometimes we do that by sending care-packages to those who live far away. By showing up with their favorite slurpee when they’re working on their thesis and can’t hang with you. We schedule time for a craft day, to play a game, or meet up for a coffee. We write to them, or speak with them in the phone or over Skype. You don’t want to show up only when you need something. Who likes someone that mooches all the time?
Do steps 1 & 2, and everything else will fall into place.
Some traditions have preserved knowledge that has survived with details on devotional practices, how sacred places were maintained and set up, information on traditional offerings or prayers, etc. If you are fortunate to have that information, learn about it, let it inspire you and help become a foundation you can build your own devotional practice upon.
If you have the ability to visit known ancient sites dedicated to a deity, try to do so.
Years ago I was able to pay my respects to a site sacred to the Goddess Hel (or Hella), nestled among the modern city of Berlin, Germany.
Perhaps you can’t visit an ancient site in Egypt, but maybe you can visit something closer to home. Museumscan sometimes be a treasure trove of sacred objects. The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art has several statues of the Goddess Sekhmet that were danced before and anointed daily in devotion for untold years in antiquity. Why not visit them?
Devotional practices and connections don’t manifest completely overnight. Please keep in mind that for some it will occur more rapidly, for others much more slowly, and that is normal because each and every one of us is on different parts of our spiritual journey and development. What I know after nearly 20 years as a polytheist is a pool, to the mere drop from when I started, and yet that pool is dwarfed by the massive ocean of knowledge I still do not know, have not learned, will never fully know. Because who can fully know any of our Gods?
When you begin developing a relationship with a God do so with the understanding that everyone’s experiences will vary. That isn’t because one person is more special than another, but rather that our Gods are opportunistic, they connect and communicate with us in the ways we are most receptive. Sometimes those messages are highly personalized and are meaningless to someone else.
Remember that there is only a miniscule MINORITY that is called to a God/dess for ordeal, or shamanism, or as a fulltrui, or god spouse, or horse, or godphone, etc. Those are all important and difficult callings. But understand that most of us are never called in that way. It’s not a slight to anyone, no one’s more special, we’re just each individuals. Just as one person may be a gifted vocalist, and another have an uncanny knack with theoretical astrophysics. One person may be a skilled seamstress, and another a skilled detective. And anyone who tries to lord it over someone else that they’re more special or some such nonsense is missing the point.
My friend may connect with Odin as Warrior, and I may connect with Him as a God of Wisdom and Poet, but we both connect with Odin. It’s like how in real life your best friend may be on the soccer team, and you’re on the chess team. You’re friends, but you connect with others on your own too. Or like how you may bond with your father for a shared love of B movies like Sharknado, but your sister bonds with him over their mutual love of classic cars.
If you’re not hearing, sensing, feeling a God, are you sure that YOU are receptive to hearing them? All too often we let our mundane lives, issues, jealousies, insecurities, fears, and the other distractions life is teeming with interfere with our awareness of Them.
You will know the true devotees not by how much they beat down others, but how they instead focus on worshiping and Honoring the deity in question. Some quietly, some a bit more publicly.
We must learn to listen, to hear THEM when they speak. And even when we do decipher a part of the message, so much more is always lost in static, that there is always more that we must still yet uncover.
But you can’t do that if you don’t approach Them as individual deities. What works with Frigga may not work for Thor, just as you may have a friend on Midgard that loves to read Biographies and another that prefers mystery novels with political intrigue. Adapt as necessary to cater to the individual deity.
There’s a variety of resources with examples of modern day devotions from blogs to books, including a wide arrange of devotionals for a variety of Gods, Goddesses and polytheistic traditions, in them you may find ideas that resonate which you can use or adapt for your own devotional practice.