(Sorry, this is not the “PCON part 2” post. That’s on the to-do list, but I have a backlog of other stuff to get through as well. It’s coming!)
TL; DR: The Gods have feelings, too. If you can’t connect with Them, maybe it’s because you’ve pulled back, not the other way around.
Among the other things I do, I’m also a part of a 12-step program. This 12-step program helped me get my life back on track when things were out of control back in the day, but now that my life’s no longer in that state of crisis, I have found that a lot of my program suggestions are also applicable to everyday life. Honestly, a lot of what keeps me sane throughout all of my Heathen, polytheist, and interfaith work is my program. Because, as much as I hate to say it, working with other Pagans can drive you crazy.
My program has taught me quite a few useful tidbits which I carry around in my head, such as “Live and Let Live”, “How Important is It?”, and the all-important “HALT”—“Before you react, check to make sure you are not Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired” (I usually add “Stressed, Sick, or Cold” to that checklist as well). My program reminds me that there are a trillion things that I have absolutely no control over, and a few things that I do have a very small amount of control over. My program reminds me, on a weekly basis, that one of the biggest things I have no control over is what other people do. The good news being that I therefore have little responsibility for what other people do, as well. It’s very freeing notion. (I could go on ad nauseum about how useful working a 12-step program can be, but I’ll wrap it up here. Anyway.)
One of the things I’ve realized over and over again in my 8 years of working a program is that the strategies and guides I learned in program also work in other areas of my life; all areas of my life, in fact–including spirituality.
The same is true for my relationship with my Gods.
If I’m burned out, or HALTed in any way, I can unconsciously lapse into thinking that my Gods and allies are only around at, say, twilight, or during the full moon. Or I think that unless it’s a holiday, They don’t want any attention. Or if I’m not feeling particularly witchy that day, or not feeling connected to the land around me (or not feeling connected to anything aside from the True Blood marathon on TV), then They must not have anything to say that day. Which is all profoundly absurd given that I’m dedicated to two highly present deities and I’m being frog-marched into intensive rune study by a third one (and his wolves. Why is it always wolves or ravens?) They are still there. They always have things for me to do. (Some of those things might not even take a lot of time or effort! Who knows?)
And that brings me to my main point for this post. If I have lost my connection to my gods—or if I just feel I’ve lost that connection, that they have walked away from me or they don’t care much about me—it is not They who have walked away (necessarily); it’s I who has walked away from Them.*
Yep, sometimes I hide from Them under the metaphorical covers, and then I cry because They are not talking to me anymore. As a polytheist, theologically I know—and experience has backed this up with countless pieces of proof—that the Gods are usually present, active, and waiting for me to tune back in and get back to work. Tuning them out–“business”, with TV, with social events or alcohol or planning a vacation–doesn’t work in the long run. They are still there, waiting for me to check back in and pick up the phone. Some wait patiently and don’t lecture me when I get back. Some understand the needs of a human to just be a normal human sometimes. And others get hurt or irritated or offended for being shut out, because relationships with Them are to a large extent just like relationships with other humans. That’s polytheism in a nutshell. The Gods are real, and They have feelings, needs, and wants. If we agree to tango with Them, it’s on us to keep up our side of the bargain.
*This doesn’t apply to specific cases where, for example, and deity has walked away or pulled back a bit, usually for a specific reason. This doesn’t also cover actual “dark night of the soul” times either. This is just about the average, day-to-day experience of tuning Them out.