I’ve recently been working as a mod over at the Pagan101 Tumblr, and one of the topics we get asked about a lot is basically summed up as “How do I gods?” This topic includes things such as “How do I approach the gods?” “How do I know if a god is interested in me?” “How do I hear the gods?” “How do god phones work?” “How do I make my god phone work better?”
All of those things that we all wonder when we first start out in the Pagan-sphere.
So I thought I’d gather some resources and some ideas and put them all in one place for everyone to use and share. If you’ve got more resources for this post, leave them in the comments section, and I’ll add them!
I’m new to this whole Paganism/Polytheism thing. I am interested in learning about some gods, or finding a god to call my own or work with- what do I do?
I think this is where everyone starts. When you first dip your toes into Paganism, you find that everyone is talking about gods. Gods this, gods that. X god said Y to me. It seems like the entire point to all of this is gods.
And so many people want to work on finding gods as quickly as possible.
There is nothing wrong with this, but I recommend doing a couple of things when you first start out:
- Research. Research anything and everything that looks good to you. Learn about all sorts of religious paths and gods. Learn about different cultures that are tied to these religions.
- Talk to people. Talk to followers of these gods. Talk to people who are in different religions. Ask questions to these people (though remember that no one is obligated to answer your questions. Always remain courteous and respectful).
- Get into discussions. Throw ideas around. Take your knowledge that you’re gaining and try to apply it when you’re talking with others. When you find new concepts and ideas that work better for you, don’t be afraid to throw old ideas that no longer suit you out.
- Question. Question what it is you want out of your religious life. Figure out why it is you are looking for a relationship with a god. Question if you need one or want one. Ponder everything.
There is a lot to Paganism and polytheism. Taking the time to read, learn and discuss can help you decide what you’re looking for, and where to narrow your search when considering deities. Lots of people think you can’t practice a Pagan religion without a deity- but in truth, you can. And sometimes taking the long way around to finding a god is helpful – because you’ll know what you want when you find the right god, and things will likely click a lot better.
Two good posts on figuring out if a source is good or not:
Okay, so I’ve read and thought about it. I still want to find some gods to talk to.
Take the culture, religion or deities that interest you– and research some more. Don’t worry so much about why a culture or deity calls to you- just follow what you feel. Sometimes hunches and ideas can really lead us to interesting and unexpected places. Once you’ve got a deity in mind, figure out how you should approach them. Some cultures and religions have taboos, and you wouldn’t want to offend a deity on your first meeting. Try to be as accurate and thorough as possible (if possible). Remember that respect and intent go a long way.
Once you’ve got some ideas on how to approach the deity- do so. We’ve got a simple guide for Kemetics and approaching gods, for reference. Remember that not every ritual or meeting has to be elaborate or fancy. Sometimes the simplest stuff will suffice. Just make sure that you’re doing the best you can.
I’ve reached out to the god/s that interest me… and nothing happened. What now?
Remember that communication with the Divine (or Unseen, or any non-physical entity) can take time and practice – and you might not receive an answer right away. Sometimes gods are busy, or they want to see how you work and do things before giving a response.
More commonly, though, gods speak in a language that most of us don’t. As brought up in the book Manifest Divinity (which I highly recommend), the Divine is all around us. It’s in everything and a part of everything- but many times, we’re more or less blind to it. Gods can appear in many many ways. For some of us who have astral workings, gods can appear there. For some, gods appear in visions or dreams, or will pop up in messages through the radio. Or perhaps you’ll see a deity in a bill board, a bird flying through the air, or leaves scuttling across the sidewalk. And gods tend to pick whichever messages and means they think we’ll hear the best when communicating with us. Some gods are known for certain types of communication over others- but because they are gods, they can switch it up just for the lols.
Keep your eyes open for omens and signs. Remember to practice discernment when reading omens, though. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes the uncanny things you’re seeing might not be an omen (or they might be an omen that didn’t come from the deity in question). If you’re unsure, you can try to approach the deity again in another ritual, or you could try performing a type of divination to figure out if the god wants you to hang around or not. If the god declines, thank them for their time and continue your search. Remember that gods have their own lives and things to attend to. Try not to take it personally- there could be a million reasons why a god might decline working with you. Remember that there are other deities to look into.
Links for reading on Discernment:
- How do you know it’s the gods you’re listening to?
- Hearing the Gods
- How do we know when the gods are really talking to us?
- In Defense of Judgement
- Discernment with People
- Discernment; You, The Gods and what Lies Btwn
- Discernment (+Others)
- Suggestibility, Peer Pressure and Group Think
- A Note on Discernment: Hearing Your Own Voice
- Discernment – Is it a sign?
- Polytheism While Dealing with Mental Illness
What if a god picks me first?
This happens as well- many times people feel like gods choose them, not the other way around. If a god starts to knock on your doorstep and ask for you to pay attention to them, I recommend that you still follow some of the rules above- research, learn, talk with others, and ask questions. Remember that forming a relationship with a god is a lot like forming a relationship here in this plane as well- you want to make sure that you are compatible and work well together.
Some people do well with more ‘forward’ gods that are strict and firm. Others need a softer touch and might want to stay away from deities that are more pushy. Some people are scared of gods (as opposed to goddesses). There are lots of things to consider- so take your time. You wouldn’t marry the first person you met in a bar- nor should you oath and completely “wed” yourself to a god that you just met.
As with everything in your religious practice- take your time. Get to know the deity. Build up a relationship with them. This is usually best done with rituals and offerings. Sit and talk with them. Pour your heart out to them (that’s what I used to do). Ask them what goals or interests they have in you. Figure out why they are hanging around you (if they have a reason). Make sure that their long term goals and your long term goals sorta line up.
Other posts about when gods come knocking:
- A guide to figuring out who is bothering you.
- Communicating With the Gods II – Presence
- The whole ‘god phone’ thing
- Entity Evaluation Tarot Spread
So I’ve got a deity that I like, but my god phone isn’t working so hot. How do I make it better?
The best thing I can recommend with anyone is to practice. God phones do take time to develop, much like any other skill or asset. Sometimes, a god phone will never manifest for the person in question – and that’s okay. You can still have a fulfilling religious practice without a god phone.
Beyond practice, I would urge you to experiment. Gods and the Unseen can manifest in weird ways, and sometimes communication may occur in ways that you wouldn’t expect. Try to remove any expectations you have on communication and allow yourself to be open to different means and methods that you wouldn’t have considered originally.
Also remember that god phones can cut out from time to time. It’s perfectly normal and there is nothing to worry about. Much like with Fallow Times, just keep moving forward as best as you can and usually the connection will re-establish itself in time.
The Road Ahead
As always, this post is not exhaustive. Writing about gods and deity/devotee relationships could fill tomes, but I do hope that this guide serves as a good spring board for people who are starting along the polytheistic/Pagan path.
Other relevant posts:
- Time, Practice and Patience: A Guide
- How we found our gods
- KRT: The Gods and You!
- Recommended Reading (Half way down the page you will see a section on Personal Relationships with Deities)
- Deity Communication Spread
- Deity Identification Spread