Last week there was a lot of discussion on Tumblr about gods, god phones, and entering into relationships with gods. In addition to this, I’ve seen a lot of discussion about entering into relationships on the astral as well and I felt the need to write about navigating relationships with non-physical entities. For this post, I’m going to address relationships with not only gods, but non-gods, because I think that both are important and its possible to end up running into both over the course of your lifetime. For this post I will be addressing deity relationships first, then I will discuss non-deity relationships. Due to the nature of this thing, there will likely be a little bit of overlap on both.
So why talk about deity relationships?
I think its important to address mortal-deity relationships because I feel that sometimes people have a very unhealthy attitude towards what a god can get away with simply because the entity happens to be a deity. I would love for a lot of us to re-evaluate what we think gods should and shouldn’t be allowed to do with and to mortals (without permission) on the simple notion that “I can do it because I’m a god”. I don’t see many people discussing the nuance of consent with gods in an even-keeled manner, and it is my hope that I will be able to give a more balanced presentation in this post.
The easiest way to sum up this entire post is thus:
If you wouldn’t allow a mortal, physical person to do this to you- don’t allow a non-physical entity (godly or otherwise) to do it to you.
It’s really that simple. I know that gods are supposed to have better foresight than us, and that many of us are able and willing to push ourselves for our gods, but for our own safety, we need to have limits and lines in the sand that we are willing to defend. Otherwise, you could end up taking the brunt of a bad experience. It’s something that I feel a lot of modern practitioners don’t discuss nearly often enough, but I feel its a discussion that we need to have- you need to be able and willing to define what you are and are not willing to do as a devotee. And you must be willing to defend those needs and boundaries.
And in some cases, I believe that is the deity’s intent to push on those boundaries like a small child. They want to see how far they can go and what they can get away with. Gods are not always altruistic. Gods can be very selfish and unforgiving in their tactics and one of the only ways to see just how much they can get away with is to push against boundaries that you may or may not have set up.
I think one of the biggest pitfalls that we have when it comes to deity relationships is that we allow them special treatment. I consider a relationship with a god to be similar to that of a mortal. I wouldn’t marry a mortal after only courting/dating them for a month- neither would I oath myself or betroth myself to a god in any format with only a month or two of working together. I always urge people to take their time with gods. If the god in question really has eyes on you, they’ll wait for a while. Learn to get to know the god. Figure out what types of work you’ll be doing together. And most importantly, figure out if this deity actually has your best interests at heart, or if they are there for their own selfish reasons.
In addition to this, I feel like the emphasis on “having” a god is also detrimental to making new relationships with deities. Many people seem to feel that they can’t function in a Pagan or polytheistic religion without a main god on their shrine and many newcomers will focus more on getting a god than on learning the religion that they follow. If you were to put this into mortal to mortal terms- it would be the equivalent of wandering around a bar and asking everyone you meet to date you. We wouldn’t consider it healthy in this realm- so why is it allowed when it comes to gods? Being desperate for a god can open you up for the wrong entity to come through, or for a god to take advantage of you in the same way that a mortal can.
So how do we counteract these things?
One of the best tools we have is time. Time allows you to get to know the deity. It allows you to work on discernment and checking that the entity in front of you is the god that they claim to be. Time allows you to learn their nuances, and to ensure that you work well together. Time also allows you to be certain in your decisions.
Time is valuable.
I understand that for many of us, once we find a deity that pays attention to us, it can be hard not to rush in headlong. I know that I did (and if I hadn’t, Set likely would have kicked me headlong into things anyways). And sometimes its okay to run headlong towards a deity relationship. Just be sure that you’re okay with everything that is happening- and if you’re not, put on the brakes and establish what you’re not okay with because sometimes if you give them an inch, they will take a mile. Sometimes that mile is worth it, but in some cases its not. Be sure you’re okay with that mile before you fall down the rabbit hole so deep that you can’t get back out.
What about non-deity entities?
Non-deity entities can be a complete and utter cluster, honestly. Non-deities don’t have a reputation. They don’t have other followers that you can fact check with, or a history that you can read up on. They are wild cards when they show up at your door. Many of the non-deities that I’ve run into throughout my astral adventures have a past with me that occurred 9383958435 years ago, and it becomes difficult to ascertain whether the entity is a good guy, or someone that wants to screw you over.
As with the above statements- the same rules apply. If they do something to you that you would not be okay with in the physical realms, do not allow them to do it to you. And if your relationship begins to take on the attributes within this video, run. Fast.
Protocol for when a non-deity entity shows up.
I usually start out with a check list- is this entity touching me in a way that I don’t like. Are they up in my face, or giving me breathing room by standing a healthy distance away. How do they talk to me? Are they talking down to me, or being respectful? Do they have a name? Are they willing to give a name? Do they show signs of using any sort of magix against me?
Look at the situation that you are in and try to garner as much information that you can as to whether this person is being respectful of you or not. If we draw up the bar analogy from above- is this person standing a foot or two away and asking you if you’re okay with talking to them? Or are they leaning on you, messing with your hair and telling you that you have the nicest rack they’ve ever seen?
Many entities will try to tell you that you are super special to them, or that you have some awesome past that links you two together for ever and ever and ever. Many entities are going to butter you up when they first meet you (much like a god might, actually) because they need or want something out of you. When you come across entities like this, you must must must take your time. There is a saying I see a lot regarding the astral- and that is that no one interacts with you there without a reason or motive. If you think someone is being nice to you out of the goodness of their heart, you’re likely wrong. As sad as I am to say it, it’s pretty accurate.
So when you first meet the entity, try to maintain a bit of space. And truthfully, for the first few weeks or months that you sit down with this entity, make sure you maintain some space. Don’t jump into anything that might end up binding you to this person. If this person does share a past with you- go through that past with them. Make them show you the bits that are less than ideal. Make sure that they are being honest with you (and not feeding you lies). This is why time is important- because it will take time to figure out whether these facts are real or illusions.
So what if this person is being pushy or getting in my space?
There are two options- you can leave or you can pull a knife on them (literal or metaphorical). If you leave and they follow, you will likely be left with the second option.
If the person respects you and is a good guy as they claim to be- they will back off in my experience. And whenever I’ve doubted the person in front of me (regardless of how long I’ve known them) – I will always fall back on my tried and true method of “pull out a weapon” because their reaction will tell you more than words ever could.
Even if the person claims to love you, claims to have been your spouse for eons and eons- they need to learn to understand the circumstances and to respect your needs and your space. If they are not willing to do either, you need to get them out of your life (or get them out of your house for the time being). I’ve also found that entities that are serious about respecting boundaries and are legitimately trying to create a healthy relationship will not push to engage in things that you are not comfortable with. This includes things like touching, sex, marriage and bonding (which more tends to bind you to the entity in question).
If you are unsure, tell them to stop. If they refuse to stop, pull out a weapon and make them stop.
For some other ideas about asserting your boundaries and consent, I recommend reading Duskenpath’s Consent posts:
What gives me any right to talk about any of these things?
I wanted to address some of my own experiences while I’m on this topic. I want to do this because I feel like people might think I’m talking out of my butt, or that I am just being overly scared or a “Negative Nancy” and fear mongering and all of that. I’m hopeful that maybe sharing some of my own experiences will help others to understand why I hold some of the views that I do.
Let’s start with gods.
I was lucky in that I didn’t rush into anything overly binding with Set straight out of the gate. Originally, I thought this deity was going to help me become a better person. I knew that he wanted me around so that he could utilize my skills for something. I wasn’t sure as to what- but something.
It has taken me almost 4 years to figure out what that something is. And I don’t know if it’s a something that I want. He’s pushed me to my limits in the past year, and its a question of if I’ll be able to work with him long term. If I would have rushed into oathing myself to him early on, who knows how much worse the current situation could be- because oaths and promises add baggage and constraints to an already difficult situation.
Conversely, I moved very slowly with Osiris because of the nature of his work (being drowned). Even now, I don’t know entirely why he’s here, but I have allowed him into my very personal space for healing and come out of it a-okay. Once again, you can see that I respond differently with different gods, and that different gods can be there for a variety of reasons. I do think that sometimes a deity is there for your best interest. Sometimes they’re not, though. We need to be try to be aware as to which is going on, and how okay we are with that. Many people are okay with being a tool- but I think that the nature of the tool will dictate a lot. I was okay with being a certain tools, but not okay with being other types of tools.
So as always, consent and boundaries are going to vary. Use your judgment.
For non-deity entities, I’ve had my ass handed to me because I moved too quickly with someone. Around the same time last year, I had two people show up at my house claiming to have ties to my past. Both acted very differently in how they wanted to pursue a relationship with me. One was very quick to try and force me into things. The other was so slow that I ended up trying to force him into moving faster (I’m simplifying this story greatly for length).
The person who moved quickly was good at making elaborate illusions and tried to hide just about anything and everything he could about himself (this even bled into the clothing that he would wear- ambiguous and hard to see). Any past we did have ended up being something that I would not want to repeat here and now. He was someone who uses and abuses people. I figured this out a little too late, though. And I ended up paying for it (as did others. This is why it can be dangerous- it rarely only effects just you). Breaking bonds and bindings is taxing- so its always best to move slowly with creating such things.
The person who dragged his heels was infuriating at first, but I ended up being thankful for his slow pace. It ended up showing me that he was, in fact, who he said he was. He is also someone I pulled a knife on the first day I met him because he was much too close to me for my tastes. Once he realized the situation, he slowed his tactics down for me. Currently, this relationship is still steady and stable.
I hope if anything, this post has shown you that relationships with non-physical entities can be complicated and difficult from time to time. However, I feel that if we can apply some of the same principles that we apply to our day to day relationships to these non-physical relationships, we can get much further with ensuring our safety and that our autonomy is respected.
- Getting to Know Your Spirits Part I.
- Getting to Know Your Spirits Part II.
- For whom the bell tolls
- What do Deity Relationships Require?