I have found that when it comes to my relationships with Unseen entities, devotion is a strange two-way street where Unseen entities devote a large portion of their time to
harassing requesting me to do something, and only after they have spent enough time bugging me about it asking for the thing to be done will I actually do it. They devote enough time to showing me it’s important to them, and then I will devote my time to performing their request as an act of devotion to them. And it seems that the stranger the request is, the more time that must be devoted to the cause before it gets done. Or something.
A perfect example of this occurred a few weeks ago.
It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was sitting on the ground surrounded by nearly every pair of shoes that I own. I hadn’t formed some type of shoe-cult at this point in time, though it might have been more entertaining if that was the reason for being surrounded by several pair of shoes when I’d rather be resting or working on something I deem “more important”. No, the reason in this case was rather mundane in that one of my menz had spent enough time devoted to nagging me that I finally agreed to polish all of my shoes. And it only took three weeks of consistent bothering to “convince” me to cave.
As normal as strange requests have become, this one was particularly absurd to me. As I wrapped the cotton cloth around my fingers and dipped it into the boot polish, I couldn’t help but think to myself “I wonder if anyone else has to put up with this sort of crap? I mean honestly, who dictates that you need to polish your shoes?” I slowly worked the polish into the leather and mused on the strangeness of it all. While I mused on it, I heard some type of guttural remark from somewhere else in the room. I looked up at what appeared to be an empty corner where one of my menz was sitting and watching me work. “Overseeing”, he’d say. His noises indicate that I’m not polishing shoes to his standards.
This is also normal. Once I have decided to devote my time to performing this request, many entities will often watch me complete their request and comment on my performance while I do so, because an audience makes everything better. In this instance, I stare back at my menz blankly before going back to the polishing. “He may not like my methods, but I am trying, and he will have to deal with that,” I tell myself before I go back to wondering how I ended up here, and whether anyone else has to deal with this sort of thing.
And when I say “this sort of thing” I mean the weird stuff that Unseen entities make you do in the name of “devotion” or “dedication”. I mean, I’ve heard lots of stories from many different people of some of the weird stuff they’ve been requested to do, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone being harassed to shine their shoes or iron their shirts by their astral partner or deity.
But isn’t that how it goes with the Unseen? You start off simple enough. You talk for a while, you leave out offerings, you say the prayers and hymns and it’s this nice little package that you can pick up and put down and it’s got its place and everything is fine. But then one day you wake up and find the Unseen leaking into your living room, into your weekend, into your sleep and before you know it you’re being asked, if not forced, to do some strange things in the name of devotion.
There have been many discussions over the years about what some people deem as acceptable in terms of offerings, devotional acts and things of that nature. And the longer I work at this, the more I really do believe that weird devotional acts that are off the map are par for the course, if not to be entirely expected. I really have no clue where these entities come up with some of the strange requests that I’ve gotten over the years, and I honestly want to know why they ask for such stuff. Is it seriously something that they want? Or are they simply trying to see how much weird stuff they can ask for before their devotee throws their hands up in the air and says “no more”?
Over the years I’ve been asked to do things that I might deem to be weird. I’ve been told to do more mundane things like go to movies, have a nice dinner, pick out a very particular baked good from the bakery rack or things of that nature. And while I sometimes have no clue what any of this has to do with showing a deity I care, or why a deity cares about what movie I watch or what I eat for dinner, I do it all the same because I don’t want to listen to the complaining if I don’t.
It may seem harsh to say that, but I would be lying if I said that I did everything purely out of love and some altruistic bent that I have. I only have 24 hours in the day like everyone else, and there are many times when I honestly don’t care about whatever some Unseen entity is trying to convince me to do. Much like an RPG, there are days when I don’t want to go hunt down every farmer’s lost goat, even if the XP is not bad. There are days when I don’t want to iron my shirts. When I don’t want to go stand outside and leave offerings. When I don’t want to make a circle of rocks next to a busy street just because some spirit told me to.
The entities that have been around the longest have learned that the secret to getting me to do bizarre or cumbersome stuff is all in the presentation (“it’ll be fun and amazing!” *jazz hands*) – and failing that – it’s about nagging me and bugging me until I do it for the silence that should follow. It may not sound very rosy and spiritual, but it is the truth. If one half of the spirit worker equation is that all spirits are like kids that scream mine, then the other half of the spirit worker equation must be that spirit workers don’t value altruism, they value silence. And it wouldn’t surprise me if most of the Unseen knows it. I can’t even tell you how many people I’ve met that put off doing obscure, weird, or “strange” acts of devotion or offerings because, well, it’s weird and not a priority to us. If I stopped and instantly fulfilled every request a deity or spirit put in for me, I’d be broke and have no free time.
So in a way, the “two-way-street of strangeness” is a sort of filtering tool for determining what I spend my time on, particularly if the request is inane or down right bizarre.
How do you determine which offering requests to listen to or ignore? Do you have any sort of filtering criteria? Have you ever been asked to do some weird or strange things in the name of devotion? Did you end up doing them?
December 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm
I ignore about 70% that is asked of me. … Okay, for the sake of honesty, I ignore about 95% of what is asked at me at first. It doesn’t matter if it seems strange or not, I just ignore it. This is part of my filtering process. If it comes at me from elsewhere and I ignore it and it’s not consistently pushed in my direction, then I was making shit up. If it was consistently harped upon and/or the request is made more insistently, then I’m not making shit up.
As far as weird and strange things, I get pushes to skip through the woods (I dunno) and to sit in grass (I still dunno) and to braid my hair (I really don’t fucking know) and to organize my bookcases (why does it matter) and things like that. Some of probably weirder than others, though.
December 7, 2014 at 6:07 pm
Once, a tree spirit demanded that I eat a piece of white cake as payment for its services. If interested, you can read my blog post about the event. http://www.magicallotus.blogspot.com/2013/09/air-travel-tree-spirit-and-cake.html?m=1
December 7, 2014 at 6:11 pm
hahaha that’s funny XDDD I’ve got a tree spirit that has been asking me to make a circle of rocks around its trunk for nearly a year now. But its right by a busy street, so I keep worrying I’m gonna get in trouble for messing with the landscaping and all of that. I keep asking why the rock circle is so important, but it won’t tell me. It just keeps whining at me to do it XDDD
Tree spirits, man.
December 7, 2014 at 6:53 pm
I have been asked to do lots of things lately. Some things I’ve put off for years and others I just found out about. I’m cleaning and re-arranging my home. I’m almost done with the kitchen (cleaned all dishes, put them away more organized, cleaned cabinets, etc). I cleaned all my clothes (partly due to washing machine needed cleaning out due to mildew build-up in the rubber flap on the front load washer). I cleaned my bedsheets and pillows and towels. I then arranged all my shirts in the closet by size (short sleeve, long sleeve and overshirts/jackets/sweaters, etc.) and color (white, yellow, green, blue, black, purple, and red).
I’m not sure how weird this is, but part of this is working on the work they’ve given me: understand that your home is sacred. Be proud of it. Treat it well. It should be clean and holy.
Shining of your shoes made me think of that work. It also made me think of Khnum for some reason.
December 7, 2014 at 7:07 pm
I’m fairly sure I know why he has me do what he does, though I’m not sure which of us it serves more in the end.
I’ve done house cleaning for religious work in the past. It’s a large part of Shinto, and it helps to keep my mental state clearer when my house is clean. So I can definitely relate to that. If your religious practice is centered around your home (which most of ours is), it makes sense to try and keep your home clean in order to facilitate said religious practice.
December 7, 2014 at 7:10 pm
If a request comes up multiple times, I’ll consider it because then I know I’m not making it up. Another sign that I’m not making things up is if the request shakes me out of my comfort zone.
December 7, 2014 at 7:18 pm
I Like to think that, may be they ask you to do things because it was important to them in their own life? If they are Akhu. Even if it seems an odd request. After that, if the being doesn’t offer an answer who knows . I sort of like a mystery, I don’t at the moment get asked to do things. Probably because I don’t hear akhu very well, let alone other beings. I do sense a feeling of gratitude when I make offerings. If it’s important to them, who am I to judge? I’m sure when I ask for a favour or two, it will be equally bizarre seeming.