|Lesson 2: Why do the Gods only speak to some?
SCHOLA AETII·MONDAY, 21 MAY 2018
For the longest time, this question was entirely beyond my radar. I was born with a natural tendency towards the spiritual, and even as a small kid, as cliche as it sounds, I felt connected to trees and stones, the spirits around me. I could gaze hours at curious rocks and pebbles, stare at little snails or ants crawling, watch trees and the stars above. And maybe while others leave that behind, it remained with me. I grew up in an atheist home, none of my family was religious in any sense, and when I, as a very small kid, found myself to be religious, it wasn't even a decision of any sort. It was like the natural state I was born into. From the stars and stones and trees, it was not a far road to spirits and Gods. I even have a hard time to call myself a “believer”, because believe seems to accept an idea which you do not know, and for me as spiritualist, spirits, immaterial energies and beings have always been a part of my reality. I did not need to confess to any of that. However I did chose a form which felt the most close to the way I experience the world, and as Initiate of a Hermetic Order nowadays, of course I understand that “the Divine” reveals itself in many forms, and I felt this to be true ever since I could think. Even in the earliest day, when I was a Christian – of sorts – I never came to think the way other people viewed the Divine was less real or relevant.
Now it took me quite some time to come to even understand that for a lot of people, life is not so. Many do not feel the divine or see spirits or have such connections like myself. Others had to work hard to achieve what just was given to me from the get-go. For others again, they feel a faint connection, but nothing specific. That made the position of Atheism or “believing” a position I always had the hardest time to imagine. And of course I asked myself, why is it so?
For the vast majority, the average materialistic person, nowadays the question of the reality of spirituality is entirely irrelevant, either a source of mockery, or at best you are presumed to be “mentally ill”. (Which essentially is just another word for something we cannot ultimately comprehend in the final analysis.) For the largest part of human history, spiritualist people, as I call them, would have been put to death or at least greatly harassed, so I am just fortunate we live currently in no such times. I highlight this first, to say: communicating with the Gods is not the one sided blessing some people think it is.
First, let me try to explain what level of experience I have, because for most people without that, it must be extremely hard to imagine. A paranormal experience, trying to explain it more technical, can have different levels of intensity or manifestation. One, the most common one, is “internal sight”, meaning you see, but not before your eyes, like I see my neighbor. But it is also different from a mere imagination inside my head. It is somewhere between the material sight and the imagination of my brain. Like, right on the border between inside and outside. The second class is, you see with the same internal sight, but it is most definitely outside of yourself, not on the threshold between inside and outside. You feel the spirit or the Deity, as the case may be, is clearly around you, and you feel it like a change of pressure, a presence, often not clearly to be located, but sometimes when I meditate intensely on a statue of a God, the presence is often around and focused on that statue. The third and last form is, when the apparition is entirely before you, and you can really see it. Now the last is still not in the exact same way as seeing a chair or a tree, but it is definitely way more than mere “inner sight”. It is extremely difficult to put into words, since these higher or paranormal senses are not something we have words in our language for.
Now there is one thing about the last sort I have to say, as occultist and practitioner of shamanistic techniques: this last kind of apparition is among the most frightening experiences you can have. It definitely has a different quality than the first two. It feels like the laws of reality have been breached, like the reality of the three dimensions itself is undone, and that is extremely unsettling, no matter if the nature of the apparition is benevolent or not. Seeing a manifestation with your real eyes is terrifying. I vividly recall the first two times, a nature spirit of the forest and a second nature spirit in the garden of my grandparents. Overall I had such a level of sight maybe a bit over a dozen of times in my life, so not often, and as such I can fully understand the awe and how overwhelmed people were in the ancient texts. We have almost no Pagan sources, since the seers of the Classic Era did not write down anything that to my knowledge has been preserved. But if you take the Biblical Prophets, you get a good example of how terrifying the visual presence of the “Otherworld” is. And yet, you know it is real, if you faced it. You cannot deny its reality as much as you could not deny the table or the laptop in front of me were real. Three of these third level apparitions were clearly of a Divine nature, they were less terrifying, but still overwhelming in a sense that is deeply unsettling. Again, it is very difficult to find even the right words for the emotions. Aleister Crowley, the occultist once said, it is like at the same time it is terrible and it can be devastating for you in many senses and on many levels, you desire it, seek it, and would go to any lengths to reconnect with it, even if it would mean your own ruin. And that is entirely true. It is not a thing you decide, it is cast upon you. Still, do not say because some few like me are "naturals", it is effortless. Believe me, myself and all the other Seers I know have worked extremely hard on our skills. It is the same as if you train yourself to be a painter, a musician or a writer. You may be given a talent, but to perfect it is extremely hard work, work of the level many people cannot imagine. I say that not to boast, but to make clear that despite talent, it is by no means easy at all.
There is one special pathway, which is a bit my specialty: I am a Dreamer. I had almost never regular dreams, reflecting my real life ongoings. Many of my dreams are complex stories with no connection to this world, and a good number are spiritual, with few dreams about the Gods or Gods appearing in the dreams. Writing a dream diary for 30 years, I know my dreams quite well, and while I never say what clearly is a God speaking in dream, or what may just be my mind making it up, the regularity clearly shows me, that this is a way that is natural to me. Some such dreams have given me profound insights or new perspectives on questions, both spiritual and mundane.
Of course there is the vast spectrum of people who can achieve this sight, by training and hard work, too. But even that seems not to be possible to all. I am to this day not sure what the technical reasons for that is, though I am quite sure from the human side, there is a sort of mental blockade, caused by trauma in life, that blocks the spiritual ability that is in some degree given to everyone. The inability to achieve contact with a God despite honest effort most of the time means some inner trauma or psychological issue is blocking the person. Also I came to see that anyone with a 40 hours per week job and a busy “worldly” life have considerably greater difficulties. When your mind revolves around a job so much time of each day, it can be difficult to really re-focus in the bit of the spare time you have. That seems unfair, but as I said, all things come at a price.
Success does not necessarily involve the “believe” in Gods, it can just be that you become aware of the spiritual energies on a very basic level. Gods tend to come less because you do stuff, but because your mindset, your emotions and thoughts are working a certain way. That is the part you can learn, you can adapt beyond mere choice of fate. Piety and deep devotion, regularly and involved in your daily thoughts seem to play a large role. Hours of ritual, when your everyday thought is not with the Gods seem less effective, than doing little, but having your mind devoted and focused on the Gods as part of your everyday life and thought.
VISION AND DREAM
And here is of course the question: why is this so? Is it, I hear people say, not injustice? To which I could sarcastically reply, who told you the world is just? But, since we are dealing with Gods here, it is a question that might not satisfy, unless you are a Hellenist, and if you know the Greek myth, you do not necessarily attribute perfect justice to the Gods. But, speaking as a Roman here, but also referring to what Plato already wrote, anything that comes from the Gods is just and good. Plato and Socrates already were very critical towards the Homerian stories of the Gods, which they believed to be more entertaining fairy tales than how the Gods actually are.
My experience as shaman, occultist and seer is somewhat in between. I had all three levels of experiences with Gods, though for me the second form is the most normal. Usually my contact with a God is because I began to seek him or her out, I am interested, I learn and read about the God, and develop a great sense of love and devotion. As someone with a bit a more female energy inside of me, devoting myself to a Deity is an easy thing. (It might be, that men with a greater will to control may have a difficult time to connect to Gods.) I always feel strongly about the Deities I chose to pursue. Some few times I found it was a dead end. Not every pursue leads to results, but over the years I developed a good sense to what God I could find connections. That lies partially in the God himself – some Deities are easier to approach, since they have an “energy” and principle that is easier to grasp, more practical, while other Gods are for various reasons more “far away” from humanity. But there is of course also the matter of the Seeker, what fits to my nature, and what is alien to it. There are Gods which are very popular, but I just have too little to connect with them, like in the case of Thor or Athena, both immensely popular, approachable, but just not much on “my radar”. If I would have to approach them, it would be a very difficult task, since their natures are quite far away from my own character.
The most striking thing however is, when a God comes into your life on its own will. That happened to me in a greater sense three times in my life, first with Odin, who just out of the blue when I walked in a forest, began to accompany me. Then, when I was still deeply embedded in Asatru, Apollo, and finally most recently Isis. There is a plethora of minor visitations without being called, but none of these had a deep impact. Sometimes Gods are just present for a while, sometimes you feel there is a nudge they want to give you, and some few times Gods really speak. When recently Isis decided to enter my life, she literally stood behind me suddenly and said a sentence. I do not wish to say what it was, for that is between her and me.
Now why do some crave the Gods so much, and never get much out of it? The nature of the Gods is ultimately a mystery. We regard them in human terms, but it has been my experience over the years, that the Gods do not entirely understand us. How we think and feel and act is at least to some degree as much a mystery to them, as theirs is to us. I say, to some degree, because them being Beings of a much higher perspective, it is not on equal footing. Imagine you watch a dog or a cat, or maybe a bee or an ant: you are far above it, but yet it is difficult to fully understand such a smaller creature. I have the impression for a God it must be similar to us watching a cat, maybe a stray cat outside, sometimes you pet it, feed it, but then it runs away for reasons you cannot fully understand and only guess about. So our doings seem to be puzzling at times to the Gods. I have also the impression, that Gods generally have agendas more with groups of people: tribes, regions, countries, cultures or the like, and only as exception focus on individuals. Same as a human who loves cats may have one cat he loves particularly, and while that human may like all cats in general, he does not care for every single cat out there individually. But being a pet lover or animal rights activist, he cares for the well-being of cats – or animals – on a general level rather than taking individual care for every single cat. That is just an analogy, trying to formulate my decades of experience with Gods.
Gods always prefer to chose a few individuals, and use them as mouthpieces. This has been so since the most ancient days. They chose Seers, Prophets and Priests, and guide them or speak to them, and assume the rest of humanity gets the message through second hand. I understand it is frustrating for people outside of that circle. Some can become any of this, by work and dedication, but not everyone. I am sure it involves some level of testing humanity, and clearly my interaction with Gods has shown me that all of them have a level of hesitation to interfere with human affairs. The Roman “do ut des” describes the attitude I found in Gods most accurately: if you seek them, they may form a covenant with a few chosen Priests and their followers, but if the people cease the attention, the Gods also withdraw.
Gods seem to prefer, shall we say, weird people, outsiders, or maybe being connected to the spiritual makes you an outsider. There is a price to pay. If your stand between the Gods and Men, you sort of belong to no side, you become a bridge, messenger, a door through which to pass. You serve the Gods, in a sense – though servitude seems a wrong word, since it is a way more intimate thing – and in turn you also try to serve your fellow human beings trying to understand the will or guidance of the Divine. Being in close contact with the “otherworldly” in the broadest sense, almost always is a burden and a toll. It undermines your ability to be part of the “Normie World” very profoundly, and in times were Seers and Shamans are not paid or accepted, that is a great difficulty for anyone chosen. Any spiritualist will likely never find a role in the normal order of society, and any such person will usually be isolated and alone, for these experiences are nothing you can share. First, because the sanctity – the Spiritual demands a level of keeping silence. What is between you and a spirit or a God is like between you and a lover: it is private. But also, it is extremely difficult to put into words, like a multidimensional experience, which cannot be explained in 3-dimensional terms. So the further you walk on that path, the less you are able to deal with “regular” people, and as such the less compatible you become with anything. You give one thing away for getting another. Ultimately, any person has his or her own True Will, his or her own path on which he will be good. Some are craftsmen, some artists, some are good speakers or logicians, some are born to be healer or teacher. Fate gives each one a role in the grand scheme of things. Gods only nudge us. They do not control us like puppets. There is the clear material order of things, in which we are cast, and inside of it things happen. Greater or smaller calamities. You catch an illness, an earthquake ruins your town, a bad guy murders a child. Such events are deeply disturbing, maybe they are fate, woven by the Parcae, the Moires or Norns as they are called by the Norse people. They weave fate for whatever aim, we do not know.
Gods sometimes intervene in that, they nudge someone here or there. They play a long term game, or so it seems to me, much longer in terms as we can conceive. That must be a moot reply, I understand, but it is the clearest understanding of it that I have. Gods are kind and merciful, but they are not wishing wells that will please you in any case. People will fall to accidents, to events just happening because of the material reality. Cicero and Plutarch wrote that clearly enough; there is the material world with its own logic, its own mechanics going on. If you catch a flu, it is not a God that makes it, it is just that: a flu you caught through bacteria. Gods do not work like magic story wizards. But they do work on the development of humanity, they care for us, though more on a collective level. Tales of old tell of how Gods grow fond of individuals, chose them as messengers, or just because they seem to fancy the contact. They are beings with a will of their own, not machines to fulfill our wishes. They may chose another to speak through him or her, as they have done since the oldest of time. The Gods may not answer you themselves; but they may send someone they speak to into your life, a mouthpiece, to council you through them. Maybe they already did, and you just did not listen.
The task to be chosen is not putting the priest or seer in a more beneficial place than others, however, make no mistake. Just because they chose you doesn't mean you get extra favors. Just because you are closer to the boss, doesn't mean the boss will bend the rules for you. Or at least, not too often. Everyone has his role to play, his place to fulfill. Our souls are on a never ending journey, from life to life. Even Cicero and Plutarch assumed so, so it wasn't a view too alien to the people of the Classic era, and it is the view I came to see. We are set on paths we began many lifetimes ago, and aim for directions lying many lifetimes in the future. Between these, the Gods are guides and councilors, friends and patrons. But they may chose another to let you know, because you are chosen for some other task, which you have to find out, and upon which path you will find just as much happiness to “be thyself”, than a Priest or Seer. It is that multitude of Pathways that makes the diversity of the Cosmos. That your path is not mouthpiece of the Gods does not mean they love you less. We all must pass through the trials of life, death and rebirth, to learn what our souls are destined to learn, where the Gods are teachers and guides, but they are not similarly close to everyone in every single lifetime. Sometimes the lesson is to bear what is dealt to us, so that we advance, and because some are chosen as Priest and Seers it is why we have Organized Religions, to encourage the people whose roles in the world are different, to give guidance to those, who have other ways to walk in life.