Gods, Prayer, Adoration — A Rant

Well, as the title suggests, I’m in a ranty mood, so do please excuse the frankness of my words.

You only have to look at any heathen, pagan, neo-shaman or wide-sense spiritual online group — according to their self-image, that is — look up a discussion about Gods and you will invariably find a crowd of people telling you that

  • Gods don’t care about humans
  • Prayer? That’s for Christians and other grovelling worms [*]

And my personal favourite:

  • The Gods don’t want me to pray, they want me to take responsibility

I have to say, the sheer amount of unbridled nonsense in this is hard to believe, much less tolerate. Prayer is seen as a dirty word, and whatever so much smells of opening oneself to a Deity is scrutinised skeptically at best. People seem to think that prayer goes hand in hand with abject servility, or alternatively, that prayer goes hand in hand with dependence and immaturity. All that then is justified by the premise that the Gods don’t give a damn about humans anyway, and therefore prayer is nothing but useless eyewash.

To be perfectly frank, that premise is utter rubbish. Absolutely, completely useless in all regards. Whoever thinks so has not understood the very basis of polytheistic practice all over the planet: giving and taking. You give offerings or sacrifice to the Gods to incite Them to help you reach some goal. That, as pragmatic and “unspiritual” it sounds, is the basic mechanism of polytheistic religious practice.

The Gods then get involved in the goings-on; via the offerings given as a request, a context is established that lends the Gods’ actions a setting, and which is then referred to in retrospect. This in turn strengthens the humans’ bond with the Gods and secures the continued existence of the practice. If a Deity is extremely unreliable or ineffective, They simply won’t be worshipped any more, Their temples will fall into neglect and then ruin, and people will turn to other Deities more inclined to act on their behalves.

Gods don’t care about humans? As if. It is literally Their job to care about humans and get involved with human issues.

Be that as it may, the comment that absolutely took the biscuit was one I recently got online somewhere in reply to a post I made, in which I described my practice — which includes meditation, but most importantly, prayer and worship.

So this guy whom I’ve never seen before seriously presumed to comment on prayer as a part of my practice as follows (translated, because it was German):

“for us there is no destiny or providence, but who’s responsible for MY life is ME and nobody else. There is no o god, o god, o god, o god.”

(I redacted the grammatical and orthographical errors because while I have no problem quoting stupid verbatim, I do have a problem producing it). Needless to say, my thought was: What. The Heck… and then more like “ha ha, you so need to buy a clue.”

Firstly, what pissed me off was the nicety of hitting me with the plural club (“for us there is no […]”). But so be it. The actual “beauty” of this comment was this:

  • the implication that prayer automatically means you do not take responsibility, but rather see yourself at the mercy of “destiny or providence”
  • the mockingly whiny voice of “o god, o god, o god, o god”

Both points are pure arrogance, while at the same time being as far from the truth as you can possibly get while still in one universe.

What does this person know about what responsiblility means to someone who does not only worship Loki, but who belongs to Him? What about what it means to be stripped down by a God, and rebuilt? To help Him do it?

It is one thing, and a great thing, to adore a God, and praise Him and pray to Him — although even that is something many people don’t manage because it would utterly pulverise their egos. But it is an entirely different beast to go to a God who will make me His business, and to then help Him peel away skin, flesh and bones until the innermost part of me is exposed to Him. To help Him drag up things from the past, just to be forced to look at them really closely, so that perhaps for the first time, they might be put to rest properly?

And what, I ask, does that person know about my prayer? What about how it feels when a God responds? When He, that God, demands to know? When He shows Himself, revealing details about Himself that suddenly, very suddenly, make you understand? When you know there is no hiding or pretending? Does a person such as that even know the first thing about awe?

Or “simply” adoration? The deep knowledge of a divine Being, to see Their beauty and power, just for a moment, not in the rational brain, but deep, deep down in your gut? To want to see that beauty again and again, to seek it out…

What does someone such as that know about that?

Nothing.

And if I were a kinder person, I would feel sorry for that person.

[*] For the record: I do not think that Christians are grovelling worms. Neither do I think that submission to a greater power is necessarily a bad thing.

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About Myriad

Myriad Hallaug Lokadís
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9 Responses to Gods, Prayer, Adoration — A Rant

  1. R.A. says:

    Thank you for your rant.
    Really; I’m working on prayer, and what you write about is what I’m slowly trying to learn to do. It’s difficult and sometimes intimidating, because the closer I can become to Those I pray to, the more responsible I have to be. Your rant fires me on to keep working.

    • Myriad says:

      “the closer I can become to Those I pray to, the more responsible I have to be”

      This, exactly. I truly wish you all the best with your endeavour and hope you’ll find an approach that works for you.

      Thank you for your kind comment, I’m glad.

      • Hey I spent the day being active on the internet. I found out about a Sheriff that was saying that Witchcraft(originally he used Wicca) is the motive for 3 tragic killings(though how he reaches those conclusions he isn’t saying outside of blue moon, though his time line is wrong and he makes himself look like a giant moron). So I spent the time giving out contact info on facebook groups, the Wild hunt and writing a long email about how dissapointed I was and the fear of the consequences of this.

        Then I saw this guys responses and I’m jealous. He did it more Lokean like.
        https://www.facebook.com/fathernathan?fref=photo

  2. Not sure where to tell you this, so I’m putting it in a comment here.

    Just read an awesome book. When they Severed the Earth from Sky, How the Human mind shapes myth. By Elizabeth Wayland Barber and Paul T Barber(Ok Elizabeth is an archaeologist and I’m guess from the intro Paul is into the humanities, memory here)

    All about how myths are encoded information from the ages past before we had books and literacy to convey something. Ok how does this fit into Loki. You know that whole Loki being chained underground(apparently Snorri besides being Christian also took time to explain the allergorical stuff, it was about explaining earthquakes). But it’s not in Iceland originally. Loki, and Prometheus share a lot of the same qualities. From Prometheus story, it shows it may be about a Volcanic Eruption(eagle has been used as a volcanic imagery, the liver and etc). Again but Prometheus wasn’t set in Greece locale. Who and what was it, Mt Erebus, near the Caucus mountains, who also share a similar myth.

    Oh and Ragnarock, the previous chapter, about the Navigation changes in the stars(that was harder to understand lots of math and astrology)

    Ok ok, it’s an archaeologist writing this, so it’s going to be very very secular, but STILL.

    Bounces, I’m kinda excited and wanted to share with ya.

    • Ok it’s Mt Elbrus, dormant volcano in the Caucus Mountains.

    • Myriad says:

      *eyebrow* Uh, I’m kinda not sure what it is you want to say. Some sort of identifying Prometheus and Loki? (in which case, I would have to say, I disagree strongly).

      Regarding Loki’s binding: there are a lot of theories around, and none of them is uncontested. I personally tend to believe it has in fact been an original story which has been used in an attempt to equate Loki and yet someone else (not Prometheus but the Adversary). I don’t see anything wrong with the story itself, at least nothing that would carry the conclusion that it wasn’t an original Loki story. This would also be the first time that a geographic location outside some hand-wavy Iceland-like place would be suggested, and I have zero grounds to either verify or falsify.

      Why is it that people wish that story weren’t real so much? It defines Loki just as much (or as little) as the other stories do.

      • I’m saying I read an interesting book by an archaeologist, who was talking that the myths aren’t literal but a way to talk and show information before literacy. Granted the book is scientific so it won’t take into account UPG or any religious experiences.

        However, it gives a new understanding about why myths were done. It gives a new way to learn what they may mean. It talks about the silence principle(things get lost in the myths over time, because the myths don’t talk about things we all know, Example would be where do you put your eyes in an elevator full of people, up or down, because it’s rude to stare). Anyway it’s shiny and fascinating on a cerebral level.

        Now, why would Loki and Prometheus be the same, because both cultures came from Indo European cultures. The myths are from the parent Indo European culture, not the Icelandic, nor the Greek. The Caucus (I can’t remember in the book what the name was) had similar myths,and I think so did the Narts(iranian?). When you broke it down using her process, it turns out it’s Mt Elbrus, and about a volcanic and seismic activity.

        She had also further explained in the book, who the Giants were in Greek, and some of the monsters(Cyclops, Gorgons(not medusa the other sisters) all sounded very volcanic. Using the descriptions of Thera from different locales and some of the myths about the Titans getting lose, Giants are likely about volcanic eruptions.

        She also explained who the Dwarves likely were as well. One of the Celtic tribes who had done mining in the area, that had moved on when the Germanic tribes were coming in. I can’t remember which Celtic time period that was. It made sense.

        Why am I excited about this. Because if the myths are about volcanic and seismic activity we can calm the hell down about whether or not Loki is the next incarnation of satan out to destroy the world. We have a verifiable peer reviewed archaeologist we can point to and go oh hush, it really explains x and oh hey the Ragnarock you are so concerned with is about the shift of the navigational stars(I can’t remember but some ancient dude said every 36,000 years but it may not be that and Astronomers have it mathed out) which to a non literate culture who needed stars for navigation was a huge deal.

        My point is, this doesn’t have to define who he is, if we realize it’s about volcanic and seismic activity and we can focus on our relationship with him more and let him be defined by that more and less about the past.

        Other than that, It’s a shiny archaeological and humanities academic work.

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