Have you ever experienced a ritual, either in a group or alone; where god(s) are invoked, and you just know they haven’t shown up? Sometimes, no matter what you do, they aren’t going to make an appearance, i’m sure they’ve got lots to do.
Other times, it really is no surprise that they aren’t showing.
I attended a rite last month that involved the apparently random invocation of 4 unrelated deities (both to each other and to the rite) for which I can only assume was because they were ‘witchy’. They were called to attend the rite…and then promptly ignored. There wasn’t any mention of them in the rite until the end, the rite was not specifically for them; nor were they invoked to assist. There weren’t any propitiatory offering or even a ‘welcome‘.
Needless to say, It is with a reasonable amount of certainty that I can say those gods didn’t show. At the very least, the Hekate of my understanding (she was one of the ‘witchy’ gods) didn’t show because I know what she ‘feels’ like when she’s even a little present.
If you in any way believe in the literal existence of deity then I urge you to think about how you approach them. I won’t rehash the ‘gods aren’t correspondences’ thing because people who are much more articulate than me have already addressed this topic. It also makes my blood boil and I’ll end up getting all red faced and shout-y. Basically, the gods are more than a list of attributes in a fucking dictionary of t3h gawdess. They are huge and complex beings and way beyond most peoples comprehension. To give Aphrodite as much consideration as a pink candle can only end badly.
Lets turn our attentions to the anecdote at the top of this post. Why might the gods not turn up to a ritual?
Well, the invoking of those gods is akin to opening the yellow pages, calling the first number you see without looking at the details and asking them to do your plumbing without any payment, or even specification as to which pipes need fixing.
If I was on the receiving end of that phone call; I wouldn’t show up either. I’m not even a plumber and you would have known that if you read my description in the classifieds, or had spoken to me first.
It also doesn’t hurt to look briefly at the culture your deity is from, as well as how they were honoured traditionally; and some myths associated with them. Cultural context is not something that should only relevant to a re-constructionist. I’m not saying that in order to honour a god properly you need to understand and emulate obscure temple rites, but it doesn’t hurt to know what offerings the deity likes to receive traditionally, and it is useful to know about any potential restrictions or taboos.
If you would like to forge even the most basic of relationships with a deity, think a little about how you would like to be treated. Then go ahead and treat them better than that..