At the last PaganCon on 4 September 2010 I did a talk on building relationships with deity. As readers will know I had some problems putting this talk together but in the end managed to put together a reasonable PowerPoint presentation and talk. I didn’t write any notes for this talk, I used the slides I had put together as a guide for what I wanted to say and then just spoke from my heart.
I spoke about the stages of relationships using information from Wikipedia on the model of relationship development proposed by psychologist George Levinger. The stages given are:
I suggested that building relationships with deities follows exactly the same relationship stages and gave examples for each stage using my own experiences in forming relationships with both the Cailleach and Maponos. I talked about using different sources of information such as literature and mythology, archaeology and place names to learn about any given deity and build up a relationship. I went on to suggest that continuing relationships with deities involves making a commitment of some kind. Just as you need to work on continuing a relationship with a person by making commitments at some level whether that be meeting for lunch on a regular basis or phoning them once in a while so you need to work at continuing a relationship with a deity. I gave examples of making commitments to gods including making regular devotions, continuing to learn about them and making pilgrimages. I stressed that in communications with deities most of us were not likely to get clear communication in return so it can seem a bit one sided at times but that personally I found more subtle responses in natural events around me.
I finished the talk by touching lightly on the final two stages of relationships and stated that if a relationship with a deity did deteriorate I felt it was best to try and end things with honour and respect.
I took a couple of questions and then before I left the stage I demonstrated one of the ways in which I connect with my deities by singing one of the songs I have crafted. The one that felt right was “For the Gods of our tribe.”
Happily the talk seemed to go down very well and I’ve had some lovely feedback with a couple of people saying I helped them over a rut on their own paths by helping them to look at things in a different way.
The rest of the day went well too although I was absolutely shattered by the end of it.