Thursday, September 12, 2013

Is it OK to insult the Gods?

To me the Gods have personalities and sometimes I may not like what They (don't!) say or do. Sometimes I can even get really angry with Them, just like with human beings.

I remember one day when I was particularly upset with The Goddess and I covered Her whole altar, because I did not want to see Her for a while. It didn't last for long, the house felt so empty and cold, I removed the cloth within a few hours. She was there for me, as always and we 'talked' things over. This kind of incidents always happen when there’s a lesson for me, that I don’t want to see . . .

So at certain times I don't like my Gods at all and I let them know.
I feel being honest about your feelings is basic for a healthy relationship.  Anyway They know how I feel, so hiding would be silly.

But you don't have to insult someone when you're angry.
I know I have insulted people in the past, after all I'm only human, but I never scolded a Deity. I did draw the line once in a while, like "I don't want You to do that every again!". Maybe even threatened to remove an altar, or to stop offering. But that was it.

I think it's perfectly OK to be angry with your Gods sometimes and express it. Privately!
Even if you want to insult Them, go ahead, it's your own responsibility.
But in a ritual where people are present whom you are not very close with, it's a different ball game in my opinion. Also if you are not leading a ceremony, your priority should be to consider the feelings of other participants in the group. Because during a ritual everything said or done has extra impact and everyone present has the same right to a pleasant and meaningfull experience.

It happened to me, one day during an asatru weekend, that I hailed Thor, thanking Him for His true friendship over the years and then the person next to me took the horn with mead and started scolding Him. Apparently she had had some trouble with the Gods and She took this opportunity to 'settle her score' with Thor. Calling him untrustworthy and demanding the asnwer she wanted that instant.

I was so shocked I didn't know what to do. I did not want to be part of this, but I also did not want to make an even bigger scene by leaving the circle. Later I heard this had not been a spontaneous outburst, this woman had planned to use the energy raised by others, to try to force an answer she had been waiting for, for quite a while. Had I known what she planned to do, I would have chosen not to participate in this ritual. But now it was forced upon me and I didn't know what to do about it.

Some years later I tried to talk about it with her, because we keep meeting each other in the small Dutch pagan community and I hoped it would be possible to clear the air. Maybe she would apologise, or at least acknowledge my uncomfortable feelings about what happened. But she claimed it had been an absolutely normal thing to do in asatru circles and that I was just overreacting. She was shouting at me within a few minutes and I just walked away.

But it left me puzzled.
Is it OK to insult the Gods in a (semi) public circle for some pagans?

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