Saturday, July 9, 2011

Is It Really Possible to Offend the Gods?

I’ve noticed that offending the Gods isn’t something I’ve ever worried a whole lot about. Even when I flirted with Religio Romana, I would often take the piacular offering out of rituals--the one that says, essentially, "I give you this gift so you won’t squash me if I accidentally got a word wrong and pissed you off." 
In general I have never been a big fan of squash-happy Gods. Isn’t that one reason I fled Christianity? 
Anyway, I tend to look at it like this: 
As far as the Gods are concerned we are very much like little children. We demand a lot, have a great capacity for love and learning but also a great capacity for crankiness and temper tantrums when we don’t get exactly what we want when we want it. And just as loving parents must correct the bad behavior, they certainly aren’t going to abandon or harm the child because it was naughty. In fact, after correcting the behavior, they are more likely to look at each other with knowing smiles and remember, ah, we were once like that ourselves. 
But there’s another level to this. A good deal of reconstructionists aren’t even worried about offending the Gods when they’re spiritually naughty--their main concern is offending the Gods while they’re attempting to be spiritually upright. They worry that somehow by not doing a ritual or saying a prayer just so, the Gods will, as I said, begin to get squash happy, thunder will roll, and every good connection to that deity they’ve worked for will be immediately cleft in twain.
Imagine if you will a young child makes you a gift of a clay ashtray they made at summer camp and they present it to you with all the open-hearted love and personal pride they can muster. Now, you don’t smoke and the thing looks like an autopsy in fluorescent pink Play-doh, but do you smash the ashtray, smack the child, admonish and abandon them? No. You probably get all misty, take the ashtray into your own hands and heart as the sacred object of love’s bond that it represents and display it proudly in your dwelling long after the child even remembers making it. 
It is the same with Gods--or it must be if they are the ascended paragons we hold them out to be. We offer whatever we can with our best effort, love and intention and they receive it exactly in the spirit it was intended. They are happy with it, we are happy with them and the mighty soul swells.
Blessed by the Mystery,

1 comment:

  1. You would probably enjoy the book "Love Wins" by Rob Bell. Although it is Christian oriented, I found it very enlightening as to the relationship of god(s) to humans.