Love is a subject I’m very keenly interested in. It plays at being subdued and subtle, but inspires some of the most extreme actions known to humankind.
This is not wholly a bad thing. In fact, it is to be celebrated that we have such feelings to raise us from apathy. Even when Love inspires us to do actions that are evil, it is far, far more noble a thing than hatred or fear. It is why I hold Freyja in such high regard; Love and Beauty are her principle domains, and Love is something our world is always in need of.
Love is the topic for today’s blog, and how love can help improve our connection to the gods in ways our spirits badly need.
Often you hear talk of “love your gods”, but what does that mean? How is one supposed to love the gods? There are many kinds of love, and not all are thought of as appropriate.
The way I love Freyja and Lilith, my two principle goddesses, is often thought of as inappropriate by those around me; a manner of relationship between mortal and divine that just doesn’t work.
Many people think of the divine as teachers. Authority figures, to be respected and obeyed. But when I thought this was how I should view the divine in my life, it made love difficult.
Think to your time in school. You respected your teachers, but you probably didn’t LOVE them, especially not romantically. It is a relationship that is simply frowned upon, for various reasons: age difference, a subversion of the instructor-student dynamic, complications concerning the hierarchy of authority, perceptions of favoritism, etc.
It’s all very appropriate then to say that when it comes to your relationship with the divine, chuck everything you learned about those taboos in a bin and set it on fire. Get rid of those notions. It doesn’t apply. We need to stop thinking about mortal-mortal dynamics, and think about the mortal-immortal dynamic.
They know more than us, yes. So they are teachers then?
No. They aren’t.
Some people say you should love and respect them as you do your parents; but honestly, I’ve never been able to feel that way. I have parents, thanks, and I could never replicate my dual brand of respect and love for them with anyone else; not even a god.
So how then? I say the best way to love your gods is to treat them as a spouse; you love them romantically as a lover and you love them respectfully as family. A spouse should always have something useful to teach you, but they are not teachers, we would all agree. They are less instructors, and more partners to help us along.
And that is how I view my relationship with the gods. One does not kneel before an ally.
I feel no shame in declaring my passion for Freyja or Lilith, but I do my best not to be beholden to their wills; love should never make slaves of us, and even if you don’t mean to, it can be easy to subconsciously try to manipulate those who hold affection for you, and this is true for the gods as well, even if they do not intend for this or want it.
A partnership remains such by staying on equal ground. Heed Odin’s advice, but never be afraid to speak up if you have another idea. Be understanding of Loki, but berate him when his actions lead to harm and ruin. Love Freyja, but do not let her wild impulses make you do something you may regret.
This is not the same as keeping your distance; in fact, the best spouses are those who will get closer and let you know you’re getting in too deep, rather than running away at the first sign of trouble. We want to see our partners succeed; their victories are our victories too. As the gods triumph, so do we. As we triumph, so too do the gods. If their victories do not better us in some way, or our victories do not better them, then the partnership has been upset and it is time for a heart to heart.
A true love involves loving someone, faults and all, but it does not excuse the faults. We’re both in it to win it together as a team. Any faults that bring the partnership down must be overcome or otherwise dealt with. If my husband had a gambling problem that was losing us money, I wouldn’t say “oh, I know you have a gambling problem that’s costing us thousands, but you keep on doing that because it’s just the way you are.”
NO. That would be outstandingly wrong and harmful to both of us.
I would say “Hun, I know you love the Blackjack, but this is hurting us both. Can you find somewhere to play for free? Maybe find a couple friends to play with? I need you to just stay away from the casinos.”
And if I had a problem and my husband didn’t do likewise for me, then it’s still a relationship in trouble.
Love for the gods shouldn’t be all teenager lovey-dovey crap. Our faith is not a Stephanie Meyer novel (and better people than me have pointed out how harmful the Bella-Edward relationship would actually be in real life for both of them), and just going “I SURE DO LOVE YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE PERFECT PERFECTION OF PERFECTNESS AND I HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER THAT MIGHT MAKE YOU BETTER” is unhealthy in any relationship in either direction.
Love for the gods needs to be mature. It needs to be passionate, yes, respectful, yes, but above all it needs to make both sides better, however that might be defined. When it leans to one side, the partnership is no longer balanced and needs to be counseled.
After all, the Gods will call on us as friends and comrades in the final battle, and we will fight for the next world’s right to exist, taking to the field not as spectators, but as brothers and sisters in arms; and at the end of the game, the King and the Pawn both go in the same box.
The Gods are our greatest spouses, but only if we make sure of it. If we fail to do so, they become masters, and we become mice.
Gods love you and bless you.