Worship Them

“In a world that already encourages us to view the Gods and spirits as fictional beings, I think it’s all the more important to draw a clear line between those things that inspire us but that are fictional and actual holy Beings, that…you know, exist as independent, sentient Beings. There’s a very fine line after all between equating comic book characters to ancestral heroes and positioning the Gods in the boundaries of one’s mind and heart as fictional too.”

Galina Krasskova, responding to this blog post about treating comic book superheroes as heroes in a Hellenic polytheist context (which Sannion also nicely rebutted here)

This is exactly the problem with the fandom approach to the gods I am seeing more and more lately. People treating their (supposed) interactions with deities no differently than a brainstorming session for a piece of fanfic (as I said once before, failing to “discern between what a god might like, or do, or say, and what They actually do like, are doing, are saying”). Because in the end, that’s all it is. Imagination. Fiction. A pleasing bit of distraction, maybe because their real lives aren’t nearly as interesting as they’d like.

You know what makes your life more interesting? Actually interacting with gods. Not the characters in your head, but the real, bigger-than-you’ll-ever-comprehend, powerful, life-changing GODS. When that happens, all else pales in comparison. You stop being in control. You are not the one writing the story or making the rules. (Maybe that’s why so few people do it – it’s scary and dangerous.) But, you become part of a much bigger, more significant story. You begin living mythically. But you can’t do this alone in your safe little world of imaginary characters. You need to engage with the real, independent, divine beings that exist outside of any of our limited ideas of them. You need to let go and WORSHIP. That’s when the really good stuff happens.

~ by Dver on May 16, 2013.

26 Responses to “Worship Them”

  1. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for some folks, I really don’t. The first thing that jumped out at me with the whole ‘superheroes and heroes’ article was “well, would you substitute a fictional character for the Gods?” and many people would and that…amazes and appalls.

    • I really do think it probably comes down to the fact that a fictional character is under their control, and a god isn’t. A god might want things, and not want other things, and even demand things, and mess with their lives. And that scares the crap out of most people.

      • I suspect that’s the case as well and …. part of me wants to say ‘are we that disconnected and childish” and part of me knows the answer to that. It’s a shock when the Gods don’t behave like we think They ought, or as we’d like. I’ve been there, surely.

      • I agree with you in one sense, and in another, I don’t think it’s that simple.

        I don’t want to defend this “fandom” approach to the gods, because, to be honest, I find it vacuous. But art, real art, is not necessarily in the control of the artist. My character’s don’t do what I expect, and not in that “oh, I’m so struck by my muses, lol, I spent all of last night writing Loki/Thor incest fanfic” way. In that “something much bigger than me is going on” sense. And fiction isn’t necessarily escapist: sometimes it, and its effect on you, is scary as hell.

        I suppose I want to find a way to distinguish between this fluffy, self-indulgent, almost pornographic approach to religion and one that is informed by art, real art, powerful art. Characters do inform my religious practice. I have much better taste than a lot of these people do (I’m talking the Romantic Prometheus, not Batman), but that’s not just it. I think there needs to be room for a theology informed by fiction that models the importance of fiction as a means of revelation, but which does not encourage people to run around playing pretend and thinking that’s a substitute for actual religious practice. Particularly since fiction is how so many of us came to the gods in the first place.

        • Oh, absolutely, art can (and should!) tap into something greater than just the imagination of the artist. It can often be a gateway to the gods. But that’s just it – it leads to something that is real and true, gives us a new perspective or understanding perhaps. It is, ultimately, about something beyond ourselves. To me, that’s a huge difference from seeing something you like in a fictional character, and equating that with worshipping an independent entity. Or conflating a fictionalized version of a deity with the actual deity. Art should transcend, not trap us in our own limited conceptions.

          Fiction definitely has led many of us to the gods. But then we had the gods. We didn’t stop at the fictional character, and say “eh, good enough.”

          So, yes, I totally agree with you. And it’s upsetting because it becomes harder to talk about the ways in which art can meaningfully inform our worship, when many people can’t tell the difference.

          • Yes, but who is to deem where fiction ends and ‘reality’ begins? If we’re talking about astral and non-physical planes (aka anywhere but planet Earth physicality), the lines btwn real and ‘fake’ are very very very grey- if not entirely non-existent. Who are we to say that enough belief and energy put into a character on this end can’t create a ‘real’ entity on the other end? Who is to say that characters can’t be pre-existing entities that happened to whisper to the author, but were real t begin with?

            My problem with this post, I think, is that I feel like everyone is attempting to draw lines in the sand. And while sometimes that works, when it comes to figuring out what is ‘real’ and ‘fake’ – I don’t know that you really *can* draw those lines. What might be considered “fake” to you could very well be real to someone else. The same way that many Christians believe that all of our gods are ‘fake’. I consider the entities that I work with (some are considered gods, some are not) to be very very real. However, I’m sure to many people (pagans included) I sound like a raving lunatic who is just listening to the voices in her head. (and for the record, this is not to say that I don’t believe in things like discernment. Discernment is very important- but we can’t shit on new ideas and possibilities just because they’re new, either (in regards to pop-culture pagans)).

  2. So many people need to hear this. Some very good points made

  3. […] believes that you should Worship Them — and Them ain’t […]

  4. “You know what makes your life more interesting? Actually interacting with gods. Not the characters in your head, but the real, bigger-than-you’ll-ever-comprehend, powerful, life-changing GODS. When that happens, all else pales in comparison. You stop being in control. You are not the one writing the story or making the rules. (Maybe that’s why so few people do it – it’s scary and dangerous.) But, you become part of a much bigger, more significant story. You begin living mythically.”

    Hells, yes. That’s what happened to me after years of being a longtime but not-very-devout Pagan. The life I lead now cannot possibly compare with the life I led before I learned to engage with the gods as They are, not as I imagined Them to be.

    To be honest, there have been times when I wish my life was that simple again, but the depth and passion in my life that has come from worshiping the Holy Ones isn’t something I’d trade for any amount of fleeting pop culture satisfaction. And I don’t think people even need a “god phone” or any special skills or gifts to achieve this. I think it’s there if people are willing to work for it and make the effort to reach out to Them.

    • And I don’t think people even need a “god phone” or any special skills or gifts to achieve this.

      I agree. In fact, a lot of how I interact with the gods requires no “phone” at all, such as paying attention to the numerous omens They send me on a regular basis, which is just as much communication as hearing a voice in my head (and in some ways, much more reliable).

      • Yeah, it’s the communications that get some external backup that I have learned to trust the most.

  5. […] woke up today to this post over on A Forest Door. (Okay, I lied; I woke up to dishes and then read the post.) I brought up the […]

  6. […] received regardless, by Wiccans and fluffy new agers alike, but some of those ideas have been cropping up a fair bit in pagan bloggish debate recently so I feel inclined to poke around in this realm once […]

  7. […] You know what makes your life more interesting? Actually interacting with gods. Not the characters in your head, but the real, bigger-than-you’ll-ever-comprehend, powerful, life-changing GODS. When that happens, all else pales in comparison. You stop being in control. You are not the one writing the story or making the rules. (Maybe that’s why so few people do it – it’s scary and dangerous.) But, you become part of a much bigger, more significant story. You begin living mythically. But you can’t do this alone in your safe little world of imaginary characters. You need to engage with the real, independent, divine beings that exist outside of any of our limited ideas of them. You need to let go and WORSHIP. That’s when the really good stuff happens.    – Dver, Forest Door, “Worship Them” […]

  8. […] The first comes from Syna, commenting on Dver’s post Worship Them: […]

  9. […] I clearly hit a nerve with this post. […]

  10. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have no idea what this post means to me. What you wrote changed me life. Read here for how http://www.thedomesticwitch.net/2013/05/the-pagan-blog-project-j-is-for-my.html

    • Wow.

      I’m really honored that what I wrote could serve as a message for you in that way. And really glad to hear you are able to feel Them in your life again. It’s not surprising that such a huge tragedy would rattle you to the core – but I think that, as you make your way back to Them, you will probably build something even stronger than you had before.

  11. […] last but certainly not least, Dver’s post, which is relatively short and to the point–a virtue that I will not be replicating in my […]

  12. […] yea… Blogosphere fap is happening regarding the inclusion of popular cultural icons into spiritual practice and […]

  13. LOVE this. <3

  14. […] explores this in a a brief but powerful post entitled, “Worship Them”.  He argues that the difference between between fiction and worship is that the former is an act […]

  15. […] and archetypal Paganism).  I am grateful to hard polytheists like P. Sufenas Virius Lupus and Dver for this.  I am also grateful to polytheists like Sunweaver who don’t use the word […]

  16. […] bring my soaring intellectualizing down to earth … literally.  Devotional polytheists like Dver and P. Sufenas Virius Lupus have caused me to consider what role the experience of radical […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 478 other followers