Beyond the God-Phone

For several years now in various spirit-work communities, the term “god-phone” has been used as short-hand slang for the ability to hear the gods and speak back to them in return. A full explanation and examination of the term can be found here. I think it’s a useful metaphor, for the most part, and it fairly well describes the experience of what is probably the most common level of divine contact for spirit-workers. You are able to talk back and forth, in real time, with the gods or spirits, using a generally reliable connection that allows for understanding on both ends, and can be initiated by either party (although, to extend the metaphor, you might get no answer, or a busy signal, at times). Of course, many things will affect this connection and the ensuing “signal clarity” and it’s not as if you can always pick up the phone any time you want regardless of mental, physical or spiritual receptivity, but the basic principle still stands.

However, there are other levels of divine contact that are just as important for a spirit-worker (or other type of mystic). I think the god-phone is pretty much the middle of the potential spectrum (this isn’t addressing periods of no contact whatsoever, which do happen to everyone).

To one end of the spectrum, we find a process more like mail than a phone. Messages can be sent and received from either party, but they are not necessarily communications in real time, nor do the parties need to be co-present. Messages from us to Them might be in the form of prayers, petitions, devotional acts, questions posed to divinatory methods, etc. Messages from Them to us might be in the form of omens, answers given through divinatory methods, words delivered via another mystic or even an unsuspecting person, etc. This is the level that non-mystics – everyday worshippers – generally experience (although even this takes a certain amount of effort and attention), but that doesn’t make it any less important to a spirit-worker’s practice. Especially because it requires a lot less energy, clarity and openness than other levels – making it more accessible in any sort of circumstance, as well as a lifesaver when we’re going through fallow times.

To the other end of the spectrum, we find an experience more like having a conversation with a person standing right next to you (or in the case of my spirits, behind you, as that tends to be how They manifest with me). If the relationship is a particularly intimate one, it may even be like They’re whispering in your ear. You are co-present, in real time, with nothing between you to relay or translate the communication. They absorb your full attention, unlike god-phone interactions which can sometimes be carried out while engaging in other tasks. You may also see or feel Their presence (depending on how you are oriented) in an immediate way you don’t get with the god-phone. This is the most direct, most personal form of communication.

It’s worth mentioning, that just because we use this terminology that involves “speaking” and “listening” does not mean you will necessarily “hear” Them as such – either with your physical ears, or internally (the way you might hear music in your head). Obviously, as in the mail metaphor, messages can be conveyed through other means. Not everyone is geared toward auditory input just like not everyone is geared toward visual input (which is why not every spirit-worker has visions). Nor are all the gods and spirits going to communicate in the same way.

Sometimes “hearing” is just a convenient way to express a much more complicated or nebulous experience. For instance, there is a certain quality of inspiration that I know, from confirmed experience over time, comes from my spirit-Husband. I might describe such an instance to someone else as “He showed me a mask to make” or “He told me what to do next” but that doesn’t mean I saw or heard anything. I received the information, and experienced the connection nonetheless.

So your god-phone might function entirely through pictures, your mail might be delivered via a sudden lack of balance (we have more than five senses), your intimate conversation might feel more like a synaesthetic dream than a chat with another human. It doesn’t really matter how it happens, just that you figure out how it works for you and for Them, and keep practicing to attain both breadth and depth to your communications.


~ by Dver on February 27, 2015.

10 Responses to “Beyond the God-Phone”

  1. I know I needed a refreshing to this term and metaphor of Godphone. Thank you!

  2. Reblogged this on Gangleri's Grove and commented:
    Another important article by Dver, talking about levels of “signal clarity”…very much worth reading.

  3. My relationship is often like the mail metaphor, but sometimes it’s almost like being in contact with a local legislator. I can petition them, I can send them letters or emails, and if I -really- want, I can go through the rigamarole involved in getting a meeting with them to speak to them in real-time. It’s a lot of work, and the meeting may only last few minutes, but I can get that meeting if I really need to or what I want to talk to them about is worth their while.

    • As a lay worshiper, I find the mail metaphor to be closer to my experience as well (though I assume that the gods can hear me in “real-time” if they want to).

      The bureaucratic metaphor is actually an extremely common one in Chinese religion: it’s basically the default mode, though definitely not the only mode (as Sinologists used to imply).

      I’m reading a book right now called Unruly Gods: Divinity and Society in China, that talks a lot about non-bureaucratic (i.e. more personal) modes of relating to deity.

  4. Here’s a transcript of me reading this:

    “Like that sometimes.”
    “Dry spells, tell me all about ’em.”
    “Yep, uh-huh, HELLS YEAH, yep…”
    “Follows your dominant senses, reminds me to work on vision more…”
    “YEP YEP …”

  5. it’s taken years to unfold to the degree i’ve got so far, and it’s very very much as you describe here. i rarely achieve ‘godphone’ but oh my! it’s SO overwhelmingly exhilarating when i do!
    most of the time it’s much more subtle, and i doubted most of it for an awfully long time. i’m still unsure fairly frequently, but the more i try to remain open and tuned in, the greater the variety of ways in which They are able to get through my myopic head.🙂 khairete

    • I strongly believe that the more we pay attention to the signs and communications we receive from the gods, the more They will send (because hey, we’re actually listening!), and over time this develops into a much more frequent back-and-forth, embedded in our daily lives. We just need to take the risk of believing in what we’re experiencing.

  6. […] Read the full article […]

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