How we speak to the gods

I just happened upon this blog post about speaking to the gods silently. The author talks about how, despite some apparent dissent from other polytheists, she generally speaks to her god silently, in her head, and that she does not doubt the gods are able to hear us that way. Neither do I, for the most part – if the gods can speak directly into our own minds (without us “hearing” Their voices the way we might hear the voice of another person), I see no reason They can’t receive communications via the same process in reverse.


This topic happens to be timely for me, as I’ve recently begun doing the opposite sometimes (especially around the house), at least with some of my spirits. But the reason has nothing to do with the mechanics of material-spirit communication. It has to do more with human psychology.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve found that speaking out loud to my spirits, as I would to any physical person, subtly shifts my experience. Perhaps it’s that it signals to my subconscious that I am truly talking to another being, and not to myself (since I also talk to myself a lot, silently, in my own head, even using the second person). Perhaps it’s that it feels noticeably bold, walking around my house, seemingly “alone” but vocalizing my interaction with another being that no one else would be able to see or hear – it kind of jolts me into a more aware and present state. Perhaps it’s simply that doing spiritual things more tangibly in the material world, using our physical senses, is almost always a good way to make them more powerful.

It’s not something I’m entirely comfortable with yet, which is also a reason I want to be doing it more.

None of this negates the worth of speaking silently, and I still do that a lot too. But it’s something to consider.

~ by Dver on September 9, 2015.

11 Responses to “How we speak to the gods”

  1. I have found myself doing the same thing recently. The Gods can likely hear us when we call to Them, but saying Their names, praises, prayers out loud is rather like making the experience real. It’s a risk to be speaking aloud or being heard by others. (I am not out to family about my other spiritual practices.)

    Though, I tend to be more vocal/audible when I am formally addressing the Gods. If I’m about to sleep, or am in a public place, my prayers are informal and thus, silent.

  2. I am wondering how my communication will change as I consciously start forcing myself to talk out loud to demonstrate religious practices with my daughter. It’s nice to read the experience of someone who is shifting towards it. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

  3. i do the silent thing a lot of the time, as i spend a lot of time talking to Them when others are around. so i agree with her that out-loud sound isn’t necessary for Them to hear us.
    but Hermes requires of me that i use my voice when addressing Him most of the time. something about the breath, the activation of the vocal chords, making the air into sound, is important for my relationship with Him.
    but sometimes i also do deliberately silent ritual, during a portion of the anthesteria, and during some of the greater mysteries. but it’s a different quality of silence than when i send up a silent ‘thanks!’ for avoiding a deer when i’m driving with guests in the car.

  4. This made me consider my own practise which had meet really been examined before. I mostly speak out loud to myself. I think speaking has a role in helping me form my thought and make them more real. Following the form and flow of speech gives greater meaning and depth. It is like poetry that I know. I also like to think of the vibratory nature of sound as being. Speaking the names and even speaking a language like Irish can be great

  5. As a practitioner of Ancient Near Eastern religion(s), I say virtually everything aloud in prayer and solitary ritual, even if at a whisper (officiants need to speak throughout; celebrants don’t always have to, and in a group ritual I haven’t yet been and wouldn’t likely be in an officiating position). The spoken (and written) word is held sacred and considered “actuating” across all of them (that’s pretty safe to say without having to invoke hyperbole), and conducting word and speech in my head isn’t enough, even if and when I can perceive the presence of [God] internally and privately somehow, and irrespective of the omniscient quality and other “omni-” qualities ascribed to ANE Gods. To not speak the words, or at the very least write them and/or depict what the words are doing, diminishes the heka of it / takes the “dunnu” out of it / doesn’t define direction well.

    When I prepare a prayer/hymn/litany or ritual, and recite and conduct externally, not only is it more direct where [God] is concerned, it’s a lot less cluttered and a lot less bogged-down by intrusive thoughts and the like. Recitation allows me to have a program to let go of my self and intrusive thoughts in, and focus far more on [God] with, because it’s all been premeditated. There is a profound and distinct difference and attached result between *thinking* about a hymn or litany or “mantra”-type utterance, and saying it aloud.

    As a somewhat-related aside, I have a fear that, in keeping things in my own head too much via internal dialogues and not giving “external body” to prayer and ritual and so forth, I might be in greater danger of becoming “religiously solipsist,” and not simply distracted. Not that overwhelmingly solitary practice doesn’t make one prone to that already, but conducting prayers and other forms of religious dialogue in one’s own head too routinely, at least to me, seems like it would worsen the odds.

    I by no means totally discount “talking to [God] in your head.” Sometimes, that’s all a person can do (moreover, do well and fully), and that’s certainly, infinitely better than saying nothing at all to one’s God(s) in the conventional way.

  6. I realized just recently that I have been ‘soft-talking’ during my morning devotions – not quite speaking in a whisper, but certainly more quietly than my normal tone of voice. I couldn’t tell you when or why this started, just that it is a habit I have slipped into.

    Then, a few weeks back, I caught myself doing it, and realized that my entire demeanor was “not to disturb you but…,” and burst out laughing at myself, before completing my morning rounds in a more confidant and boisterous voice. Since then I’ve kept things more ‘conversational’ and things feel much better, which I take as a good sign.

  7. I do both in my own practice, but I do notice the difference when I speak aloud. For me, vocalizing my thoughts or verbal offerings makes me more attentive, and the connection to Them feels different in a way I’m not sure I know how to describe. More immediate, perhaps (in the sense of proximity, not speed). As mentioned by another commenter, I also think there’s something about the physical connection to air, the vibration of my vocal cords. I think I’ll always keep a place for each, partly for the convenience of being able to speak to Them at times when it might not be feasible to speak aloud.

  8. […] Source: How we speak to the gods […]

  9. I switch back and forth between the two, but it often depends on whether I’m in ritual headspace. If I’m deep in ritual headspace, the Gods feel more present to me than do people who aren’t taking part in the ritual. As a result, I’ve found that I’ll address the Gods out loud, but actually /not hear/ other people around me. (Luckily, the other people in question are usually my husband, who knows why that’s going on.)

    • This underlines, for me, the even greater necessity to be completely comfortable within the ritual space and feel very safe. I think that this is why I shun larger rituals… too many people… too difficult to communicate clearly.

  10. […] Source : How we speak to the gods […]

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