“Commitment handfasts us to the object of that commitment, and like a marriage it requires regular attendance and attention. For example, we cannot claim to be committed to a lover unless he or she can depend on us when we’re needed. Similarly, one cannot claim devotion to a spiritual practice or path honored only on solstices, Sundays, or Sabbats…spiritually speaking, commitment is the full consignment of the magickal self – with no provision for default, no requirement for success, and no room for regret.”
Commitment by Jesse Wolf Hardin in Cakes & Ale for the Pagan Soul
Church is Full on Holidays
I read this editorial in Cakes & Ale the other day and it struck home, hard. Recently I’ve made a strong connection with Frigga and her presence in my life has been one that does not allow conditional devotion. This queen is an all-or-nothing kind of gal and my experiences with her have led me to think on my past experiences as a pagan and how I and other spiritually minded people of all faiths that I have met treat the divine, devotion, and our path.
Most pagans I know consider themselves more spiritually minded than most Christians they know. I have heard many disdainful remarks towards Christians who seem to only live their faith on Sundays or, worse, on Christmas and Easter. To be fair, I’ve heard similar remarks from Christians themselves and, actually, there is some truth in it. What I feel should also be pointed out is that many pagans also fall into this category – mouthing and dancing along to known practices only on the Sabbats or only on the full moon. I see a lot of witches talking about spells and the craft but very few really living it beyond the pagan chat rooms or monthly/bi-monthly meetups.
Apprehension & Service
I will say that not all witches are religious or spiritual – some only practice the craft and have no divine ties to their work. Good for them. This post is about those who follow a religion, especially those with a Matron/Patron deity that they honor, worship, and/or serve.
Some pagans absolutely HATE it when I mention servitude in regards to deity and witchcraft. This brings about ideas of submission, Christian ideals, and entrapment. Some pagans go so far as to say that the gods have no interest at all in servants and to suggest so or even go so far as discuss god-slaves is blasphemy. Others argue that the gods have no need of servants, that they can easily do whatever it is that they want doing on this plane without aid of humans. You might be asking, what the hell does commitment, Frigga, and devotion have to do with servitude and wondering why I am getting off on a tangent.
Before I go further, I do want to say that whatever way you practice your craft and faith is your own business and no one, including me, has a right to tell you how to do it. I only want to point out a few things that I observe and my opinions and feelings on them.
While no deity has any interest in forcing a human to do something for them, I have learned in my experiences and in reading and talking to other pagans that have experienced divine presences, that they do have tasks they desire humans to perform for them on this earthly plane. I won’t attempt to speculate much on whether or not the divine could do this themselves – I don’t think one should risk the divine proving them wrong – but it does seem that there are some duties and tasks they would prefer we do instead.
In Christianity, God charges His followers to perform duties that include telling others of Him, charitable works, healing, and more. Perhaps it is the similarity to the Christian faith that many pagans are trying to avoid when they say that their gods have no need of servants or tasks performed here.
In my experience and reading, the Christian God doesn’t seem to hold the corner market on asking/telling humans what they need to do. In fact, its not just the divine that does this but also our guardians and guides.
A few years ago, i was led by spirit and a couple of my guides to learn Reiki and Sekhmet Sekhem in order to heal some people I know as well as myself. I didn’t have an interest in Reiki or energy healing before but I did was I was inspired to do and ended up needed this hands-on healing many times sense even though I don’t advertise my ability to do it. Recently, this divine urging has come from Frigga. I won’t go into detail as to what all has happened with her but I will say that part of it was a quick request from me for her to look over a woman and her baby who was in NICU. She said I would have to do some work in order to get that aid.
Part of the committment to the divine is doing things we aren’t gung ho for and another part is understanding that there is a give and take. Some consider this keeping the universe in balance, others believe that the gods, like humans, simply aren’t always interested in doing something for nothing.
So I had to add my own work into her blessing by creating a physical item for her to work through in the life of this woman and child. I later came to understand that, because the woman was not a follower or believer in Frigga, she needed something to connect her with them when the circumstances would otherwise involve prayer, belief, and intention on the part of someone else.
Hands of Gods
Just a random question to pagans who think that the divine has no need for us to perform tasks – why in the world would they 1) help us at all and 2) would we leave offerings to them when we ask for aid? Just curious, what’s your thoughts?
What I think: Sometimes the divine needs its followers and god-servants to do the work for them on this plane because so many people do not believe. Without belief, the work cannot be done. So the divine needs those few the believe for them.
What does this have to do with Commitment?
Well, how can we do the work of and for the divine if we only acknowledge them maybe once a week, once a month, once a blue moon? How can we expect to work with them or them to work through us if we do not attend to that relationship regularly? How can we ask for their aid and guidance if we do not also give back by doing what they ask of us here? Not long after I did what Frigga asked me, I was considering going to a pagan event and honoring her there. That night I had a dream that I was at said event and someone called for a toast to the Mother Goddess. We all drank and I drained my cup as I mentally honored Frigga. She then spoke to me, admonishing me for being among a group of people that said they honor the gods but do not mean it. She said they are like children, pretending at play, except that even children have reverence.
My lesson from this dream is it is better to speak to your gods and commit to them in true and dedicated devotion alone – even if your words are jumbled, don’t rhyme, or, heaven forbid, you don’t even have a ceremonial circle or altar or anything than it is to join together and have a party with all the right words and costumes and dance but have no love or dedication in your hearts.