The Gods are not for hire!

Ivy Neel

What led me to this topic and to write on such a subject is a lesson that I learned from experience and am continuing to learn. I’ve grown up seeing people who beg the Gods and Goddesses for perfect marks on their assignments or in buying their first homes or making sure their lives go according to plans they have made. When something thwarts them or fails, some of these folks even resort to blaming their Gods and Goddesses for “allowing such things to occur” as if the Gods and Goddesses have nothing better to do than to spend their time being Wish-Granters of the human race. It is a misunderstanding that just having blind faith, that as long as you are “devout”, everything will work out perfectly exactly as planned and just the way we want it.

The “Rent-A-God-or-Goddess” mindset of worship has culminated in the codependency of leaning on the deities for virtually everything and having unrealistic expectations of results based on the level of their devotion. Let me be clear. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having devotion. Cultivating a mindful practice of daily devotional work is not only enriching but rewarding and wonderful for the personal growth of an individual and also lends aid in understanding magical workings. However, there is such a thing as being entirely dependent on the Gods and Goddesses for needs to be met in every situation. This is where it gets tricky. One can lose a sense of individualism and of who he/she really is if there is this level of codependency.

The danger in such a habit is the lack of insight into one’s own personal journey, and in looking at only one side of ourselves. I have done this before and am still forcing myself out of these tendencies because I know how much it inhibits my learning and progress in life. I spent a good chunk of my life shuttling between theism and atheist activism. I had shunned the idea of deity because I didn’t think that any Gods or Goddesses would keep from interfering with such atrocities that plague the world. I was very angry. Of course, I came to realize that I cannot be angry with beings I insisted did not exist. I did believe in the Gods and Goddesses. But I was dependent on them to fix whatever was wrong in this world, and even more so and especially in my life. The true test of faith is having it in times of sorrow and suffering.

I learned the hard way that simply being devotional or praying every single day without doing the work myself will only yield results I don’t want or a continuation of the status-quo. It seems like common sense to know that we must do the work, right? In my heart of hearts, I knew this but I never listened to my intuition, never trusted myself but expected that I’d be trusted by others, and wanted and even demanded to be liked all the time. There is nothing more dangerous than this kind of thinking. I was doing nothing for myself but awaiting results and throwing pity-parties without realizing it, and being excessively needy of people and more so of the Gods and Goddesses. Needless to say, things did not change. And why would they? I joined the club of “WE NEED GODS AND GODDESSES FOR HIRE” but what was I doing in return? Simply being devout or singing praises and songs are not enough. How was I behaving as a Pagan? As a Witch? Where was my personal responsibility in all this?

As someone who is not as experienced in the Occult arts or Witchcraft in general, I was just take, take, take, and pray, pray, pray, and blindly believe that “THEY’LL TAKE CARE OF IT ALL”… but it wasn’t until some real hardships and challenges came my way that I had to stop such thinking. It is still difficult at times to not slip into those old habits. I look at it this way, parents look after their children through infancy and a majority of their teen years. They potty-train their children, wean them off of breast-feeding and the bottle, teach them to do things for themselves. We learn then to do things unsupervised and grow up, so to speak. Similarly, I am doing that kind of learning in regards to the Gods and Goddesses.

They held my hands long enough and now, I must let go of the training wheels and get my footing in place on my own. Yes, I’ll fall down. Yes, I’ll probably fail at a lot of things but I won’t expect the Gods and Goddesses to step in and clean up my messes. They have parented me enough. It is time for me to grow up, to accept parts of me that I have pushed away, to recognize myself for who I really am. It’s a challenge and daily work, and is going to be a long road before I can reach the destination I would like, but it’s my job to do so, and because I set it out. I will always honor the Gods and Goddesses and do my devotional work, but it’s important to remember these things. Some lessons are meant to be learned the hard way but what we do after is up to us. This is a “hero’s journey” and some paths lead us places we may not like. I’ve discovered quite a few of them, but I know now to keep going.


Ivy Neel

Ivy Neel is a Witch, devotee of Kali and the Morrigan, teacher and writer.

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