I figure while I’m at it, I also might as well answer a few more of Mahud’s excellent questions.
How do Pagan ?gods? have an active role in your life?
To answer this question, I think it’s important to pair it with another question: What is the nature of the gods? After all, the nature of a divine being is going to seriously affect how you interract with such a being.
Different Pagans have different understanding of what the gods are. Some (and for the most part, I fall into this category) see them as individual beings. Others see them as facets of a single Supreme Divinity. Others see the gods as archetypes developed through the collective unconscious. And there are probably other understandings that people have adopted I’m not even aware of.
As I said, I tend to see the gods as unique individuals. I accept that they may ultimately be manifestations of a single Ultimate Source. But if that’s the case, then I’m inclined to understand everything as being a manifestation of that same Ultimate Source. Gods, humans, animals, and everything else that exists come from there. But just like I’d treat different people as individuals despite being manifestations of the same Ultimate Source, I’m inclined to do the same with the gods. Some I’ve built deep relationships with. Some I know in passing. And others, well I wouldn’t know them from Horus.
Of course, the other thing to understand is that I don’t see my gods as gods in the popular sense (a sense that is mainly popular because it’s based in the Judeo-Christian understanding of Divinity, which dominates our society). That’s to say I don’t see them as omnipotent, omniscient, or even omnipresent. To me, my gods are more like the spirits of many indegenous tribes.
I think that Gardner put it best when he talked about the gods of witchcraft as being “little gods” (as opposed to an all-powerful creator). They were great, but their greatness ultimately had limits, too. In fact, Gardner talked about one of those limits when he said that the gods of the witches “wanted men to be happy, but needed man’s help to bring about their happiness.” (That may not be an exact quote, but I don’t have my copy of Witchcraft Today with me.)
And that leads me to the original question about the active role the gods have in my life. I see my relationship with my gods as being an active partnership. They both want things for me and want things from me. And these two things often interrelate. Years ago, I once wrote that the point of witchcraft (at least as I understand and practice it) was to manifest the nature and gifts of the gods into your life and the lives of those around you. Today, I think that’s still the most concise answer I can give, even if it is a little vague.
So I talk to my gods in trance. I pray to them. I draw their essence down into my life. All to bring about this manifestation I’m talking about.
Do some pagans create their own gods?
Absolutely. It’s never been something I’ve personally felt a need or desire to do, and I have to wonder how effective such a practice is. But to each their own, I suppose.
Other Questions and Answers
Nature and Paganism