The Gods Are Not Your Playthings — A Rant

There’s this attitude, mentioned briefly in this post, that I see a lot in pagandom and it drives me up the fracking wall.

It’s the attitude that the gods are our playthings.

Of course my god pays attention to me 24/7! He loves me! 

Yeah, she’s totally helping me get the guy of my dreams. Duh. 

So I told my god to do stuff, because this god is my personal lackey and will do anything I say. 

My god and me are, like, BFFs. We’re on each other’s speed dial! 

Let’s be clear here. We are all divine — I certainly believe this. I believe that the gods and mortals come from the same basic source.

But They are so much bigger than we are. Some of Them may have even started out as mortals, but at this point They are so much more. They have big fish to fry. Huge fish. Mr. Fish sized fish. Perhaps with fewer lasers.

They are not our own personal pocket gods. We do not just call Them up whenever we need a favor, or if we want to score with someone hot, or just all the damn time. They’re not playthings.

The gods are individual beings and They deserve our respect. First rule of respect: respecting boundaries and consent. 

Consent goes both ways in deity-mortal relationship. You don’t have to answer the gods’ call, if you don’t want — and They don’t have to have anything to do with you, either.

You do not ‘tell’ them to do anything. EVER. 

You ask nicely. Or you bribe. Your rule of thumb for interacting with gods should be the same rule of thumb you have for interacting with other mortals who are your equals or superiors (we can deconstruct hierarchy later, ok y’all? I’m referring to ‘other mortals who don’t work under you/didn’t come from your loins’).

Would you tell your boss to do anything? Would you tell your director to do something? You might tell them neutral things, sure, but you do not direct the director. You do not instruct your boss. You do not say “Change the lighting in this scene so it’s better for my skin tone,” or “Give me this weekend off; I’m going clubbing.” You ask nicely. Or you offer up something in return — a bribe.

Would you tell your friends to do anything? Your lover? I should bloody well hope not. I should hope you ask them nicely. Perhaps not as nicely, sometimes, when it’s been a stressful day but strong relationships should be able to weather the occasional snappishness. Hells, even when I’m stressed or irritated at the party in question, I usually work in a please with my exasperated “Can you do such-and-such….”

This should be how you interact with equals and superiors. This is how you interact with the gods.

They are not your children or your underlings. You do not instruct Them. They know so much more than you do. Do not even think you are on the same level.

And if a god does do what you say when you tell Them to do something?

Then you better buckle up, buttercup, because a storm’s coming. And you’re not going to like it when it hits.*

*By which I mean, either an actual god is stringing you along in order to destroy you utterly, which is possible because They’re not all nice, you know, or you are being manipulated by some other sort of spirit that has you convinced it’s a god. In which case, good luck staying out of the realm of Fairy. Maybe invest in some iron. Or a reality check; those are good too.

4 replies on “The Gods Are Not Your Playthings — A Rant”

  1. Maybe you should check your link- somehow I don’t think you wanted to display your attitude toward prayer as example of disrespect towards gods.;)

    But I agree that this recent pagan attitude of talking about deities like they are somewhat our equals or underlings, especially insinuating that they need us more than we need them and they should be somewhat grateful that we humans bother to do offerings or turn our worship to them, because according some hubristic conception of the universe They can’t do anything unless we feed Them our attention… is unnerving. For me at least.

    I would go as far as saying that They can like our attention, that They can find interaction with humans useful to shape the world with more precision, or that They can love us -like tools, pets, lovers, craft projects and everything in between that strikes Their fancy- but if They needed us, They would not be picky about choosing their human tools and devotees and They would rarely show us Their darkest face.

    Trying to enclose our deities in tiny, human-dependent boxes is an attempt to make Them more acceptable to our egos, or maybe to deal with our fear of beng out of control, but… I doubt it has much to do with truth.

    1. Oh, I did mean to link to that one! I mentioned the attitude briefly in my prayer post, is why. 🙂 I’ll add a clarification in this post.

      and yeah. I think the gods sort of see us like…chocolate. They’d do without us if They had to. They just don’t want to. 😉

  2. Hah – I tell the Chaotic Canine to do things – or, more precisely, I tell him not to do some or another thing – all the time. This doesn’t, however, mean he complies; it just means I’ve made it clear that I want no part of, have not signed off on, and take a dim view of whatever bit of pot-stirring he’s up to this time. Occasionally – very occasionally – this causes him to reconsider (or, ya know, consider for the first time, because Coyote).

    ‘Course, whether he’s a god or not depends on what definition of “god” one’s using.


    1. For some reason, beings like Coyote don’t really give me the god vibe. I more get the vibe of “Well, sure, if that’s the word you want to use, but it’s not really accurate.”

      Anyway. Difference in relationship, I suppose? I’m pretty sure you don’t regard your gods as playthings, even if you do tell them what to do. 😉 And a difference in attitude; there are worlds between saying “No, don’t do that,” from a place of “I want no part of this fuckery” and saying “Do this thing for me RIGHT NOW because I SAID SO” from a place of treating the god like a vending machine.

      It’s the latter I was referring to; my rants are not always clear.

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