Feeling restless, irritable, and discontent? Make your Gods bigger.

(revised version of a post from earlier this year)

Along with everything else I do, I’m a member of a 12-step program. No, it’s not AA; there are many more 12-step programs out there. No, you don’t need to know which one I’m in. It’s anonymous; that’s the point. What you do need to know is that my experience in this program has helped to re-sculpt a lot of my underlying assumptions and beliefs about the nature of Deity and how I shape my relationship with Her (and Them).

I’ve struggled for years now in making my hard polytheistic worldview work with the 12-step concept of a higher power. Sometimes I can make it work, sometimes I can’t. Even so, one of the most useful concepts I have about working with the deity comes from my program: the idea that if my Goddess is not working for me–if She is limiting me or critiquing me or undermining me or whatever–I can (and should) make my understanding of Her bigger.

Before I landed in my 12-step program, I had what amounted to a superhero understanding of the Gods. The Gods were like us, just a bit bigger. They could do a bit more than we could and could help us out a little. They had the same idiosyncrasies as humans, and were bitchy, fallible, and easily bored. My understanding of them, and how I experienced them–while interesting and exciting–did not bring me a whole lot of serenity or peace in times of crisis. While intellectually I knew that I should be able to rely on them, I did not actually feel like they would help me through tough times. After all, they were barely bigger than us humans. But then, what is the point of having a relationship with a deity if He or She is not there to help you through tough times?

I remember thinking, when I landed in my program and found out what the 12 steps were and our overall plan of attack, that this should be easy. I’ve already spent my entire adult life finding my own spirituality and delving deeper into it, often at odds with my family or the larger culture around me. Not a problem. I’m halfway there!

Or not. It’s a lot harder, it turns out. I had spent a a great deal of time and effort learning about and working with my gods, but in all that time and work, I hadn’t learned what I’ve come to consider to be the most important part of any belief system: I hadn’t learned to trust my gods.

How do you trust, how do you put complete and utter faith in fallible beings who are only slightly bigger than you? Answer: You can’t. (Or, more to the point, you shouldn’t.) Conversely, trying to smash our Gods into such small, powerless forms does us–and these Gods that we profess to love–a huge disservice.

What size is a God? To quote the Witch’s opinion on giants from Into the Woods, Gods are “just like us, only bigger. Much, MUCH bigger! Sooooo big that we are just an expendable… bug beneath its feet”. I’m not saying that we are “insignificant bugs” in the eyes of the Gods. I’m just trying to emphasize just how different in scale we from Them.

Today, I understand Them as I would an iceberg. I can see, sense, interact with only a small portion of who they really are. That’s fine–I’m human. We’re limited. It’s just the nature of what we are. However, just because my human mind can’t sense more of Them does not mean that more doesn’t exist. This is where faith, that scary five-letter word, comes in. And this is why, if you look to the foundation of much of what I write on this blog, it’s steeped very heavily in the concept of faith.

For example: when I accept that Freya is really that much bigger than me, it’s easier for me to trust Her. When I reach out to Her in this form, She’s ever-loving and comforting, serene and forgiving. She is the rock that I need Her to be. I can rest secure knowing that A) She loves me completely, B) She knows more of what’s going on in the world than I ever will and has the power to affect things that I never could, and C) She has my best interests at heart. This is not a “philosophy” or “theology” I espouse–this is a reality I’ve experienced. I’m not normally a trusting person. I need practical, tangible proof in order to believe something. She’s given it, time and time again. I’m convinced. Everything I do goes better when I reach out to Her for support and let Her guide my hand.

I still battle with Her a lot, though quite a bit less than I used to. I end up taking back the reins. I convince myself that She doesn’t know or doesn’t care, or–even worse–isn’t real. I make Her smaller that She really is, or try to void Her out of my life completely. Then, life goes downhill: Things go wrong, or take way too much time and effort than necessary. I make bad decisions that end up causing me and my loved ones a lot needless of pain and suffering. My shoulders hunch; my teeth grind, and nothing is funny, or ever will be again. I have enough experience now that I can usually catch myself going falling into this state within a couple of days, sometimes even a couple of hours. Once I do so, life starts to get better. pretty quickly.

So, yeah. I’m glad my Goddess is big. Big enough to handle me and all of my issues. Big enough to help raise me out of my own pettiness and irritability, and do so lovingly. Big enough that, even when my fear, loneliness, and depression attempts to shrink her down and smash her in a human-shaped box, She is still there, loving me and patiently waiting for me to remember that She’s actually so much bigger.

4 thoughts on “Feeling restless, irritable, and discontent? Make your Gods bigger.

  1. I’m so glad I found this today; I can relate to everything you’ve written and your advice for “making the Gods bigger” is so perfect. Bast came into my life over a year ago but I was very hesitant to let her in because I had just “broken it off” with another deity I had become very close to, and even though we parted ways peacefully I was left feeling very disheartened and I started seriously questioning my faith. Bast approached me in a very, very positive and caring way, but She also came on quite strong and intimidated me so much that I was afraid to work with Her until very recently.

    Things have been going great, but Bast keeps asking me to be more vulnerable and open with Her. I have a very hard time with that even in my human relationships, due to certain traumatic events from my childhood, so Bast has encouraged me to work on this so I can heal and be more at peace with myself and more comfortable being open with others, including Herself.

    It has been extremely difficult for me to let go and fully trust Her and have faith that She has my best interests in mind – especially because revisiting my childhood is extremely painful and absolutely the last thing I want to do – but I feel like I’ve gained a much better perspective after reading this post. Bast knows that this could be one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to do, but She wouldn’t ask me to try if She didn’t think it was necessary, and She certainly isn’t asking me to do it alone.

    Bast has told me repeatedly that I’m strong enough to overcome my trauma and, well, I think I can trust the judgement of a 5,000-year-old Goddess better than my own tiny inner voice of self-doubt. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.