Loving the Gods When We Really Don’t Want To

It’s easy to love the Gods when things are going well in our lives. It’s not so easy when every day is a struggle. It’s not so easy when mired in depression or pain or when one’s life is shattering. It’s when we need the Gods the most that it’s the hardest to reach out to Them. It’s so hard then not to become like churlish children, blaming Them, spewing vitriol at Them, pushing Them away in a myriad of ways. I think They understand when we do this (and no matter how devoted we are, I think we all do this sooner or later). I don’t think They blame us for our humanity but I have, in my own moments where I clutched at whatever shards of grace were allowed me, had glimpses of how deeply They ache for us when we suffer. Loki told me once that the Gods number every tear and I believe that to this day, though it’s damned hard to remember when all you want to do is smash your shrines and screech to the heavens, “why?”. (No, this is not a reflection on my own personal life, though there have been times; rather it’s something that hit me strongly when I was watching the tail end of a random tv show that dealt with pain and finding faith despite it). One would think loving the Gods would make things all better – and I think it does, but it doesn’t remove challenges and obstacles and the pain of living, of navigating a sad and twisted world. We are shaped by that world after all and we are human. There is fragility and magnificence, cruelty and kindness in that state of being. It’s up to us what we choose to nourish. One of the most courageous things we can do is choose, consciously choose (and it is a choice) to nourish devotion in the midst of crises.

One of the biggest graces that we’re given though is that the Gods will wait for us. As much pain as I think we cause Them, They are there even when we deny or try to push Them away. I think one of the most important things we can do for ourselves spiritually is not allow jealousy or bitterness or pain or anything else twist our devotional relationships with Them out of true. I pray about this all the time. I pray for lay people and specialists, for those struggling and those momentarily secure in their purpose. Prayer is a powerful, potent tool in this struggle and I think one of the things it does is remind and restore us in relationship to our Gods. It opens us up to Their grace. That’s no small things. The times we want to pray the least are the times we desperately need to reach out. It should be our go-to when things become difficult. (I learned this recently the hard way from Sigyn). This is why it’s so important to develop good devotional habits when things are going well, consistencies that we hold to as a matter of course, a base line that can sustain us when our world falls apart because no matter how devout we are, we move in a fractured world, a mortal world, an imperfect world and those earthquakes will come. How we choose to respond can bring us so much deeper into devotion and faith, can provide us with the most potent of all lifelines or…we can mire ourselves in our own sense of isolation. The Gods don’t do that, we in our pain do it to ourselves. Those times that hurt the most are opportunities to renew ourselves in the presence of our Gods and when we commit to that, we can indeed endure.


About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on June 11, 2018, in devotional work, Lived Polytheism, theology, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Beautifully written and with much compassion. I just wanted to mention acceptance of what is, because when I came to that act of surrendering my human will, it became second nature to turn in prayer and to consciously say, “Thank you for whatever comes, because it will shape me, temper me, into better service.” Not saying it is easy, just that it is a thing that works for me usually. It becomes a devotional practice no matter how tired or overworked I feel from the needs of the day to day, to say a simple and sincere, “Thank you.” And that opens the door for Them to light up my life again. To feel Their Presence and Their Love no matter how sad or shattered the outer world feels in any given moment.

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    • ganglerisgrove

      My adopted mom had a prayer she said every day to Loki, Whom she loved dearly. There was one line that she said was the hardest thing she ever surrendered to her Gods: “I love You kind and I love You cruel.” I think about that sometimes when I am mired in my own struggles because I know there is so much we do not understand about the way of the Holy Ones and Their plan and I know Their love is a thing that sustains and is unmoving throughout as you so eloquently say, the shattered outer world in which we move.

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  2. Sometimes in my darker times my love for the gods is like a light in a dark room and it does help.

    Other times I feel alone in that dark room with no light anywhere and it seems hard, so hard, as you’ve said, to make a connection or feel them close-by. In the worst moments sometimes that awful part of my mind that’s the most negative wonders if I just imagined the love that I know to be there when I’m in a better state of mind. It is in those times hard, as you say, not to feel a bit abandoned or isolated.

    Thanks for posting this. I love the gods and the one I’m devoted to very deeply, but runs of bad luck where it feels like my butt has been repeatedly kicked into the mud do put a strain on my spiritual life. 😦

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  3. ” I pray for lay people and specialists, for those struggling and those momentarily secure in their purpose.” Thank you for this, it can be very easy to feel isolated and that thought is helpful. I think I might take up this practice too.

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