In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the visionary poet and painter William Blake gave a succinct and powerful statement of the changes in religious worldview that occurred in the ancient world.
“The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities nations, and whatever their enlarged and numerous senses could perceive. And particularly they studied the genius of each city and country, placing it under its mental deity. Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of & enslaved the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood. Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales. And at length they pronounced that the Gods had ordered such things. Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.”
The poet is talking about a loss of perception: “whatever their enlarged and numerous senses could perceive.” This loss resulted from the gradually increasing emphasis, started by the Greeks and continued with Christianity, on abstract conceptions of deity rather than on the direct, sensory perception of and communication with spirits that was the norm in polytheistic animism. The exceptions are the gnostics, and mystics and clairsentient poets, who cultivated and celebrated direct perception and sensuous awareness of the sacred aliveness of creation.
– Ralph Metzner, The Well of Remembrance: Rediscovering the Earth Wisdom Myths of Northern Europe
This is a perfect illustration of why it is only through a combination of revivalism and reconstructionism that pre-Christian religions will be able to prosper again. This combination will allow us to connect the old deities with the mechanical era in which we find ourselves, and to reconnect them with the natural world that is their homeland. So, if you maintain a UPG (unverified personal gnosis) that a certain deity is connected to traffic lights or factory work, but hesitate to make the connection public without tempering it through a process of more abstract association with pre-existing correspondences, don’t. If you see a god in those traffic lights? Well, all that means is that that’s one more place in the world where they can be found.