History, Culture & Worship, Relationships Between Gods and Mortals, The Gods, Worship

The Gods: Maybe Not Omnipresent, but Surely Not Limited by Time or Space Either

Losungen, Emil Doepler

As far as I know, the term “godphone” came about as a reaction to the casual way in which many adherents to resurrected polytheistic religions talk about their communications with the gods. I can understand the reaction. It does take somewhat of a paradigm shift to go from purely secular thought to being able to swallow the idea of the gods in a modern setting, talking to living people now.

That said, I disagree with the idea that the casualness is silly, and that is because the Germanic and Norse gods, whether in folklore or the voice in my and other worshipers’ minds, are real-time experiences. They are hardly ever formal in folklore, even though the speaking style of people recorded long ago may make it seem that way, and in the same folklore, they are also wont to acting impulsively. The term “godphone” is based on the assumption that the gods are trapped in a time gone by, having not grown and changed with mortals, and are incapable of speaking to us in our modern dialects and as spontaneously as we speak to them.

In the time of the original heathens, it was never a question that the gods adapted to changing social climates, customs, and language. If that weren’t true–if the original heathens were as dedicated to preserving the gods in dark, stuffy boxes as many of us are now–each god would have only one name across hundreds and hundreds of miles, would have only one version of any myth involving them, would have never evolved from their most ancient Proto-Germanic and Proto-Indo-European forms. Across hundreds of miles and thousands of years, it seems almost impossible that two separate people never had completely unrelated interactions with the same god at the same time. At the same time as Thor was supposedly shipwrecking the missionary Þangbrandr*, surely he was also giving his blessing to at least one other ship, or marriage, or field full of crops.

The Heathen gods may not be omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent, but to presume that they confined by the same limitations as we are seems at best unimaginative, and at worst, regressive. The gods are frequently present in my life, and in my mind’s voice, and while I still actively practice discernment when it comes to communications with the gods, I have no reason to assume right off the bat that the frequency with which I experience them is a product of wishful thinking or New Age fluff.

Let the gods grow. Let them change. Let them adapt, and at the same time, let them be as they are. We may love and cherish and admire them, but they are still beyond our understanding in so many ways; time and space likely do not play by the same rules for them as they do for us.

*According to the skald Steinunn Refsdóttir, who asserted that Þórr/Thor had challenged Jesus Christ to hand-to-hand combat.

© Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and Bragiteilen.com, 2018. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and Bragiteilen.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

2 thoughts on “The Gods: Maybe Not Omnipresent, but Surely Not Limited by Time or Space Either”

    1. Speaking as a person who does experience psychosis, I’m going to say that the answer is a very firm no. The hallucinations I’ve had feel so fundamentally different from my interactions with the gods that the thought that they might be the same thing has never even crossed my mind. Like I said though, I do make efforts to be discerning about whether a thought in my head is the voice of a god or my own internal voice.
      This blog is predicated on the assumption that the gods exist and have influence over the realm of mortals. While I can say that the communications aren’t a symptom of psychosis, the acceptance of them is definitely based on faith in the preternatural, and if the question is whether or not that’s real, I obviously can’t answer that.

      Liked by 1 person

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