Why is (a) god or higher power not answering your prayers — part 2.
This article is not for atheists (it goes without saying). I do not proselystise.
As the title suggests, I am writing a part 2 to a topic I’ve already covered in the past. In case you missed it, here is the link. Before you keep reading here, I suggest you at least take a look at the first article, as it could already have an answer to your question. Yes, I know, it’s very long, but it needs to be that long because that’s what happens when we need to clarify that sometimes, people don’t need religious help, but psychological help instead. It takes a lot of words to cover some of the most common mental health issues that drive people to religion — for example: self-centeredness, fear, outrage, and despair (but if you give that article a chance, you won’t regret it).
Does that god or higher power have a reason to respond to you?
Pay attention here: I don’t mean to say a higher power wouldn’t care about you just because you’re smaller. In all fairness, I don’t know. It could very well be that they do care a whole bunch about people (I mean… We wouldn’t have stories of miracles in every religion if the gods DIDN’T care. Right?). So, hold your horses here.
My point is a different deal entirely: I’m saying that maybe you picked a deity who is incompatible with you. Try another one, OR make the changes you need to make in order to become more compatible with this deity. It’s your choice, in the end of the day.
I will give you Hellenic examples to show what I mean. If you’re not a Hellenist (or polytheist at all…), feel free to jump straight to the conclusion, as it could be useful for my readers of other faiths.
1. Zeus is not responding.
Short answer: have you tried being more flexible?
Long answer: This goes without saying (and I won’t repeat for the other scenarios below, but please take it as a given), the bare minimum you have to do in order to approach a deity is to learn their myths. It’s like basic respect. Be considerate.
With Zeus specifically, we know he was the only son of Kronos not swallowed by his father (because, according to myth, his mother Rhea hid him). Now, assuming you know better than to take myths literally, let’s take a look at what this means: Zeus is a god of “fate”; Kronos is a god of “time”. It doesn’t take much for one to conclude that time does indeed swallow everything. It’s implacable. You can’t reverse or defeat time. Or can you? Well, if we get into belief territory now, the Ancient Greek believed there was only one thing capable of “defeating” time and reversing or changing its plans: fate itself. Take your own conclusion.
Perhaps he is simply not containable — or not entirely containable — anywhere. That’s where the “sex out of marriage” metaphors come in.
Zeus is a god that makes the impossible happen… Or is he only doing what’s possible, but we interpret some of it as “impossible” because we have a limited understanding of things? Food for thought. Either way, he doesn’t strike me as the kind of deity who would be interested in talking to a close-minded person. I’m not saying “be gullible”, no, it’s not that… But if you’re the kind of person who interprets everything in a very linear way and forget to consider other possibilities along the way (even very logical and feasible possibilities, but you just discard them automatically to settle for ONE conclusion because you like “being right”)… Maybe Zeus is not the god for you. Try Kronos instead. He probably works as linearly as time itself. (Or not. I don’t know. But it’s by exploring opposites that you’ll find “your” god).
2. Aphrodite is not responding.
Short answer: have you tried caring about love?
Long answer: I’m not talking about intentions, I’m talking about what you’re ACTUALLY doing. A lot of things look good on paper, but when you dig deeper, you’ll see they’re fake. It’s like bluffing during poker. Yeah, Aphrodite probably isn’t a fan of that. She personifies love, and as such, she can be very fast. There is no hesitation when it comes to love. Either you love, or you don’t. There are a lot of things we call “love”, but that doesn’t mean it’s always real. She wants the real stuff.
I’ll take a wild guess here, and it might be more or less true in each individual person’s scenario: let’s say one would pursue Aphrodite because that person is interested in becoming more attractive or desirable. That’s valid, but it’s probably not enough to inspire COMPATIBILITY with her. You see, I’m not saying it’s wrong to want what you want, but perhaps it’s a bit one-sided. Why not ALSO, at the same time, be willing to learn how to desire and be attracted by others (and completely surrender to that feeling, without fear)? Now THAT’S something Aphrodite would enjoy seeing. Keep in mind she is not Eros (or Cupid). She’s his mother. She encompasses a lot more, and tends to look at things from a two-way-road perspective. Again, learn the myths.
The above was a very simplistic example — only one facet of love, and probably not the most important one — but I hope it helps with food for thought.
3. Apollon is not responding.
Short answer: have you tried resisting the urge to lie?
Long answer: Apollon is, hands down, one of the most sought-after Greek gods. Not without good reason! He represents so many things that it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly he is a god of. And the more you study, the more confused you get. So… Let’s try a different approach? Try being a bit more intuitive and less pragmatic. What do people commonly associate him with? The sun. “But Helios is the sun, not Apollon”, I can already hear pedantic Hellenists shouting. Yes, I know, calm down. Maybe this isn’t entirely accurate… But did it happen out of the blue? For no reason? Are you sure?
Let’s answer that with a question, please take it as a metaphor: Can a blind person tell if they’re under the sun or not? I mean… Maybe taking them to a dark room with a heater on the ceiling would have the same effect?
Apollon is “everywhere” and yet he’s hard to reach. The Ancients called him The Distant (learn his epithets…). He superficially relates to everyone, but if you want some 1:1 attention from him, this will require sacrifices. One of them being, resist the urge to tell lies. Yes, even white lies. Even (and especially!) the lies you tell YOURSELF. Lies rely on obscurity and mischief to work; he is not about that. This is a price you pay for approaching a god of truth and revelation; a god who cuts no corners and goes straight to the point (or target) every time.
That’s not to say lying is “bad”. I’m simply saying what Apollon is or isn’t. His opposite, Dionysus, even REPRESENTS theatre (among many other things). He’s not a bad god at all because life is multifaceted, and if you’re truthful with everyone, you’ll end up in trouble. Dionysus is necessary, and it could be that he is more your thing than Apollon. Look him up.
4. Hekate is not responding.
Short answer: have you tried embracing your feminine side?
Long answer: look, I know she’s popular with witches. Commonly regarded as a god of sorcery, of course Hekate would grow in popularity with today’s occultist enthusiasts; but this is not to say everyone gets through to her.
First of all, Hekate probably does not want you to show off. Or maybe she doesn’t care what you do with your life, but doesn’t want you to show off your work with her, specifically. Again, this is not about shame and blame. This is about “what is compatible” and “what is not compatible” with her energy. Do you want her energy around? Well, be compatible. Hekate’s cultus is one of the first things that gave rise to the whole idea of “Occult”. She is a god of the dark; the occult; the hidden. She works with truth — like Apollon — but not with revelation; Or not too much.
Hekate is also concerned with protecting what’s fragile — which gave rise to her motherly domains, and also explains why she sided with the “smaller” gods instead of fellow titans in the myths. So… If you have too much toxic masculinity going on, maybe rethink some of that. When you decide to have the courage to be soft in a world that values toughness, maybe Hekate will like you more.
(But if you don’t wanna, that’s ok too. I am personally not into Hekate. I just respect her).
There are countless other gods I could talk about, but this would make the article needlessly long and hard to navigate. (I welcome requests, though. Let me know in the comments).
It’s always worth it to mention that here in the Industrial West, we have been conditioned for Monotheism. Just take a look at your family tree: how many generations were Christian or some other kind of Abrahamic? I bet it’s more than 3, at the very least. Don’t be naive to think you can undo that on your own with minimum effort and without getting uncomfortable from time to time. I understand where the immediatism comes from, but it’s not very productive.
With Monotheism, there is only one god (obviously…), so this directly implies there is only ONE WAY to be compatible with (a) god or higher power. Love it or hate it, that’s where a lot of the religious guilt and shame we know comes from. And some people who move on from that and try to embrace Polytheism, carry over some of those subconscious beliefs to the new chosen faith. It’s not intentional, but it happens. And the more you ignore it, the more trouble you will have connecting to this pantheon you love. So… let’s be brave and look into our internalised stuff? Worshipping one god does not mean you need hate the opposite god, or get into black-and-white thinking like “this is good, that is bad” (a reflection of “this is pure, that is sinful”. I think we don’t need that baggage, do we?).
Sure, Monotheism CAN be a healthy path — but only if you chose it out of your own free will. How many people can say that? Yeah, it’s pretty rare. Ideally, religious freedom would exist in the world, and people would be free to choose whether or not they feel compatible (or wanna become compatible) with a monotheistic religion’s god, OR maybe go for a different pantheon / religion. But in practice… Well, we all know what takes place. But just because this “is what it is”, doesn’t mean it’s right. We should strive to do better; we should DARE to be the change we expect in the world. And that change starts within.