I’m home from PantheaCon and finally catching up on sleep! I had a great time connecting with old friends, plotting shenanigans, and talking and connecting with some great people. After the workshop I taught about Badb and omens someone asked a question I get quite a lot in regards to the Morrigan, and was later asked the same question by another person later at the Con. “Do you think the gods are dangerous?” On one level I’m glad the conversation has moved past ‘Is the Morrigan dangerous?’ to us thinking about the nature of the gods in general. But it is something that comes up a lot when we are talking about dark deities or ones we perceive to be.
So are the gods dangerous? Well the short answer is, yes. And well when you get down to it, isn’t living dangerous too? Taking the subway or getting in your car can be dangerous too. But it’s a kind of a risk or danger that you accept. Working with dark and dangerous gods is kind of like that. Life is not without risks, anymore than magick or working with the gods. I’ll get to my own definition of “dangerous” in a moment, but first let’s look one or two rungs down the spiritual hierarchical chain of beings. Consider what any good teacher will tell you about Faeries. Or angels for that matter. Caution is required. The Sidhe can be beneficial or try to eat you. No one has any qualms over calling the Sidhe dangerous, because well they can be at times. But it also doesn’t negate that having a connection to them and working with them can be rewarding. The danger is understood. We understand that although many of the Sidhe have human like appearances they are inherently not human. They are something other, and we can’t expect them to play by human rules of have human moralities. Likewise with angels there is an understanding that they are not human. And if you have read the traditional descriptions of angels (they resemble fat little winged babies about as much as the Sidhe resemble Tinkerbelle) you’ll find they can be quite scary, and they rain down the wrath of god quiet often. But again we have an easier time accepting the danger, and the understanding that some are beneficial and others we may have to be warry about or take certain precautions.
To some extent the logic we apply to these beings we also must apply to the gods. No matter how human they appear or what form they take, the gods are powers so vast and unknowable that our little human minds can’t really completely comprehend them. They created stars and planets, created us and all the beings be share this planet with. I do think the gods care about us and aspects of our lives, but at the same time I think they also have their own agendas and have a must vaster picture in mind. We can’t apply human expectations on them, or moralities. We want them to be human, but they are not. That is not to say they are not a part of us, and I feel we are a part of them. There is a connection, and interaction between us, but that is not the same thing. Just as the Sidhe and angels may appear human-like in appearance, yet by definition are something completely “other”.
So where does the danger apply? Well we can’t see the gods as spiritual parents who never get mad at us. Trust me, gods can and do get mad at people. And usually you get the point pretty quick when it happens. Not showing respect to the gods, treating them like spiritual vending machines when we want something, can have consequences. Particularly depending on the god in question. Asking them for help and not really wanting to do the work can be dangerous too. You can’t expect the gods to wave a wand and make everything better, you have to earn it. They will help you, but you have to be willing to bleed a little sometimes. For example when some people have described their work with the Morrigan they will often describe a whole lot of upheaval and crap happening when they asked Her to help them bring some kind of change into their lives. The Morrigan will goad you, throw you off the deep end so to speak. She will place things in your path until you have truly dealt with your demons. It’s not to say She won’t help you, she will, but it isn’t in her nature to give you the easy way out. Similarly a friend who works with Odin has said to me in the past that “If you give him an inch, he will take a mile”. Knowing the gods you are working with, things they might find distasteful, knowing their personalities can all help when working with them.
The next logical question is of course “Are they too dangerous to work with?” My answer to that is No. But like working with the fay or other beings we must approach the work with some understand that there is a certain element of risk. The gods will challenge you, make you stronger than you have ever been, but at the same time can completely rearrange your life, and sometime it can be exactly what we need. But when we ask them for things we must realize risk is involved, we may have to let go of other things to achieve the things we want, to become the kind of person we wish to be. My relationship with and devotion to the Great Queen is deep, there is great love there, on both ends I think. It’s a relationship that has built and grown over many years. But I can’t see her as a spiritual mother who will wipe my ass either. We have to let go of that image of the gods. That image of God the Father way up in the clouds looking down benevolently on his children, doesn’t apply to my gods. And really doesn’t describe the old testament Yahweh either.
So yes gods can be dangerous, working with them has consequences and rewards. The oaths we speak to them have consequences. We must remember that these are vast and powerful beings, they are not human, not truly, no matter how close to humanity they are they are still something “other”.