Sometimes it is harder to receive than to give.

The moon was (is, at the time of writing this) very full and bright tonight. The sky was clear, the air just crisp with the promise of a coming fall and as per my usual hour of going out at night to go before one God or another there was fresh cool dew already on the grass. A little too cool for bare feet unfortunately, as I found by foolishly attempting to go out as such. I ended up slipping back in a little giddy and laughing at myself to fetch shoes before properly heading out.

I’ve decided that while my circumstances only allow me to do so much just now I can at least dedicate certain regular times to make offerings to the I’m currently most drawn too. That means every Wednesday night for Odin, and every full Moon for Mani thus far. Yes that means I’m giving more time for Odin than Mani, that doesn’t mean I care about Mani less, just different arrangements for different relationships. Come to think of it, I really should decide on something to do for Loki. I’m just not as sure what yet. Later I may write a little on what I’ve been doing for the Old Man on Wednesday nights, but it just doesn’t seem to be time for that yet.

I’ve spoken to Mani on quite a few nights when the moon was shining and made me think of Him since that day I wrote of in one of my earliest posts (Here for those that are curious). Helps that I work outside and largely alone doing midnight security patrols. Mostly to say how glad I was to see Him and feel His presence. Sometimes to share concern for a friend with Him. Always just to end up throwing back my head and laughing, carrying on in the moonlight in ways I haven’t for a very very long time.

Tonight though, was very different. Firstly, because I had come to honor Him with offerings and secondly because I had resolved (Partly thanks to advice from those who replied to my last post which I am very grateful for) to trust in my feelings come what may. At first things went about as I expected. I made my offering and spoke to Him of a friend I was concerned for who also happens to honor Mani.

I’m still hesitant to say what transpired next was a conversation between Mani and I. Which I suppose is largely that I fear to seem to put words in the mouth of a God as I know some do. Suffice to say, that’s how things seemed to me. I read somewhere in recent weeks (and I apologize to the author of this statement for not recalling where as I write this) the idea that Faith may be belief in something you can not prove to others. Slowly I am growing to understand the truth of this.

I sensed He was pleased. Both with the offering and that I came to Him on behalf of another and yet… that wasn’t the offering He really wanted of me. It came back to that question He had asked me when I very first met Him: “What would you have of me?”

That was the offering Mani wanted me to grant to Him. One wish. One request for myself and no one else. I spoke with Him as to why, and how that could even be considered an offering. Simple enough: it was the one thing I was the most reluctant to give and required the most trust of me. I could write for Him, pray to Him, make offerings, even sing and dance a little for Him and all manner of more serious work for Him besides. But to ask something of a God was an idea I had rejected on a number of counts.

Both in my time as a Christian and my very earliest years sorting through various Pagan ideas (which largely meant books that refer back to Wicca) I was surrounded by the notion of prayer to the Gods to ask for things. Even the most basic Lord’s Prayer contains a number of requests for divine aid on the speaker’s behalf. I had left the Church feeling as though many there leaned on YHVH and Jesus as a crutch through their prayer (I have met many Christians since who do not give me this impression). My earliest encounters with Pagans of varying types was similar, with the focus of personal interaction with the Gods being to request aid. That would be about the time I started asking “shouldn’t we be doing things for Them?” and subsequently began finding others who felt the same.

That reason for avoiding making such a request didn’t come up so much while I was speaking with Mani. I think because His having already made it clear He desired a request, any argument that came close to “I don’t think it’s appropriate for me too…” was already null and void. The real issue came back to what made it an offering and a hard one to give.

Trust. I hadn’t thought about it before, but to ask something of a God requires a certain degree of trust. Not that the God will grant the request, He may not. That’s up to the God in question. Not trust in a God, rather, trust in myself that I would not allow my expectations to change the relationship and joy that I had found. I could ask just about anything of Mani, but He may not choose to grant it. Or perhaps not fully understanding things I may ask for something that is not His to grant. It would be very easy then to say “He didn’t do this for me so I’m not going to do this for Him!” or some such nonsense in that case. I wouldn’t want that to happen.

In the end, I did try a few cop outs. Asking for Him to aid another didn’t count, that was completely off the point and I was already comfortable doing that besides. Asking for Him to “be the light that guides my path” was too vague, etc. The point was for it to be something that I might truly feel disappointed if it didn’t happen. I did finally ask for something very practical that I do need help with, though as it relates to my personal circumstances it isn’t something I’ll write of here.

For now… it’s past four in the morning here. A little earlier than when I’d sleep on a night when I’m working, but still late enough. Time for sleep.


8 responses to “Sometimes it is harder to receive than to give.

  1. I know that my perspective is probably a lot different than yours… I’ve been reading your thoughts about Mani and liking what you wrote. This post was a little special in that, even though I’m currently in a different place with my Gods, and specifically with Loki, I could relate on some level to what you described.

    I think you’re right, it is easier to give than to receive. Or, like I think it might be the case here, receiving is giving… of consideration, trust (oh, a lot and lot and lot of it), of intent.

    (btw: I relate to your reason for finding it difficult to write about what transpired between you and your Gods. Feeling uncomfortable to be possibly [it’s always a possibility, no matter how long you’ve known Them] putting words into a Deity’s mouth… I experience that as well; I try [with varying success] to limit myself to very brief quotes that only make sense in the context of my specific situation, and don’t imply a bigger picture intent on the Deity’s part… or I write poems >.< )

    • Glad to hear you found something in what I wrote to relate too. I’ve been reading what you wrote recently about lessons from Loki on mistakes that can be made when making and offering and while I haven’t run into those particular issues yet, I’ve a feeling further down my path I will, so I’m grateful to have been able to read about the lessons now.

      On “receiving is giving”, I was actually thinking back to Christmas cartoon specials when I was writing this. There was an off one (not one of the famous Rakin/Bass ones) that I can’t remember much about other than the gift the protagonist of the story wanted most was the chance to give. I suppose just as much as if I had a friend (I actually have one friend like this…) who was constantly doing things for me but never asked for anything himself would make me feel like I was missing out on part of the friendship, the Gods can feel the same way?

      Also, you do write some good poems.

      • Aw, thank you! And I’m glad you’ve found something of mine valuable — that means a lot, so thanks for the feedback 🙂

        I think that last one, about reciprocity, is an interesting thought. It reminded me of that bit in Hávamál where it says (roundabout, I don’t know the actual wording right now) that it’s better not to give than to give too much, as every gift demands compensation… something like that.

        I don’t know, but reciprocity is definitely “a thing”, but I’ve never thought of it as “missing out on a part of the relationship” — but I’m realising you’re right… heh, thanks 🙂

  2. That’s… very, very interesting. And profound. I only begin to think I understand what you’re explaining, but it sounds a tiny bit like something I experienced recently. My Lord Father asked me to demonstrate my trust in an undeniable fashion. I begin to think that our trust is at least as valuable- if not more- than our love could ever be.

      • Possibly but my gut says no. I may love some specific member of my family, say, but that doesn’t mean I trust them. Maybe it’s because trust is such a difficult thing for me personally but I do believe that trust is a more profound sentiment. Perhaps trust requires love first?

        • Huh… that does give me an interesting bundle of thoughts to roll around in my head.

          Thinking hard on it… in my deeper relationships (with my wife and the Gods I’m growing to know… that’s about the limit for the wolf just now, on that level at least) I think you’re absolutely right. It took growing to love them before I was even concious of trust issues that I had.

          On the other hand though, I can’t honestly say I love anyone in my immediate family (other than my wife, parents, siblings and blood relationions I mean), though I have a pretty good idea of the areas I can trust them implicitly in. Which… also means I have an equally good idea the areas that I can not…. not the best family dynamic I know.

          Going to have to think on it more, but definitely think you’ve posed something I haven’t properly considered before.

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