A Wealth of Friends

My lover Ember and I have decided to go through Galina Krasskova’s Devotional Polytheist Meme questions together, over the next several months. We encourage our friends to follow along, and welcome links to other people’s answers in our comments, as well as your thoughts on our answers.

What wealth have the divinities brought into your life?

It’s all about relationships and mutual support. When the gods (and ancestors, and land spirits, and so on) move in my life, it usually seems to manifest by moving people and relationships about in such a way that whatever is needed is provided. The gods have not (yet!) granted me winning lottery numbers, but even in six-month stretches of unemployment, I’ve never been too broke to feed my family. It’s been a near thing. We’ve been helped more than once by food banks and government assistance, but mostly, I’ve been blessed with good friends and a generous community.

Community support has come in many forms: short-term loans, donations from friends, even hand-me-down cars. What makes me understand this as deity-related, aside from the general feeling of being blessed, is that almost all of the friends who have helped are people I’ve met through the modern Pagan community. Many of them are people who I see, mainly, at a Dionysos devotional I host regularly.

Now, one might ask, “Isn’t crediting the generosity of mortals to acts of the gods taking credit away from the living people that have helped you?” That’s fair, but it’s not quite what I’m saying. Each individual who has helped me has done so for thier own reasons. Some of them take pride in helping others. Some appreciate things I do for the community and want to give back. Some have been helped by me in the past, and are happy to return the favor.

Every one of us has had insights and inspriations, lucky breaks and life situations that have evolved in unexpected directions. That all these factors came together in such a way that folks who had the ability to help, and the inclination to do so, at the time I needed help certainly feels like someone’s pulling strings in my favor.

Some of this is coincidence, some of it is just human communities functioning the way they’re supposed to. If one is inclined to believe that the gods and spirits move behind the apparent events of the world, pushing things that could have gone one way to go another instead, it’s not a great leap to see their influence in at least some of this.

One might also ask, “Well, if the gods were providing wealth, why were you unemployed in the first place?” The gods are wise and powerful, but neither omniscient nor omnipotent. I can’t expect them to always know what kinds of help I might need, and I may need help that they can’t give, or at least, can’t give right now.

For that matter, I’m not always good at accepting (or even noticing) what they offer when they do help. My vision is limited, and my own hang-ups include a deep-seated sense of not being worthy of the attention and assistance of others. Both of these are things the gods are working on–sometimes less gently than others–but they’re still my own limits, and not theirs.

Admittedly, I’m a much more community oriented polytheist than some of the folks blogging out there, but it seems to me that striving for right relationship with the gods and spirits fosters right relationship with the communities connected to those powers. The most important things the gods do in my life, I’ve found, aren’t visions or miracles. No, the really important things are the strange twists of fate that keep the whole thing from crashing, despite my own limitations and occasionally bad decisions.

Ember’s answer can be found at her blog, Embervoices.

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About Lon Sarver

Lon Sarver is a polytheist priest of Dionysos, living in the San Francisco Bay Area and contemplating (with a healthy amount of dread) making a second attempt at a career in Marriage and Family Therapy. View all posts by Lon Sarver

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