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Garman Lord

on

Talking About the Gods

 

To my mind, on the one hand, one should feel the same way about talking about
them as talking about a dear friend. We always instinctively avoid talking
loosely about a dear friend, because we know how easily loose talk of ours
taken out of context could get back round to him and corrupt the friendship.
That's the same kind of carefulness we should always use when talking about
the gods. And the same applies in talking _to_ the gods; that always calls
for "company manners" on our parts. It should be the same way as you might
talk to someone noble, or perhaps some famous celebrity that you much admire
and finally get a chance to meet. Your talk should be easy and friendly and
sincere, always truthful, but diplomatic, not to mention as eloquent and
courtly as their own if you can manage it. This is why decorum is so
important. The gods despise not only rudeness to them, but just as much
amongst ourselves in their presence or hearing. They come to us for special
thankful occasion, not for a trifling clown act or buffoon show. It's also
why it is preferable to try to put and keep them in a good mood. In Theodism
one favorite way of doing that is frequently addressing them in such noble
elder tongues as how they were used to being addressed in former and better
days, since to them that's a mark of courtesy, as something they know it is
not all that easy for us to do.

However, with the gods, there is one more important thing; being careful not
to bandy their names about. After all, we don't even normally do that with
friends and family. In fact, our habit of assigning nicknames and pet names,
often as not quite ridiculous ones, to loved ones, is not without special
occult meaning; it is a way of deflecting inadvertent ill luck or ill will
from them by avoiding overusing their proper names in reference to them. As
noted above, little wights have big ears! Similarly with the gods; all those
long grocery-lists of bynames are not mere poetic conceits. Truth to tell,
the modern Reawakening community commonly tosses god-names around in casual
and even trifling ways that the heathens of old would have considered taboo.
The eye-wink, for instance, was originally invented as a cryptic way of
referring to a certain one-eyed god without mentioning him by name.

In general, it is probably okay to cite gods by proper name formally in
expository or disquisitional lore-talk such as the above discussion, but in
any more casual talk, references really ought to be indirect, by kenning and
byname, if we want to show enough respect for their luck to be worthy of some
share of it ourselves. This is another of those ways in which I think Asatru,
not to bash Asatru unnecessarily, of course, nonetheless too often goes
wrong. They constantly kick holy names around as if they were mere
brand-names or something, not to mention scribbling runes and rune-lore
around in public places like so much grafitti. I think Asatru could well
become much holier and luckier in maturer times than now by beginning to
evolve a maturer and more serious and sincere sense of the Holy; just one
man's opinion, of course.