• Jess

Changing Channels: Shifting Practice

Disclaimer: What I share in this blog post is based on my UPG, my unverified personal gnosis. Your experience with gods and spirits may vary, and though I've spoken with many other practitioners who've expressed similar sentiments (SVP or shared personal gnosis), it's not my intention to put forward my own experience as universal. Your mileage may vary.

Maybe you've been on this path for a while, happily working with the gods that call to you. Then, one day, something feels...off. It's harder to hear them or it feels like they don't hear you. The prayers and chants that used to roll off your tongue feel heavy and making offerings feels like a chore. Where did the magick go?

Sometimes, our time working with a deity has come to a natural end. Perhaps you asked for their help in healing from a break-up, and now that you've healed, there's no need for them to work alongside you. It's also common for deities to "foster" a practitioner until they're ready to work with the deity or deities who have claimed them.

For example, before I worked with my primary goddess, I first encountered Persephone and Ereshkigal. I needed to do some shadow work and connect with my grief before I was prepared to work with my primary goddess, and once I had done the necessary work, Persephone and Ereshhkigal let me know that our work together was over and my primary goddess stepped in.

From time to time, contracts need to be re-negotiated. And sometimes, our relationships with our gods end altogether. For example, early on in my Pagan days, I dedicated myself to a goddess connected to women's empowerment and justice. We had already been working together for several years, I had performed divination on the decision and had undertaken extensive in-depth study of the lore and practices surrounding Her.

I served Her happily for 8 years. We worked well together and that relationship offered me support, challenge, self-love and strength which shaped me into the woman I am today. Our dynamic began to shift when I decided I wanted to pursue a romantic relationship. My primary goddess was legendary in Her jealous guarding of Her independence and her displeasure at Her devotees forming romantic relationships and I knew this when I dedicated to Her.

At the time of my dedication, I couldn't imagine entering into another romantic relationship. When that changed, the nature of our relationship changed. It created tension and conflict, and unsurprisingly, I had limited success with dating. Eventually, after months of deliberation, I decided to end my contract with that goddess. While it was the right decision for me, it was a very rough patch of my life, not unlike breaking up with a very dear friend.

So, what can we do when there's a change in the relationship with the gods we work with? There are many options. Some of the simplest are:

  • Changing the type of offerings we make. For example, if you usually offer tangible offerings like food and drink, you can try making creative offerings like writing a poem or a song, sculpting, painting, etc.

  • Changing the type or timing of your prayers. If you usually pray in the morning, try praying in the afternoon or at night.

  • Divination-- ask your deity if there's anything they would like from you and how they think your partnership is going. It may very well be that it's fine for them, but it feels off to you.

  • If you have an elaborate regular practice, try simplifying it.

  • Check in with your stress levels and energy levels. It's very easy to feel disconnected from our intuition if we're dehydrated, going through major life changes and not getting enough sleep or enough to eat. You are a spiritual and a physical being and taking care of your physical needs is an essential part of your spiritual practice.

  • Clean and reorganize your altar. Sometimes, just shifting the objects on your altar can change the energy and make it easier to feel your deity.

  • Reach out to friends or members of your spiritual community. If they've been practicing for more than a few years, they've probably experienced this and can offer counsel and comfort.

  • Look at the lore for your deity, especially if you're feeling ignored. Is this one of their busy times? For example, during Yule, Odin is notoriously difficult to reach because He's occupied with the Wild Hunt. Your god may not be ignoring you, they might simply be busy with Something Big.

  • Reflect: have you been listening when they do speak? If they've been giving you the same advice over and over again, and you haven't taken it, but continue to petition for assistance, they may stop listening until you sort out your mess.

Like with other aspects of our life, we can hit a rut with our spirituality. One of my go to strategies for dealing with a rut is to simplify my practice and redirect my focus to something else. When I'm writing and I hit writer's block, staring at the blinking cursor on my screen just makes it worse. I turn off my laptop, put on my apron and start baking or making perfume or painting and when I'm finished, I may not have a completed masterpiece, but I often know what to write next.

Everything operates in seasons and cycles, from the moon, to our energetic cycles and our connection with our gods. It's normal to have periods of greater and lesser connection and sometimes changing our routine is all that we need to feel connected again. And if it truly is the end of a relationship, we live in a world with a multitude of gods and the next name on your dance card may be someone you'd never expect. Our ancestors and our plant, animal and stone kin can hold us and offer us all the power and connection we need.

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