Now that, in my Spirits page, I've described how you can't necessarily trust spirits, I'm going to seemingly contradict myself and talk about deity. I debated a good deal before adding this page, since I didn't really want to specify religion at all with the path, but there's some attitudes there that simply can't be separated from the rest.
I am an animist; I believe all things have spirit, and that all things are part of God, just in different ways. This manifests itself in many gods. I once said that I followed the Celtic gods, but that answer wasn't quite right either... I followed those gods that I had a relationship with. Once I called them by the names that seemed the most like who I was addressing. I would call on Kernunnos, or Bast, or Brighid, or other names. But you know, that's really not right. These gods have their own rituals, and I'm not really necessarily addressing them. I realized it was disrespectful of me to tack those names on them, and that I'm addressing something else entirely - a Mystery that I don't have a name for. Sometimes I think I ought to find names for them, but the only one I outright asked about it (my forest spirit/stag god - My Lord) couldn't care less what I called him. Not an answer that's comfortable, because a name is a nice thing to have and focus on. but I'm learning to adjust.
And most of the above was written in 2001 when I still considered myself a polytheist. Now in 2004... Well now I have a deep and abiding respect for the Mysteries, which seem to spawn deities. And those deities don't seem to be the same from place to place. That only makes sense, because in my experience they're bound from Nature, most specifically what's local around you. The rest of this holds true still, but I no longer look for deities under every tree. I know they're there. Just as you and I are. But there's some out there that are... more profound. Deeper. Spirits worthy of being *called* the Mystery. Spirits like The Forest Lord, the Dark Lady, The All-Mother... these have a totally different feel to me. This is where I draw the line between spirit and Deity. I could probably just call them Spirit (note the capital) but I'm just not inclined to be dependent on my sloppy typing.
So after going on in the Spirits section that you have to be careful, I'm now going to say that there comes a point when you end up in a particular relationship with a deity, and the question of trust really isn't a question anymore. For me, it's my forest god, and so long as I allow Him to, He guides me through my life. That's nowhere as easy as it might sound.
Once I tried to keep in control of myself all the time. The way I had it figured, that way I knew what I was doing and could account for my actions, as per my page on choices. The last thing I wanted was anyone telling me what to do. And at the time my "primary deity" (in this sense, the one I prayed to the most) was perfectly fine with that and even encouraged it.
Then one day My Lord came to me in a journey (and the shamanic bend my path took was entirely His doing) and told me it was time to learn trust. I'm not going to go into the details of the fight it took, but at the end of it I learned to yield, and suddenly whole worlds opened up.
I'm deliberately staying fairly obtuse on this description; the experience was intensely personal, and the best way I've got to share it in words is in the song I wrote to my god, Surrender. The point is really that, to me, gods and spirits are NOT the same, and you'll know the difference when you meet your own patron or matron deity. When I first met my god, I ran from Him as fast and as hard as I could. He allowed me to do so for years. Then He stopped letting me run, and that was both an ending and a beginning.
Of course as time passed (now 4/21/03), it became less and less acceptable for me to simply follow where He led. That was a lesson all its own, but I guess it came time for me to take up the reins again. At this point, I'm mostly on my own, though I know He is there if I need Him - so long as I approach Him with proper respect and in the ways He asks. But my choices now are my own again - though He will not hesitate to let me know if He has orders. At which point I follow where He leads. It's a whole new adventure... But I think I needed to learn the trust in Him before I could really trust in myself. Counter-intuitive as that may seem.
And in 10/16/04? I'm somehow now being expected to juggle back and forth between "Totally in control of the situation, get the hands dirty up to the elbows and run this thing" and "Ok, someone else is driving now..." It's difficult to shuttle back and forth between the two as abruptly as tends to happen. Still, I couldn't do what I'm doing without Him. And His presence can provide a verification of other things I am experience yet inclined to question (far too cynical for my own good). So the destination I thought I had reached really wasn't a stopping point at all, it's just a rest break after which the spiral turned round again. It's a wild ride sometimes... But oh so worth it.
-Jaelle, 8/2001 updated 4/21/03, updated 10/16/04