How do you deal with spirit communication in general, and especially with gods and goddesses?
I tend not to treat spirits of any kind, most especially goddesses and gods, as figments of imagination, or facets of my own psyche. For me, they are external entities, and they are very real spirit beings.
Since my personal Craft practice is centered a lot around working with Deity, I tend to give communications from them a good amount of credit. Deity communication is important to me.
I operate by receiving blocks of knowledge.
While it’s hard to describe, the best way to put it is that I know things – sense, intuit, or have gut feelings about things.
If, for some reason, I’m having difficulty communicating with my Deities or spirits, I try a few different methods.
I usually do dreamwork first, in an attempt to communicate with the spirit, god, or goddess in my inner planes – to receive abstract messages via subconscious imagery. That, then, needs interpreted, but I have never had an issue interpreting my own dreams. Sometimes, the spirits come to me in my dreams voluntarily, before I even ask anything.
If I don’t get anything via dreamwork, or via direct spirit-to-mind/heart communication, I then turn to Tarot. Interpretations are easier for me with Tarot, but I tend to wonder if reading for myself is wishful thinking. So I’ll try, afterwards, to confirm by attempting dreamwork a second or third time, for added clarity.
Most of the time, though, I’m fairly open to direct communication through the reception of blocks of knowledge. It’s not so often anymore that I have to turn to dreamwork or Tarot for communication or interpretation.
I try not to spew any of the incoming information around the community, though. Most people call this, “unverified personal gnosis,” or UPG, for short. I hold to the idea that most direct spirit communication is for me, and me alone, unless otherwise noted by the spirit. Just because it is my experience doesn’t make it “right and true” for everyone.
I believe that spirits interact with different people in different ways. And, as a result, two people working with the same Deity might just have different standards, taboos, etc., that were communicated by the Deity. So you and I may both work with, say, Aphrodite, and she asks me to set up Her shrine with multiple types of seashells, but asks you to use a different item in place of shells. Aphrodite’s reasons for the difference in practice would be Her own, of course, unless She shared them with either of us individually.
And I generally don’t get communication for others from Deity. It’s as if there is no need for it. So I just assume that either (a) the Deities I work with might already be involved with that persons, or (b) this particular Deity just isn’t interested in that other person. And sometimes, trust me, that’s a good thing. LOL
So just because I might receive an idea, concept, or practice suggestion from a Deity, doesn’t mean that it has to apply to every other human being’s work with that being. It’s just like making a pact with a spirit of any other kind for me – there are things that I might be asked to refrain from or engage in that others may not.
The most important question I ask myself is: do these communications seem to be my own wishful thinking, or do they seem external?
It’s fairly easy for me to tell the difference. The tone is not the same when it is my own mind, or wishful thinking.
For example, I might, in my thoughts, see the idea of the Toad Bone Rite as something I’d like to do, but can live without, or put off for later down the road. But a spirit or Deity may have other ideas – the tone is different, as if it’s a request, or a demand, not just me thinking.
I don’t hear voices, but the feel of what is being asked of me is different when coming from an external entity. It’s subtle – like the difference between tomato juice and V8; you know the difference, and you know which is which – but if you were blindfolded and there weren’t a label on the bottles, the difference would appear very subtle.
Either way, I always decide first if I think the requested act would harm someone, including myself. If so, I negotiate with the spirit. If they won’t seem to take no for an answer, I may have to lay down the law, and let them know who is in authority over this body in this lifetime. I may have to remind them of the limits we set forth in the beginning, and that they need to be honored now. Yes, even Deities sometimes need reminding of promises made or contracts signed.
Working with gods or goddesses as spirits in their own rights has proven best for me over the years, rather than treating them like extensions of my own consciousness. My 20+ years of dealing with them has led me to a very ingrained animist, polytheist, and henotheist worldview.
So — how do I deal with that communication? Easily, and carefully. Weigh the decision on purpose. Make sure it’s in your best interest, and within your own standard, personal ethical guideline.