I deal with gods because they get my attention and start talking to me. I don’t know if I’d call what I do serving or not. Sometimes they ask me to do things, but not always. I don’t really get the impression that I’m being used “for” anything in particular except perhaps that they miss having followers or they find me interesting. I’ve never felt like I was getting anything arbitrary dumped on me, though, or that I was being wielded like I’ve seen some people describe. Maybe that’s in the cards later on, but I haven’t leveled up that far yet if it is.
One particular relationship I have, I would characterize as parental – I’ve been thinking of Odin as the “other father” for more than half my life, and god knows I was looking for a father figure that I could relate to (he’s only mostly an asshole, which is good, because if he wasn’t one at all, I doubt I could conceive of him wanting to deal with me XD). I think of Loki as “mother” but that particularly choice took longer to develop.
The others, I feel like I get something out of them – Kuan Yin helps us with internal work, Mara helps us with external work, Ilmarinen honest to god would give advice while I was at the forge. I can’t explain it and I don’t usually try, but it’s real enough for me.
I’ve walked away from relationships before, and also had deities tell me to back off. I’m pretty happy with the ones I have now, though.
You might think that sounds mercenary. That’s fair, I guess, but only for a broad definition of mercenary.
I’m sure Odin has an agenda. He’s the kind of guy who always does. But he’s also a relatively patient son of a bitch, given how much time he’s given in relation to what he’s asked in return so far.
I look at it this way – lots of people decide to become teachers. They all do it for different reasons. Some are in it because a university job covers their research bills and students make good lab monkeys. Some of them are in it for the power trip. Some of them are waiting to get their student loans forgiven, or are working at a private school that pays pretty well. You could call that mercenary. And some of them actually believe that they are educating the leaders of tomorrow and all that other stuff. Kuan Yin and other bodhisattva, I have no trouble believing they’re the latter. They’re in it for the good of mankind, whether the rest of us schmucks deserve it or not.
For the rest of them, well… I don’t have an issue with writing a check for tai chi lessons or my accounting class. The school has an agenda too: staying open. Some people believe that the gods derive power from being given offerings, being believed in, being given devotion. I’m inclined to think that’s the case. Mara wouldn’t have much use for me cutting her a check, but I leave her an offering and I get a little bit of help finding a job, and the lights in the Latvian pantheon stay on this month.
That’s oversimplifying, and most people would call it impious and disrespectful, but I’ve never gotten shit for it from anybody I worked with very long.