As you probably know, various traditions within the Hindu religious complex are very near and dear to my heart. These traditions have taught and nurtured me, and played a formative role in getting me to where I am today. Before there was Kali, before I was introduced to Wicca, before I even had any witchy friends, there was Krishna. Why wouldn’t there be? He’s become a global presence precisely because He’s so darn lovable. His name means “all attractive”; He possesses all attractive qualities and attracts all intelligences towards Him.
To use spirit work terms, Krishna has one hell of a call center. He’s got an answering service that can do just about anything. In my experience, He’s intensely difficult to actually get on the line. But really, He doesn’t need to take His own calls. As the cause of causes, He can just sit back and hang out. His heavenly realm is one of eternal springtime, dancing girls, and happy animals. As far as His doctrine is concerned, He doesn’t need to do anything; He causes other causes, and those emanations do the rest.
Everything I know about Krishna, including my own experience with His call center, tells me that He’s a benevolent, easy-going guy who loves to have His friends around. So when I did finally encounter Him, the conversation didn’t go like I was expecting.
A few years ago I really needed some help getting my spiritual life back in order. My relationship with My Lady had failed in the strangest and most unexpected way possible and I was struggling with all aspects of divine relationship. I decided to resume my bhakti studies because, well, maybe the relationship experts could help me. Since I’m fortunate enough to have a Krishna temple not 20 minutes drive away, I hauled myself down there to have a talk about my intentions. That’s just spirit worker courtesy; you have to stop at the gate, introduce yourself, and talk about your intentions.
Without getting into detail, the conversation was unexpected. I was told pretty much that my work would be tolerated but that I’d leave as soon as it was finished. For around a year I worked very hard with these Powers trying to get my own shit worked out and very gradually, it was. I was taught new ways of worshiping; a new practice was initiated and an old one resumed. Kali was back in my life after a decade-long absence. Eventually I was told that my work at the temple was done and so I stopped going. That was the agreement.
I didn’t stay gone, though, not forever. Very gradually I started coming back though nowhere near as frequently or as regularly as I had in the first place. I was mildly tolerated because I didn’t disrupt anything (or because My Lord didn’t disrupt anything, I’m not totally sure about this). I think only once was I told to GTFO but after another several months I was told it was OK to come back. It was weird, not gonna lie.
Yesterday I stopped by the temple to pick up a book I’ve been looking for and encountered the guy who might be the lone staff at the moment. He was trying to politely suss me out with the usual questions: You chant? You have been initiated? I said yes, I chant; have for a long time. No, I haven’t been initiated; I’m just a friend. I meant that I was a friend of the temple, a friend of the temple community and the devotees but he says, “A friend of Krishna?” “Yes,” I said. This was true and it was as good an explanation as was required.
And suddenly there was this rush of warmth and welcome that just radiated down the hall from the temple room like a breeze. It was the most unexpected and most unlooked-for reaction. I have experienced years of barely polite toleration behind a massive phone bank of benevolence. I have been content with not receiving anything specific back from Him because I find Him charming and His lila inspirational; I don’t need anything else. As soon as I say, “Yes, I am His friend; I feel friendly towards Him,” everything changes. And this is the point of this long-winded story.
It’s very easy to forget that the Gods don’t know everything about us, even those with a press packet that includes omniscience. This knowing comes through exposure to one another and to relationship that is built with time and effort. Even after many, many years it’s important to speak plainly and tell the truth. This helps avoid misunderstandings like this one.
The Powers tend to respond to relationship. They will align themselves into position relative to how we approach. If we expect them to be hostile and violent, they usually will be. After all, there’s little motivation to reveal yourself as anything different when a person has already decided they know everything they need to about you. The Powers frequently will appear more or less exactly how we think they will; this is relational positioning and They all do it to one degree or another.
Would my time with Krishna have been different if I’d said at the outset how I felt? Possibly. Even probably. I assumed He knew. However, as a polytheist (and a spirit worker) I have to allow Him the space to have His own opinion about me and my presence in His space. There is tension with regards to the Powers that I’m closely aligned with, that much is obvious. I have to respect that.
However, everything changed when I made it clear that I feel positively towards a Power, that my affections are not specifically goal-oriented, and that my pleasure comes from keeping company with my Friend.
Can divine relationship be furthered simply by saying, “I like you; I want to get to know you; I want to be your friend”? Sometimes, yes. It clearly worked in this instance. My spirit work has been dominated by diplomacy and other forms of non-confrontational problem solving. It can get technical and fussy and sometimes there are actual for-real paper contracts involved. This incident was a reminder that low-tech tools are also valuable and powerful. Some Powers don’t respond positively to complex negotiations, either by nature or because they don’t think in those terms. In this case, a very complex and nuanced Power responded to one of the simplest relational negotiations of all: Friendship.
I’m going to remember this lesson.
14 thoughts on “Making Relationship Available”
I stumbled across your blog, and found your experiences fascinating to read about. I don’t experience Krishna as a call center at all, but then I think we each experience the Powers differently; as someone raised Hindu, for example, I am more likely to see Krishna as one entity who can show many faces.
The comment about tension between Krishna and the Powers your closest intrigued me. Would you feel comfortable elaborating? I personally have zero biases about other pantheons, but I had the impression that my Patroness (Durga) would not necessarily get along like a house on fire with Loki. (I could be wrong, very inexperienced spirit-worker right now).
Anyway, your blog is very interesting, I hope you will keep writing!
It’s hard to imagine I wrote this entry a year ago; it feels like so much has changed since then – in good ways!
The term ‘call center’ is a little impersonal and that’s not really an accurate description of some of Krishna’s aspects; yes, I think it might be more appropriate to refer to them as faces – I’m getting a very lordly face at times rather than a more personal one.
For a long time I felt like there was some tension between Loki and my past-and-then-again-present bhakti practice and worship of the Mother and Krishna. I think that getting to know Krishna more personally has made me much more aware of the personal baggage I bring to all divine relationships; it’s impossible to know whether Krishna was reacting to my expectations of how He should act or whether He chose to play a part – and it really doesn’t matter. Things are much better now and though sometimes I still struggle to avoid mashing everything together in an enormous ball (I try to keep my various practices moderately separate because I feel that it’s important to understand all the Powers closest to me in Their own contexts before mixing categories too much) everyone seems to get along reasonably well at this point. (My own experience worshiping Maa as Kali, Kamakhya, and Sri Lalita has been that She gets along fine with Loki but Loki likes my attention on Him. Durga has always been much more elusive but oh, I love Her so much.)
I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my blog. I’ve been pretty quiet lately since I’m not talking very publicly about my experiences with Krishna or the Mother. I’m not sure if that will change but I hope to do some more blogging soon.
First off, I’m so glad to hear that the Mother’s other “faces” are okay with Loki; the thing is that, while Hinduism is my primary practice, reading about Norse shamanism taught me a lot and I wanted to study it more, but was nervous because I got this impression (and it may not have been an accurate one; I’m not yet able to “godphone”) that Durga became a bit distant when I used Loki-charged deity soap (which I just bought because I liked how it was made). Anyway I may have just been reading too much into it.
I completely agree with not mixing up different traditions. I’m interested in branching out with Kemetic deities and Norse deities (mostly the Aesir) at some point down the line when I am more experienced as a spirit-worker, but either of those pursuits require study in the theology, cosmology and magick of those traditions; anything else would be appropriation.
I understand not blogging publicly about your spirituality (I don’t maintain a blog myself and likely never will); I did notice that you have a book out so I may try to budget that in!
I can’t speak to the particulars of your spiritual life but in my experience Powers will pull back and step forward so I can get to know one at a time. But if there’s one thing about Maa that I can always trust it’s that She’s always, always there whether or not I’m aware of it.
I hope you enjoy studying the Kemetic and Norse systems. I spent a number of years studying Norse cosmology and magic as I was first diving into spirit work; I’m still pretty fluent in the tradition but the community just wasn’t a great fit for me and I’m probably not a great fit for it either. I identify simply as a Loki worshiper, not as part of any Norse tradition.
I’ve actually got two out finally – well, almost. Walking the Heartroad was written many years ago; the Kindle version is on Amazon but use Lulu.com to order the paper one. I’m working hard to get the next book, Worshiping Loki, available for purchase. Right now it’s just available in a fancy-schmancy hand bound limited edition for $50 but paperback copies will be available soon for (hopefully) under $10. Ebook copies will follow soon, too. I’m also working very slowly on like three other books. 😛 No idea when those will be done.
Reblogged this on Monarch of Cups and commented:
This was one of the most important posts I’ve read, I have a tendency to avoid talking to others, both introversion and social phobia get in my way but it’s not fair to expect the Powers in my life to guess what I want to say, I must make an effort, it’s a relationship and communication is important in any relationship, even with deities.
Thank you for the author of this post.
First off, the description of Krishna’s “call centre” is spot-on; that’s exactly what my experiences with Him were always like.
On the more serious side, thank you for this. There’s a lot here that i kind-of knew, but hadn’t quite put into words and/or become fully cognisant of.
You’re certainly welcome. This blogging project has been a good way for me to figure out those things that I kind-of knew. 🙂
This was a lovely and inspiring experience, but moreso the message. I had to stop across the street from a Bhuddist temple yesterday, and it made me feel shy, like I was being watched. Other spirit practices have always fascinated me. Ive found that to be true in my own experience, that the Powers will to some extent interact and relate to you with what you project. Like me, I dont expect to be loved too much but secretly desperately want it, and this results in some interesting interactions with a LOT of mixed messages. Maybe someday Ill sort my stuff out and the relationship will too. It boils down to low self esteem from too many bad experiences mostly with humans. Its good to know the Gods see beyond the superficial. Speaking of contracts, Ive had to sign one with Loki and Sigyn’s names on it. Describing Krishna like a call center, lol. i like that.
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They definitely, definitely see beyond the superficial. This means that they are aware of problems that we ourselves may not even be able to acknowledge but they also see good things about us that we’re not even aware of. They’re pretty awesome that way.
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Reblogged this on Ki's Lokean Adventures and commented:
“The Powers tend to respond to relationship. They will align themselves into position relative to how we approach. If we expect them to be hostile and violent, they usually will be. After all, there’s little motivation to reveal yourself as anything different when a person has already decided they know everything they need to about you.”
I say this all the time. Enter a work with fear and you will find something to be afraid of. Often, I wonder how many people in the Heathen community have bad experiences with Loki, my sweetest friend, simply because they expect them? He’s quite often willing to cater to an audience…
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What a wonderful experience! And such a good lesson to remember, as well. Sometimes it’s hard to keep in mind that just because a Power is omniscient, that doesn’t mean the Power knows or has paid attention to all the little thoughts and feelings rolling through a human’s head. It’s important to remember to communicate and speak forward in a straightforward manner. (I’m extra bad about this when I fall into a depression.)
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Communicating clearly with the Powers is definitely a skill I’m definitely always improving on, heh.
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Thank you for sharing this. It is an excellent reminder.
Thanks for taking the time to read it.