I know quite a few pagans devote themselves to a deity, or to multiple deities.
I used to be very jealous of that, and to wish that some deity out there would show interest in me, reach out to me, or I would feel super connected to any deity, to have a connection. I figured, if I could have that kind of connection, it would make my practice more real, more acceptable in general. When I first started out, way back when I was still a preteen/young teen, I expected that some deity would just come and pick me, because quite a few pagans online write that it happened like that for them. I mean, lots of stories of how god X or goddess Y came to them in a vision, or through signs, and basically said “you’re mine”, or “you’re going to work with me”. I thought that if I could have that happen, I would have something far more real, because that was how it happened for lots of other people online.
Of course, now I’ve gotten beyond that, as I don’t really feel the need to judge my relationships with the divine based on anyone else and theirs. Still, every so often I do sometimes wish I got signs like other people. I think that’s normal human nature to every so often wish to have the same things that others have.
Still, there is one thing about devotion to deities that always sticks out to me. And that is the sheer level of commitment it would entail. I mean, I can’t imagine what it would take, and I know that devotion to deity sometimes calls for major sacrifice on the part of the devotee. I don’t know if I want to be that much entwined to any one being.
This would all probably stem from my own personal fear of commitment. I’m afraid to commit to normal relationships, because of the results that might occur (that’s a whole story in and of itself), and therefore, I’m pretty sure that I’m also afraid of committing to anything that would be an even more binding relationship than one with another human being. See, I had a really bad, unhealthy relationship in high school, pretty early on, where my boyfriend wanted me to do things that I wasn’t really comfortable with and pressured me into them. Being rather young, I pretty much let him pressure me into things. And I had other bad relationships, not just boyfriends, but with friends, family, etc etc. So I’m extremely leery of entering into any relationships with other people. I’m afraid of committing to people that could possibly hurt my feelings later down the line.
And I suspect that if I was devoted to a god or goddess, that would have an even higher potential for emotional upsets down the line. And if I’m getting myself involved in anything like that, I suspect that it would drag too many things up that I don’t want and am not prepared to deal with. I know I need to deal with my commitment issues – and I plan to, but I have absolutely no plans to deal with them by committing myself to a god or goddess. I’m sure it is far more healthy for me to deal with commitment issues in the normal realm of human beings with a shrink, rather than pledging myself to a deity of some sorts who will ask things of me that might test my sanity in ways that I might not be able to handle.
Also, I am aware that devotion is something I might never be ready for. After all, there are pagans out there who make offerings to gods and goddesses without devoting themselves to any. At the moment that is appealing to me. It allows me to work with the gods, spirits, and whosoever I choose, without forcing me into relationships I am not ready to commit to. I can still be involved, and show that I honor them, and am working, without unduly committing to anything that I cannot honor. That is a good way to work for me now, and a way that I can accept, and that I believe I can sustain. Also, there were probably many ancient peoples who offered offerings to many gods. I doubt that devotion was common to most people, as it was probably the job of a select few people in the community.
Most importantly for me, I don’t feel the need to devote myself. I don’t feel that I should devote myself. And for my own sanity and health I can’t devote myself to any god, goddess or spirit right now, so I certainly shouldn’t attempt to try it. I’m sure that some would probably accept it if I tried, but it would not be in anyone’s best interest. So I won’t attempt it at all. I’m better off not doing it while I’m not comfortable in even normal human relationships at the moment. I’d be better off getting more comfortable in human relationships before I begin to even consider joining into any sort of devotional relationship with the divine.∗