I find myself in familiar territory again recently, partly in writing this as it is a blogasm I have planned on and off for over a year. The reason it hasn't materialised is due to the nature of the issue itself.
I semi-regularly find myself asking “why do I do all of this ?”, “why bother?”, “what is the point?".
On each of these occasions I find myself finding some sort of suitable answer and then continue, such has been the case for years. Now I think it is time to actually take time to stop and REALLY examine my reasons and motivation and do so in a way which not only answers these questions but is something I really and truly do actually think/believe. If this post makes it into a real on-line blogasm then that will be a small miracle.
Perhaps the easiest answer for me to make is that I feel a genuine, gut urge to 'know' about these gods. There is an innate pull towards finding out about them on one level – possibly the scientist bit of me needing to know and understand – and on another for me to develop something of a relationship with some of them beyond a simple knowledge of them. This last bit can and does vary hence my relation with gods has waxed and waned in the past and I do at least think I have got something out of that experience.
That said, I think there is something stronger than that which compels me to want to get closer to the gods. I think perhaps on one level a relationship with them will act as a key to me finding my place and being content with that place in the wider scheme of things. I made mention of the idea of the 'Promethean fall' a while back and it has been a niggling little thing in the back of my mind since. I thin that at times it feels like there is a pane of glass between me/humans and the world, all of a sudden we find ourselves in the sweetshop of conciousness, self-awareness and abstract thought and realise that to step inside we had to leave something behind. That something was a place in the world we left behind; a world where we fit in, where we were a part of a huge web of interaction. I think perhaps that one of the reasons pagans today look to ancient cultures is that we somehow see that they at least were closer to this lost world of ours, they had a much closer relationship with the landscape and the gods and that since then we have continually marching onwards in our development as a species and in turn been marching away from the very thing many of us want to get back to in some way. I don't think this is necessarily a romantic view of wanting to live in huts and be farmers again but wanting to capture the relationship, the closeness and awareness that people had when they worked much closer with the land and the landscape, yet in a contemporary context. Escapism springs to mind and in some respect is appropriate, and I think that by and large, it isn't about filling a hole in our lives but us retaking our place in the hole in the landscape we left behind.
I think our drive to have a relationship with the gods is simply, initially at least, about wanting to be a part of the living landscape as a whole and develop a relationship with different aspects of it. The gods/spirits of that place are just one part of the whole.
So, could I achieve some of this without gods or spirits? I probably could. That said, I have a driving gut instinct which goads me on to have something with the gods. For now at least I will listen to what my instincts say.