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Thorbjorn
17 Dec 2014, 12:44
Has anyone ever done it, experienced it, or attempted it? Is there anything like that in Pagan or Heathen practice? It exists in Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism, but it requires guidance and empowerment by a teacher. My brand of meditation is what can only be called "daydreaming". I tend to clear my mind, and just let thoughts come and go. But I wonder if I can direct my thoughts to calling Thor, inviting him to sit down, have a man-to-man bud-to-bud conversation over a horn of mead about some issue I want his advice on, and just get to know each other. This may seem like bordering on conjuring up a fantasy, but I'm wondering... has anyone has ever done this with their deities? Do I sound daft? :o

habbalah
17 Dec 2014, 15:10
No, you don't sound daft at all. When I pray, it's more sitting down and meditating so that I can talk to them face-to-face. It took a while for me to be able to, and I did start out with guided meditations online. I'm finding it hard to do now; probably because I put my path on the shelf for a while.

Thorbjorn
17 Dec 2014, 15:35
Whew! Glad I'm not completely daft. :D I was actually going to make an addendum to my o.p. because after I wrote it I was doing some thinking and reading. I can't say I've been headblind at all, because I've never felt closer to any deity than I have to Thor. I just didn't know how to talk to him, what to say, what to ask for. As I was leaving work, something hit me like a bolt from the blue (yes, pun intended :D). He told me what I should do: I need to get back into the gym, clean up my diet, and get to the goals I set for myself a long time ago. This task is dedicated to him. This all goes along with pulling myself up by the bootstraps, giving myself a kick in the ass, and manning up on certain things. I told him... yes, I will do this. I gave him my word and asked only that he keep me on track with reminders. I don't want him to do anything special for me, i.e. not hand it to me on a silver platter. I gave him my word I will do this. I think maybe I needed to ask that initial question to invite him, as I mentioned. So now I'm off to the gym. :)

Rae'ya
18 Dec 2014, 01:48
Has anyone ever done it, experienced it, or attempted it? Is there anything like that in Pagan or Heathen practice? It exists in Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism, but it requires guidance and empowerment by a teacher. My brand of meditation is what can only be called "daydreaming". I tend to clear my mind, and just let thoughts come and go. But I wonder if I can direct my thoughts to calling Thor, inviting him to sit down, have a man-to-man bud-to-bud conversation over a horn of mead about some issue I want his advice on, and just get to know each other. This may seem like bordering on conjuring up a fantasy, but I'm wondering... has anyone has ever done this with their deities? Do I sound daft? :o

Completely not daft. Visualising a visit with your deity is not uncommon at all in neo-Paganism.

Thorbjorn
18 Dec 2014, 06:02
Thanks Rae'ya. :)

I realized later that it was that "something" I read, someone else's experience, that applied to me also. It was as if it was the right time I should stumble on that person's experience... as if Thor planted it. Much of what the person wrote applies to me also. The deities do work in mysterious ways. Oh yes btw... I did do a good workout last night. ;)

Raphaeline
18 Dec 2014, 06:32
That's the primary way I pray. With some gods, it's easier than with others, depending on my connection to them and their own personalities. The only time I don't bother with visualization is during daily prayers, for which I just don't have the time for one-on-one and I have multiple gods to get to in the whole routine. But visualization meditation is more fulfilling for me than any other method of prayer, especially since I'm a soft polytheist and I believe the gods are as much within us as without anyway ;)

Thorbjorn
18 Dec 2014, 07:12
Now, taking visualization a step further... is it something that one does consciously, or does one simply clear the mind and invite the deity to show him/herself as he or she wants to be seen, rather than as we imagine the deity? After all, I think we could be influenced by images and pictures we see, as well as the mental image we might for as a result of reading our respective lores. For example, it's pretty much a given that most people think of Thor as a very large, well built and powerful man, red-haired and beard. Though there's a south Asian Indian saying that "Everyone sees God in their own way".

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The only time I don't bother with visualization is during daily prayers, for which I just don't have the time for one-on-one and I have multiple gods to get to in the whole routine.

Same here. I have a litany of praises to the deities that I recite (OK, read :p). I try to think of them as individuals because what I'm reading is praising their qualities and/or thanking them.


But visualization meditation is more fulfilling for me than any other method of prayer, especially since I'm a soft polytheist and I believe the gods are as much within us as without anyway ;)

I'm of the same mind that the deities are within us; I believe that to a certain extent they are qualities we possess and draw on. Honor and duty is very important to me, so that's why I feel it is so important that I know who Thor is and can see him as clearly as I can remember any other person's appearance. I think this is something that will take practice.

habbalah
18 Dec 2014, 10:35
Now, taking visualization a step further... is it something that one does consciously, or does one simply clear the mind and invite the deity to show him/herself as he or she wants to be seen, rather than as we imagine the deity? After all, I think we could be influenced by images and pictures we see, as well as the mental image we might for as a result of reading our respective lores. For example, it's pretty much a given that most people think of Thor as a very large, well built and powerful man, red-haired and beard. Though there's a south Asian Indian saying that "Everyone sees God in their own way".

For me, it takes conscious concentration. I have to sit down, focus, and calm my overactive brain.

As far as how we see them, I don't think it really matters if the deity appears to you how most people describe them. There may be a reason why you see them differently. Or not well (when I visualize Uriel, for example, he's always standing in a doorway with shadow falling over his face), or even not at all.

Thorbjorn
18 Dec 2014, 11:12
For me, it takes conscious concentration. I have to sit down, focus, and calm my overactive brain.

Funny, I never could do "silent meditation", the sitting on the floor, close your eyes block everything out. Some of my best "meditation" has been driving to and from work thinking (yes, eyes open :D). I work out many a problem that way.


As far as how we see them, I don't think it really matters if the deity appears to you how most people describe them. There may be a reason why you see them differently. Or not well (when I visualize Uriel, for example, he's always standing in a doorway with shadow falling over his face), or even not at all.

I think you're right. The blogger said he couldn't actually describe Thor's features except for the obvious... an exceptionally large muscled guy with longish red hair and a red beard. Even in the Bhagavad Gita Krishna said that as embodied souls, in this world, we need to use our senses; it's very difficult to think of the divine unless we have an image.

Rae'ya
18 Dec 2014, 19:40
Now, taking visualization a step further... is it something that one does consciously, or does one simply clear the mind and invite the deity to show him/herself as he or she wants to be seen, rather than as we imagine the deity?

I think this depends on the person. Some neo-pagan guided meditations will give you a prescribed image to see, along the lines of 'you approach the woman and you notice her blonde hair and her shining blue eyes. She's wearing a yellow dress and carrying a puppy in her arms. Her feet are bare and there are baby bunnies frolicking in the grass behind her. She's the most beautiful woman you've ever seen and you feel instantly at ease around her' (totally rhetorical, if you didn't notice :p). Others will be like 'you approach the woman and notice details about her appearance that you want to remember for later'.

Personally, I'm a fan of going into it with no consciously pre-concieved notions. We all have some pre-conceived image of our deity in our head... if we've done even superficial research we will have some idea, even if there is no overt description of them in what we've read. Have you ever seen a photo of someone that you know online and thought 'wow, that's not what I expected!' That's just the way our brains work. We'll have some expectation, even if we aren't conscious about it. But what I mean is that we shouldn't go in to it with a conscious picture in our mind of what we'll see. We shouldn't go into it thinking 'well, so and so saw a tall lady with blonde hair and blue eyes wearing a yellow dress, so that's what I'm going to see'.

Having said that, there is an element of skill involved too. If you are completely new to visualisation and meditation then it can be difficult to 'see' anything at all. Many people need to start with guided meditations and pre-concieved notions in order to find the signal. Others fall into it more instinctively. Sometimes the deities appear to us unexpectedly.


After all, I think we could be influenced by images and pictures we see, as well as the mental image we might for as a result of reading our respective lores. For example, it's pretty much a given that most people think of Thor as a very large, well built and powerful man, red-haired and beard. Though there's a south Asian Indian saying that "Everyone sees God in their own way".

The important thing to realise is that you are not seeing their actual 'real' visage... you are seeing them filtered through the interface of your subconscious. So the image that you see is not necessarily 'real' or 'true' or 'actual'... it's a translation. Even when we journey shamanically and our hame (non-physical body) is in the Otherworlds where we are 'seeing' the deity in their own realm, we are seeing everything filtered and translated through our own brains, which has a tendency to put our own subconscious spin on things.

This is why when you read accounts of deities, the details are vague. We all see a big, muscly, red haired-and-bearded guy for Thorr... but beyond that the details may vary between people. Because different people translate the incoming information differently. People actually do this with physical visual information too... we all may see (with our physical eyes) a man of medium height with brown hair wearing a purple coat, but there are small variations on individual details, even though the man is physically standing there in front of us. If you have friends or family who will co-operate, get 3-4 of you together and ask them to individually describe a person that is well known to all of you... you are likely to get agreement on obvious things, but if you can get people describing details (which they probably wont do in their original description) you'll see subtle variations. That effect is enhanced when the incoming information is not 'physical' Thisworld information obtained from the normal five senses.

The reason this is important is to prevent you from taking what you 'see' as literal reality. I've seen people squabble over how a deity 'really' looks. I've seen people denigrate others because the other person didn't 'see' some detail that they 'saw'. And I've seen people get demoralised and doubt themselves because what they 'see' is not the same as the picture that a respected mentor drew and posted online. Also keep in mind that some deities will appear the same (I'm talking obvious traits here, not little details) to everyone, whereas others are known for their shapechanging ability and tendency to mix it up when appearing to different people (Othinn and Loki are two obvious examples here).

Thorbjorn
19 Dec 2014, 07:02
Very cool and awesome info. :)


Personally, I'm a fan of going into it with no consciously pre-concieved notions. We all have some pre-conceived image of our deity in our head... if we've done even superficial research we will have some idea, even if there is no overt description of them in what we've read. Have you ever seen a photo of someone that you know online and thought 'wow, that's not what I expected!' That's just the way our brains work. We'll have some expectation, even if we aren't conscious about it. But what I mean is that we shouldn't go in to it with a conscious picture in our mind of what we'll see. We shouldn't go into it thinking 'well, so and so saw a tall lady with blonde hair and blue eyes wearing a yellow dress, so that's what I'm going to see'.

I think you are right about this... not forcing a particular image on the deity. But we are influenced by the common descriptions. Now, despite the common images of Thor, for some reason I'm seeing him with somewhat curly or wavy hair hanging long, and not the fiery red he's often depicted with. More like a reddish blond, with a darker beard. I also don't see him as a ripped bodybuilder, more like a powerlifter or strongman. Of course, I'm probably influenced by my own preference for those sports rather than bodybuilding. But that's the image that's forming. And if I don't see details, that's OK, I know who he is.


Having said that, there is an element of skill involved too. If you are completely new to visualisation and meditation then it can be difficult to 'see' anything at all. Many people need to start with guided meditations and pre-concieved notions in order to find the signal. Others fall into it more instinctively. Sometimes the deities appear to us unexpectedly.

Yes, that's why in Vajrayana Buddhism it should be guided. Not doing so you can open yourself to some internal issues as I've been told. Of course there's a real deep esotericism to that. I dabbled in Vajrayana, but because of the need for guided meditation, the dearth of Buddhist centers and lamas in my area, and the fact that it just didn't resonate with me, I never pursued it.


The important thing to realise is that you are not seeing their actual 'real' visage... you are seeing them filtered through the interface of your subconscious. So the image that you see is not necessarily 'real' or 'true' or 'actual'... it's a translation. ...

Absolutely agreed... everything we do is through some kind of lens. As Obi-wan said, things we think of as true are true from our p.o.v.


This is why when you read accounts of deities, the details are vague. We all see a big, muscly, red haired-and-bearded guy for Thorr... but beyond that the details may vary between people. Because different people translate the incoming information differently.

Yes, goes back to the paragraph above. That's why I'm not as concerned, or will probably ever see the details.


The reason this is important is to prevent you from taking what you 'see' as literal reality. I've seen people squabble over how a deity 'really' looks. I've seen people denigrate others because the other person didn't 'see' some detail that they 'saw'. And I've seen people get demoralised and doubt themselves because what they 'see' is not the same as the picture that a respected mentor drew and posted online. Also keep in mind that some deities will appear the same (I'm talking obvious traits here, not little details) to everyone, whereas others are known for their shapechanging ability and tendency to mix it up when appearing to different people (Othinn and Loki are two obvious examples here).

For sure... I've seen the squabbles too. I've seen people get jumped on for what others considered sacrilege - for lack of a better word - because they described or pictured a deity, or the deity's traits in their own way. But again, as I always say "God(dess) manifests to the devotee/dedicant in a way meaningful to the devotee/dedicant". And some people don't form an image at all... e.g. many Shaivas worship Shiva in the form of the lingam, not anthropomorphically.