Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Divine Will - a rant thereof

Divine Will. The Will of God. When we speak of Divine Will, we often associate it with more mainstream (and more often than not the Abrahamic) religions, so it was a surprise to me to read T Thorn Coyle's latest post, in which she mentions that "...[she is] working on a project...that [her] Gods seem to want manifested". While I normally admire her work, I can't help but feel that her trying to declare what her Gods' wills are is a little bit...arrogant. 

The expression of a supposed knowledge of 'Divine Will' seems to me to be very incendiary, and more often than it is discussed in terms of an "us versus them" mentality. At its most benign, it reminds me of footballers who cross themselves before going onto the pitch, trying to invoke the aid of their God during their game. At its worst, it is George Bush saying that God told him to go to war. How often have we heard "God is on our side"?

I think that at times it can seem as if the Gods are indeed "on your side" but I think it's impossible to discover the Will of the Divine, especially if we subscribe to the idea that our Gods are not omnipotent. If the Gods do indeed help you, that doesn't necessarily mean that they approve of what you're doing. 

Anyway, rant over. 


  1. Hmm, an interesting one. I've had a little think about this, and in a way, it relates to an experience I had tonight with Isis. She instructed me to do something which she has told me will help me, and I have followed her advice. You could say, that, on a very small scale, I am doing something she has willed me to do. I think this is a natural part of having a relationship with a deity. Most people I know will do things for their deity which they believe their deities want them to do, even if it's just giving them a specific offering they have requested. I believe it to be a natural consequence of communing with a deity, entering into a dialogue with them.

    If a person wishes to commune with a deity they should be willing to accept that the deity in question may give them some work to do or ask or tell them to do something. There isn't much point in talking to a deity if you don't want them to talk back. Having said this, I understand your concern when people start doing things on a grand scale that affects lots of people and claim that it is the will of God. On a personal level, when the devotee is doing something personally for their deity as requested, I don't have a problem with this.

    Just my little contribution.

  2. Hey Seth,

    Thanks for the reply! Yes, I do agree that having a relationship with a deity is a two-way thing, and indeed what's the point if you don't expect them to reply to you? I myself have often done (and still do) things that I believe my Gods have told me to do, but they have only been in reference to my open person spiritual practice.

    I think that the danger is when people confuse enthusiasm and seemingly good luck with divine will, especially if it affects others. Even if that thing is noble, such as setting up a charity, I think we still have to evaluate any messages from the divine in terms of it's recipient's own desires and biases. In traditions that engage in possession/aspecting/channeling, this reticence is even more important.

  3. "If the Gods do indeed help you, that doesn't necessarily mean that they approve of what you're doing." -- Exactly!