I’m sure you can guess where I’m going.
Usually I don’t like to respond to stuff like this, I kinda prefer to keep my head low and do my own thing a good eighty percent of the time but West’s post was just too saccharine to leave untouched. And it is dangerous. It is dangerous to tell people that the gods cannot do anything to them unless they consent to it because it isn’t true.
The gods do.
Last spring a ferociously terrifying storm came through my area. A storm that brought damaging winds, huge hail, torrential rain, and lightning. Trees were snapped in half and destroyed and many houses had significant damage done to them. Did the nymphs consent to their trees being destroyed? Maybe, but I highly doubt they wanted that which sustains their life to be obliterated. Did those people consent to their houses being significantly damaged? Definitely not. Zeus and Hera did what they had to, with or without our consent.
The gods can completely change our lives without our consent. Will they? Usually no, but if it were not for a particularly blue period in my life I wouldn’t have encountered Athena. I didn’t want to feel that way but I did and so now I’m here serving Her the best I can.
Looking into the past we see mountains of evidence that the gods did not and do not have to have our consent and permission to change our lives. Apollo is a bestower of Plague and Health and few desire the former. Zar spirits in Sudan possesses people against their will and these people are initiated into the Zar cultus as a result, possession takes place initially without the persons permission.
I don’t usually like to just flat-out say that someone is wrong, but dedications and oaths are not consequence free. You don’t get to wiggle out of them just because you feel like it or because you’ve decided that it isn’t “fun”. It isn’t a matter of being “close” and the gods don’t exist to make us better people. The gods exist to do. When we agree to serve them we will likely become better people in the process. We will often have to become more deliberate, more disciplined, and more tenacious in our efforts but the endgame isn’t to get you to that point. The whole of it is so that their will and their work can be done.
Your actions have consequences. Sometimes your non-actions have consequences. If you make an oath or a dedication without clear terms, you will have to face the consequences for that. The gods can do a lot, but not everything, to you without you ever asking them to. They can do even more when you dedicate yourself to them.
Maybe that makes dedication sound intimidating. Good. It is a big commitment and if it makes you think twice it means you are thinking seriously about it. Take actions deliberately and with great concern. And remember, you don’t need to dedicate yourself to a deity to worship or serve a deity. Dedication is a form of giving over to the Other.
So remember, dedication carries with it weight and consequence; the gods don’t need consent from you to change your life; your actions will always have consequences; and a dedication gives a deity even more control over your life.
The gods are
The gods do