selective attention test

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Selective Attention Test. (This is what we did in TOK today. It’s a cool class.)

There’s a big draw in the pagan community to having Patron Gods. This is probably in part to popular pagan literature talking about the Gods in your life, and in spells/rituals/ceremonies, but also due to people sharing their experiences. We see someone on tumblr talking about how their God called to them, and suddenly we feel left out. We see a post that condenses years of dedication into a few paragraphs of validation from a Deity, and we wonder why we haven’t had an interaction with a God or Goddess yet. 

The idea that Gods call to worshippers on a regular basis is fairly off base. We may feel drawn to worship a specific Deity, but the majority of people do not ever receive some divine sign that they should follow this God or Goddess. The title of Patron God gets thrown around so often to refer to the one particular Deity you worship above all others, that when someone starts pointing out a Patron God would actually be one who gives you favor, we feel cheated. We start to think, why hasn’t my main God or Goddess given me any favors? Why don’t I have interesting dream visions and conversations with Them? Why don’t I get little nudges throughout the day suggesting I add THAT ONE candle I found at Pier One to my altar? The answer is simple. Most of us don’t. Even when we see someone posting about an interaction they had with their Deity, we need to stop and realize: 1.)This is not a daily post, this is the first post I’ve seen from them on interacting with their Gods personally, in quiet a while 2.)Unless they’ve specifically dated it, we don’t know when this happened; it could have been today which makes last weeks post seem like they’re getting special God attention, or it could have been from years ago 3.)What is the actual level of interaction from Deity vs. our perception of that interaction? 4.)How much credit is being given to those Deities in daily life?

Think of how many Christians don’t “feel” their Gods specific attention in their lives on a regular basis, or ever. My aunt has never felt like the Christian God has interacted in her life at all, but that doesn’t lessen her faith and His significance to her. On the other hand, there’s a little old lady who comes into my store twice a week saying she feels Gods presence everywhere and He’s always interacting in her life. This little old lady says it’s Gods presence when the Sun rises every day, when the bus is on time, when she finds extra money in her purse that she forgot was there. She attributes all those things to her God, when He may or may not have had anything to do with it.

The same can, and does happen in the pagan community. That’s not a bad thing, not at all. If you feel that your Goddess had a hand in getting you to work on time, then good for you! Those of us who don’t feel a Deitys hand in traffic patterns though, need to look at it the same way my aunt does. Some people feel thankful to their God(s) for every thing that happens in their lives, and for them, that means they feel Their presence more often. Those of us who don’t, aren’t ignored by the Gods, we just may find it harder to notice when They do take action in our lives.

Most people do not have a true Patron God. Dedicating yourself to a God or Goddess is not the same as receiving patronage from them. Even priests and priestesses do not always receive patronage from their Gods. Also, not just any and every Deity you’re going to approach will make any noticeable response. I can’t even tell you the number of Deities I made offerings to, approached, and tried to bring into my life, that just never responded in any way that I noticed. Even now, Persephone holds an equal place on my altar with Dionysus, and I’ve only felt Her presence in my life once. Even then, it was not as though She appeared to me, I didn’t hear Her voice, and someone else could easily have described it as a coincidence. We often find magic where we look for it, and can overlook it just as easily if we find a spark when we were expecting fireworks. If you guys have never seen this selective attention test video, I strongly suggest watching it. It’s actually a perfectly good metaphor for the situation. We focus so strongly on expecting and looking for item A, that we never see item B.