This is a matter of terminology and what these words mean to you. This is my opinion, and I am, by no means, an expert on this nor am I the supreme overlord on terminology. To me, ‘working with’ implies an equal relationship. It implies a working relationship, in which a person “works with” a deity to achieve a goal (a spell, a successful ritual, etc). ‘Worshiping’ refers to just that: worship. Meaning that the person is inferior to the deity, rather than on the same level. Personally, as a Hellenic, I dislike the term ‘working with’ when it comes to deities. They are not my equals, I am below them. Sure, I ask them for favors with a “pretty please with a cherry on top” but they are in no obligation to fulfill anything I ask of them. Ever. It also doesn’t describe my relationship with them correctly. I worship them, I offer to them, and sometimes, they do answer my prayers. I do not work with them. I work for them. I worship them. Whether or not you or anyone else uses ‘working with’ instead of ‘worshiping’, is up to them. Use the terminology you’re comfortable with, the one you think accurately describes your relationship with your deities.
Okay so personally I use work with to differentiate between my interaction with deities in magick and worship for interaction with deities in a religious manner.
Personally I don’t see work with as something that puts us as equals. I work with my boss all the time but he is still my boss and I am still his employee, there isn’t any confusion about the power dynamic so it’s the same as with the gods. When I call upon them to do something magickal for me or with me that’s when I’m working with them because it’s a bit more two way.
But when I’m just praying or doing something religious, which admittedly is rather rare as I generally think of deities as more of conduits than entities that I really need to pray to or do anything for but that’s just me. That’s when I’m worshiping them because it’s much more one way interaction.
Jumping in because I find perspectives on mortal/god dynamics interesting and mine differs from my fellow mods, also with the disclaimer that this is personal opinion.
I believe mortals and gods are equals in terms of deserving equal respect as individuals; there’s nothing inherent in the definition of “divinity” as a concept that logically necessitates superiority. In many ways, deities are more powerful than mortals, but then, mortals in turn are capable of things that deities aren’t. Depending on context and need, a god may be more powerful or effective than the mortal, and in other contexts with different needs, it’s the mortal that holds the upper hand. Even if I choose to devote myself to a goddess, my life and my choices are ultimately my own, whatever she says, because they are always mine. She is my queen because Iaccept her as such, but I am still ultimately my own sovereign and I always, always have the right to withdraw consent. I absolutely refuse, point-blank and with raised hackles, to accept any paradigm that says mortals are below deities simply by their respective natures.
In all honesty, I avoid both terms and tend to use “devoted to,” which I see based on consciously-chosen loyalty, or “have a relationship with,” which is vague enough to mean just about anything and still be true anyway.
The world is built to be sustained on love and discipline. For that is how society is meant to be arranged, and the conditions whereby culture flourishes; optimally functioning through the means of work (and here, I don’t simply mean those industrialized terms of “labor” or even “employment”).
Work contributes value to the good of other people, institutions and their subsidiary cares and obligations.
Love cares for what is good, nurturing and nourishing it with her hospitality. Work is her indispensable servant. For this, we gladly say with Richard Wilbur, “Love Calls us to the Things of this World.”
Discipline, specifically, a disciplined life (and not simply disciplines for part of one’s life) forges a pathway - indeed, a protected highway - for love to flow freely toward that which is under her care, by the taming, directing, and self-controlling of unbridled desires, especially those desires under the spell of selfish ambition. We work to serve the good of others as disciplined lovers. Shalom.
“Worship” and “Work” are distinct yet wonderfully interrelated in the reality of the Kingdom of God. Failing to know and believe them as such is a failure at a deep theological, pastoral, philosophical and existential level. Further observations …