Boundaries, Part III: Speaking for the Gods

In my first essay on Boundaries I talked about the emotional boundaries between people. My second essay on Boundaries talked about how to react when someone comes up to you claiming to have a message from a deity, or even your personal deity.

In this article I intend to go deeper into the topic of how one delivers a message from divine sources.

It has happened to numerous people I know on several occasions: they will be journeying, or talking to a god or spirit of some form about a (potentially unrelated) topic, and a message will come up intended for a particular individual (or group of individuals) who weren’t originally the topic of discussion. Or they will be standing in front of you and suddenly get a message for you from someone or something that has been trying to get in touch or that would like to comment.

These messages may range from benign to severe in their implications, and there may be a variety of reasons a third party may be chosen to deliver the message. Sometimes, that third party may not even be aware that they delivered a message or what its contents were. The reasons and forces involved may not always be clear, but there are always reasons for it.

On the other hand, it is very easy when doing this to allow one’s own perceptions to interfere, to cast individual desires inadvertently as messages from the gods, or to otherwise allow the filter of your mind to interfere with your own signal on this matter. No matter how certain one is, there is always a chance–no matter how small–that they are wrong.

There are also problems in interpretation. Several people I work with have received messages either directly or through an intermediary where the giving of the message was more important than that they follow the message’s contents. Further, the message may take a meaning to the listener that the speaker is not aware of.

The long and short of it is: You as the speaker and deliverer of the message really have no idea what the intended recipient is supposed to do with it or how they are supposed to hear it. There is no reason for you to be informed of that information, and ultimately whether they choose to follow it or what they choose to do with it is up to the person you are delivering the message to.

Knowing exactly what is going on with such a message is nontrivial even if you are 100% certain of it’s origins and content. That’s assuming the message is actually from the gods.

But what if it isn’t?

It is also very easy to take a message to the effect of If you feel that X should do Y, why don’t you tell them that yourself? and translate it to Odin said to tell you that you should do Y. Especially if you feel that it is in their best interest, know the person well, or have other feelings that complicate the clarity of the message.

Telling the difference between a message from the gods and your own subconscious is nontrivial, and while mindfulness is tremendously helpful in this discernment, it is not completely perfect. Even if the gods are completely objective entities, their representation within my own mind as I perceive them will never be. This means that while I may transmit a message believing it is from the gods, it cannot be my responsibility to ensure that the contents of the message are followed.

These are healthy boundaries. After having delivered the message, they get to check on it. Their conversation with the deities may go any one of a number of directions that you are not privy to and not responsible for. If they choose not to check or not to follow the advice, or choose not to tell you what they discovered, it is not your responsibility to make sure that they do or to remind them in any way.

Besides, if the deity in question really wants the message delivered, most are fully capable of delivering it through some other channel if confirmation is needed.

Conclusion

A lot of this is simply understanding where you end and where the other person begins, and where the division of responsibility lays. If you are told that you must deliver a message well, then, it is your responsibility to deliver it. But it is not your responsibility to ensure that it is interpreted a particular way. It is not your responsibility to ensure that the message is carried out. It is not your responsibility to remind them if they seem to be lapsing. The ultimate decision on what they do must be between them and the gods.

Just as the ultimate decision on what you do with messages given to you must be between you and the gods.

I’ll be going more into this topic when I talk in depth about the boundaries between us and the gods.

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