I Speak to My God in Silence, but I am Not Silent.

Disclaimer: If there is one moment where you can point to this blog and say “And this is where Camilla stepped off the edge with complete faith in her God to catch her; this is it.” (Because you speak with semi-colons rolling off your tongue in my version of the story.)

This, my friends, is the point of no return. This is where I start to shoot off at the mouth (or fingers) about what I’ve learned and been given to work with. As a note, I’m going to try to come back and actually cite things and provide sources, but since this is really just me babbling I may have to follow up with a more, uh, scholarly… Scholarly thing. Yes. Scholarly things. For Revivalism!

(There’s always so much terror in sharing this stuff.  I’m not gonna lie.)

It has been bothering me for a while that, for some reason, it seemed like everyone I know, including my students, prefer to speak aloud to the Gods. Except me. Now that I’m modeling praxis in my home to a 3-year-old, I’m finding myself forced to say with my physical voice. I am perfectly fine saying prayers aloud. But talking, actually having a conversation with my God and occasionally Others? No, I’ve always, always done it in my head.

There are some of you that will say that if I believe the Gods are individuals and not archetypes or facets of my own spirit, then I’m talking to myself. In fact, I’ve had quite a few people kindly explain to me that their Gods require us to physically talk to Them, because that’s what polytheists do.

And I smile, thanking them for the clarification.

And in the back of my head, I’m going “This doesn’t mesh with my experience.”

My experience has been that certain Gods, especially those that are connected to oracular arts, have absolutely no problem hearing me. Or, if a God does not seem to be able to hear me, my God is more than willing to be a translator for me.

This led me to a few different theories…

One, there is quite a bit of Quaker in my ancestry, so maybe there’s something to be said about that and having some natural propensity towards hearing the inner-voice. This has absolutely no backing in my mind, but I’m amused by it enough to mention it here.

Two, slightly less out there, but probably only partially involved… I’m neurodivergent. I’ve got sensory processing disorder and ADHD. Recently it’s been figured out that I fall on the autism spectrum. My brain is simply wired differently, and part of that wiring involves being able to write what is on my mind eloquently and openly… But physically talking is harder. Much harder. Getting words out physically when I’m trying to communicate something important is, more often than not, like swimming in gelatin. It’s possible, but it’s probably going to be ridiculously harder and slower to do. I have no problem assuming that my natural inclination towards a deeper inner-voice than outer voice leads me to be naturally wired towards having an inner-relationship with my Gods.

Except that some people apparently don’t believe that’s possible…

Which was weird to me, and I couldn’t figure out why my experience was so vastly different than others who honor the same Gods as me.

Except, oh right, this God I’m tangled up with has been part of the mysteries I’ve been taught. It’s very much like the Shakti of Kundalini or the Holy Spirit, the breath of life and the Thing that connects everything. Not the air, but the Spirit. When I say He’s not the Divine “One” (if there is such a thing, which even with a decade of exploration I’m still not willing to say yay or nay to), but He is the vehicle from which the very essence of being comes forth on.

He is literally that: inside of me. He is my breath. He is your breath. He is the breath of the world, which is the wind… Because we, in ourselves, are the microcosm of the greater cosmic macrocosm. We are our own universe, and from each of us creation is capable of springing in art, music, and work. We were created, and each of us creates in one way or another, even the simple act of cooking is creation. Our words are creation that come out on breath, and when we cease to breathe, we cease to exist.

He is the Wind-wolf of the Indo-Europeans, though I will likely spend the rest of my life chasing His trail. He is the original psychopomp, carrying up from the Underworld and returning all to that place. He is hiding in many Gods, Gods you and I can both name, but He is, Himself, simply woven through Them as He is through the rest of us.  But when you look at me, you don’t separate my breath into a separate entity from me.  I’m just me to you.  So is my God.  He can be separated, but it’s been so long since anyone has done that that He is honored by many names as a facet of the Gods we know.

And He’s not alone in that, but that’s a story for another day.

What I was talking about was how I realized that perhaps I couldn’t understand that others weren’t having the experience of inner-talking that I do with the Gods, because my life is dedicated to this God, who dwells on the inside as He does on the outside.

So, yeah.

I guess I’m the Quaker version of a polytheist over here…  Not all Gods may be inside of us, but we shouldn’t dismiss that some are.

(insert much throat clearing) Carry on.

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27 thoughts on “I Speak to My God in Silence, but I am Not Silent.

  1. Alright, I confess to scratching my head a lot while reading this lovely little post, mostly because I find the concept of not believing in the gods’ ability to communicate with us internally, let alone going out of their way of dismissing, critizing, or looking down on people who do believe in internal communication with their deities to be dubius at best, and WTF at worst.

    I have no problem with communicating internally with any of my deities, though it is easier with some of them more than others. And while I have communicated with them and gotten responses while communicating with them externally, more so in the past then anything else, they are more than happy to communicate with me internally on a more regular basis. Outside of the fact of dealing with folks overhearing external communication with one’s deities and giving you grief about it. I find internal communication to be much more intimate, personal, and private.

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    1. I’d like to point to a singular tradition, but it seems that it spans them. I kind of wonder if it’s the rejection of the Abrahamic omnipotent God taken to an extreme. I guess I’ll have to ask the next time I hear it from someone.

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  2. I had to comment on this because, as Raibert said, I talk to my gods internally as well, particularly Odin. I almost never speak out loud to Them except in a formal ritual setting; it would feel weird, especially when out in public. (There is the little matter of doing my best to present as sane.) I confess I have never heard the notion that one must speak out loud to the gods; it seems very strange to me. Maybe, though, this is why people often ask me how they c an get the gods to hear them. I always reassure them that the gods DO hear them; it’s hearing the gods back that’s more likely their challenge.

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    1. I’m feeling more assured I’m not alone on this. Formal and group-involved rituals it seems natural to speak out loud, so I wonder if perhaps that’s what people were focusing on when in conversations… Where as I’m off in my own little world where occasionally someone joins me.

      Thank you for commenting! Odin was definitely one of the Gods my limited experience has fallen into “Can most definitely hear my inner-talk,” so it’s nice to have it confirmed by someone else. 🙂

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  3. I speak to my gods both internally and externally depending on who I am talking to and the situation. Sometimes I just like to talk out loud, and I have a greater tendency to externally communicate with gods that are not gods that I have a close personal relationship to. So for me it is yes no both type of response lol. Apollon is definitely the god I talk to the most internally, and often without even what you would consider words since I am a predominantly visual thinker. I think that while there are probably core gods that dwell in one form or another universally as you have pointed out, I also think the level of communication we have internally really depends on what gods that we have a cultivated spiritual connection to. Belonging to a particular deity does a lot to cultivate certain channels. Of course it is not that other gods cannot hear us but that it is probably a more awkward communication for people individually. And I agree completely with the wind and the breath of beings. I had been playing with a few poetic lines that never really took form regarding the breath of Apollon.

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  4. “Although they are only breath, words which I command are immortal.” – Sappho

    I talk to Loki silently, but He prefers it when I speak aloud. It’s not always easy to do; I’m auditorally distracted by the sound of my own voice sometimes, particularly when I’m parsing out hairy concepts and whatnot. But He says, “There is power in the sound of your voice, the vibration it makes reverberates across the Universe.”

    So I try, even though there are days when my lungs are bad and I’m disinclined to say much of anything. And for Loki I don’t know that it’s the conveyance of ond/breath (although He is also Lopt, so??) – but the play of language itself, and its role in creation. Science has shown that if we lack a name for a shade of a color, we often can’t see its nuances. (the wine-dark sea, anyone?) I have more thinky thoughts, but they’re still gestating.

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  5. I want to hear the thinky thoughts. I will say that there is another magical layer (or many) altogether when the voice is put into motion. It’s engagement in another power point in the body, and having heard runes intoned by a strong voice now has definitely brought to awareness the vibration that’s almost singing bowl levels of resonance.

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  6. I’m also in the internal conversation club. It’s strange and awkward for me to speak aloud, I do not do so gracefully. If I do speak to them out loud it’s usually just a whisper, and that happens occasionally. I do believe in the magical use of voice, and its ability to help meditation, however that’s not really a gift I’ve been given, so most of it stays in my head.

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  7. I’ll see your silent conversations and raise you no words 😉

    If people are presenting the idea that speaking outloud is the only way the Powers can understand us (because English is totally their native tongue!) , I’m grateful all over again that I’m a tad on the reclusive side.

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    1. I’m starting to wonder if I just happened to run into a minority, or perhaps it’s a weird quirk of the Roman community, though I’ve heard it from time-to-time from a Heathen or two as well.

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  8. Sheesh, I’ve *never* heard someone comment poorly on the tendency to communicate silently and I sincerely hope I never do. That’s what people say when they feel entitled to hear your private thoughts. No, thanks.

    Anyway.

    I communicate almost exclusively through the internal voice. (Oh, and some of these internal senses have actual names; this internal hearing and speaking and understanding has actually been noticed and named by other people a very long time ago. So there.) I’ll speak out loud occasionally but most often that’s just when I get so absorbed in the conversation that it slips out. Sometimes if I want to be very clear about a message I’ll speak out loud but it’s always accompanied by an internal dialogue. How rude would it be of me to expect spiritual entities to be totally tuned in to physical waves and vibrations? At some point we have to make the effort to meet them on their level.

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      1. The way I figure, communication requires both us and Them to make an effort. If we believe that They’ve responded to our invitation, it might be reasonable to assume that They’re making an effort to communicate. The next part depends on us.

        This has already been touched on somewhat, but the assumption that everyone is able to communicate clearly via speech is pretty ablist. Some people just don’t rely on speech as a primary mode of communication. Prioritizing speech as more spiritually relevant or potent than other means of communication is fundamentally biased. There’s certainly nothing more spiritually potent about speech that makes it more accessible to the Powers than, say, signing.

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  9. Reblogged this on Strip Me Back To The Bone and commented:
    I did not realize that this was a thing.

    Not only do I rarely speak with Poseidon out loud with actual words, I also mostly do not “speak” internally with words consistently. Words, language, those frustratingly inaccurate and limited symbols for meanings, are so often . . . well, inadequate and limiting. I do not need words to make my communication with Poseidon real and of this world; the fact that He is and I am and w/We are is enough for me. I don’t believe that Poseidon (a non-human being) needs words and, more, needs them in English of all things, in order for our communication to be. Human language is for the humans. It’s awesome — I *love* words — but it’s for the humans.

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  10. I say lots of things out because prayer and communication is for me as much as it is for Them, and They insist that I don’t forget that. Saying things out loud also makes them tangible for me and They use my words to communicate things to me regularly (those moments when words fall out of my mouth and I have no idea why I just said what I said). Part of my speaking out loud is also because I am accustomed to a significant portion of my communication with some of Them happening while They are embodied. It’s easier to talk out loud then. Some traditional prayers require vocalizing to have the desired effect.

    However, thinking my prayers works just as well. I have gotten direct and ridiculously fast results that way, and They have acknowledged that They hear what I think as loudly as They hear my words.

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    1. Since I regularly have problems with things coming out of my mouth that I have no idea why I just said that, I’d have problems discerning… And since it’s typically something snarky, I’m going to assume it’s just me not always having a good social filter.

      Thank you for sharing! I am loving hearing how people are communicating with their Gods.

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  11. *raises hand* Another member of the non-verbal communication camp here. (I will on occasion say a prayer out loud when I feel it would be more effective/appropriate to do so, but I also consider praying to be an entirely different thing than having a conversation with Someone, so there’s that.) There are a few reasons for this:

    1. I’m an introvert, so an internally-contained dialog is a lot more natural for me than having to say words all the time. Plus it’s less jarring to have both sides of the conversation occurring in the same medium.

    2. Courtesy is also a factor; the other mortals in the house would not appreciate being privy to a heated argument I’m having at three in the morning, for example. And flirting/pillow talk really only needs to be shared between those involved.

    3. Privacy’s important, too. A significant portion of what I discuss with Them deals with things I would feel extremely uncomfortable talking about where anyone could overhear it. Gods and spirits appreciate discretion as much as the rest of us, after all. (And that’s without getting into the things I’m Definitely Not Allowed to mention publicly.)

    4. There are some things that just can’t be verbalized. Talking/writing about my feelings can be useful for untangling them and figuring out where they’re coming from, but sometimes it’s just more effective to hand Someone an amorphous blob of emotions and impressions, particularly when They’re doing the same.

    5. One of my important People has extremely minimal knowledge of modern Earth languages and culture, so any conversation between us is mentally-based by necessity. I still think in words when we talk, and I suspect he’s now got a much better grasp of English than he lets on, but this way he can access the unconscious “meta-data” in my mind that’s attached to the words and phrases that don’t have a good analogue in his native tongue and thus get a much better approximation of what I really mean than if I were to entirely verbalize everything without the mental component.

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  12. I also do most of my communication to/with spirits by talking through my thoughts. The first time I talked to Loki, I did it out loud, because I felt it -had- to be done that way, but since then, most everything is “inside.” Sometimes I feel like I do *have to* say things out loud, because that makes it real in a way the inside thoughts/words are not, but that seems most important if it is a really emotionally significant thing for ME to say/express . . . if I just “think” it at Him/Them, I don’t process it as “real” in the same way, and it won’t have the same emotional impact. I know They’ll get it if I don’t say it out loud, though. (Writing things down is a close 2nd to speaking out loud for that kind of process.) So for that, and certain ritual purposes and prayers, I do feel out loud is best, but that’s a tiny fraction of what my communication is. They pretty clearly respond to what I’m saying inside, sometimes even when I don’t mean for Them to ‘hear’ it! So, most communication is via words or pictures or emotions inside my head. I feel horribly awkward talking out loud to Them most of the time >.> . . . I also think that talking out loud makes it harder for me to hear/see/etc. any response, because my mental focus changes.

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  13. Completely and utterly silent over here, even prayers are silent. I feel so weird and awkward saying stuff out loud which is a huge reason why I don’t like doing Ritual Things.

    I’m intrigued how similar my Himself and your Himself are….

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  14. I seem to have fallen into the ‘thou must speaketh aloud for thine Gods to hear’ trap fairly early on in trying to figure out being a polytheist…still a confusing subject even though I am one. Yet I almost always feel awkward talking out loud to Gods and the Dead, though less awkward with the Dead actually and I’ve gotten better about it when no other living human is around.

    I do think it is absolutely a reaction to the Christian omnipotent God concept, though there really isn’t any logic there to support why at least Gods we’re close to couldn’t hear our thoughts, especially those directed at them. Considering almost all of my most important contact with the Gods outside of dreams have been images/events inside my head, I guess holding onto the ‘you must speak aloud’ concept just doesn’t make any sense. Thank you, to you Camilla and to all the other commenters that grokked that way faster than me.

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  15. I too speak internatlly to my Gods. I am not eloquent enough when speaking aloud and it frustrates me that I cannot verbalise what is going on in my head … but I know Odin is fine with that. Frigga too. I think they both understand that the mind is a powerful thing and they can hear me just fine.

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  16. While I’ve thankfully never had anyone make gross comments about it, it often seems like I’m the only Gaelic polytheist who doesn’t speak outloud to my gods. Even when it comes to ritualized language and prayer, it doesn’t tend to be vocalized unless through song (which does seem to be most pleasing to Brigid, so I won’t be changing that any time soon). Funnily enough, I also come from a line of Quakers so maybe you were onto something there!

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