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Opinion

Worship more specifically with unpopular gods

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April 3, 2008

For the last 2,000 years, the western world has been enamored with the mythos of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. This whiskered, blue-collar artisan first earned his divine chops assembling tables and cabinetry, but graduated quickly to full-bore miracles and lengthy discourses on morality and ethics. As a deity, his success is palm frond—worthy and almost unparalleled.

People across the world have chosen to follow Jesus, despite the abundance of other divine figures available for worship. Conveniently, many of these other gods specialize in certain fields, like the divine dragon Zirnitra, the Slavic god of sorcery. Though Zirnitra may not possess the handy skills of a carpenter or the soft, brooding eyes of Jesus in human form, he can still be useful in those rare situations requiring a dragon, like needing to set a skyscraper on fire.

Let’s walk through a few of the deities available for worship. You don’t—as one of my favorite authors, Dan Simmons, points out—have to choose any of the currently fashionable gods. Find a god that suits your needs and personality; it’s all about what you’re most comfortable with. Personally, I get a little sweaty at the thought of an omnipotent, all-knowing god. I’d like my god to be less powerful and less invasive, like one I can call up from time to time when I need to talk.

For instance, especially around April Fool’s Day, one could’ve worshiped the Norse god Loki, a famous trickster and the god of mischief, strife and fire. If you’re having trouble in the bedroom, appeal to Norse mythology again by shooting a prayer to Frey, the badass god of masculine virility. If you’re really boring, or thrilled by sameness, pray to Acca Larentia, the Roman goddess of cornfields. If you break your hip eating pureed mac n’ cheese, you’d better prostrate yourself, deliberately or not,in reverence of Elli, the wise and forgetful god of old age.

A pesky neighbor trespassing on your shit? Throw a prayer to Terminus, the Roman god of lawn boundaries, and allegedly, he’ll sacrifice someone at each corner of your yard. Or is it the worshipper who does the sacrificing? Regardless, this needless waste of human life will undoubtedly serve your purposes just fine, keeping neighbors, kids and Jehovah’s Witnesses on the far side of the street. And by the way, I was kidding—I don’t condone human sacrifice and haven’t since the early 1990s.

I’m not sure why you would pray to this next god, but perhaps there are situations out there that could benefit from his assistance. Julana, an Australian aboriginal god, is a “lecherous spirit who surprises women.” Apparently he impresses the womenfolk by burying himself in the sand, and then surprises them to great extent by jumping out at lecherous moments and in lecherous manners.

Maybe you’re weird, or a weird English major, in which case start standing and kneeling for the aid of Bragi, the Norse god of poetry. Ag majors can do no wrong by worshipping Consus, the Roman god of grain storage, or Spiniensis, another farm deity who will assist you in the removal of thorny bushes. The Roman goddess Paventia might help new parents, as this deity is known mostly for “comforting frightened children.” If you just think you’re better than everyone else, take comfort in the iron embrace of Freya, the Norse goddess of fertility, wealth, love, beauty, magic, prophecy, war, battle and death. That’s one-stop shopping right there, but that it sounds like a dangerously slippery slope. Personally, I find that it works better to keep one’s worship portfolio well-diversified and open to change.

Joe Hager is a student at UW-River Falls.