Hospitality can be a challenge. Especially when you’re dealing with many different Powers, from many different pantheons and with vastly different outlooks. The key seems to be making every Power invited feel truly and sincerely welcomed.
But where to start?
Kathleen Norris, in Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, said that “True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person”. This idea forms the foundation for how I approach hospitality, and the first step towards it is to abandon my preconceived notions.
Several of Those I honor have a very one-dimensional representation. This is both limiting and inherently unfair. I tend to research everything to death before I move forward, but I have consciously stopped myself from doing that here. It’s the same reason I would rather meet people in person than trust gossip. I don’t want the course of our relationship to be charted in advance. Besides, how many of us really feel welcomed if there’s some sort of reputation already in place that we have either live up to or distance ourselves from?
Treating Them with dignity requires that I allow Them to reveal what They like as They like, without pressure or agenda of my own. I don’t care what other people have said. I want to hear what They say. I don’t want to box Them in with another’s words, I want Their words to fill the silence. I want to get to know Them better, on Their own terms, and establish mutually fulfilling relationships. Only when that’s done can I hit the books.
So far this has been an interesting (and, for me, incredibly uncomfortable) way to proceed. At first it felt almost disrespectful, like learning Their stories would be a token of good faith. Instead They seem to enthusiastically support the way I’m engaging Them. Who doesn’t want a chance to introduce themselves without bias or baggage? That aspect alone is making the process fascinating, and I’m fairly sure that when I do consult the lore to verify what I’ve gotten through UPG I’ll have some interesting differences to sort out. History is almost always written by the victors, and there is little victory in the historic record for Those I honor.
The relationships I’m forming are still tentative, but I’m already learning personality quirks. We’re forming working relationships, rather intense ones in some cases, very quickly. I honestly don’t think the work would be going this well if I was full of what I expected to find, instead of remaining open to whatever comes.