I'd add to this that i think that as far as magic goes, the effects of a spell often act on us from
When i first started out in Heathenry, i was constantly pondering the question, "who/what are the gods?", which led to considerations like "most people's round the world have believed in Gods at some point in their history - is this just a natural, innate human thing, are we responding to some instinctual perception of unseen forces within and perhaps "beyond" nature? Are Gods genuine Higher Powers making themselves known to via visions, inspiration, poetry, stories etc wherein they take on human form to teach us important lessons and impart Holy Mysteries etc?" I tried various methods to understand this - reading the lore of course, praying to the gods themselves for answers, asking my ancestors what they understand gods to be from their perspective, all of which have helped me to develop some sense of what "a god" is. For example, i felt very close to Woden in my early heathen days, and i one night asked the question "Woden, who and what are you?" When i fell asleep i had a very vivid dream wherin i could see the breath of my pets and people i knew as a white mist - a voice in the background said "That is me, that is Woden". Now i know this dream is purely UPG but i felt that in it Woden was telling me he is the breath, or the power in the breath, the Aethem if you will, in all beings - he is flowing through me and all else, he is in the wind and air around me all the time, and he is in every song and word. I have come to believe that i can connect to my Wode by deep breathing, literally taking in the essence of the "Master of Wode" himself. It's quite intriguing to me that many meditation disciplines incorporate deep breathing techniques to clear the mind for wisdom to enter - it works! I thank Woden for the gift of life and power in the air i breath and the gift of speech!
Another time i did a hamafaring to see if i could get to visit Thunor's Hall. I eded up in what i took to be Thrydham (is that spelled right in OE?). I found myself in a vast green area, like the gardens of a stately home, with a gigantic hydro-electric power station in the middle of it! Here i felt what i knew was Thunor's power - this was what i can only describe as an ever expanding, immense might which spread out in all directions, making me feel quite "high" and giddy, like i was really strong and could cope with anything. Along with this there a real sense of deep, deep happiness, like everything was fine and i wanted to laugh all the time - I've never felt anything like that happiness before or since (and i swear i wasn't on drugs or anything at the time!) Now when i think of electricity, i think of Thunor - he too is present throughout the world around me and within in every nerve impulse that allows me to feel and move etc etc
now i realise this is a lot of UPG but i'm coming to the point i was originally wanting to make - i believe now i think that Gods are the Wights/spirits of the "greater forces" in nature, and this ties in with an earlier bit of UPG i experienced before i was Heathen when i asked the God Pan what he was, and he told me "We are large energy fields" which i took to mean "big powers at work in the world/cosmos etc". When i say that i believe gods to be essentially "forces of nature" i don't mean that they are just quaint personifications created by primitive minds - i actually believe that just as a Syldaelf is the spirit of a tree and is real and i can communicate with it, a god is the spirit or "living consciousness-essence" of a vast natural force, whcih i can also communicate with. It is real, and can appear to my inner sight in a form i can relate to more easily and talk to. The force i can see, or know the effects of in nature, is only the outward form of the god's power - the god or goddess themself is a much deeper mystery beyond the ken of normal human speech or ways of understanding - this i think is why we have the myths and stories, to understand on a deeper level what our normal waking minds can only barely grasp. NB When i say nature i mean the whole of reality - what we might consider both "natural" and "supernatural" - it is all part of "nature" to me, so a natural force can also be "the force that enables humans to see the unseen", or it can be the force of death and decay, or the force which pulls our soul back to our ancestors when the lich/body dies - just because something is not seen or understood by normal means does not mean it is not part of nature IMO.
Now to come to the original question this thread was deaing with, what of "the will of the gods"? Now to look into this i'd have to go back to some other questions i've always pondered, and one of them is "where did the fire and ice come from?" Now nowhere are we told this, and some heathens may think it a daft question as nobody knows so don't think about it - maybe they just always were? My child-like mind is always wanting to know where things have come from though, what is its root and so on, and so the question for me has never gone away. Now when i think of the whole germanic system, how things seem to work in it and how everything happens and comes into being, the only power which seems to have a hand in absolutely all phenomena and events is Wyrd. Infact if i'm not mistaken, her name means "That which has come into being" or "That which has come to pass" - please correct me if i'm wrong someone. If i'm right with this idea, if all things, all wights, even the gods, are subject to Wyrd, then maybe nothing can exist prior to her in a sense. Maybe i'm casting her in a Brahminic role as "that which has come to be and without which nothing else can exist/happen/manifest". Now maybe i'm wrong and there's some piece of lore somewhere which says Wyrd is the daughter of another Being, but i do wonder how can the power of the "past", or "what has come to be" have anything before it - ie I can imagine that if one saw wyrd herself standing next to any other power in existance, she'd just keep on standing behind it saying - "this is where and who i am". Now if Wyrd is the "Cosmic Mother" of all things that exist in effect (please don't accuse me of being a bit too Wiccan here - i know how it sounds!) then maybe the gods are "agents" of her willl in a cosmic and worldly sense, ie their will is to ensure that everything meets its alloted orlaeg in the best way possible. Therefor, the gods will is the same as Wyrd's, or at least their will reflects what Wyrd has decreed.
Now i know that one of Woden's brother is called Willa, and so maybe he is the god of "Divine Will" - however, i think the term/name here means "Divine force of Desire", or the motivating impetus as a whole in the cosmos and in ourselves, as opposed to exactly what the divine would have, or "will" to happen. I think Willa/Villi is the "Divine Motivator" as in prompting action - I don't believe he himself decides what the action is in other words.
Now someone mentioned the idea of "merging" with a god and someone else said words to the effect that they didn't think we can do that or that it was even desirable since we are meant to be separate individuals, and i'm all for us all being our natural and true individual selves, gods included! However, since i believe that the gods are already part of me and everything else around me, i'm already merged with them all the time in a way, so maybe it is only in the conscious and deliberate recognition of that fact that i can possibly be doing any active "merging" with any of them. I suppose the god i most want to become "at one" with and merge with completely would be Wyrd, then i would be absolutely in harmony, i reckon, with the ultimate "Divine Will". This is my current belief anyway - i am mindfull that these matters are often a long and convoluted process of "unfolding of wisdom" for each of us!
PS Just as an aside i think my personal theology would best be described as animism, though i suppose it does incorporate polytheism, and maybe ultimately monotheism as well, but i reckon in terms of how i approach the divine in practice, it's effectively polytheism, and how i view all things in general, it's animism definitely.