There are many Gods and Goddesses found around the globe. They seem to be a universal part of Human cultural evolution. Some say there is one supreme God that shifts into different aspects, making up the world’s deities. Others believe they are unique and closed to each culture they belong to, having personalities and representing different manifestations in Nature. Either way, they are in our world history and present many fascinating myths have foundations in reality.
We do not know for certain when and how these deities came to be. We only have documentation either passed down through history orally, or written in languages that we have come to decipher in fairly recent times. It is unfortunate that many oral Pagan beliefs have been lost to time and Christian influence. However, by worshiping the Gods, we breathe life into them. They need us just as much as we need them, as is seen in ritual practices when we give offerings and in turn are given blessings and answers to our prayers or questions. It is a sacred relationship that can be traced back to ancient times, which is something that I believe is replicated today, though our relationships probably differ from those of earlier people.
My personal experiences with the Shining Ones have certainly been interesting. I formed a strong bond with Cernunnos in a dream, one I shall never be able to forget. While I will not relay details here, as it is a personal matter, I will say that it has brought me a deeper understanding of this God, one whom I feel comfortable with as well as adoration for. My other experiences have been through meditation. For a while I had studied Western Shamanism. There are actually many similarities between what I learned from there compared to my training in ADF. There is a belief in the Underworld, the Middle Realm and the Upperworld. The Ancestors reside in the Underworld with the Nature Spirits, while the Gods claimed the Upperworld as their place of existing. I mostly journeyed to the Underworld as my animal spirit guide resided there, but on occasion I would travel to the Upperworld, where I encountered, much to my surprise, Thor. It is interesting that he came forward first before any other deity, as I have little interest in the Norse spirituality (not to say that is a wrong or bad path, it simply did not resonate with me!). Some years later I had a dream where Odin spoke to me and guided, so while I am not of the Norse pantheon, I do have a connection to two of their Gods.
I am still learning about the Irish lore. Attempting to celebrate the 12 Days of Yule was unfortunately a failure in many ways, but I did some exploration of the Irish pantheon and learned a great deal about the various Gods and Goddesses belonging to it. I feel this gave me at least a small bond or connection, something I wish to explore and deepen further.