There is a wonderful book called When Santa was a Shaman (1995 Llewellyn Publications) Tony van Renterghem makes a basic and fascinating distinction between types of religions. He breaks down the major religions into either supplication or celebration. The rituals and ceremonies associated with these religions, also divides up into those categories.
If one is a member of a religion that is supplicatory, you would appeal to this God for assistance, you would bargain with them - perhaps appropriate behavior for benediction of some sort. However, the overall character of the relationship is that this God, good or bad, is completely in charge of the relationship and must be deferred to and placated in order to achieve happiness and success - perhaps even ongoing life. This is not an equitable relationship, the God is totally in charge. Typically, they are not bound by any rules of behavior, either. So, it is a somewhat perilous relationship.
Magick to appease the gods is not uncommon. Folks try to figure out what precisely it is they have to do in order to avoid a bad storm, too much rain, too little rain, etc., etc. The one thing we don't seem to have a good handle on is that we are a part of Nature, and that the ultimate confluence of many, many events bring into concert those components which make it rain. There is much evidence which shows that we can influence and encourage these situations, but in general, we are part of the entire system and cannot create nor beg for Nature to turn on Her head for our benefit. Always keep in mind that when one intervenes for somebody, then there are other places which may now be lacking in those things you have called to you. Be certain to do all workings for the good of all - otherwise you may find you have created strife and hardship for others to satisfy a minor whim. Besides, appeasing and placating gods is a loosing battle for control over one's life. Because we cannot see the larger whole, and there is no way to grasp all the intricacies and complexities of a situation, we cannot foresee all the detail that would allow us to forecast success in providing whatever ritual, ceremony, sacrifice, or other action that would make a God/dess smile on us, and bring good fortune. To be honest, one would have to be incredibly confident, or deluded, to ever be comfortable in a religion that required you to constantly attempt to reading the changing will of the deity.
In the instance of placating the Gods, it is in our interest to invest our energy only in those areas we wish to encourage development in, rather than to spend a lot of energy trying to avoid the ill effects from a trickster God/dess or a God/dess of destruction. Do not devote a lot of time to a God/dess of chaos, or other poor behaviors. You would concentrate instead on the God/dess you prefer prevail. Lots of energy to justice, to success, etc. Just be very careful what you ask for. As far as praying or performing magick to a God/dess for prosperity, we do far better to bend our will and make as many of the arrangements as we can through our own efforts.
Magick for luck and good fortune is always considered fair, if you back it up by contributing as much of your daily efforts as possible to your goals. If you want a good job, you must read the papers, respond to inquiries, be prepared to interview, go to work on time each day, etc. All the spells in the world will not work, if your personal actions work in opposition, i.e. you do a love spell, but you never bathe, or go out to places where you might meet someone, or, you do a spell for success, but all you ever do is whine and make excuses, rather than put effort into attaining the type of lifestyle you say you desire. If you actions and stated desires are not in concert, then your internal focus and will are not working on your goals, and the magick or energy working is too diffuse to have any effect. Magick is not simple, not easy, not a panacea for the lazy person.
You also may enjoy this free books:Tommie Eriksson - Tree Cults In Northern Magic
William Alexander Craigie - Religion Of Ancient Scandinavia
Aleister Crowley - Intro Magick
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