This has less to do with my supposed devotion to some deity or other (though I am a devotee of one of the Norns), and the deity's supposed retaliation and/or reward for my good and/or bad behavior. It has more to do with the right thing being the right thing being the right thing - in any situation, regardless of potential carrots or sticks.
I don't need a spiritual framework to support me in doing what I consider the right thing...and I am not terribly turned on by a lot of the trappings of many spiritual practices. I have, at various points in my life, considered myself an atheist, and I have no problem acknowledging that my belief in Divinity is very likely to be nothing more than purely psychological construct created by my brain because it helps me lend meaning to the narrative of synaptic activity that makes up my consciousness. The evidence seems to stack up pretty strongly that way.
But, being comfy with paradox in general and my own proclivities for paradox in particular, I have no problem buying all that scientific stuff and simultaneously enjoying a healthy dose of woo. For example, I love participating in ecstatic ritual, I believe in various forms of faith healing, and I am a total divination junkie. It works for me. I can't explain why, and I sort of enjoy the unanswered question.
This whole train of thought was inspired by reading Starhawk's account of a ritual undertaken by activists and fellow witches in the Twin Cities, centered on the RNC actions taking place there. I've been carrying a lot of heartache over this whole travesty (maybe you noticed?), and reading the story of this ritual...I dunno, it just struck me right and made me think and maybe nudged me towards feeling a little less hopeless and helpless.
Some excerpts that hit home for me (just in case reading about freaky pagan ceremonies isn't your thang):
There’s a web of negative energy that has been covering this country, media webs that whisper to you day and night that you’re not good enough, not good looking enough, webs of scorn and judgment. And those webs get inside us.
If there’s a core belief in the Goddess religion, it’s this: that each of us is part of the web of life, and precious, bringing our own unique gifts to the world. We don’t ask people to believe in things, not even the Goddess who is simply our term for the great creative mystery that weaves the world. But we do ask people to believe in yourself, in your own deep work, in your sacred purpose. You are here for a reason.
Magic. Like so many things, it doesn’t work perfectly. But it works.
At the risk of fulfilling yet one more pagan cliche....so mote it be.