I told her , in a fun way, that the Gods and Goddesses were our deities, but they were also our friends, and we love them very much. We speak to them every day, I told her, but sometimes we like to invite them over to our houses to speak to them face to face, and to get to know them better ( A ritual). We invite them in, we toast them, and even give them an offering of food. We thank them for all they do for us, and then we thank them for coming, and finally say goodbye. She smiled and understood this version of our rituals without blinking an eye. Then she asked again why we did it so often. And I realized I hadn't actually answered her original question fully, so I continued on. I told her that we needed to see our "Friend" Gods as much as possible because this makes the friendship stronger and allows you to form a bond of love with them. I mentioned that seeing her mommy and daddy every day was one of the reasons she loved them so much. I also told her that once you stop honoring the Gods you slowly lose touch with them like a friend who moves away and you hear from less and less. To this she replied that one of her friends moved away and she did not see her anymore. Through her sadness I could see that she understood.
After she left with her father, I started to reflect on what I had told her. I never had children and I am very uncomfortable around them, so I wasn't sure how well I did in answering her question. What I told her was, of course, way too oversimplified, but I think in essence it is what we do . When friends do something nice for you don't you invite them over to reciprocate ? As a solitary practitioner this is exactly what I do. I invite them in, I thank them, I honor them, I even raise my glass and toast them. And I take these opportunities to get to know them better by opening myself up to them and letting them open up to me. From this interaction the relationship grows into a much stronger bond that cannot be easily broken.
Yes, that little five year old girl once again showed me that religion doesn't have to be complicated, or intense, or rocket science. It is simply about the relationship that we build with our Gods and Goddesses over time through our rituals. I say hold rituals as often as you like, our "God - Friends" are always glad to hear from us ! It is amazing what you can learn from the innocence of a child. They see things so simply and pure. The way we should !
Go with Odin's wisdom Freyja's love and Thor's protection !