It seems to me that certain parts of the human mind deeply resist true connection to the Gods. I would like to share some thoughts and experiences that have helped me in finding the gold interspersed amidst the pyrite. As usual, I write from my own "jurisdiction": what works for me may or may not work so well for someone else.
I very much believe that it is possible to have direct, personal communication with the Gods. For me, this usually involves mental imagery and internal conversation. Though we can receive astounding impressions, I think our minds by necessity filter what we're able to perceive. I've had more than a few spiritual insights presented to me in the form of legal analogies; an astrophysics analogy would not work so well in my case.
How do we know when the Gods are talking to us? I've actually found that this question becomes more difficult with the Gods and Goddesses I'm closest to. A Divinity who is a fulltrui or fulltrua can be especially challenging. We have a lot riding on these communications (which is an invitation for subconscious interference in itself). That intense, understandable desire to really connect can lead to the mind creating its own "filler." Better an illusion than the risk of a perceived rejection through silence--or so says this one part of the brain. And then, I've also run into a particularly dark and clever part of the mind that is very good at faking a familiar interaction: its agenda is actually to drive a wedge into the relationship. This might manifest as a conversation that seems like something a God of Goddess would say, but that has a "pulling down" effect to it.
I'll start with the second mental exchange, for I've found it the most devious. While our Gods and Goddesses can and do show anger, you'll know what's going on when They do. Our Norse Gods are not subtle, and They don't get into a lot of spiraling rumination and guilt-tripping. A genuine conversation with an angry Deity can be frightening and heart-wrenching, but it will not push your entire spirit down into an abyss. The "construct conversation," on the other hand, will leave you with a subtle, generalized feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness. Again, I'll emphasize that the part of the mind that creates these "dialogues" is extremely insidious. I suspect it's "motivation," so to speak, is achieving independence at any cost. In some contexts, this might be adaptive. In others, this part of the brain becomes a tyrant: it will eagerly condemn you to your own personal hell for the sake of its erroneous conceptions of "survival." It most emphatically does not want you to joyously bond with a God or Goddess--or perhaps with anyone else, for that matter.
"Filler" is probably less damaging, but can be exceedingly annoying. It's hard enough to begin stilling your day-to-day thoughts without throwing cheery, pseudo-Divine chatter into the mix. In my case, I've found that a conversation that is utterly unattached to some sort of mental imagery might well be filler (I'll note that my visuals are sometimes quite hazy, especially if I'm speaking with a God in my work environment or when otherwise "out and about"). Emotions can be very telling here, for there often aren't any. In my experience, at least, a real communication usually involves some sort of feeling: these are our Gods we're talking to, after all. With attention and practice, filler can be isolated: it may have the overtones of memory or of regular internal dialogue. It resonates with the head, but not with the heart.
A few other thoughts:
Conversations--especially important conversations--can be given time. We need not rush into every last thing. It can also be very helpful to check in with other Gods or Goddesses. The mind is harder pressed to create a false echo when it is interacting with a less familiar Deity. Finally, as discussed in the earlier post on Presence, a touch--e.g., a God or Goddess taking your hand--can be a confirmation that you are truly connecting. While I have not gone into dreams or divination here, these may also be of great value.