Admin note: I’ll be scarce around here for a bit.

I’m using the rest of August to get the last of my outside-my-work obligations wrapped up, so that I can take September and October to get my own writing projects wrapped up before November hits. I’m on the fence regarding NaNoWriMo (though, let’s face it; I’ll likely participate). Not staying on top of where I am in regards to how I feel about how I’m working on projects, has helped said projects gather weight, which detracts from the fun. Making up stories should be fun, even if the writing is not always exactly easy. A Marriage of Land and Sea is a mere three chapters from being finished, and it’s sat there for months. Months. Partially, I know, because this particular set of characters have been with me for years, and I’m afraid of saying good-bye, but mostly simply because I’ve allowed it to.

I want to get it wrapped up. I want to get on to other stories. I want to get on to the next book in the series. I want to stop sabotaging myself into making writing miserable. I love this story, and it deserves the best I have to offer, damn it.

So, I’m taking a sabbatical. I can’t actually do a writer’s retreat, but I’m unplugging email, and I’m staying off social media. Anything that is not writing, research, or business related will be put on hold until this is done. I appreciate your support and your cheering me on.

I Speak to My God in Silence, but I am Not Silent.

Jolene Poseidonae:

I did not realize that this was a thing.

Not only do I rarely speak with Poseidon out loud with actual words, I also mostly do not “speak” internally with words consistently. Words, language, those frustratingly inaccurate and limited symbols for meanings, are so often . . . well, inadequate and limiting. I do not need words to make my communication with Poseidon real and of this world; the fact that He is and I am and w/We are is enough for me. I don’t believe that Poseidon (a non-human being) needs words and, more, needs them in English of all things, in order for our communication to be. Human language is for the humans. It’s awesome — I *love* words — but it’s for the humans.

Originally posted on Foxglove & Firmitas:

Disclaimer: If there is one moment where you can point to this blog and say “And this is where Camilla stepped off the edge with complete faith in her God to catch her; this is it.” (Because you speak with semi-colons rolling off your tongue in my version of the story.)

This, my friends, is the point of no return. This is where I start to shoot off at the mouth (or fingers) about what I’ve learned and been given to work with. As a note, I’m going to try to come back and actually cite things and provide sources, but since this is really just me babbling I may have to follow up with a more, uh, scholarly… Scholarly thing. Yes. Scholarly things. For Revivalism!

(There’s always so much terror in sharing this stuff.  I’m not gonna lie.)

It has been bothering me for a while that, for…

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On Godspousery and the Irrelevancy of outside validation of any kind whatsoever

Or: I care fuck-all

Another one of Thenea’s articles is making the rounds, this one focusing on what the Hellenic and Roman sources have to say on godspouses. Like all of her articles, this one was a thorough, well-written, and extremely interesting piece, and it contained references I’d never seen before. I’m glad she wrote it, I’m glad it’s out there, I think people should read it. I want to make it clear before I go further that this is not a rebuttal to what she wrote. Rather, it’s a matter of her material providing a spring-board for my own thoughts.

I’m holding a decent amount of discomfort regarding my spiritual practice – no, that’s wrong. I’m holding a decent amount of discomfort regarding my relationship with Poseidon these days. Despite my best efforts to be open and adventurous, I’m cranky. Despite my best efforts to trust our past, and to remind myself of His constant steadfastness and proven worthiness of that trust, I am by turns resentful and reserved. Despite constant reassurances, I’m dreading that He’s going to take His name away. Despite everything I know about Him, I fear something is going to change in a manner I will not like, and despite my knowledge that I don’t care about His name, I care about Him, that I will follow wherever He takes me, I cling to this fear. I share this to explain where my head space has been at as I read, and then contemplated, this article. The material within provided more discomfort, and I sat with that for a bit, until all of this coalesced for me, oh, around three am, because when else would it?

Interestingly, the discomfort left when clarity of thought came – and this is why I read things I don’t 100% agree with, and this is why I think it’s important to read things that I don’t fully agree with, and it’s a huge portion of why I explore the pagan blogosphere at all. Realizing and/or remembering a few key things about myself and my relationship with Poseidon helped me bury that discomfort once and for all. What key things?

Hellenic history, culture, and the myths that surround Poseidon are incidental to my devotion to Him. It’s not as clear cut as that, of course – there are pieces that inform my understanding of Him, pieces that I believe are fundamental to Who or at least How He Is, but, for example, this idea of Zeus as King of the Gods is, in my understanding, nothing more than convention and tradition, and is, for the most part, irrelevant to my life. Does learning about and trying to understand Hellenic culture(s) and history help bring nuance to how I understand Poseidon’s history of interacting with humans? Yes, obviously. I’m certainly in the ‘more knowledge and context is always good’ camp.

I don’t believe that the gods ‘belong to’ or ‘come from’ a particular culture. This can be a complicated topic – the only god that could be argued to come from the over-culture (if you can call it that) of mainstream, secular America is, maybe, sort of, a bastardized view of Jesus. (Emphasis on the maybe, sort of), and I’m quite happy to disassociate as much as possible from the mainstream, secular, driven to the worship of Consumerism, over-culture of America. I will never be a part of the cultures our spiritual ancestors were a part of, and I do not have a connection to any part of the Old World and any of the gods that might come via that connection, beyond a tenuous connection to ancestors. My family is not one of those American families who has clear and active ties to ‘where they came from’. So we did not carry the culture of our locations of origin with us to this new place; we were the people happy to assimilate into this giant, messy, complicated soup that is America. So, I own the fact that my understanding will never be that of one connected to those histories. Also, I’m pedantic and also a tiny bit down on humanity anyway, and so I have a very clear human/not human distinction in my head. So, the gods can, have, do, and will shape our various cultures by interacting with us, and they can, have, do, and will take a vested interest in our various cultures, even to the point of having a proprietary interest – and in this way, they certainly can be a part of our culture – but at the same time? They are gods. They are not human. They are not bound into that culture in the way that we are, they are not “from” that culture. Poseidon is not Hellenic. He’s not Greek. And maybe this way of understanding Him is so clear to my mind because He is as much all about non-human mortal beings as He is about humans, and the animals we interact with and share our lives with are also not really of “our” culture – not when we look at them as beings in their own right and not merely extensions of our property. The animals that live in my region do not “come from” American or even Oregonian culture – they simply co-exist along side it.

I’m not a Hellenic polytheist anymore than I’m a Heathen polytheist. I’m a modern polytheist devoted to Poseidon and Odin, and while history is important to learn about, my devotional life with my gods is rooted in our relationships. Their pasts are as much a part of it as my past is – in that the past shapes us, and knowing about it is important (because knowledge is good) but the relationship drives the relationship.

Because of these  things especially: I care fuck all for historical validation for having married Poseidon. It is interesting to learn about the stories of humans and gods interacting, but it’s also a bit irrelevant to my life. It makes me feel not so alone, maybe, but it also does not change the fact that the Powers can, do, and will interact with us now. When I married Poseidon, I’d already been His devotee for a number of years, and I cared fuck-all about other people being devoted to Him. (Though I could not for the life of me understand why more people were not.) My relationship with Poseidon had zero to do with anyone else at any other time or place, and everything to do with the fact that when I was at my most broken, my most desperate, my most helpless, He was there and He changed my life.

I also care fuck-all about doing any of this in a way to please anyone else. There is this idea that gets bandied about from time to time that if you are married to a god you have to be giving to ‘the community’. That being a godspouse should be about doing the Work. Over the years, there have been more people speaking up about how the relationship may be the Work, and that’s good enough. And you know what? It’s true. If you want to be involved in a marriage with a god or spirit and you are also called to community work (whatever that looks like to you), then great! Do it! Totally. But there is nothing at all that says that in order to be involved with the gods you have to be willing to serve a need in the human community. I’m going to say that again. You do not need have to give anything at all to the fucking human community(ies) in order for your relationship with your Powers to be valid, real, or worthy. It very well may be that your Powers in question push you, drag you, or encourage you that way. It may very well be that you want to become involved – and that’s great, that’s fine, we are social animals.

But we need not all be social animals to the same extent, and that’s okay, too. Me? This is about as social I get with people I don’t actually know in person. When others talk about gathering together in groups, I find myself often wanting to want to go, but when it comes down to it, I don’t. (Sort of. I do, but mostly to see specific people that being gathered in a group makes a bit easier to do in one fell swoop). What I do with Poseidon, what I do with Odin – the bits of my life that could be classified as “spirit work” – do not immediately or even primarily benefit the human world, and I care fuck-all about whether other humans find that valid, worthy, or acceptable.

My marriage to Poseidon was about the two of us. It became a way to create a bridge between families, but that was a natural out-growth, not so much the goal. I did not marry into a Hellenic community, and therefore the traditional Hellenic trappings of marriage did not apply. I did marry into a community of spirits and Powers, and their witnessing and acceptance of me as Poseidon’s wife mattered, but not to the point where the lack of it would have null-and-voided our marriage. I asked, He said yes, and then we got married.

I don’t want you to think that I took it all at face value without struggle or questioning or doubt. There was a good long while of horrendous doubt and fears, but it comes down to this: the marriage is between us. If I believe Poseidon is real (and I do) and powerful (check) and aware (yup), I have to believe that if I offended Him in any way with this, He’s capable of both letting me know and also taking care of it Himself. That is: He does not require humans to make sure He’s not being insulted, belittled, or otherwise disrespected.

How much you want to talk about your relationship with the Powers in your life is completely up to you. How much you want to share that with other people is also entirely up to you. How much acceptance you want to demand others in your community grant you is your call – though, realize that sometimes the most acceptance you’re going to get is people agreeing that how we think about our interactions with the gods in our lives is incredibly personal, intimate, and that how we express it may not be how they express or understand it. They may do no more than agree to disagree.

To recap: I care fuck all for historical validation. Poseidon’s continued presence, blessings, and affection are all the validation I need.

I care fuck-all for human acceptance. If you do not have an immediate impact upon my life, and if you are not one of the very few whose opinions of me matters, you can think whatever you want about and I could not care less. I married a god. He did not smite me. Again: all the validation I need, and all the permission I need.

I care fuck-all for tying myself to a historical culture I do not belong to. I’m not slamming those who do find use in immersing themselves as much as they can or want into a particular context (especially if they then talk about it where I can read it because I love reading other peoples stories — I’m a voyeur that way; not ashamed) but being devoted to Poseidon has never been about humanity or any of its cultures or histories for me.

I care fuck-all about letting others decide what I can or should talk about. I don’t talk as much as some about my marriage with Poseidon; there are things I’m not comfortable talking about. That said, I talk about what I want to talk about. Don’t like it? Don’t read it. I’m a polytheist, and I’m a pagan, and I may not be your type, and you may wish those like me would shut up and go away . . . which is exactly why I won’t. My relationship to my gods is not irrelevant: it is the foundation of who I am. It shapes me. Anything at all that I might bring to this table of community is shaped by these relationships – and one of them is a fucking marriage. It isn’t all I talk about, it may not even be mostly what I talk about, but whether I talk about it or not is entirely up to me.

To this I add a closing plea: do not be shamed into silence. Tell your stories. Raise your voice. I don’t care what it is you want to talk about, if there is that thing inside of you that burns to be written or spoken, that thing that just wants to be let out, that thing you fear others will mock you for or make fun of you or distance themselves from you if they knew or heard or saw – these are the things we need to talk about. These are the things that we need to share. These are the things that help us learn who is worthy of our time and commitment and love. People do not have to accept what we have to say – I don’t care if everyone in the world decided I was insane for calling Poseidon my Husband – but neither do they get to dismiss us because they don’t like what we have to say. And the only way we make sure our voices (and voices like ours) get heard is by not going away. Fuck ’em. Raise your voice.

Litany of Obligation

Something you may not know about me: I can be a bit of a doormat. One downside to being able to put myself in other people’s shoes is, if I can understand where they are coming from, I wind up forgiving all sorts of things. No respect for what’s important me, or what my boundaries are? That’s okay! Refuse to acknowledge that our relationship is one where I give and give and give, and you can’t even bother to ask after something important going on in my life? No big deal! Have a habit of only contacting me or showing interest in me when you need something? You can’t help it. Only interested a friendship as you define it, and have no problem giving me the silent treatment as it suits you? Awesome!

Except, you know, not. But I still have a hard time drawing those boundaries. I have a hard time sticking up for myself when it is something that only effects me — and people walking all over me only effects me, and since I can understand it, it’s no big deal, right?

Odin says, wrong. A number of months ago my lack of boundaries reached a critical stage, where I ended up completely stressed out and unable to cope with said stress. Poseidon placed a strong emphasis on self-compassion. Pops? Pops put His foot down.

There are people in our lives who we owe our time, energy, and attention. Who that is for each of us will vary for all of us. For myself? I’m a home-body. I’m focused on family. I like a number of my coworkers, but I don’t actually want to go and hang out with any of them. We are friendly, a bump up from acquaintances. It doesn’t mean our interactions are fake . . . but they are superficial to a degree, and that’s normal.

I have a limited amount of “can deal with people” energy, and if those closest to me get shorted because I can’t maintain enough distance with acquaintances, that’s something I need to deal with. And Odin helped.

My litany of obligation (which yes, He makes me chant it when I need to remember) looks something like:

Poseidon–> Odin–> Beth–> Corbie–> Zerk–> Luna–> Neech–> our various spirits –> K –> R –> M –> S –> assorted other incarnate family members –> friends –> acquaintances and strangers.

To explain that a bit:

Poseidon–> Odin–> Beth–> Corbie–> Zerk–> Luna–> Neech

This is my immediate family. These are those p/People who are the center of my day and my immediate attention. Poseidon is my hearth, Odin follows closely behind. Neither of Them *need* me in the way that Beth may need me in order to get through the day, so it’s not all about those who are dependent upon you. It is about those who get the bulk of your time, attention, and energy. The order isn’t fixed. As it’s presented, I have the chronically ill listed before those in decent health, but it can be re-arranged as things crop up. During Corbie’s illness, for example, the entire list disappeared and it was all him. (It ought not have: Zerk and Lu both have chronic issues, just not ‘on death’s door’ chronic issues).

our various spirits –>

Top of the list here is Grim, who straddles the space between this list and the former list. Also here is Angel, Sassy, and Orion. Some who peek in from time to time, some who are here more frequently. Sometimes my father; more often grandparents, especially Beth’s grandmother. What amount of energy they get from me depends on how those in the first grouping are doing, and what the spirits are actually requesting. My father often presses for me to be involved with the sibling I’m not interested in being in contact with, and that’s strained our relationship a tad. Beth’s grandmother often presses for involvement on Beth’s part with her ancestral Powers, and Beth’s not interested in much of that, and that stresses things a tad, too.

K –> R –> M –> S –> assorted other incarnate family members –>

My brother, Beth’s daughter, me mum, and then other living family (whereby I mean people who I count as family, regardless of actual blood relationship).

This is where the “I will sacrifice any of my wants, needs, or time to help you even if it’s something I really don’t want to do, because I love you, and because you’re well-being or happiness matters more to me than my own.” ends.

friends –> acquaintances and strangers.

‘friends’ is a weird category for me. I suspect that what I think of as friends most would think of as acquaintances. If I was the type to want to hang out, maybe it would be easier to know the one from the other. In any event, this is the group of people where, if it’s not something I want to do, or if it’s something that is going to cost too much for me to give, or if it’s something that may make it harder for me to be there for my inner circle, it’s not something I’m going to do or give.

This is the category that I struggle with. This is the one where Odin asks, “What do you owe those people?” and the answer is, I don’t owe them anything beyond compassion and general kindness. Everything else is extra, and is to be given only if I have it to give, and only if it does not take away from what I might need to give to Corbie or Beth or Luna, should something with them come up.

It reads a bit calculating, and maybe a bit cold, maybe a bit sociopathic. But it’s part of my self-care. And, you know, maybe something like this might be useful to others, and so, I’ve written about it.

Okay, maybe not the Vishnu Purana. . .

The edition of the Vishnu Purana available at my local uni library is H.H. Wilson’s five volume translation, and it’s dated. It was published in . . . I don’t remember. 1890? 1860? The reviews haven’t been great, but I know how to move around language that talks of “primitive” religions and “unreal” gods. I understand the biases of educated, white British men of that time period. But, it’s five volumes, and the books are fragile, and I can get a copy of it online for $1.99 for my Kindle, and if I end up getting it, that’s what I’ll do. I read the better part of the first four chapters at the library while waiting for my phone to charge, and I realized . . . this isn’t what I want. Once we get passed the cosmogony story, I’ll be happier (those are my least favorite stories regardless of which cosmogony we’re talking about) but what I really want, what I really, really want to read, always is, peoples experiences with these Powers and how it shapes their day to day lives. I want to see the stories of the gods, of the universe, of the worlds, intersect with the stories of people. I want to sit at the confluence of those rivers and drown in stories.

I brought home, instead, The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition, which is a collection of essays that deal with bits of the material of the Bhagavata Purana. The introduction was written clearly and approachably and, uh, also I really liked the typeface.* What?

Unrelated to Hindu studies, but related to books: I also picked up a copy of Titus Burckhardt’s Introduction to Sufi Doctrine, which is a slim little book that is also extremely fragile. The copy I borrowed was repaired in 1962 (there’s a note on the frontpiece) and the stitching is all yellowed. The pages are almost onion paper. This one will be read in bed and will not venture far from my stack.

I’m also reading Beyond the Blue Horizon: How the Earliest Mariners Unlocked the Secrets of the Oceans by Brian Fagan. Because this is how I dig my heels in. “Okay, sure, great, Vishnu stuff — oooh look, ocean!”

*Did I just date myself?

 

Hinduism, reality, Vedanta, etc.

So, Vishnu, yeah?

This new category is largely intended to be a searchable journal/record for me, as I go forward. I am doing my best to honor what I know of my Beloved: He is steadfast, He is constant with me, He has been with me unfailingly since He first appeared to me. I find myself getting caught up in fears — or in realizations, things that make all “this” obvious (this being the fear that I’m going to end up “something that I’m not” <— which is the verbage that comes to mind, but which isn’t fair to Him to even think, never mind fair to myself — fears that this was inevitable, that this is how I’m wired anyway, etc.) and trying to dig my heels in make this stop. I think of things like: Awareness and Compassion and Healing being ever the goals He’s pushed me towards; things like: yoga has been a cornerstone of my devotional practice, though it’s fallen to the wayside these last few years; things like: Eastern mysticism has always made more sense to me, when compared to Western mysticism. Or, if not made more sense, has felt more comfortable; things like: His somewhat infuriating habit to answer nature of origin questions with yesno answers; things like: His ambivalence towards my learning about Hellenic religious history and culture. Poseidon has urged me to learning about some of His Family, but that’s not the same thing. I have studied Hellenic religious history, and history, and culture, because I like to study such things, and once I’d studied the Northern European stuff I felt I ought to round it out, but that’s been me. And even as He has supported that, when I get too ensnared by the book knowledge, He says things like, “Let’s move away from Hellas now. Maybe branch out along the Mediterranean world; I’m known in more places than just Hellas. The Sea is Mine, and all peoples who traveled it knew Me.”

Still, He insisted that His name in Poseidon. Oh, He’s gotten loose with names over the years. I have an understanding that, especially between the Brothers, They have the potential to borrow One Another’s Names and stories and places as siblings might borrow clothing. And sometimes, They might do so without permission, like true siblings.

~*~*~

The parts of this that I’m tempted to feel frustrated over are things like: this is sort of where I started. Exploring Western Mysticism was a bit like studying Hellenic material, in that it was interesting, and I’m glad I did it, but neither of them are things that speak to my heart, and neither are places where I find Poseidon. There is value to knowing history, and value to having contexts, but from the beginning my relationship with Poseidon has been rooted in u/Us, in now. He is as much “use what works,” as Pops is. But I’m still tempted to feel frustrated.

~*~*~

I picked up 101 Questions Answered on Hinduism by John Renard at our Public Library. It’s written with an eye toward a largely Christian audience, and with a bias toward “world religions”. I’ve been finding, as I’ve poked around online, that the sheer amount of information out there is overwhelming. That and understanding that, while specific groups of people may hold to “our way is the right way” prejudice, there does not seem to be a rigid dogmatic fervor that we are used to with regards to Christianity in America.  The first word that comes to mind is “patience” when thinking upon the . . . feel. From my (superficial, outside) view point, there is a lack of hurry-hurry-hurry mindset. Desperation is absent.

I’m not Christian. I haven’t been, arguably ever, or at least since I was a pre-teen. I like to think I’ve rooted out all the hold overs Christianity has on me, but it’s hard to shake all of them, and it’s hard when your very macro-society is influenced by a particular way of thinking and of being in the world.

This book is helping me organize my questions and is helping me decide how I want to proceed with studying. Because I want to study. Poseidon wants me to pray, He wants me at the shrine, He wants me reaching out to Vishnu, He wants me bringing in specific avatars into my devotion, and it’s not lost on me that the ones He’s drawing me to are the less-human avatars of Vishnu. (Rama, Krishna, they are fascinating, and there’s so much information . . . and I’m all, but I want to hear more about Matsya . . .) But, He also wants me to be me, to fulfill my wants, and my wants always include studying. It includes learning, and being able to provide context, and being able to see as large of a picture of the story/stories as I can. Because of this book, I know I want to hunt down that of the Vishnu Purana that I can. Of the scripture or scripture-related material, that’s where I want to start. Already I’m less overwhelmed.

~*~*~

I’m still only half of the way through the second of the Introduction to Vedanta series by Acharya Shunya, but already I’m so grateful to have found this series. In the first lecture, she speaks about the three realities — I’ve already forgotten the Sanskrit names she used, but she explained them as reflected reality, empirical reality, and absolute reality. She spoke of the transient nature of the first two, how they are real, how what you experience is a dream (or reflected reality) is real, but is real in a limited way, for example. So practical reality, empirical reality, is also real in a limited way, but is less limited that reflected reality, and way more limited that absolute reality. It may read like a ‘duh’ sort of thing, but it floored me because some of my first conversations with Poseidon ever covered this. Real is defined by whether it effects you or not. If it does, it’s real. “How did I *really* interact with You that first night?” “Does it matter? What difference does it make? It happened. We were both there; it changed you. Does pinning a specific understanding to it change anything, really?” Erg, I suppose not . . .

The other thing the first of this series helped me with was the idea of illusion. Now, already, I’ve read others talking about the world not being an illusion to deny, and I suspect that our superficial understanding of what Eastern philosophies teach is just that — superficial. But the concept of karma and the goal of wanting to get off the karmic cycle and the romantic notions we have regarding renunciants, and the idea of the world as illusion taken together all forms this idea in my mind that I find unsatisfactory. She speaks of desires, of  being in the world, of being-ness, and how these are not bad things or things to be denied. She makes a point to say that the translation of the concept in Sanskrit to “illusion” in English did the concept a grave disservice.

~*~*~*

Am off to hit the library today, and to study, and to spend time maybe at the river. I am going to choose to not be frustrated. I’m going to remember His constancy, His steadfastness, and I’m not going to be afraid.

Share your voice.

You ever have those weeks when a topic or theme emerges, when a topic comes up again and again, maybe not something that you yourself are overly concerned with, but a concern or issue that others on your periphery are dealing with?

Over the last week or week and a half, I’ve chanced across a number of people wondering out loud whether they should keep on writing about their path, their experiences, their relationships with their Powers. These people expressed frustration over feeling unheard, or frustration over drama that they can’t seem to get away from, or generally just not seeing a point to continue sharing themselves in a public capacity.

I’ll own two things here and now. The first, and most important is: no one is obligated to share anything with anyone, least of all strangers on the Internet. The second is: of course I want people to keep sharing these things with strangers on the Internet. So, I have a bias in this, and I freely admit it.

Beyond that, though, I feel extremely strongly about writing, about sharing if you want to share, and about the potentially unseen benefit that your words might do to help others, who may never reach out and say anything.

Writing about my path is one of the forms of activism that I can do that does not burn me out oh so quickly. Interacting with the public for my day job pretty much takes up all the people tolerance I can manage (Especially on days when, as I’m following a policy, said customer takes umbrage with it and tells me I’d do anything for money. Oh, you’re never shopping here again? Can I get that in writing?)(Compassion, some days you’re are elusive). But, I can be vocal about being pagan, about being a polytheist, about being a devotee of Poseidon and Odin. I can be vocal about making choices in one’s life that takes one firmly out of the mainstream culture, and I can be one more voice that says, “You are not alone.”

I know my writing has helped people, because people have told me so. And it’s knowing that it has helped people that keeps me coming back to the keyboard, as much as, if not more than, wanting to share the awesomeness of living a life with Poseidon at the center. I’ve had moments when I’ve felt utterly alone and cut off, when I’ve felt that there was no one out there who knew what I was going through or cared that I was suffering or confused, etc. I don’t think I’m this great person — if you’ve been reading along for a while, you know that it’s the opposite — but I also know that I am able to write in a way that people sometimes connect to my words, and so I feel compelled to do this.

In the interest of keeping it real, I’m going to further own something. I am fascinated by drama. This is a learned trait — there have been times and situations in my past when the only time I felt anything at all was if emotions were highly charged. I also have a sort of quasi-anthropologist fascination with the mechanics of exchange when emotions are running high and conversations turn into train-wrecks. It can be mesmerizing to watch or read people push buttons to get certain reactions, to watch people not stop to listen, to be unconcerned with trying to see from other peoples’ points of view, and so on. I don’t care much for personal drama — I like my life to be as even keeled as possible — but when it’s people I don’t know going at each other? There have been times I’ve gone looking for that, just to read the comments in the threads.

Go further back and you’ll hit a time when I would have been happily snarking privately with trusted friends about past dramas. I share this to say: I have no illusions about how addicting drama can be, and how we can all get caught up in it. I share this to also point out: drama is a choice, and none of us are obliged to participate. We don’t have to read it. We don’t have to seek it out. We don’t have to allow for it in our spaces.

There are many important topics that our community (or communities, really) need to address, complex topics that I believe it’s important to talk about and read about and think about. But — you get to decide how and when and how often you deal with these topics. You also get to decide how deeply you want to interact with people regarding them.

I’m fascinated by a lot of the anti-capitalism issue some are focusing on these days, but I am content to sit in the shadows, to educate myself, to take in what I want to take in, to dismiss or disagree with what I disagree with, and to not participate in dialogue that too often turns heated. I’m frustrated a lot by the reluctance by white people to acknowledge that white privilege is a thing, and I get to see an amazing amount of white people trying to educate these other white people, and I’m so glad that I’m seeing white people stepping up to do that education, as it’s our place to do that educating — but I don’t chime in all that much, mostly because others are able to speak better on the topic than I can, but also because it’s an (absurdly) hard topic for people to understand.

I don’t go looking for drama these days. I purposefully do not read comments on blog posts or feeds if I know they’ve gotten heated. I have a limit to how much bullshit I can take in any given day, and I honor that. If you are burned out on drama, stop reading it. Don’t engage. Walk away.

Share your voice — but only if you want to. Share your voice, because we are not so large in number that there are too many pagans and polytheists speaking. Share your voice, because the Powers deserve for us to speak of Them, to bring Them back into peoples consciousness. I’m the only polytheist that I know of at my job, but all my coworkers (and some of the managerial staff) are aware of Poseidon, because I’m pretty upfront about it. It doesn’t matter that they don’t worship Him. The awareness is there for them that there are people out there that do worship Him — and that’s important. Not so much for His sake (He makes it clear to me that He does not need me bringing people to Him) but for our sake. And this is always weird for me to admit, because I talk good game about not doing any of my Work to benefit human people directly, but! This is one of those rare cases where I believe it’s important for those of us who can to promote awareness of these minority religions. To a degree, supporting minority religions in a “Christian” world, whether it’s Kemeticism, Wicca, Heathenry, Judaism, etc., is something I feel I’m honor-bound to do. I only feel able to speak up publicly about my own personal religious practice, but I feel called to be aware of and to be an ally when needed to others in minority faiths. I speak of my life with my gods and spirits, and I do so as much as a way of processing things as I do to be a visible example of how it could be.

There’s no wrong choice here. Share your voices how you want to, when, and where, and with whom you want to, and do not feel guilt or poorly for placing limits on what you’ll deal with. I adopted, at Odin’s insistence, a Litany of Hierarchy, to help me remember w/Who in my life gets to have my time and attention, who I have a responsibility towards. It’s amazing how helpful it has been for me, in establishing boundaries, both with others but also, more to the point, in my mind.

I’m very big on people sharing their voice, telling their stories, and I hate the idea that some are feeling like there is no point. So, consider this me, cheering you on. But, more, supporting whatever decision you make, because only you can know what is right for you.

Random exploration thingies

So, I’ve been flailing around a bit since Poseidon began nudging me to do more than just sit with these uncomfortable things. Two days ago, He was wise enough to point out that I was doing my typical “make it all perfect before I begin” thing: sure, I’d offer prayers and worship to Vishnu, but it would wait until I got the icons I wanted, and then it would wait until I felt more confident, and then and then and then . . .

One of the constant lessons from Him has been, it’s not about the stuff. And also, just do the thing. So, prayers, prayers the way I pray, have happened, and Powers have been approached. Because I’m still dragging my feet a tad, I’ve pretty much just approached Ganesh at this point. And it’s more of a sidling up next to, at this point.

But, I found this series of talks, and I’m only halfway through the second, but I really, really enjoyed the first ,and got a lot out of it. It may be of relevance to some who read my blog and so, sharing.

Hail Poseidon! Hail the Rain Makers!

images (1)It rained yesterday.The seagulls are expanding their territory outward across the city. It rained yesterday. It was as small shower, nothing all that impressive for here, but it rained.Rained.The dry season will be winding down. It doesn’t last long, and it always seems an eternity. Just when I think, okay, I can get used to this, it rains, and I realize I’m starving.

It sounds more impressive than it looks.

current letter book and baby Poseidon image.

current letter book and baby Poseidon image.

One thing that I try to be mindful of is how impressive our practices may sound to others when we write about them. We compare ourselves to others — whether that’s human nature or learned behavior is irrelevant, in that it does not change that this is something that we do. We can compare ourselves favorably or we can be harsh with ourselves, or we can hold ourselves above others. I tend to fall in that second category. I don’t do enough, I’m not fill-in-the-blank enough. The upside of thinking I’m not, well, enough, is that it makes it difficult for me to hold myself above others. The downside, of course, is that it’s difficult to think well of myself.

It is our own responsibility to not be over-awed by what others might do or accomplish. It is our responsibility to know ourselves, our relationship with our gods and spirits, and to know where we want to go. It’s very easy to say that, but it’s harder to do. I try to stay mindful of this when writing about my own practice, which is why Keeping It Real is a phrase I come back to again and again.

Poseidon’s been in my life for just about two decades. I’ve been in the practice of writing Him letters since almost as long. I’ve kept a practice of using journals for said letters since 2003. I’m mindful of how that could sound. If someone else was saying that? I’d think, “Wow, that’s a long time. I could never do that/I shouldn’t even bother starting that/how impressive that must look, all those letters.” And, because I don’t think I’m special, I suspect there are others out there whose thoughts might travel down a similar road.

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Twelve years of letters.

The blue book is a book of letters and prayers; it’s half-full, because I decided I wanted it to be all prayers instead. The top book is letters; it’s nearly full but then I wanted a new book. Both were made by a dear friend. The black book is a fancy dancy leather-bound Italian book with a rampant lion on the cover. I have a lion-Poseidon thing. This book spans years of letters, and only has a few blank pages. The central book is my current letter book, and it’s a Silence Maestas original.

Twelve years sounds impressive. It’s not. There are long stretches when I’ve stopped writing to Him, because life gets busy, because I want the immediacy of being by the shrine, because writing to Him became a way of me to see the distance between us and it hurt too much. I come back to it, because I like it, because I like journaling and I like including Him in the act. My letters to Him are not formal; hell, often they’re not coherent. It’s sorting through emotion and struggling toward the goals He sets for me. It’s my super private space to rail at Him as I need to, to write the ugly things that I may be feeling, to help release them.

When I say I’ve been writing letters to Poseidon for twelve years (longer, but for twelve years regularly and/or mindfully, as a practice) it sounds big. It sounds like I should have book after book after book after book of letters.

Instead I have two mostly filled books, one that’s a mishmash, and one that’s just begun. I have letters jotted in notebooks and some electronic files, too. So, this isn’t everything, but it is the bulk of it.

I share this because I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. I don’t think I’m special, but I do think I’ve been devoted to Poseidon for a long time. I’m mindful, always, of how, back when I first swore my first oath to Him, how I thought of people who’d been on their path for as long as I have now been on mine. I’d think, wow, it’s got to be great to have such history behind them. I’d think, wow, how impressive. I’m mindful of that, and I want to be clear that how these things sound are often not nearly as impressive as they look.