I have it on my brain. Gamelia is coming up, followed shortly by Anthesteria, which marks another heiros gamos. Somewhere in there I’ll also be marking my 11th wedding anniversary. It only makes sense that I’d be thinking about it. There are few places in my life where I’m comfortable saying casually, “Oh, my wedding anniversary is coming up.” Few enough places that even typing it out *still* gives me pause. Which is why I type it out, darn it.
I’m pretty confident about all this. I know what my experiences have been, I know Poseidon’s presence in my life, I’m rather comfortable in my hard polytheist box. I served my time in “what if I’m wrong/what if I’ve offended Him with my presumption” land. I simply cannot go forward holding the conviction that the gods are real –> Poseidon is real while maintaining any sort of idea that I’ve offended Him *and* He’s not capable of letting me know about it. Even if I’m wrong about this whole marriage business, even if I didn’t get a “yes!” to my proposal, I’m still alive, I’m still actively paying Him worship, I’m still writing about it and sharing it with others. At the end of the day, even if this is all some mind-game that allows me to live a better and more fulfilling life, and He isn’t more than sporadically aware of me, sporadically a part of my life, at the end of the day, if it offended Him, I believe fully He could let that be known. Immediately and directly.
This doesn’t meant that I don’t pick at the concept of divine marriage. Security in my relationship with Him, that that goes so far beyond words and language does not mean that I don’t contemplate, that I don’t reflect upon all of this. What does it mean to be wed to a god? What does it mean to be wed to Poseidon? Why marriage? What’s different between marriage and any other sort of relationship we might have with our gods or spirits? Is there a difference? Does defining it as a marriage box the relationship in too much? The questioning does not cease simply because once, I said, “I do.”
There’s a danger in these waters of introspection. Too easily do I look toward others — what does marriage mean for such-and-so? — and allow that to feed the “should” monster. For a while it was a huge problem; even now it’s a danger to be wary of. But, because words do indeed mean things, what about marriage?
Marriage is about joining families together. Whether they are political in nature or love-based, arranged by family or arranged by those looking to get married, it is about alliances, about building one’s kinship. When I married Poseidon, I knew changes were in the works — my mortal relationship was not doing well, and while I wanted it to work out, I suspect I knew it wasn’t going to, and really, it was not fair to expect it to. My priorities were changing, as I came to know myself better, and I cannot put too fine a point on this: it is not fair to expect your partner to go from being the primary person in your life to being moved to a secondary position simply because you are finding more fulfillment from your spiritual studies and development, and expect them to be okay with that. It does not matter that they don’t believe in your gods. Your gods may not be real to them, but your time and attention is nonetheless no longer focused on them. Be honest with yourself the moment you think something like that may be happening, and be brutally honest with them, as well. Be as clear as you can be. They deserve as much. (Yes, this is definitely a “do as I say, not as I did,” moment. I did not handle it well at all).
I found a new family, and I definitely see the hands of my gods in its building, but at the time I gave my vows to Poseidon, I couldn’t see it. Why would He marry me? He’d been in my life regularly for years before that; why would we need to change the relationship? Would it change? Of course, we didn’t need to do any such thing, but I wanted to. Once I came across the idea, I couldn’t let it go, and once I posed the question to Him, there was no going back, and the entire time, it felt like the natural next step. But, why? What does marrying us do for Them? What responsibilities come with such a union, because certainly responsibilities ought to, yes? And since relationships with the gods go far beyond that space where words and language and labels even work, does “marriage” even mean anything?
I can answer these questions for myself; I can’t answer them for you. For me? My marrying Poseidon changed only the importance I placed upon my relationship with Him. Took me a while to see that. Took me a couple of years to get over the idea that it “should” have changed, that I “should” be doing something for Him in the world — something public, something big, something activism based, something community based, something, anything — and to remember what I was already doing, what I had always been doing. Energy work with an emphasis on healing. Living a life that did not equate ‘human’ with ‘the best living creature every that all else is meant to serve or be used by’. Loving Him. Healing myself (because there’s an end point to *that*! Ha!). Learning about compassion. Telling stories. Has our relationship changed? Yes, and no. Yes, because it’s gotten stronger, deeper, better, but the foundational groundwork hasn’t changed.
I’m tempted, from time to time, to say that “marriage” is the keyword that signifies the central place o/Our relationship takes in my life. Poseidon is my Hearth. He has been my Hearth since I met Him. I’ve stumbled, trying to incorporate Hestia worship in my practice, because I get snagged on the Hellenic “She is the Hearth” concept . . . because She is not nor will She ever by my Hearth. Yet, I know there are others whose relationships with their spirits takes as prominent a role in their lives, and yet it may not be a marriage . . . so why marriage?
I don’t have answers to this pondering. It’s marriage. O/Our marriage tied families together. He extends His looking after others to include my loved ones. His loved ones matter to me simply because the matter to Him. There are connecting threads that run from Poseidon through me to Odin and His kin. I suspect there are connections running thusly that have nothing to do with me; I don’t pretend I’m the only thread, but I am a thread. It is a convenient way to signify that I’m unavailable, I won’t lie about that, but being a wife of Poseidon’s is not solely a matter of convenient short hand, either.
It’s interesting to pick at these thoughts, to see how they’ve morphed and changed and how they’ve remained the same, over the last decade.