This is, I am sure, only a big deal to me. But, I’d like to share my wonderful brain’s twisted thought processes, because . . . well, it’s exhausting, and its a very clever brain, and maybe the sharing can help other people not feel alone or not feel weird or not feel . . . whatever. Something.
Way, way, way back in 2006 – possibly as early as 2005 – I adopted the name Naiadis. I’d wanted it to be my spiritual name, and I was trying to use it as an initiation-point sort of thing. My relationship with Poseidon was in a rough patch, and choosing the name Naiadis was an attempt on my part to convince myself that despite everything, I was serious about this path, about my life decisions, etc. I’d been with Poseidon since I was 16 (though in the beginning it was not the steady, constant thing it has since become) but there were some major upheavals in my life in 2004. The result of both dedicating myself to Poseidon and to Odin, of embracing this calling within me, was that my long term relationship with my now ex dissolved. Instead of returning to the state I grew up in, I moved in with Beth. We joined our households. We decided that the life we wanted to live was the life dedicated to our gods. We couldn’t exactly go and join a cloister, but that’s sort of what we wanted, and that’s really been our aim since. We live a semi-secluded life with our focus on bringing our gods into our world, on bridging that distance. Maybe people can do this without living in a semi-secluded fashion; we can’t. More, we don’t want to. These changes were not easy; they were rocky, and not just between Poseidon and myself. So, the name Naiadis – which is a combination of ‘naiad’ and ‘dis’, thus honoring both my connection with Poseidon and my connection with Odin – was, in a sense, like a dedication name. And, I really like the name.
But I don’t use it, have never really used it, beyond my blog address. I tried at first, to have it be my new middle name, but it just . . . meh.
Poseidon has, now and again, brought up the option of having a form of His name in my name. In my experiences with Him He is – or can be – a touch old-fashion, so having a name derived from His in my name has a satisfactory-to-Him possessory effect. While I’m weirded out a bit by people taking a god’s known name (naming your child Odin, for example), having theonymous names don’t bother me as much. (And I freely admit this is my issue; I’m not passing judgment on anyone. It weirds me out, but it’s also not my flipping business and I don’t pretend that it is). So, Thor gives me pause. Thorben, not so much.
I’ve begged off, time and again, because hey, look, I’ve already got Naiadis; what more do I really need to have?
It hasn’t been something we’ve spent a lot of time or attention on, either. But, I’ve noticed that, with what I’m calling the Great Misdirection Trick of 2014, Poseidon has been using the opportunity to slip a lot (a LOT) of things through my otherwise stubborn defenses. I am apparently feeling especially compliant. Change is something I don’t tolerate well. It’s hard on me – even good change, even positive change. Stress is stress is stress is stress. But – heh – big scary totally overhauling of everything stress is huge, and compared to that, doing something that is maybe not as huge can be stressful but a more appealing sort of stress. “Oh, no, I don’t want to really have to look into this totally foreign-to-me-area very closely at all, that’s massive and terrifying! What is that? You’d like for me to write a fictional tale of part of Your experiences even though I rarely make gods my central characters and this challenges my whole ‘it doesn’t matter how the characters are real to me and how gods are real to me and how nutters that may make me seem to others’ conviction? Yeah, let’s do that!”
There are many things that Poseidon does not push me on at all, until they become critical. My god? My god is an awesome god. He is wonderful. He is patient, He is kind, He is compassionate and sometimes the most important thing is, He is emotional. Sometimes I think, He is Emotion. He understands the terror that can hold one immobile, and He seems to know exactly when pushing that limit would be disastrous . . . and when allowing that limit to remain would be as disastrous.
He made me venture forth to a temple to attend a class on walking meditation, waaaaaaaay back when showing any outward sign of anything spiritual was terrifying to me. He made me interact with people and speak with the instructor. (He also provided a nice corner for me to mostly hide in, complete with a giant bell that was set on the floor while being repaired). He’s made me practice yoga out of doors where people could see. He’s decreed I veil myself when out of the house, and you best believe that draws attention. He demanded I wear nothing but skirts until I got out of my “I have to wear jeans and tee shirts so I draw no attention and can blend into the scenery and no one sees me!” conviction. He does not demand that I am outgoing, that I become social, that I change myself into an extrovert; He does demand that I not be ruled by fear of being seen or noticed or heard. And every time that fear comes up, He pushes, and there is no wiggle room, there is no getting out of it, and there in no denying Him.
But – He is kind. He is compassionate. He is generous, and the name thing is something He hasn’t pushed. This past week the topic has come up again, and this time? This time Poseidon came down heavy and hard about it. It may the timing of the year. It may be the recent push to acknowledge His Kingship (“Look! Look, he’s writing about My being a king. Do you know why? Look, she gave Me a crown in that image. Oh, hey, are they referring to me as the Lord of the sea gods on that website? You call Odin King; do you think I’m any less a king than your Father?”) It may just be that the time is now.
I changed my posting name from Naiadis to Jolene for branding reasons, and because Jolene is the name that I associate with my writing. Those of you who’ve been reading for any length of time know that I have compartmental issues, so while the idea of having a ‘secular’ writing name and a ‘religious’ writing name does appeal to me, in practice I don’t know that I’d like it. I’ve never really had religious or spiritual names, because I very much connect to my given-name, and a few of its derivative names. I answer to Jolene and Jo (and to a very few, to Jojo). (I also still answer to Blue, but it’s been ages since I’ve used that name as more than login names). I will respond to Naiadis also, though it’s not something I use widely, and it’s only been in my taking that down and switching over to Jolene on the blog that I’ve come to miss it.
Poseidon said it was time to get His name into my name somewhere. We argued about it. Well, He pressed and I panicked and cried and pleaded and tried to bargain. It assumes too much. It is too attention-seeking. It is too audacious. This – this! – would push that line which, as soon as I crossed it, He would take note and strike me down for my hubris, surely. It is too big. I cannot, cannot.
Apparently I could, and I would, and that was that. He gave me wiggle room (re: kind, compassionate, generous). I could use whichever form I wanted. That was enough wiggle room to distract me for days. Would I chose a historical form of the name? What suffix would I use, and how would I rationalize it? When I wiggled myself into knots over that, I had to admit that part of the reason I did not want to take His name? It’s a fine name for Him, Poseidon, but aesthetically I find the name displeasing. Yes, you read that right. Especially altered and set next to my name. Poseidonia? Poseidone? Meh. Coupled with Jolene – well. Those are two names from two different parts of the world that just don’t mesh well. (We’ll ignore that my middle name is French and only looks normal next to Jolene for me because it’s been there my whole life.) Maybe Poseidonaina?
When I threatened to get far too bogged down in the historical crap, He put His foot down again, and while He was still leaving the form up to me, He was also demanding that I pick what the form I wanted simply because it appealed to me the most; not because it was linguistically authentic.
Which is why we’ve ended up with Poseidonae. I’m not pronouncing it much different than ‘Poseidone’ but I enjoy the ‘ae’ combo quite a bit (not the least because, if I really wanted to, I could make it be its own letter, and yes, there’s a connection with the ‘ash’ letter that I’m pleased to have present in the name).
Once it was up, I wanted so very much to toss Naiadis back up there. Naiadis Poseidonae looks so much better than Jolene Poseidonae. But, no. He’s not budging on this. If I’m going to be publishing under Jolene, that is the name ‘Poseidonae’ will follow.
Secretly? Secretly, I am pleased – secretly I adore having His name as part of mine. I adore that this mattered so much to Him, and I don’t hate when He gets bossy, when He pulls rank, when something I do or do not do matters so much to Him that He has an opinion about it. I am humbled by it, by Him. He is still kind and compassionate, even when He’s putting His foot down . . . but we are not equals, He and I, not even in our relationship, not even when sometimes He manages to make me forget that.
I don’t know how this is going to work, writing-wise. I’m toying with the idea of having the name be on my religious writing and not my fiction writing, but really it’s still in the thinking about it stage. It’s been so long that my writing name has simply been my name, adding to it is . . . weird. So, we’ll see how it plays out. For now, I’m keeping the name on here and trying to not freak out every time I see it. So far? So far, I’ve gotten passed seeing it and shaking horribly. Progress, aye?