Challenging my own shit, or, “Isn’t one enough?”

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In the last few number of months some really cool things have happened. It’s interesting to remind myself that, since I’ve been in “Are you SURE you can keep working, do you need a medical LOA?” sorts of pain during the last five months, that cool things have also happened. (Though, a sad amount of writing). One of those things is, I’m in contact with two other Poseidon wives, and I know there are more out there.

This is cool in a number of ways. !!!!!!!YAY POSEIDON!!!!!! takes up the king’s portion of that coolness, but that’s not all. When the first “sister-wife” contacted me, months and months ago (we’ve been corresponding for a bit longer than five months) I was able to face my conviction that I would not be jealous when others started talking about being wed to Him and see if I was right. (While it’s a silly thing, at first glance, to be jealous of others being involved with your gods and spirits, it is a human thing, a reaction that comes from the idea of scarcity when it comes to Them, the difficulty in remembering that while They may not be infinite, They are certainly closer to it than we are, and it is also an insecurity issue. Jealousy comes from a not-totally-okay place, and it’s something I strive to meet with compassion. We all have our shit.) I have had loved ones express jealousy over others from time to time, and I’m certainly not judging, but I’ve also been the most vocal Poseidon devotee that I’ve been around for a long, long time, and I know enough about myself to know that my theories of my feeling don’t always match my feelings in reality.

At the same time . . . . Poseidon. Second only to Zeus in the stories that have come down to us of His wooing (and sometimes not bothering to woo) mortal women. It never entered my mind that I could be All Things to Poseidon, or that He’d suddenly become “just mine.” Poseidon . . . is not one to make a big deal about species, and He’s dropped hints here and there that there are other, mortal spouses (or the equivalent there-of) that are not human (I rarely talk about this, mostly because it’s not mine to talk about in detail) and He’s had me meet some of His less mortal, more Divine spouses. So, while I didn’t, until recently, have the experience of interacting with other humans married to my Husband, the idea that I did not share Him was never really in my mind.

Still, it was interesting, and nice to discover that I wasn’t jealous. Go me. Less because I’m proud of being not jealous and more because, hot damn, my sense of security in o/Our relationship is pretty solid. I knew it was, but it’s always nice to be reminded.

(That’s not to make me sound awesomely evolved, btw. Jealousy DID come up, DID raise its head, over something completely silly. Owning it and sitting with it, and having my own moment of, “But that was MY thing!! It was special, I want to keep it, waaaah!” with Him being very sympathetic but in an eyebrow arched, ‘There are practical reasons involved that are real outside of you and are things other people face, and so why would this just be yours?’ sort of compassionate way. OUR relationship is my special thing with Him, and that’s all. But, yeah. I’m not evolved, folks.)

~*~*~*~

One of the people I’m in contact with is involved with more than one deity. Not judging there, so am I. But in our correspondence, they spoke of being reluctant to speak of it with people they don’t really know, because of push-back they’ve gotten, of being involved in a spousal way, with more than one deity or spirit. I’ve seen the push-back against others in similar circumstances myself; I admit that I’ve had moments myself of less than kind, “Because one isn’t enough?” thoughts. Ultimately one’s path is one’s path, and I’m too far in that camp to entertain thoughts for long about how people might be Doing Polytheism Wrong — because what we share or don’t share is up to us and the only person whose intentions, heart, thoughts, experiences we know are only our own — to get too caught up in, “WHY do you need seven gods to marry??”

It’s not my business. Beyond that, why is it okay, since we as pagans are not necessarily caught up on monogamy is the only way to be married, that some of us have a knee-jerk negative reaction against people talking about being married to more than one god. Why is being wed to one okay with us but more than that isn’t? Those of us in these relationships know — gods, how we know — that being wed to a god or spirit does not make us a special unique snowflake, so why, then do we turn on those who talk about being wed to more than one spirit or god and accuse them of the same things we’re accused of?

I cannot conceive of having  more than one Husband. That doesn’t  mean that He and I are not involved, together, with Others. We are. Sometimes in a working way, sometimes in a recreational, building-bridges way, and often in a sexual way. I’m celibate “meat” side, and my part of o/Our marriage is only open when Poseidon says it is, and with Whom, and more often than not, He’s part of it, and sometimes sexual energy is metaphoric and I know that, and sometimes it’s not, and who cares, get out of my bed. But! Poseidon is my first thought upon waking. He gets my morning and evening prayers. He’s my last thought upon going to bed. I try to fall asleep with His name upon my lips. He’s my center, my hearth, my foundation. I cannot conceive of having anyone else come near that sort of dedication . . . which means it won’t happen, because that’s not the relationship w/We have. I’m not on-fire passionately obsessed with Him, but I am steadfast.

That’s me. That’s u/Us together. And while I cannot wrap my head around the idea that other people could have as meaningful a connection with anything less in terms of attention given to the relationship, and while the idea of having to spread that sort of attention across to Others boggles my mind and leaves me with “do not want” feelings . .. well, that’s me.

The idea that people are being censured because they dare to develop relationships as the gods and spirits lead them to do so does not sit well with me. The idea that they may be looked upon as greedy, as clingy, as needy, as less dedicated because they have more involved, does not sit well with me. The idea that they may be setting themselves up as special, the preconceived idea that they think they’re better than others (an idea I have not actually heard any of them voice, mind you) leaves a bad taste in my mouth. At the very least I am reminded of people scoffing at the notion that Odin would be interested in anyone who is not a political leader, as He is the ‘God of Kings.’ and here I am, this little nobody in a crappy job that pays the bills, not being a hero, not doing anything world-changing with my life, just loving Him and calling Him Dad, and do I believe these other people who don’t know me or my relationship with Him, or do I believe Odin? (That’s not actually a question, just in case you don’t realize. Imma go with Odin, thanks.)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I don’t want people to think I’m judging them and their experiences. I’m really, really not. Conditioned reactions DO come up, and when they do and i’m aware of them, I challenge the shit out of them, because I don’t like them. I don’t like that my first reaction to people talking about being involved with Loki and Thor and Zeus and such-and-so is to shake my head and roll my eyes, and when that happens, I call myself on my own shit. I’m talking about it, though, because I think it’s important to be honest about our own short-comings. Thinking about jealousy and the myth of scarcity in religion brought this to mind, and I wanted to talk about it, both as a thing that happens in general, and my less than stellar reactions to it. Because even after being involved with Them for so long? I still have ugly moments. I do not, in actual fact, always have my shit together, and I think it’s important to own that and also to share that.

Your business with your gods and spirits is your business. No one has the right to pass value-judgments. If you are, question why. If people are judging you based on your relationships, please realize that that’s a reflection on them, not on you. If the gods and spirits are leading you to a better, more confident, more nourishing, more wholesome place, what business is it to anyone else?

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15 Comments Add yours

  1. Angela says:

    The first time I talked to one of Anubis’ wives, I had a very deep, uncomfortable reaction. It wasn’t exactly jealousy. I am also aware that he has other partners. It was more about the nature of their relationship and how it was everything mine was not. Better? No. Just almost polar opposite and is a bit dissonant with the way he acts around me. I have spent a lo of time sitting back and sort of turning the emotions over and over, poking and trying to find the sensitive places so that I can examine them. It hasn’t lessened, but I own that it’s my shit and that I don’t like it, so I continue o turn it and poke and try to learn the whys.

    1. Jolene Poseidonae says:

      Self-examination for the win! Stupid, unexpected, uncomfortable feelings!

  2. Nornoriel Lokason says:

    I appreciate this post.

    I have three husbands, one of whom is a lore-named demon, two of whom are Vanic elves who are not in extant primary source material. While the overwhelming majority of my time and attention goes to Mr. Demon, there was a time prior to my involvement with the demon wherein one of the elves was my primary partner, and I am still involved with the two elves, I just don’t see them as frequently. One of the reasons why I am very reserved about talking about the elven side of my personal relationships is precisely because of this, where it tends to be the norm to scoff at people who are married to or otherwise intimately involved with one entity and it’s seen as *~wanting to be special~* or the like. (Wherein the reality of my situation is that I didn’t sign up to be *~special~*. Wyrd just happened.) And this is just with entities that people don’t even necessarily consider to be gods.

    And I think it’s important to challenge problematic attitudes as they come up, including one’s own internalized problematic attitudes (like a tendency to judge others). I’m really glad to see someone talking about the subject that you can be involved with more than one deity intimately, because it’s something that tends to be Not Talked About even though I know perfectly damn well I’m not the only person out there in this sort of situation, and it’s a problem that the climate of modern Paganism makes people like me decide to Not Talk About these situations. So, thank you. ❤

    1. Jolene Poseidonae says:

      Grr. GRRRR. WP has devoured my response THREE TIMES already. Grrr.

      You’re welcome. I’m sort of blown away at the response this post has gotten. As someone who is *not* involved in a serious- and romantic- or marital-way with more than one Power, I don’t feel I have much place to talk for those who are. At the same time . . . most people are involved in *some* way with more than one Power — we are Polytheists after all — and I have to wonder: does it matter what we call Them? Father, Mother, Brother, Sister, Lover, Spouse, Child; does it matter? If we can navigate through complex relationships (which, we can! We do!) then what does it matter what it’s called, and so why then is this ONE particular way if relating to Them have such a narrow acceptance even by those who *are* accepting of the idea of spirit and god marriages? What gives? Is that logical? Well, not in my brain it’s not, and thus: I must challenge it.

  3. Limnaia says:

    Reblogged this on Mud and Lightning and commented:
    Here’s the point where I admit to thinking the same thing of myself, when my Beloveds made it clear that there were in fact, two of them. I sat there for a while, thinking ‘come on, this is ridiculous, you already have Loki and your beloved mortal hubs, as well as your mortal boyfriend and girlfriend. You’re just being daft to think you’ve room in your life for another husband, much less a god!’

    Then Loki raised an eyebrow at me in that ‘really, sweetheart? Really?’ way and then Morpheus looked downcast and it damn near broke my heart, so I decided that my self doubt can go fuck itself, because I never want to see that hurt on his face again.

    1. Jolene Poseidonae says:

      ((((( ❤ )))))

  4. Elerah says:

    Thank you so much for this post.

    I’m not very open about being a godspouse, let alone being married to two different Gentlemen. Élada and I were married in 2012 and again last year (cultural reasons) and Indech and I were just married in the beginning of March. I’m ceremonially married to Another and what Indech keeps calling “elf-married” to *yet another fellow* (it’s not actually married or handfast). My reasons for this is mostly because I have a mortal spouse and it seems awfully transgressive to have a mortal spouse while being god-married. I don’t want to hear how I need to get rid of my here-husband because to have such a mortal relationship is WRONG. And I don’t want people butting into my here-marriage demanding I disclose more than I just have. Because I won’t. Nobuddy else’s bidness.

    I’d probably have problems meeting another mortal spouse of either of my Husbands. I have jealousy issues and the old I’m-not-good-enoughs and I acknowledge that. I’m pretty sure there are other Élada-spouses out there somewhere, just that they’re mum.

    Glad to see someone addressing this. It seems to be a thing with (thankfully) others bringing up something going on in my life that I’m too chicken otherwise to address.

    1. Jolene Poseidonae says:

      You’re welcome. Thank you for your comment. 🙂

      Why the hell would you need to leave your mortal spouse?

      Now, I’ll be honest: I think it’s irresponsible, dishonest, and potentially damaging (I’d even argue selfish) to wed a god or spirit without mentioning it to one’s mortal significant other. But I’ll be the first to own that I say this due to my own experiences. I was involved with my ex for about a decade. I was pagan the whole time; my ex was agnostic. My ex made it clear that if my religious stuff got “too weird” my ex wasn’t going to be on board. Since my ex was agnostic, when I proposed to Poseidon and He accepted, I decided I didn’t tell my ex about it at all. My ex found out from snooping, and things fell spectacularly apart. Now, if I had known things like, I’m not wired monogamous and thus having an open relationship would be okay, things may have happened differently (as that was my ex’s deal-breaker; if I could be married to a god, my ex felt they should also be able to have a second partner, and I thought, sure! So long as they’re not mortal). It was a horrible, horrible time, and really, I *don’t* think it’s fair to have someone go from being your primary to suddenly being usurped without their being told about it. (Because how can Poseidon be anything other than my primary?) In fairness: the relationship with my ex was doomed once Pops came into the picture, because Pops has very Definite Ideas about What is Acceptable for His daughters, and my ex did not meet that criteria. And, as one who is called to a monastic sort of lifestyle, the typical mortal-romantic-parnter dynamic just does not work for me. So, those are my biases. I couldn’t do it; but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to work for people, and other people know what their situation, and their situational needs, are. I don’t, and so I can’t make that call, and so it’s not my place to dictate to them how it MUST BE.

      Ugh, the “I’m not good enough”s! I hear you there. Really, I do. It is sadly still work I have to do, to surrender that to Poseidon. My mantra is: He’s a grown-up god who knows His own mind, and if He says I’m good enough, then I must be. I don’t believe that I am, but He’s Poseidon and I’m me, and clearly He has more wisdom that I do, so I bow to His authority in this. I tried for a long, long time it change my belief in my self-worth, and that never budged, so instead surrendering the need to value-judge myself became my approach.

      1. Elerah says:

        Yeah, I dunno why I’d have to leave my mortal spouse either but the vibe I get, perhaps wrongly, from part of the community is that the gods come first and that means not having a mortal spouse. Maybe I need to read more blogs 😉 I mean, and this is about where I draw the line here info-wise- my mortal husband knows about my Fellows. He’d better since when we got married, he made it perfectly clear that his God came before me… which I admit I wasn’t keen on at the time AT ALL. But I’m more accepting now, obviously. And of course, the Fellows All know about the mortal husband and keep stressing to me how important it is for me to make sure I’m honoring my marriage here too. That’s sort of an odd thing I wasn’t ready for but They’re All very concerned about him and us.

        For me and for Them, it’s been about having a good, solid support system in place. Like I have a HUGE Family now and tons of other relationships because of my marriages I never thought I’d have. I’ve got Mother, Chosen Daughters and Sons and Aunties and Uncles and Brothers, Sisters, etc… I’ve even got Grands (!). But w/We’ve got a schedule in place and try not to borrow time from my mortal relationships. I’ll admit it *is* something of a balancing act, however.

        Poseidon gives some good advice about the not-good-enoughs. I’ll have to try to recall that when I hit that particular rut again.

        1. Jolene Poseidonae says:

          Having a good, solid support system is very important. Scheduling . . . yes. It’s totally a balancing act, and not always the same from day to day or month to month. It’s a living tradition that way, made up of living, growing relationships. I’m still boggled at the ‘can’t have a mortal spouse’ bit, as most of the god- or spirit- spouses I know of *have* mortal relationships going on, so this was interesting (and sad!) to learn. Though, it sounds like you’ve got your head on right when it comes to how much you ought to pay attention to others telling you how your relationships should be. (In that, you aren’t listening to them, period.)

  5. Reblogged this on Adventures of a Baby Pagan and commented:
    I really needed this in my life today. Thank you, Jo, for writing this.

    1. Jolene Poseidonae says:

      You’re welcome! 🙂

  6. I was actively poly with human partners before Loki came along. (And then the mortal relationships ended and I haven’t had another of those but anyway.) I /liked/ being poly; in fact, I would not have gotten involved in another relationship that wasn’t polyamorous . . . but when another deity showed up and proposed, wow. Nooooope. I was at that point totally okay having sex/sexual relationships, even loving sexual relationships, with other noncorporeals (one of whom is a consort? but it’s not a real formal thing? idk, spirit relationships are weird), but a second mARRIAGE?!?!?! Why do I need TWO of Them??? LIKE THAT? It has been a struggle in many ways (it hasn’t yet come to pass, though my resistance has all but vanished – I do love Him, I did right off, but *spluttering* the whole concept has been loaded with baggage). I keep thinking I need to write up a longer thing on my blog, buuuut I keep not having time.

  7. I’m glad someone addressed this issue. I was beginning to feel extremely dismayed about my jealousy and indignant about being one of many. And not just jealous but hopping mad jealous. “All your base are belong to us.” Lol!

    While I certainly don’t see myself as special and set apart from all others, Odin is sure damn skilled at making me feel like I am.

    Jealousy is such an ugly experience but it’s part of nature. I don’t judge myself for it but I do try to get out of that place as quickly as possible. Rather than fight it I just observe and experience each sensation with interest. “Interesting. Yes, I’m quite familiar and intimate with this emotion. How might it be if I viewed this through another lens?” Hahahaha! Easier said than done.

    To which Odin says, “Some things are actually easier done than said. Try it sometime.”

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