Questions of Consent and Problematic Lore

(Originally this was to be a response to a comment, but, er, well, it sort of took on a life of its own, and viola, a blog post was born. Thank you, Poppy, for the inspiration. Also note: the you in all this is general you, and I’m using Odin as an example both because He’s one of the two I’m involved with and because He is one of the ones whose name comes up a lot re: abusive gods)

What makes navigating these waters so difficult, at least to my thinking is: how do we judge Them? Do we judge Them as human, in terms of the boundaries we set up and defend, in terms of the cultural mores that we apply to Them or demand They stick to, in terms of the very language we use when talking about our experiences with Them? Ultimately, this is a decision that we each have to make on our own. For me, I don’t expect the Powers to act as if They were human, and humanity is so much not the center of my relationship with Them that it ends up being a non-issue. (The well-being of my tribe is closer to the center, and my tribe is made up mostly of not-humans, so that colors the way I see the world).

I don’t expect either Odin nor Poseidon (nor any of the others I interact with) to pretend to be human, or to have values that line up with my cultural values, etc. However, I do expect Them to have experience with humanity at large, to understand that cultural mores differ in time and in place, to understand the advancement (and the desire for) equality between people across gender lines, racial lines, and all the other lines that there may be. It has always been wrong for any people to be treated as less than real people based on any of this things – I’ll use women and slaves as examples because they are examples that seem to span time and country, or possibly because Hellas is never far from my mind – but it’s more wrong now to treat people as inferior to another group of people because we’re less willing to allow that to go unchecked. (Though how less willing seems to depend upon the group in question) and I do expect my gods to be sophisticated enough to understand these changes and to get on board. Likewise, I expect Them to understand the concept of consent.

When I accepted Odin into my life, when I offered Him vows of life-long commitment, when He adopted me into His Family, I knew things were going to change. I went in wide-eyed and aware. I’d read bits of His lore (the Volsunga Saga especially stood out; THAT is how HIS CHOSEN are treated by Him??!) and I’d interacted with people, both online and off who shared experiences with Him. It’s not like I went in expecting easy street. The physical world changes were hard enough. “Oh, no, this relationship will not do for you. And I’d rather you live elsewhere. Really this whole thing is set up for you to keep on maintaining this way of being that is slowly killing you; I demand you fulfill your calling and damn the consequences.” In a matter of months, I’d ended a near-decade long relationship, moved even further from everyone I knew and loved, and was unemployed for the better part of a whole year. Except for my gods and my dog, my life looked nothing like it had before Odin named me daughter.

The mental and emotional and spiritual changes? So, I had these boundaries, see. One of my biggest boundaries was staying in control of me. I liked and desired reason and logic and order and just . . . neat tidiness. And, above all, cool detachment. No messy confrontations. No reason to draw attention to my person. I clung to those boundaries . . . and Odin systematically crossed each one, destroying it in His wake. These were firm boundaries; they were boundaries I was sure that I wanted to remain intact, these were situations I was sure I did not want to be in, etc., and He paid them no mind whatsoever.

Except, I didn’t really want them. And it makes it sound romantic to say it that way, right? I was as if two people at that point in my life, torn between two different ways of having a life. I was all the conditioning and programming and learned behaviors of a girl brought up in an alcoholic home, expected to take care of people, with that ever-present savior complex that children growing up in addictive and/or abusive homes tend to develop. I was trained thoroughly to not make waves, to not fight, to do what I’d rather not do, to cannibalize myself rather than cause anyone else any undue stress or hardship.

I was also a young woman thoroughly, thoroughly in love with my God and well on my way to being thoroughly in love with Another. I’d caught glimpses of what life might be like, immersed in devotion, in study, in prayer. I saw that these glimpses of understanding – that the division between the Worlds is but an illusion – and I realized that I could live my life as if that division did not exist. I wanted that so badly, and never would have sought it on my own. Odin did drag me kicking and screaming at times, and He disregarded a lot of my “No, that’s too far,” no’s . . . and I’m grateful He did. I like to say that He ignored my denials for the acquiescence of my soul, that the same bit of me that reached out for Poseidon those many years ago was the same bit that was saying, “Ignore her noise; we need this, please don’t stop pushing.”

I’ll admit: when people talk about the Powers abusing them, harassing them, ignoring consent, doing more harm than good, I always know a minute’s pause. Generally it seems to be Odin or Loki they’re talking about (the people whose experiences I wind up hearing about; I’m not saying it’s only those Two) and I’ll admit that when people talk about Odin harming them, I wonder: is it truly Odin? My experience with Pops tells me that He is a smart, sophisticated, powerful shaman and king and god. He tore my life apart, and a large portion of it was grueling, but even through it all I can trace the path to my well-being, to my ultimate healing, to my being empowered, to becoming a being who can function in this world, who can navigate the Worlds and deal with the complexity of switching between realities at need. Do I think Odin is altruistic? Fuck no. I can see how I serve Him in my life, in my living, and how my ability to serve Him was made better by the work w/We did together. I’m not an idiot. But I benefited from His actions tremendously, and having gone through it, I would not change a single thing about it. Even though I was angry and afraid and upset for a long time. Even with the understanding that we don’t all experience the same relationships with the Powers the same way, even with the understanding that the Gods may not exist in a chronological way like we do (therefore the Odin someone else is interacting with may be a younger version of Odin than the one I interact with, with an Odin who may not have gone through a number of His own Initiations yet, who might still be brash and reckless and whatnot) wrapping my head around the idea that Odin could truly, truly, truly disregard consent, could be cold and cruel and horrid without any ulterior goal in mind that justify the means, is problematic and difficult, and I do tend to decide “that’s not really Odin.”

But, even if we allow that one particular god may have different Faces and Hats, and even if we allow that the gods are not pinned down by linear existence like we are, and even if we allow that the stories we’ve heard of them may be bullshit, and even if we allow that one god might slip into the name of another (I suspect this with Poseidon and Zeus and Hades, for the record; that They play loosey-goosey with Each Other’s names), and even if we allow that less friendly to humanity, more predatory beings may respond when we think we’re dealing with a god or benevolent spirit, at no point is it useful or helpful or even my place to decide “That’s not really Odin.” Because whether it is Odin, or whether it is an Odin, or whether it’s Loki playing Odin or whether it’s a bottom feeder responding to ‘Odin’, your experience is that Odin showed up, did these horrible things, disregarded your will, disrespected your boundaries, and caused you both hurt and harm. Doing anything less than allowing a space for these stories, and doing anything less than addressing that this is a problem and needs to be acknowledged, is wrong.

There’s a certain amount of mental awareness and a willingness to take long, hard looks at ourselves when going forward in these relationships. There’s a certain need to be able to really know where our boundaries are. For some people that’s going to be easy. For others, it’s really not. I suspect that a lot of my initial crap would have been helped with the aid of a therapist, but I was lucky to have a great support network, and I was lucky in that my mind is one that loves to poke and prod and dig deep. I’m introspective by nature. The idea that part of me could really, really, really want something while part of me could really, really, really want the direct opposite of something was easy enough to swallow.

My working rule of thumb when it comes to me, when it comes to my interactions with my gods, and when it comes to consent is: does Their disregarding of my will serve to better me as a person, not just in Their terms, but in my own? Because, They are Powers, They are Gods, and it is possible that They know better than me. The reason They even get this leeway is because They have already proven that They are trustworthy. This is key, this is something that you only get through experience, and this is something we need to maybe talk about more. The Powers are not trustworthy just because of whatever name we call Them by. Odin and Poseidon are allowed to have the ultimate say about things in my life because I trust that They will not abuse that power, and I trust that They will not abuse that power because so far They never have. There is an underlying choice every day, and really with every situation that ever comes up, to grant consent to give up my consent, and it’s understood that this is a daily, sometimes hourly choice on my part that I could revoke at any time. If you are starting out with trust non-existent because there hasn’t been time yet to build it, or because it’s been broken, you are not obligated to continue contact. You are not obligated to not fight for your right to be treated in a particular way. You are not obligated to be a doormat, or a punching bag.

We are obligated, though, to know how far we’re willing to be pushed – because for all that They are sophisticated, powerful beings, They are not human. They’re not even mortal. They do have experience with humanity, so They may have some idea of what we can withstand, but They are also not you, and you ultimately are responsible for knowing your boundaries, your mind, your will, and your limitations. Which a lot of us don’t know right out the gate, and it can be messy – so it’s important to know how messy is too messy. Poseidon in particular has always stressed that I am carrying o/Our relationship in this world, and so this world parts are my responsibility. We’re not equal by any means, but we have equal say in our relationship, and that’s true of me with Pops as well, and I think it’s necessary – at least, unless giving up that equal say is part of your path, but that goes back to consent and the ability to say no, and to have our saying no seen as a respectable choice of will, of agency.

What of the lore? How do we reconcile the Odin so many of us experience – shaman, healer, vested interest in humanity in general and various people in particular – with Odin of the lore who abandons His own, embodies horrid, misogynistic tendencies, and is deplorable at times? How do we reconcile any number of the gods with Their various rape stories, while striving to shake off the rape culture from our polytheistic culture? My advice: drop the lore.

When Poseidon first showed up, I was 16 and I was not interested at all in Hellenic anything. The only thing I knew about Him beyond His being a sea god, were the rape stories. Medusa. Demeter. There are others. I was a broken thing, stretched to my limits and beyond, half-mad and ready to walk out into the water and just be done with it all. He was gentle and kind and, most importantly, He set me free. He gave me hope, He showed me love. He offered me a way to keep living, and He promised nourishment. I was not a polytheist when He showed up; I wouldn’t be for another year or so, but He stayed with me anyway, and He was good. He was gentle and He was patient and He was kind. I was never, ever afraid of Him. I’ve never been afraid of Him, not in a mortal way. In holy Awe of Him, yes, but that’s expected.

I refused to study any of the Hellenic source material until after o/Our relationship was on firm footing. (Really, I didn’t study any of the Hellenic stuff until I’d started studying the Heathen stuff, and Poseidon decided it was time). I purposefully did not study it because I did not want it coloring our relationship. They said He was a rapist. That wasn’t part of how I knew Him, and I wanted to know Him on His own merits.

The stories are written by people. They were written with agendas beyond telling a history of our gods – as if we have access to Their history, as if we can ever know Them beyond what They are willing to share with us. They have limitations to their usefulness. They are not scripture. They are not gospel. We are not a people of a book, and we need to stop acting like we are. If the lore does not line up with what you are experiencing with a god or a power, ditch the lore. The yard stick needs to be: is the Power helping you become a better person as you define it. The experience need not make you feel happy (doing things that make you happy does not always make you feel happy, as Gretchen Ruben says). If the lore is not a useful tool for you, get rid of it. If you don’t want to drop it, then for the love all that is holy, apply context. Commit to a critical reading of it, and never forget that it was never meant to be gospel, that – especially within the Heathen lore – many of the writers had agendas that had nothing to do with respect for our gods, and that some of them really, really had a hate on for some of the Gods. (I’m looking at you, Saxo.)

Advertisements

28 thoughts on “Questions of Consent and Problematic Lore

  1. Reblogged this on Wytch of the North and commented:
    How do you reconcile Odin as portrayed in the lore with Odin as He presents Himself to you today? Here are some wise words from Jo; it’s a long post, but since this is a problem that seems to be cropping up for a lot of people right now (in connection with the current discussion about forming a culture of consent in polytheism), I highly, highly recommend reading it. Although I am not an advocate of throwing out the lore entirely (as portions of it actually are very accurate, with regards to Him), I DO advocate digesting it will a large amount of salt; as Jo points out, the people who wrote it down were not worshipers of our gods or even friendly towards Them. Also, our gods grow and change, even as we do, and Odin now is not Odin from 1,000 years ago when the Havamal was written.

    I will also say that the most sane reaction to Odin if you do NOT have a history with Him that has built trust is NOT to trust Him just because He’s Odin. Trust must be earned; He has more than earned mine, but that does not mean I go around advising people that He is going to be trustworthy in their particular situation, because that may not be the case. Odin is very much a Power who does what needs doing, and in your case that may not always be something you like. But as Jo writes, it may be something you need, and even something you have given consent to on some level.

  2. Reblogged this on Loki's Bruid and commented:
    “I don’t expect either Odin nor Poseidon (nor any of the others I interact with) to pretend to be human, or to have values that line up with my cultural values, etc. However, I do expect Them to have experience with humanity at large, to understand that cultural mores differ in time and in place, to understand the advancement (and the desire for) equality between people across gender lines, racial lines, and all the other lines that there may be. It has always been wrong for any people to be treated as less than real people based on any of this things – I’ll use women and slaves as examples because they are examples that seem to span time and country, or possibly because Hellas is never far from my mind – but it’s more wrong now to treat people as inferior to another group of people because we’re less willing to allow that to go unchecked. (Though how less willing seems to depend upon the group in question) and I do expect my gods to be sophisticated enough to understand these changes and to get on board. Likewise, I expect Them to understand the concept of consent.”

    THIS. I have more thoughts, but they probably merit a blog entry.

    • Also, I assume any “greater realm” being like a deity can see the world with more “senses”―if you will―as they operate from a place that is, at its base, greater than 4-dimensional (3, if you don’t consider time as the fourth). Thus, their “Divine grokking” of human experience―as trivial or heterdox to their own realm as our Human Stuff may seem―likely includes being able to not just understand, but “see” (in greater than four dimensions) the complexity and power that oppression and assault have on the human psyche. As it’s happening.

      Under these assumptions, if your deity(ies) dismiss or ignore the impact of human suffering, they either {A} are not deities whom are open to changing themselves, thus likely to recycle to a lower realm whenever they expire (I’m assuming it’d take a lot of time, and I don’t believe deification brings absolute immortality), meaning they carry whatever “Divine Version Of Bad Karma” operates in their realm, and might be best avoided or distanced; or {B} You’ve got yourself a case of a sub-Divine entity disguising itself as a deity―exploiting your perceptions and notions of how the deity is “supposed to” appear, and crafting their disguise to flatter your ideal version of the deity“―for the sole purpose of manipulating you for either their own gains or just pure sadism.

      I’m a philosophical esoteric Gnostic, so I base this only off of my propensity to quickly grok metaphysics and spontaneously articulate my hypotheses―I don’t yet have any UPGs to back this up. But, I would say a Deity falling from grace, or a Wolf in sheep’s clothing, are highly plausible.

      In the first case, it may behoove you to communicate (with the same varying levels of reverence, humility and temperance your particular deity expects) the gist of the tactless sentiment “That ain’t cool, bruh.” And also “You’re shooting yourself in the foot.” (If deities can “demote” to lesser realms, it’s actually an act of compassion to implore them to get with the program.)

      In the second case, umm… idk banish them or something.

      • I’m wondering if defining the “type” of Power may not be best left to those who are experiencing the interactions with said Power. What I mean by that is: for all that I have my initial “Odin that X is speaking about is not really Odin” reaction is not useful, or helpful, or my place, nor does saying “This Power is really X, not Y!” change the quality of the experience that the person is having. If someone genuinely experiences abuse or violation — or even ‘only’ feels that they’re being abused or violated — the primary importance is for them to be able to speak of this and not be shamed because “gods and spirits and Powers do not do things like that.” Even if someone is fabricating stories for attention, this is true: people should not be shamed into silence. Maybe not every problem is a problem we can help with, maybe some people need trained, professional help. I’m not suggesting that we all become therapists regardless of what we can or can’t take on; I’m simply saying that the shaming of people into silence needs to stop. I’m saying that if ‘my’ Odin cannot handle on His own His name being associated with a being who may or may not be part of Him, who may or may not be causing someone serious distress and lasting harm, *I* certainly cannot help Him, and more to the point, it’s not my place. If the Powers cannot stand up to being discussed and theorized over as we move back into a place of more widely held polytheism, maybe those Powers should leave such things to Those who can.

        I’m suggesting that we can’t, on the one hand say that the Powers are huge and scary and powerful and beyond our ken (which, for the record I believe they are) and at the same time give Them a free pass to do as They please with no rhyme or reason. I’m also suggesting that not every human interacting with the Powers have the same goals — and maybe this is a newer thing. Maybe, as polytheism limped along, those called to the Powers, or those the Powers took note of were people especially inclined toward a more . . .focused/devotional/edge of madness sort of path. Maybe They’ve gotten used to that, and maybe over time more people who maybe don’t walk those particular roads are noticing the Powers or being noticed by the Powers, and maybe w/We all need to relearn how to interact.

        Don’t get me wrong – I think understanding the different ways that the Powers *are* is important. I think there is a use to understanding “Oh, this Power I know as Poseidon is huge, and has a wide range, and for all that I make my life with Him, He is a Cosmic Power whose Cosmic Face I only still get glimpses of,” and, “Oh, this local landwight is also a Power, but its local Power and thus more narrowed in focus, and maybe ‘smaller’ in a way (smaller without any sort of value-judgment, more in terms of reach?)” and “Oh, this other Power operates in this particular way and thus may be less benevolent towards humans.” Distinction can be important and helpful. I simply think that seeing and naming the distinctions is part of the process of dealing with abuse and violation, and that being able to speak without shame of their experiences is equally (possibly more) important.

        • I’m in agreement with you; I’m just confused as to why you felt my comment warranted reiteration of your original posting―I interpret that you saw my posting as shaming people into silence, and therefore corrected me. However, my comment was meant to say

          “Take it up with Them if it happens (or ‘feel’ it’s happened, but outside of the context of this post, the whole Feels-Like phrasing is not useful and can be taken by the hurting party to mean that you won’t get on their level)… Yea, if They abused or violated you, be reverent of Their position and your pre-existing relationship, but make it clear that when They did what They did, you felt violated.”

          If They are actually a younger/less-Initiated Them that you’ve entered into a relationship to―one Whom is more likely to act in a way that is in no uncertain terms egregiously harmful―you have every right to expect Them, if They wish to remain in a relationship with you, to at least hear you out, understand the feels of human feels and why They crossed a line… And if They are still the Iteration/Version of Them that is also not ready to cease the Egregiously Harmful stuff, understand that They are not required to change and you are not required to stay with Them if you feel―despite all attempts at reconciliation―that the abuse will continue.

          I also mentioned that They might not be who They say They are, but that was after a spiel I felt was fair and affirmative of both the Deity’s context and the human context.

          I don’t, however, feel like including what was only a trope of “They /might/ be a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing” automatically translates as the total fallacy, “No True Scotsman!”

          idk where we’re at in terms of a clear communication; however, my initial reaction was that (If my premise was correct:

          Premise: You interpreted my Wolf/Sheep Thing as a solid, disrespectful “That’s not X, that’s Y.”

          If that’s the case, I feel that if we are required to simply shut up and make space (I believe you should do that, at first, and when you see them starting to open up to taking control of their situation, it’s fine to offer your analysis of the situation, and even suggest actions they can take)… and that it’s our sole responsibility when someone comes to us to go into mindful listening and *never* make any critical statement―on the chance it will be internalized by the hurt party as shaming―and simply hold space even when it’s clear to the best of your perception that they’re open to input.

          I see a miscommunication.
          Me: [Suggestion]
          You: [Shaming]

          Or a simple disagreement (based on my either correct OR incorrect interpretation of your comment):

          Me:
          “Hold space, then open up to suggestions. If this hurts them further, they’re still thinking emotionally and internalizing anything as shaming, so you reaffirm the validity of what they came to you with, and go back to listening, and learn that whatever you thought was a signal of being open to suggestions was NOT an invitation or change-of-internal-space to warrant suggestions.”

          You: (and it’s very likely I’m projecting my experiences, of people who have essentially shamed me for Doing Anything Other Than Holding Space, onto you, yet that remains unclear)
          “Simply hold the space and don’t try and fix things. Making suggestions is attempting to fix things, and the space must be held mindfully. Suspend the urge to speak anything but affirmations, or you’re going to hurt them and disrespect their feelings.”

          Did we miscommunicate, disagree, both, neither?

          • I apologize for not being more clear. We don’t exactly disagree, and I wasn’t reading your commentary as “shaming” in the least. Your comment helped me to further pin down some thoughts, primarily that while coming to an understanding of the Power one is interacting with, and what sort of story that Power fits into, in one’s life, is important (and fascinating – I love this sort of musing), in light of the topic of consent (that is, whether people get to give or withhold consent when it comes to the Powers acting in their lives), diagnosing (for want of a better term) the nature of the Power must come second to the ability for those experiencing abuse or even ‘just’ apparent abuse to be able to speak of it.

            Part of the purpose of an immediate community would be, I’d imagine, to help those suffering through these crisis come to terms with what’s happening and offer tools to help those go forward. I don’t think we should stop our ears up and demand the Powers act human – which many of the “suck it up,” crowd seems to think we want to do. It came up in private conversation that understanding the Power is an important step in going forward, and I completely agree. But since we are not present to help people integrate experiences into their daily lives and move forward, our place as a wider community is to listen. And if we can’t listen, if we can’t agree, to at the very least not shame people into silence. I’m not saying you’re doing that; I’m saying I’ve seen it happen too often and I think it needs to stop. I won’t even say that there are people trying to give bad advice and trying to harm others; I will say that solutions to this problem does not come in a one size fits all and we need to stop pretending it does. Sometimes the answer is not “pray more/let X do whatever they want/figure out how to deal with this new reality/you can’t put boundaries on Them.” Again, not saying you’re saying that; simply that your commentary helped me to realize that this is what I’m objecting to.

            At no point did I read your post as shaming. How I read the comment was more like
            you: posting really interesting ideas about how the Powers are.
            Me: that’s fascinating, and I love this topic, and besides the point at what I’m trying to say, how can I better articulate my thoughts? Let me try here.

            So, again, sorry to use your commentary as a spring board and not being more clear about it.

            • I totally get it, it was like in a vis-a-vis conversation where the other person (me) says something that re-ignites your original train of thought in a new way like
              “Yeah, yea, yea {verbalixing the feeling of a new idea popping up}!
              And {segueing Into what is essentially an addendum to your original post}.

              Hmm. I’ll try and remember the dynamics of the internet can be ambiguous

  3. Wow! I’m so happy WP ate your reply! You might not have written this as a result. Who can say? I can see from reading this how flawed my thinking has been on lots of points but the way it’s written doesn’t make me feel like a total knob, lol.

    It was Volsung Saga that upset me as well. Honestly I was in tears. When I have bouts like that I can feel/sense Odin off to the side with a look of helpless resignation on his face. And he doesn’t speak. He knows me too well and realizes I’m not capable of being reasoned with at the moment and attempts to reason with me will only infuriate me all the more for his efforts. My ex used to do that on purpose. He would remain infuriatingly calm while I blew up but the look in his eyes…the horrid glint and just the tiniest ghost of a smirk.

    I have to credit Odin for his patience AND gentleness. Without going into details, I also come with dysfunctional baggage. Every form of abuse and neglect, Aspergers, bullying, the works. Odin has never actually done anything abusive to me but I have the PTSD hyper vigilance that goes with it. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop. He’s done things that felt intrusive and presumptuous but it’s almost always works out for the better. I once asked Odin just what the heck he was thinking when he was initially drawn to me and the words that came back were not a direct answer to me but more in the form of a rewound moment in time when he once said to someone ( not known to me)”How in Hel is this woman even still /alive/?” *Odin scratches head and decides to ‘study’ and observe this woman for a bit.* He never told me when this occurred, I can only assume by his use of the word woman that I was at least early 20’s. That’s what feels truest.

    And yes! He and Loki do that whole twin-switch Parent Trap shenanigans. 😬. It was Loki who gently pointed me toward Odin in response to a request that’s a whole ‘nuther story…like this comment is turning into. Ah well, I can’t help myself sometimes, lol.

    Also, Odin is mostly gentle with me but he’s NOT a harmless man by ANY stretch of the imagination! There have been times when, if you can picture, the front door slams open, his dark silhouette is punctuated by flashes of light; the grizzled man in the door is a rain drenched stranger. Are those dark splatters blood? Best not to ask! Best to just be quiet like a good little church mouse and bring him the stereotypical pipe and slippers. A tall beverage. Then leave him be. Never ever speak of it again. The next day he’ll be right as rain. ☺
    This is mostly the Odin I knew before I knew he WAS Odin. I became aware that a deeply masculine presence shared my headspace and was an actual individual with intelligence when I noticed he watched me shower with great interest. When I looked in the mirror I felt watched. He never spoke except through clue by fours via songs and other written word. He once proposed through song. I didn’t say yes or no without knowing who he was. I wanted to say yes though. I only found out he was Odin this past winter. I still reel. I wasn’t too thrilled when I realized that the elephant leg I assumed was the whole elephant was rudely shoved aside in exchange for the truth: there were three more legs, two ears, a trunk and a tail to boot! And each part had a spouse attached.

    …..the ashtrays and lamps flew. Odin is very adept at ducking. “And this is why I didn’t want to give you my name and a form…” He told me later.
    Well, I could go on, but. Yeah, my 12-step group would be called On and on Anon, lol.

    I miss my pre-knowledge OdinBeast. It was so much simpler then. But…I didn’t take my own advice and got hung up on form.

    • Wow! I’m so happy WP ate your reply! You might not have written this as a result. Who can say? I can see from reading this how flawed my thinking has been on lots of points but the way it’s written doesn’t make me feel like a total knob, lol.

      I’m actually glad WP ate the reply as well because I know I wouldn’t have written this otherwise. (Of course, another half-deleted comment later, I realize that this is likely operator error rather than anything on WP. Oops)

      I’m not a huge fan of “flawed my thinking has been” as a way of describing your perspective. One of the biggest benefits of having spiritual or religious discourse with people is being exposed to different perspectives that one might not otherwise come across. Despite being an introvert who finds it necessary to keep a certain emotional distance from the world at large at times, I write what I write about and I seek out people writing about topics that touch upon my interests so that I may come across perspectives I might not otherwise come across. I don’t need to agree with them all, and I think it’s important that we don’t allow our own experiences and understandings to get bulldozed by people with maybe a stronger personality or conviction or because they’ve ‘been around the block’ more times than we have. I get what you mean, here, but I just . . . argh. Flawed thinking argh. There comes a point where value judgments on the process of getting to know Them and to know ourselves in connection with Them are, well, pointless.

      It was Volsung Saga that upset me as well. Honestly I was in tears. When I have bouts like that I can feel/sense Odin off to the side with a look of helpless resignation on his face. And he doesn’t speak. He knows me too well and realizes I’m not capable of being reasoned with at the moment and attempts to reason with me will only infuriate me all the more for his efforts. My ex used to do that on purpose. He would remain infuriatingly calm while I blew up but the look in his eyes…the horrid glint and just the tiniest ghost of a smirk.

      The Volsunga saga is both one of my favorites – in terms of the story – and one of my least favorites – in terms of how Odin comes off in the story. I approach the lore as ways of getting to know more nuanced bits of the Powers, but I still do not take it as gospel. How do I reconcile that Odin with my Pops? I don’t try. At the end of the day, it’s a story, and it falls somewhere between fiction and mythic reality, and neither are the day to day interactions that I have with this Power who holds me in His heart and His regard.

      Re: lack of reaction – oh, but Poseidon used to do that with me. For a few years the relationship could really only be called abusive (and He wasn’t the abusive one in that dynamic) and I would rail at Him, and He would just . . . wait. I’d get so fucking infuriated. And then horrified, and the whole time He’d be all, “you call that a tantrum?”

      I have to credit Odin for his patience AND gentleness. Without going into details, I also come with dysfunctional baggage. Every form of abuse and neglect, Aspergers, bullying, the works. Odin has never actually done anything abusive to me but I have the PTSD hyper vigilance that goes with it. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop. He’s done things that felt intrusive and presumptuous but it’s almost always works out for the better. I once asked Odin just what the heck he was thinking when he was initially drawn to me and the words that came back were not a direct answer to me but more in the form of a rewound moment in time when he once said to someone ( not known to me)”How in Hel is this woman even still /alive/?” *Odin scratches head and decides to ‘study’ and observe this woman for a bit.* He never told me when this occurred, I can only assume by his use of the word woman that I was at least early 20’s. That’s what feels truest.

      Dysfunctional baggage for the win! Er, wait . . .

      With the gods in my life and in walking my path, I differentiate between harm and hurt. Hurt? Hurt happens all the time – when They push me past comfort zones or when They request something I don’t want to give, or when They act seeming without thinking because in some moments, yes, I do suspect They forget that we are small in comparison to Them, and I get hurt. My feelings or my ego or my body . . . but, healing is painful. Stripping away the old – heh, stripping ourselves to the bone, if you will – hurts. And that’s acceptable to me. Harm? Something that causes lasting damage for no good reason, or for no good reason as I define it? Damage that is cruel or thoughtless? That’s not okay. They have both been hurtful with me . . . and a time or two Poseidon has caused actual harm that changed our relationship. We are better than we ever have been, but a few times He changed things, and we were not okay for a while, and how we are okay now does not maybe look like how we might have been okay if those things hadn’t happened. He still has my trust, because He’s earned it, and the harm was “little” harm, personal harm, and I decided I was willing to work through it and forgive Him.

      Poseidon has apologized for causing me harm due to our differences in b/Being. He has begged forgiveness. Yes I wanted to die. And that’s part of the trust building. I won’t say He’ll hurt me with impunity, but He will do it as needed . . . but harm is different.

      I cannot relate to the “Surprise, I’m X” that you’ve experienced; Poseidon has been adamant about few things, but one of them has been that He is Poseidon. (Except this one time, when He decided that I might consider that He is also Vishnu, but that’s another story . . .)

      • Select/Copy before hitting submit button. I try to remember anyhow, lol.
        Odin said he knew I’d punt him straight to the curb without the benefit of knowing him first if he’d told me. He was a tad sheepish about it. I still held close a good deal of Christian sentiment that I was slowly shedding.
        Of course one of the first things I did once I discovered his identity was punt him to the curb. Two misery-,filled days of crying later….. >.>

        • I only manage to mess up the lengthy replies so at least there is that? :-\

          Am on mobile. Will try again when at comp again.

  4. “He tore my life apart, and a large portion of it was grueling, but even through it all I can trace the path to my well-being, to my ultimate healing, to my being empowered, to becoming a being who can function in this world, who can navigate the Worlds and deal with the complexity of switching between realities at need.”

    “My working rule of thumb when it comes to me, when it comes to my interactions with my gods, and when it comes to consent is: does Their disregarding of my will serve to better me as a person, not just in Their terms, but in my own?”

    When Odin first showed up in my life in force I was eight. I didn’t know Who or What he was, and really even after I knew His name was Odin I didn’t know *who* Odin was. When I first met him my life took on a horrible, hard, scary twisted road. He terrified me, and for damn good reason. I went through many ordeals with Him, not knowing Who he was through this. To say he was the boogy man that haunted my nights and days is a grave injustice. If you would have asked me when I was 8, or even 16 what I wanted, I would have answered that I wanted it it stop. I wanted to be left alone I wanted Him to go as far from me as far could go.

    But He didn’t

    Overtime things changed. I grew, I *learned* and I fought back, only to realize that I was never “fighting” to begin with. I had things I needed to learn, and I needed to manifest some of the magick within me *RIGHT AWAY* because of things that were going on around me. I didn’t have time to learn gently. In hindsight I can see it was learn or die. I didn’t see it at the time. I know this sounds dramatic but growing up in a house with an alcoholic who was pulling in all the things that go bump in the night, and my not knowing how to shield, or not to see, it was rather dramatic.

    By the time I figured out that Odin was Odin, I already understood. Now, I suppose you could argue that I have a pretty bad case of Stockholm Syndrome (and it’s been said before), but I disagree. I didn’t understand at the time what was going on, but in the end I understand. Now I also know this isn’t the first life that I am His, and so some of those things consent gets a bit messy with, when your Spirit knows something your mind can’t even fathom yet.

    I don’t know how to react when people say that Odin (or Anyone else) is currently harming them. I really don’t. I try to listen. I try to give support, but I also know that They do see things we don’t, and I can’t rectify that for the people who struggle. I have a very firm relationship with Odin now, built on solid trust. I do trust Him now, but only because it was built over time, even with the very rocky start

    • I do trust Him now, but only because it was built over time, even with the very rocky start.

      This is the point in my own post that’s standing out to me, and you repeat it here, and it has me wondering: are people affording Them trust ‘just because’ rather than Their having earned it? That dances perilously close to blaming the victim, and I don’t want to do that.

      I’m reminded in this of two particular “family” members I’ve had (quotes because in these cases, blood =/= family), people I knew differently than ‘outsiders’ knew, people who were charmed by the charisma of these two, while I watched in bewilderment because what I knew of them was totally different. I think of them and I think of the Gods, and it makes me have to allow that it’s entirely possible that there are people having horrible experiences with the Powers. In my own head, privately, I still default to “that being who is being relentless cruel for no reason, who is terrorizing you, cannot truly be Odin, regardless of the name its giving you,” and I’m not sure I can help that — but that doesn’t change the fact that people are suffering and not being allowed to voice their stories without getting flack from others, and I want better than that for them and for the polytheist community at large.

      Trust is something that is earned, and something that must take time. Trusting Someone you don’t know (or know enough) is foolish. They may not have our best interest at heart, and assuming so is egocentric. Part of being able to trust Odin so much at first was because Poseidon vetted Him, and my trust in Poseidon is firmly rooted. Jumping into things before getting the lay of land may be part of the problem, I suspect.

      But it’s all theoretical, because I’m not in that situation and I don’t know, and I don’t have answers. Hence, the talking about it.

  5. I had no real idea in context with my life as a whole what being thrown into Polytheism and initiation through honoring a very old promise to an Apollonian priestess in 2012 would accomplish. Certainly coming out of those few months without the Priestess who was also my teacher and without the intensity and security of the level I had been living at was devastating. But there was never ever any doubt ever again that the Realities were one and even without much of an outer support system and feeling pretty much alone for the next year I would not change a second of that journey.

    I was broken for that year, and trying to figure out what I was as there was a concrete difference between before and after. I also was fortunate that I wrote a lot during that period and the year after which gave me the energetic flavor and a reminder of the gifts received.
    In time I learned who in the community I resonated with, who I could listen and learn from, how to better trust myself and my intuition as well as the Gods now at the center of my life. More have been added to the core group since and sometimes One will step forward to dominate. At deep root of my life now is a pure Joy and Love and Gratitude as well as the acceptance that often radical changes need to be made on myself to live the way I really want.

    • I’m wondering, too, about degrees of broken-ness. Because I wonder if we, in our discourse regarding initiations, make that brokenness sound romantic. Especially the Odinsfolk, because Pops is one with a reputation for tearing peoples lives apart and rebuilding them to suit Him. For me, my broken-ness was not His doing (though the tearing my life apart was) but it definitely was made worse before it was made better — and I see that as getting the rot out before starting to rebuild. Is there a bit of glamourising the process when we talk about it? Because it’s not fun, even when it’s necessary and . . . stuff. I don’t know. What I do know is that people are talking about horrible and experiences. Is it that they don’t have enough ground work in place? How do you get ground work in place when you’re dealing with a crisis situation? Is it that they’re trusting too soon? Jumping in too fast? Also: not everyone is cut out to deal with these sorts of interactions, and so is that part of the problem? Not enough tools in place, not enough support, not the right language to voice experiences? I dunno. I love my gods, I love my life, and I want so badly for others to experience this way of being.

      • “Is there a bit of glamourising the process when we talk about it? ”

        That almost goes without saying if you’re a writer. I call myself a person who writes rather than a writer because I’ve never gotten published or paid. When I described the scenario of Odin standing in the doorway drenched from rain etc, that was my way of drawing a picture to describe a the feelings when Odin ‘s in one of those moods. I often use an illustration to describe a feeling without distinguishing the two. Also, it’s easy to find myself making light after the fact, after I’ve cooled my jets.

        As far as degrees of brokenness go, I’d have to say pretty damn busted up. Many trauma’s happened in my formative years. It’s like losing a limb, it never grows back. The best I can do is find workarounds. As far as the abuse: my father+his three best friends+ drugs and alcohol + me at 3-ish and my brother at 7. Later there was a stepfather. A mom who hit me with the backs of hairbrushes, wooden spoons. Bullying. Home was just another playground.
        Because of the damage done and resulting PTSD, some of my incidents with Odin get blown out of proportion due to trust issues resulting from abuse. I often can’t distinguish until some time passes. You would think trust would be learned over time and the establishment of patterns of trustworthiness, but because of Aspergers (in part), and abreactions hard wired into my psyche and my physical brain from formative age abuse. Yeah, no. It’s like a record with no grooves. Nothing new can be recorded there.

        My recent issues with Odin involve dealing with the discomfort and embarrassment of jealousy and enviousness on my part. When it first truly hit me that there were other spouses it was a shock. All this time Odin had been there as The Watcher or The Silent Stranger, The Presence, etc. (My OdinBeast in retrospect). And he manifested in large part as a powerful masculine set of instincts: feed me, fuck me, put me to bed. Over more time I got a better sense of a personality and his intelligence. He picked around the contents of my brain, he tinkered with my spine (and still does)but never spoke except through the medium of song, poetry, or literature I’d coincidentally open in a timely manner. Occasionally he would speak through me at my ex with snappy comebacks, factiousness, and general all around provoking of the ex. I often thought it was me but in retrospect I always realized which was him and which was me. Which was a tad disturbing.
        (Another issue I need to address involves the attacks my ex endured in the astral and in hypnogogic states. That’s a real can of worms. It drove my ex out of our bed and finally out of the marriage. It only happened one time after we separated. My ex was mentally and emotionally abusive and very manipulative and denigrating)
        Anyhow! Geez, talk about digessing! It was dismaying to discover other spouses. Not only other spouses, but spouses whom he worked with in productive and creative ways. I sorta felt like something the cat drug in by comparison although I know all the yada yada that goes along with not comparing onesself with others. When I noticed, Odin said, “Aaaaand…here it comes.” Apparently he’s quite the veteren pffft!
        Odin has expressed exasperation about this more than a couple times. I was dismayed because I suddenly felt obliged to “be somebody, be something more” but I had no desire to do any of that stuff. And he emphasized repeatedly that I didn’t have to take up runes, be a kitchen witch or any kind of witch. So we ended up in a tiresome cycle of me not wanting to work with him, him saying I didn’t have to, and then me turning around and getting indignant because now I felt like ‘less than’ the other spouses. I know I have no business comparing myself, my OdinFace, and my circumstances with any other Odinspouse but have no way to make the feelings of inadequacy, enviousness and jealousy go away. The pettiness of the feelings and thoughts that spring up shame me half to death.
        And then I have to go and open up Volsung Saga which sent me on a long crying jag because I saw Odin as being the sponsor of the worst types of people in the world, the “1%” So….the descendants of Odin dynasties now shuffle the 99% into dead end, below poverty level lives as WalMart Thralls. :-/
        What I really need is a mentor who’s experienced with bossy gods AND a good therapist for the other crap.
        It sure was simpler before his identity became known to me. It shouldn’t make that much difference but it has and honestly my attitude is the main culprit. Ugh.

        • “Is there a bit of glamourising the process when we talk about it? ”

          That almost goes without saying if you’re a writer. I call myself a person who writes rather than a writer because I’ve never gotten published or paid.

          To be clear, I mean glamourising as in making it seem more ?easy/romantic/together/chronological/neater? and not so chaotic/messy/a hot mess, and not so much in the selling it up sense. Also: a writer is a person who writes, period. So there. (Me? Opinions on things? Maybe!)

          When I described the scenario of Odin standing in the doorway drenched from rain etc, that was my way of drawing a picture to describe a the feelings when Odin ‘s in one of those moods. I often use an illustration to describe a feeling without distinguishing the two. Also, it’s easy to find myself making light after the fact, after I’ve cooled my jets.

          That is totally the way I operate, too. I do get visualizations from time to time, but I’ve had to work my tail off to get to that point, and I’m most comfortable/more efficient without having to strive for that. So, I think I follow you.

          As far as degrees of brokenness go, I’d have to say pretty damn busted up.

          Also, to be clear, I wasn’t asking that you explain your broken-ness to me; I was more wondering in that navel-gaze-y way about what sorts of broken people can carry while dealing with some of this other stuff. For example, I have chronic migraines. The severity and duration ranges, but there are times when I can go for days with pain that keeps me on the edge of vomiting if I move wrong — and there are days when I can’t move at all because of them, though most of the time they hit in a range that allows me to function, despite feeling like I have nails driving into my eyes and light is horrible. I have a fairly high pain tolerance anyway, providing its a type of pain I can deal with. And then there are seemingly minor pains that have be completely unable to deal with life at all. I was thinking about broken-ness in those terms; namely I was wondering what point there is in looking at what we’ve gone through and using that as a yard stick for other peoples experiences and reactions and what all.

          Because of the damage done and resulting PTSD, some of my incidents with Odin get blown out of proportion due to trust issues resulting from abuse. I often can’t distinguish until some time passes. You would think trust would be learned over time and the establishment of patterns of trustworthiness, but because of Aspergers (in part), and abreactions hard wired into my psyche and my physical brain from formative age abuse. Yeah, no. It’s like a record with no grooves. Nothing new can be recorded there.

          And this is another awesome point to bring up: we don’t all have the same ablities when it comes to things like “learning to trust”, and people ought not be discounted because they don’t fit into the so-called “normal” cognitive spot. I certainly do not have the ability to help a person cope with any of this shit when how they process is so different from how I process . . . but that doesn’t mean we get to shut people out just because we process things differently.

          My recent issues with Odin involve dealing with the discomfort and embarrassment of jealousy and enviousness on my part. When it first truly hit me that there were other spouses it was a shock. All this time Odin had been there as The Watcher or The Silent Stranger, The Presence, etc. (My OdinBeast in retrospect). And he manifested in large part as a powerful masculine set of instincts: feed me, fuck me, put me to bed. Over more time I got a better sense of a personality and his intelligence. He picked around the contents of my brain, he tinkered with my spine (and still does)but never spoke except through the medium of song, poetry, or literature I’d coincidentally open in a timely manner. Occasionally he would speak through me at my ex with snappy comebacks, factiousness, and general all around provoking of the ex. I often thought it was me but in retrospect I always realized which was him and which was me. Which was a tad disturbing.
          (Another issue I need to address involves the attacks my ex endured in the astral and in hypnogogic states. That’s a real can of worms. It drove my ex out of our bed and finally out of the marriage. It only happened one time after we separated. My ex was mentally and emotionally abusive and very manipulative and denigrating)

          Heh. I’m so not surprised re: attacks against him, that being the case.

          Anyhow! Geez, talk about digessing! It was dismaying to discover other spouses. Not only other spouses, but spouses whom he worked with in productive and creative ways. I sorta felt like something the cat drug in by comparison although I know all the yada yada that goes along with not comparing onesself with others. When I noticed, Odin said, “Aaaaand…here it comes.” Apparently he’s quite the veteren pffft!
          Odin has expressed exasperation about this more than a couple times. I was dismayed because I suddenly felt obliged to “be somebody, be something more” but I had no desire to do any of that stuff.

          I really wish people did not do this. And it’s common enough. And I’ve done it too, and still catch myself up from time to time . . . .but the relationships are not about other people. I remind myself every time I catch myself comparing that if I’m paying attention to these other people then I’m not actually *being* in *MY* relationship/s.

          So, Poseidon and I were involved for years before I married Him, and everything was great. While I don’t have jealousy issues when it comes to other Poseidon people (even in reality, as for so long I really didn’t run into *any* but that’s changed) I *do* have a tendency to compare myself to others and find myself lacking. When I married Him I was exposed to various people doing Work, and compared myself to them and decided that I had to be doing Work too — and that it had to look like what they were doing. And I waiting for Him to give me Assignments, and He’d be all, “. . . . uh, what we were already doing was great? . . . ” Basically I asked Him to marry me, He said yes, I expected things to change, they failed to do so, and then I was angry and hurt and just . .. wretched, and we had to rebuild things. So, I get some of this, and I still say: the relationship needs to be defined by those within it, not those on the outside. And stuff.

      • “Because I wonder if we, in our discourse regarding initiations, make that brokenness sound romantic. ”
        …Maybe?
        Initiations are a birthing process, but one in which you are giving birth to Yourself. If you ask someone in the process of labor how they are feeling, it’s a whole lot different then if you ask them about it when their kid is 1, or 5, or 15. Even someone who has never given birth can look at labor and think, “damn that doesn’t look pleasant” but in the end those not in the midst of it don’t have the pain and agony. Would a mother decide not to have a child, after it is done because of the the pain? Maybe there are folks out there that would say yes. I am honestly not sure. Maybe this is much the same?

        Maybe once we have gone through the pains of the initiations and the tearing asunder we “forget” in a way, like mothers do, the labor pains, as a kind of self defense. Maybe we can only really talk about what it feels like in parables and stories because so much of it is so private that in so doing the stories get romanticized even without intent.

        There is so much that occurs that merely hitting the highlights doesn’t do it justice. The issue is that once you start, I am not sure you can back out. I think once on that road, the only way out is through.

        For myself, I can look back on my big tearing aparts, and before I had a grounded practice, and a guide, those times were more difficult. I think it was as much as not understanding what was going on as anything else. Some of the ones that have come later have been significant sunderings of ties, and changes in my life, but the foundation of trust being there, the foundation of practice, and having others I knew I could talk to when needed helped. I think sometimes when we ask for magick in our lives we get it, we just don’t know what we are asking for first. But then there are others who don’t seem to have been looking for anything at all, and get taken up anyhow. Why is that? I have no idea. I don’t want to blame them for not knowing what they were asking for, since they weren’t asking… maybe even for them just having a context to put things in would be helpful to process. I struggle with that

        • “Maybe we can only really talk about what it feels like in parables and stories because so much of it is so private that in so doing the stories get romanticized even without intent.

          There is so much that occurs that merely hitting the highlights doesn’t do it justice. The issue is that once you start, I am not sure you can back out. I think once on that road, the only way out is through.”

          Thank you for that. That hits the nail right on the head. Some experiences are impossible to describe. Sometimes romanticizing it lets the language flow more freely. It doesn’t have a prayer of conveying a fullness of meaning with it, but it beats the chaotic and bizarre raw description. Without the parable, it comes out like a tangled bowl of spaghetti. And strangely nonlinear to boot. I might recall an event (initiations happen to me but I don’t always know that’s what’s going on till after the fact) as linear, but something happens between mind and pen…

        • I have such a hard time with the “be careful what you ask for” crowd — because in theory? YES! But in reality, how often does that happen? How can you KNOW until you’ve gone through it?

          Beth and I were talking the other night re: consent, and how, with us, with me, the ‘consent’ is pretty open ended. “Be in my life, shape me,” is what mine boils down to. Help me deal with what I need to deal with as a result, but dear gods, don’t stop pushing until all I see is You, and then push more. But that’s me, that’s not everyone. I wonder about the growing numbers of people being called to the gods, and the different ways of being called, and I wonder if we’re not the only ones relearning to navigate through nuanced ways of experiencing.

  6. Of all that I’ve seen so far on this topic, I think this is the one I find the most I agree with.

    There’s a distinction I want to offer that I have found useful in working with the gods – even with Odin – regarding consent, firm boundaries that we don’t truly want, etc.

    What I have found is that I have to own the boundary despite my internal conflict on the topic. Rather than drawing a line, throwing all my heart at it, and hoping They won’t notice the other side of my heart undermining it, I have to hold the whole thing up and say “This boundary is here right now. It is what I am choosing. Yes, I am ambivalent about it. I am working on that. Regardless, This Is My Chosen Boundary, and I ask that you acknowledge and respect that. If it needs changing, I need your help understanding what to change it to in a way that respects where it currently rests.”

    It’s like going on a diet because you’ve developed an allergy to a food you love. “Yes, I do *want* this chocolate bar with cherries, but I am choosing not to have it because I do not want the consequences I anticipate.” That’s not an ambivalent boundary, that’s a disciplined choice. The gods, in my experience, very much respect a disciplined choice, especially when made by someone who is self-aware in doing so.

    Of course if it’s really, really the wrong boundary for some reason, They’re likely to push regardless, but we can at least negotiate for ways to push that don’t hurt so much when it’s within Their ability to grant such.

    -E-

    • Amen to that! Especially the first paragraph. Messy or not, to me, Free Will is Everything. The messy crap and ambivalence is part of our human experience. You can only interfere with human free will so much before it blows up in your face at worst, and at the very least, you rob a person of dignity. I do quite well damaging my own dignity on any given bad day, please and thank you!

      Of course one doesn’t let a child exercise their will to play in traffic…. but that’s a matter of life and death. And a very simplistic illustration.

    • “What I have found is that I have to own the boundary despite my internal conflict on the topic. Rather than drawing a line, throwing all my heart at it, and hoping They won’t notice the other side of my heart undermining it, I have to hold the whole thing up and say “This boundary is here right now. It is what I am choosing. Yes, I am ambivalent about it. I am working on that. Regardless, This Is My Chosen Boundary, and I ask that you acknowledge and respect that. If it needs changing, I need your help understanding what to change it to in a way that respects where it currently rests.””

      This beautifully illustrates pretty much where I live at constantly. As for the rest: yes. I’m wondering things now like: how many people are getting involved with spirits who might otherwise be described as ‘lay’ people, and don’t want this to totally take over their lives? Should they have to want it to take over their lives? Is there no room for compromise? There are folks involved with Powers that would shout a resounding “No!” to that last question, but I maintain that in order to have polytheism that is not influenced by a monotheistic mindset, we have to give up these ideas that the dynamics of any relationship that is not our own is any of our business, or it is our place to set parameters on the relationships. I would like for us to get to a place where we are helping people to become empowered in their relationship with the Powers, not by doing it ‘our’ way, but by learning with the Powers they’re involved with what t/Their way is. The idea that we all have to interact with a Power in the same way, or take away the same experience strikes me as one of those influences of a monotheistic mindset that we could benefit from eradicating from our ways of understanding.

      • Since I actually run a small Vanatru congregation, setting some of those levels (within reason, of course) IS actually my job, but of course, only within our group. Helping them sort out where they want to go with this, what level of involvement, and thus training and time consumption, is suitable for them, do they just want to hang out when they have time? Do they want to devote themselves on a personal level, but not in service to the community? Do they want to serve the one god they’re closest to, for the community’s benefit? Do they want to serve the community and the gods as a whole (by which I mean, the Vanir, not all gods everywhere! whoosh!)? We are working on developing specific programs and rituals to help people get to and settle into the level of involvement with the gods and service that suits their needs, their life, their personality, and their relationship with the gods.

        Godsmackedness is part of that picture, but obviously not all of it.

        -E-

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s