Recently, the Pagan Perspective covered the topic of godspousery. (You can watch them here, here, here, and here.)This was an interesting development, and a bit surreal to see come up – even after all this time, even with knowing that the tradition of marrying Powers is growing within pagandom, I’m always surprised to hear or see those on the “outside” talking about it. The topic is as near and dear to my heart as you might suspect, but I’m used to it being a fringe topic. It’s bizarre in a way that I can’t quite get into words, to see it discussed in the wider pagan community.
I thought, after viewing the videos, that I’d do a VR to them, because I find that there are things I want to talk about, but I’m fairly certain I’ll be preaching to the choir with this, and I just don’t feel like doing a video. I enjoy watching videos, and now and again I enjoy making them, but they’re invasive in a way that writing isn’t, and I’m all hermit-y and everything right now. (I did get an awesome blooper of my very helpful dog listening to me talk at myself, and I may share that. Maybe. At some point.) But doing a VR is just beyond my ability or desire right now, and also: the subject is huge, and I don’t know the legalities of repeating the question when it wasn’t asked to me, and so on.
To paraphrase and explain: the viewer asking the question wanted to know whether or not the hosts of the Pagan Perspective “believed in godspousing.” They went on to explain that they’d come across a woman claiming to be a spouse of Loki’s, but that she spoke so flamboyantly about it that it was hard to give her credit. They wanted to know what the Pagan Perspective hosts thought about the limits and form our relationships with the gods could take, how far those relationships should go. The viewer conceded that they had no issues with people being godspouses, but . . .
Four of the hosts responded. Now, what you need to know about the Pagan Perspective is that they are a group of different sorts of pagans, who answer questions from the basis of their particular traditions or paths. I generally find the hosts (and there are a number of them) to present their responses in a respectful manner; it’s part of why I like watching their videos. They remind me that pagans can be respectful even when they don’t agree.
Despite this, I watched the videos with trepidation. The topic of godspousery can be a hot button topic for a lot of people. Would this be the end of my being able to watch the Pagan Perspective?
I was actually surprised that a number of the hosts admitted to not believing in gods, period. The general consensus was: if it’s not hurting anyone, who cares? Which is fair enough, and that’s largely my yardstick, too. But I was frustrated in general with how the topic was handled. I’ve sat on it for a bit, and I’m still frustrated, by a few things, and so, I’m writing about it.
The primary thing that frustrated (and frustrates me still) is how the question was phrased. I’ve already talked about my knee-jerk reaction to ‘godspousing’; that’s not what I mean here. I’m frustrated by the language used by the viewer. “Do you believe in godspousing?” as if their believe matters. Do you believe it concrete? Do you believe in January? People marry gods. People marry Powers. You may not believe those Powers exist. You may not believe that those Powers marry humans. January may not be part of your calendar – but, people are marrying gods, they’re marrying Powers. Your belief or lack there of changes nothing.
I’ll own that this question may have been framed poorly. Perhaps the viewer meant: what do you think about this godspouse phenomenon? They have meant: do you believe that gods actually marry humans? The former is a fair question – we explore things we haven’t been exposed to before by asking questions and seeking the opinions of others. I have issues with the latter meaning, though. I have issues with people outside a tradition or practice approaching others who are also outside a tradition or practice to decide whether a tradition or practice is valid. Their opinions on the matter may be interesting, but it would be a bit like asking a non-Catholic what their opinion on transubstantiation is – you don’t go to other outsiders to help you form your opinion unless you’ve already formed an opinion and just want support for that.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we use language, and how language allows us to frame our thoughts. So, I’m sensitive to this framing of a question that, intentionally or not (and I think, not) sets the answer up to be definitive and authoritative.
I’m also frustrated with the judging of other peoples’ paths. “I don’t have a problem with godspousing, but the way she talked about her relationship was flamboyant.” In one of the videos, the host spoke of MarvelLoki versus Mythic Loki, and of course this brought to mind the PopCulture Pagan kerfuffle, and I was even more frustrated. As if the gods can only reach us through an approved (by us) medium; as if myths are anything more than ancient pop culture that has withstood the test of time.
In fairness, I don’t think, by and large, that people mean to judge the validity of the paths others are walking. I think part of this is cultural baggage from growing up in a monotheistic society. There has to be a right way for everyone to be, because clearly, there has to be. I think we do it without realize we’re doing it, and I think it’s important to exam why we ask what we ask, and why we feel a need for our paths to be validated by others. I find myself thankful on a nearly daily basis that my foundation with Poseidon was laid privately, and that I do not care if people think I’m batshit crazy.
I’m frustrated, too, that none of the hosts bothered to reach out to godspouses to talk about this topic with; especially frustrating because the second part of the viewer’s question was regarding research and sources.
In the end: if you’re curious about godspousery, ask a godspouse. (I’m open to questions.) Read the blog of a godspouse –there’s a number of us. We aren’t all married to Loki, and our lives as godspouses look different from one another’s. In fact, the only thing I’d be confident saying that all godspouses have in common is that we believe in the personhood of our god(s). Beyond that – huge range.
And I’ll level with you: there are people who talk about being married to gods or powers that make me wonder if they really, truly are – but then I check myself. Because what I believe about their life does not matter one whit, and it’s not my business. If you’re looking because you want to pass judgment, or you want to laugh at these deluded people, that’s your loss. Many of our lives are better because of our marriage to our Spouses. Being able to appreciate the different forms that our lives can take can only enrich our species; closing our minds to that which we don’t immediately understand or do not want for ourselves makes our lives smaller and poorer.