A Response to the Pagan Perspective’s coverage of ‘Godspousing’

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.

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13 thoughts on “A Response to the Pagan Perspective’s coverage of ‘Godspousing’

  1. Ah yes, Pagan Perspective! Brings back some memories it does. I used to be a member of that channelback during it’s earliest days but ended up having to step out due to moving up north and dealing with an evolving religious folkway that I wasn’t able to function with properly at the time.

    Kind of lost touch with the various members, especially this more current incarnation of them.

    I didn’t know they actually got around to touching upon the topic of God spousery but I’m not suprised that they did.

    And I’m not suprised that their responses were frustrating. I remember it being that way back when it was first evolving as a channel and there would be various friendly but fierce discussions and debates about various topics, especially when there were people involved who belonged on diffrent sides of the fense of a topic.

    I’ll have to watch their responses for myself and excpect to be both amused and frustrated with what is said.

    • I did watch them, but the response became less interesting once they admitted to not believing in gods. I know some pagans don’t, and that’s cool. It’s only that, the discussion is more interesting if you do.

      • What, exactly, do they believe? Do they view the Gods and Powers as archetypes? (As if archetypes aren’t living beings.)

        Or perhaps they think of the gods as being thought forms, like the group conscious of a 12 step group but much larger-an egregore.

        • The impression I got was more archetype, but I’ll admit that I didn’t listen closely to those parts of the videos because I was already frustrated.

  2. “As if the gods can only reach us through an approved (by us) medium; as if myths are nothing more than ancient pop culture that has withstood the test of time.” -This, so much.

    Thank you for giving the review of this show. It’s really sad when people talk about a population without having one of them for representation.

    • Ah, there’s a typo I missed! Oops. Should be “as if the myths are more than ancient pop culture that has withstood the test of time.” Though I think you realized that, so whew.

      I’m not bothered so much that they didn’t have a godspouse answering the question, and this isn’t sour grapes that no one contacted *me*. But, maybe contact SOMEONE who is a godspouse? Or point people in that direction? We’re by no means a huge demographic, but we’re also not impossible to find.

  3. I think the real question the asker wanted to ask was not “do you believe in godspousery?” but rather “do you believe that all the people claiming godspousery are legitimate or are some spinning tales online?”. It’s something causing a lot of individual arguments but not something often coming up in broader pagan contexts, and I do think it’s important to discuss. It’s simply a fact that people create vast & rich imaginary lives online, concerning a variety of topics besides paganism, and some of these people are speaking loudly. Folks are concerned their input is overriding that of people whose lived experiences are very different. Should we presume everyone claiming something online is true to be “accepting” or should we be skeptical? Does it matter if there are “fakes” or if some are mentally ill? Is it hurting or harming individuals – and who is being hurt? I think deflecting the conversation to “is godspousery legit” and sneering at the concept entirely is very sad indeed, especially since pagans of all flavors are so frequently dismissed and cons or crazies.

    • I think the real question the asker wanted to ask was not “do you believe in godspousery?” but rather “do you believe that all the people claiming godspousery are legitimate or are some spinning tales online?”

      I suspect you’re correct, though when I don’t know better I prefer to assume the best intentions if for no other reason than it makes me more able to stand people in general.

      You ask, should we presume everyone claiming something online is true to be accepting, or should be skeptical? This is an interesting question, and my thoughts on this are pretty much: why do we have do either? For practical purposes, the only other pagan out there in the world whose experiences I feel a need to understand, whose experiences I’m invested in, are Beth’s. There are others whose experiences I value hearing about, and whose sharing of their paths nourish mine and help make my world better, but that’s not the same thing. Likewise, I’m sort of invested in Beth believing that I’m married to Poseidon ,and it’s useful that she not believe I’m deluded regarding that. But absolutely everyone else in the world, including my loved ones? They don’t have to accept that, they can be as skeptical as they want, and I don’t understand why we can’t all just be that way.

      When it comes to the folks who don’t believe the gods are real, I can only ask: what does it hurt? For those who do believe the gods are real, I can only ask: why do the gods need you to defend them, if this bothers them? (Not you specifically, just the would-be defenders of the gods). Poseidon can take care of me, if this offends Him.

      I am frustrated, by and large, by the seeming need to decide one way or another about the validity of a person’s path which only touches our own lives in the most superficial way.

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