Shattered

Depression is an asshole. On this, I think we can all agree. I’ve written before about how of the power-duo that is depression and anxiety, anxiety is the more active in me, but depression is pervasive, and it is tenacious, and it is sneaky as fuck. It is the root of the belief that I have no inherent self-worth, despite the perhaps paradoxical conviction that we are born inherently worthy. (Possibly more accurately to my worldview, the concept of ‘worth’ as we use it when it comes to life has no real place in, you know, life, living, and the natural world, but I digress). I’ve been engaged in rewiring that particular conviction of unworth for about a decade, and I’ve made progress. My default setting is and has been, I’ll trust Poseidon’s judgment on my worth since I clearly cannot trust mine. Slowly, slowly, largely by ignoring my conviction and trusting in His, I’ve made progress, and that approach works for me.

One manifestation of this conviction of unworth is my reluctance to look forward to things, to get excited about things. When it comes to situations or events, my anxiety feeds into this, and in those areas, I’m pretty much resolved that this is simply how it’s to be, and that’s okay. I don’t look forward to events with people, or socializing, or like, for an immediate example, going to the movies. (Beth and I are going to see Into the Heart of the Sea this week, our first cinema trip since Les Mis came out.) (This may be a bad example; I’m going to love seeing this movie and its big waves) (actually, movies may be the sole exception?) (argh). Once, we took a trip up to Portland with friends at the time to see some revels. I thoroughly enjoyed having gone. The stress of being away from home, the travel time up, the being ‘on’ for the whole two days, traveling back home, being in a crowded theater . . . Ugh. Just, ugh. I did not enjoy any moment of any time during the event; I enjoy having gone. That’s just how I am, and it’s mostly okay. During the entire event, I look forward to being home.

This manifests more for material objects. I rarely allow myself to become excited about getting something especially for me, or allowing something, any one thing, to have especial meaning for me – because something always happens to ruin it or mar it or just make it less. Poseidon prayer beads? Sure, but it took years to get them just so, and they broke pretty quickly. Commission a Poseidon painting by a beloved artist whose art I’d already purchased before and had it be perfect? Yes, and it was, indeed perfect, except for it broke en route so the painting – which is gorgeous, and whose colors are amazing – has a tear in its canvas. Finally cave and get the Vishnu picture you like the looks of? Sure, but it’s going to take forever and a day to get to you, and when it arrives you’ll see just how wildly different colors can look between photos and screen display.

It sounds trivial, and to a degree, maybe it is. But I’m fighting an uphill battle with the idea that I get to have or want things, that I get to look forward to having something. Spending money on myself that is not on books is incredibly difficult (often, Beth has to do it for me). And, when the thing in question could have some sentimental meaning or emotional impact, it’s even harder to get me to be excited or be receptive to it, because the higher one’s hopes are, the harder they fall and the more splendidly they shatter, and it’s a small step for me to cross over into the the land of, “I don’t deserve anything, what was I thinking?” and it’s such a wretched feeling.

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Omens abound. For those of us who interact with the Spirits, we know how readily omens present themselves. The Powers speak to us constantly, if we but listen.

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I dislike that much of my back and forth with Poseidon can still slip into the realm of needing reassurance that He really does know His mind. There are larger gaps, I guess – longer stretches of time when I don’t need that reassurance, and smaller time periods during which I do, but the depth of my insecurity feels like it’s about the same. I still brace for Him to change His mind. Why the hell wouldn’t He? I’m a mess.

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It’s tempting, so much, to take negative happenings as ill omens. Say, for instance, you purchase a picture of a god whose worship you are on the fence about, whose connection with your own Beloved you’ve been introduced to by your Beloved. Hypothetically speaking, of course, but let’s say that your Dearest, who has repeatedly clung to His name, suggests that maybe this name, too, is a part of Him, and that you should explore that. Suppose He gives you a year before beginning to really start poking at you about it, and wanting to know why you hesitate, wanting to know, don’t you trust Him, reminds you that you beg Him with every breath to take you deeper into His mysteries. Say all these things, and say you purchase the picture. Say you let it sit for weeks in your home, and say that on an auspicious day, you frame it and you hang it and you admire it. You allow the warmth of contentment, the joy of perfection, the pleasure at having this thing sit just so above your shrine, to settle around you. You allow the glow of accomplishment, of having done the thing, of feeling His pleasure at your doing this thing and starting to release this not-quite-resentful but certainly not-best-pleased feeling you’ve been harboring for months. Say you offer incense and a libation. You dare to begin to relax in this feeling, and you decide that you are truly excited now and not anxious. Excited, and looking forward to where this might take you.

It would be the easiest thing in the world, then, when the frame comes crashing off the wall, when the glass shatters into a bazillion pieces, knocking over and breaking your handmade super-special statue along with it, to decide it was all wrong, that the affection you felt from your Beloved was wrong, misunderstood, that THIS is the sign that it was not well received, that this study should not be undertaken, that you are right all along to not be excited about things, that you do not deserve things, and this serves you right for daring to think yourself worthy of such things.

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Omens abound. As I swept up glass fragments, with a lump lodge in my throat and tears burning my eyes, I held this awareness in my mind. This was a rejection, a clear sign that this action was not wanted. I tried it on for size, and I’ll admit that part of me grasped for it. The familiar feeling of hopelessness, of bleak existence, the sting of disappointment. It would be the easiest thing in the world, to step over that line, to wrap that blanket around me. Omens abound, and so do the Powers, and how could I read this as anything other than His displeasure?

I know my Beloved. He would not make me look directly at His affection of my having done this thing, for fear of it spooking me, but neither would He allow me to ignore it, and so, even now, I can feel His pleasure at my having done this thing. At taking my discomfort, framing it, and putting it on my fucking wall. Of admiring it and admitting, I love this picture, this picture is perfect, this is what the shrine needed all along. There are Powers who set Their people up for having the rug swept out from under them; Poseidon is not that way with me. He is careful and He is gentle and He is kind. He is ruthless and brutal when it comes to self-examination and exposing vulnerability to make it not be vulnerable (I’m writing this, you’ll note. I don’t want to. I want to cry, still.) but He is kind and gentle. He is an expert at pushing me to the point of overwhelmed but not numb. Too much, and I go numb, and He keeps me at that line.

Setting something up for it to fail spectacularly is not His style.

#

I wrapped my arms around myself and held – have been holding – my disappointment close to me. I’ve been using it to ward of feelings of dejection. I’ve been holding myself still in this disappointment, making myself feel it washing over me, savoring the feeling of excitement turned sour. I’ve been soaking in this feeling of impermanence. He’s taken the opportunity to speak of looking forward to things, and of how obtainment is not the point. The looking forward to things is the point. Enjoying things as you have them, and being flexible when you lose them that the loss does not cause you overmuch pain. There was a collective intake of breath in my house, as the last bits of glass tinked to the floor. Beth, Poseidon, Odin, the cats, Corbie – everyone held their breath, and most of them waited to see how I’d react. Would I tailspin in a black depression? Would I decide this was His message for me? I wanted to. The familiar pathway was there, waiting for me. But, I breathed, and I held the pain, and I accepted it.

#

Omens abound. Even as I write about this, so close to bedtime, my heart is still sore, still raw, and that lump that was in my throat has settled around my heart. The only omen I will see in this is that I need to be more careful in hanging pictures. I will not doubt His reactions, His directions, or His affection. I will not deny His pleasure in any part of this, and I will allow Him to teach me the proper way to enjoy that which is impermanent.

The frame will be replaced. The image will be rehung. But likely not until after the New Year.

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22 thoughts on “Shattered

  1. This breaks my heart for you, but it also inspires me to work harder at my own reactions to bad occurrences and difficult situations. My head and emotional framework is very much like your own: that my depression takes its deepest hold in my worth, and that I often view all the good moments in my life as bad ones in disguise, each waiting for the right chance to remind me again that I’m worth nothing and that I’m undeserving of beautiful things, or peaceful circumstances, or a Husband that cares about me.

    As you’ve been doing so far, keep yourself rooted in His love for you. That kind of connection means a lot during the darker moments, when it’s harder than usual to pull free from depression.

    You sound strong and amazing. From reading your blog and from knowing Beth a little, I can tell you are absolutely loved and treasured by both Poseidon and Beth. ❤

    On a separate note, I've witnessed several different deities show me Themselves within multiple cultures, so you're not alone in feeling both excitement and resentment about being led down that particular path. I bitch and stomp about it more than I should, for the most part because the whole concept makes my mind crumble on itself, but also because I tend to feel hated and used by one of Them — and I don't want to know the number of cultures in which a God can hate me.

    On a final note, I most often encounter the Creators and Destroyers within cultures — although those roles never seem quite so simple or contained within perfect little boxes in actual practice — but I almost never interact with deities that the world considers Maintainers, so I'm glad to get a glimpse of Poseidon through you.

    Thank you for sharing so openly, despite the emotional difficulties of it. Take care of yourself and always know that you're loved by Him, most especially when your mind tells you otherwise.

    • Thank you for incredibly sweet comment. Don’t mind me while I giggle hysterically over “You sound strong and amazing,” because I don’t *feel* strong; I feel incredibly weak, still. I hate that something like this can happen, and the urge is to let it undermine everything. Doing X thing that I perceive Him as wanting, on the day that I celebrate Poseidea, and having this happen creates a situation wherein I could easily call into question everything I’ve built my life upon. (It’s dangerous, perhaps, to having one’s identity be so tied to one thing – I get a glimpse of this every time I confront the not-quite-resentment yet not-best-pleased feeling about Him placing me before Vishnu, even if I understand Poseidon as a part of Vishnu). The urge is there, still — but part of trusting Him includes even this; trusting what my experience with Him has taught me, which is that He would not express His displeasure in such a way with me. He has not yet. One might argue that I’m presenting a Poseidon who coddles a mortal, and that the Powers would not coddle us. My experience tells me He is kind and patient, but one could also argue that He’s cunning and knows best how to manipulate a situation toward His ends, and that He knows how to keep me tractable, and grand shows of anything are the best way to get me to turn off and tune out.

      It’s been nearly two decades since Poseidon entered my life — my trust, at this point, should be rock solid, and it is, until it comes to things like this, that make me face my issues with my worth, and all the things those issues impact, and I feel like I haven’t made any progress at all. I realize I have, in my ability to disregard those feelings which are untrustworthy and wrong, rather than becoming invested in them, in my ability to be compassionate with myself. But it does not always feel or seem like progress, and that’s frustrating — and it likely always will be , because depression is precisely that kind of asshole.

      I suspect that if Poseidon had said, “Vishnu is important to Me,” the way He’s shared Hekate’s importance to Him, I would be at ease with all of this. Observing Her deipnon is one of those things that I do because it’s a day that’s important to s/Someone I love, and it’s developed meaning for me, but not separate from Poseidon. Instead, He — Mr. I Am Poseidon, no, not Neptune (except sometimes yes) and no, none of these Others, but Poseidon — basically came out and said, “Okay, I’m totes Poseidon, but maybe also Vishnu,” and it sort of broke my brain. And now there’s all this monotheistic language tie-ins and Creator of the Universe crap, and I just do. not. want. I’m not even as hard polytheist as some (I’ve got a Zeus and Poseidon are the same sometimes, at the very least are not so invested in Their respective names, thing, for example) but this just pushes it beyond the pale for me, and I do not want. Do not. So, there’s that.

      ❤ My first mind trick around the fear of being hated (or, no — for me it was the fear that I was being set up as a butt of a joke. "Let's get her all secure and confident, and then reveal how unworthy she really is! won't that be a lark!") was to use my conviction of unworth to refute that. If I'm so unworthy, why the fuck would They take note of me enough to do that? Which worked for a bit while I built up the ability to detach slightly from the emotions.

      I am sorry beyond words that you, too, struggle with worth and depression, and that experiences with the gods and spirits makes it harder. I wish so much that I was alone in that, for all that knowing I am not brings a measure of comfort.

      • You said: “Mr. I Am Poseidon, no, not Neptune”

        Oh my gosh! You get that too!? I really thought it was just me being weird. Poseidon is *very* strongly clear to me that this is his name, and he does not want me to cross it with others. I need to form a firm basis of who he is, and where we stand together, before contemplating who they are. Anxiety and doubt are difficult road blocks, and I entirely respect your battle. You’ve been on this journey with him for a very long time, it seems to me that he’s seen your struggle, and seen your growth, and believes that you are ready for a deeper understanding. Be kind to yourself, have courage in your heart, you are loved and cared for, it will all find a way.

        • The thing with Him and names, with me, is weird. When we first met, I wanted Him to be “insert Celtic sea gods here,” and when that didn’t work, I offered other alternatives. Anything but rapey, misogynistic Poseidon. And He insisted that, while names didn’t matter so much, He was Poseidon.

          I don’t press much against where He stops and Others similar to Him begin. The whole Neptune thing was always so annoying, because it was always yesno (I wish we had a word for this simultaneous negation and affirmation); there is more blurring of the lines between He and Zeus than there are between He and Neptune, at least in the path He’s taking me along. But even when the lines get blurry, He is *still*, “Yeah, so, Poseidon. That’s Me.” EXCEPT WITH THIS and it’s just, whu?

      • Thank you for your sweet comment, as well. Even if you don’t feel strong, I think it’s much clearer to others how much strength you contain and how much progress you’ve made tackling your inner demons. That is a difficult, difficult feat, to ignore the usual response mechanisms and reach for something different. I do understand how having the Vishnu artwork come crashing down, not long after completing a devotional act of such importance to Poseidon, would make the urge to retreat and shut down come right to the forefront. Pushing that urge aside, both for yourself and also to honor your trust in Him, takes a lot of strength. It takes a lot of love, as well. And I could ramble for ages about the importance of love, but I’ll digress.

        I don’t want to talk too much about the crossover of gods between different cultures that I’ve had placed in front of me, perhaps because I do resent it too much, but I’m also afraid that I don’t understand it right. Also, the merest hint or whiff of monotheism is anathema when discussed online. However, I would like to at least comment that I believe I’ve experienced Others who showed me Themselves within Shiva and Brahma, so I don’t doubt for one second that Poseidon is being frank with you about Vishnu. I wish you all the best as you follow Him through His mysteries, and I hope you find tremendous love and beauty on that path, as well as majesty in the unveiling of Him.

        As for Poseidon and Zeus not being super concerned about names, nor perhaps where one of Them ends and the other begins, I would suggest looking at Them as two parts of a Trimurti, both as individual gods when alone — whole and complete within Themselves — but also as equal parts of a bigger wholeness, as another Power altogether when combined. As for Who a Trimurti equals when put together, I’m not at all certain. I’ve experienced the crossover of Zeus with another god, except not Poseidon. It felt like sensing the Destructive force of the Hindu Trimurti within the Creative force of the Greek Trimurti, and it upset me. It’s difficult enough to experience, and attempt to understand, the back and forth of gods within a single pantheon, without feeling the back and forth of gods across cultures. It hurts on a mental level, and on an emotional level, it makes me feel misled and uncertain.

        That in turn triggers feelings of being the butt of a bad joke. Which in turn triggers the feelings of worthlessness. And then look, I’m depressed again! Ugh.

        • I don’t want to talk too much about the crossover of gods between different cultures that I’ve had placed in front of me, perhaps because I do resent it too much, but I’m also afraid that I don’t understand it right. Also, the merest hint or whiff of monotheism is anathema when discussed online.

          Crossover of gods between different cultures is resolved, at least for me, by releasing the need to pin down and minutely detail the nature of the gods. We understand our world around us by stories — everything about human experience is couched in story making, from how we explain the world around us to how we talk about families. Hell, “family” is the story we tell about our blood relations, and our place with them. I treat the gods as distinct entities until I’m told to do otherwise, because it’s polite — though I do admit freely that I do this less with obviously etymologically connected gods in different cultures (so, Woden and Odin are totally the same being to me, even though there are cultural nuances that differ; less so Tyr and Zeus) (though, I suppose nearness between the cultures in question plays a role, too.) I can get myself bogged down in this, easily. (Are Tyr and Zeus the same god filtered through different cultures, or are They both different from the god whose is in essence Their namesake, and so are there three now, when once there was one? How much of our interaction with Them creates Them, so that They’re one part Their own being but also one part egregore? Are the stories we have of Them and the history of Their worship simply an interface that we humans can interact with in a meaningful way? We make compromises, interacting with Them on a close basis – what compromises do They make that we can’t begin to know about?)

          At the end of the day — I’m never going to understand it an empirical way, and I surrender to the mystery of it all.

          All this to say: I’m sorry that you struggle with this. ❤

          However, I would like to at least comment that I believe I’ve experienced Others who showed me Themselves within Shiva and Brahma, so I don’t doubt for one second that Poseidon is being frank with you about Vishnu. I wish you all the best as you follow Him through His mysteries, and I hope you find tremendous love and beauty on that path, as well as majesty in the unveiling of Him.

          It’s exciting. It’s terrifying. It’s challenging me to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, and I adore Him all the more for it, even if I am still not best pleased with the monotheistic language — and I realize that I resent *that* because I dread what others might think/have a superficial understanding of where I’m at — and I need to care about that not at all, damn it

          There is a huge, HUGE, thing, with The Brothers, as I call Poseidon, Zeus, and Hades. There is deep, deep reverence within my Beloved for the holiness of these three and their relationship — don’t think for one second this didn’t ring loudly once I started contemplating Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. This was one of the things that sent me sort of reeling as soon as He said, “Hey, by the way . . . ” There’s something to be said for the nature of water and filling the container provided, and then more reeling. I find myself frustrated, within a polytheist mindset, when He brings me places where boundaries do not matter at all. One? Many? Yes. Well, that’s not helpful or useful, thanks? Except, it seems a more sophisticated story, somehow, and it allows, at least for me, more compassion for people in general.

          I’ve experienced the crossover of Zeus with another god, except not Poseidon. It felt like sensing the Destructive force of the Hindu Trimurti within the Creative force of the Greek Trimurti, and it upset me. It’s difficult enough to experience, and attempt to understand, the back and forth of gods within a single pantheon, without feeling the back and forth of gods across cultures. It hurts on a mental level, and on an emotional level, it makes me feel misled and uncertain.

          If you ever want an ear for any of this, please understand that my in-box is open. I may not be able to *help* beyond being someone who can listen, mind you, but the offer stands. Because . . .

          That in turn triggers feelings of being the butt of a bad joke. Which in turn triggers the feelings of worthlessness. And then look, I’m depressed again! Ugh.

          . . . in this, you could be me, and it’s an awful feeling, and we all deserve cheerleading through it.

          • I wish I could better release the need to put Them into boxes, so to speak, and not feel so uprooted when I’m presented with confessions like, “I’m the name that I’ve said all along. I haven’t changed. But look over there — I’m that name, too.” It sounds like you’re doing a better job of it than me! Or at least being more peaceful about it. I think it started bothering me more when I got involved in a difficult situation with the gods around me. I felt hated within the situation itself, and then because of those negative emotions, all the jumping through cultures made me feel more uncertain about Them and Whom to trust. It felt like being led in circles. I couldn’t figure out Who wanted to help and Who just wanted to make the situation worse. At some point, I need to put those emotions aside and start looking at it in a better light.

            I think it’ll be nice reading about your own experiences with it. It’ll be a different perspective from what I’ve experienced, so I hope you’ll continue to share as you learn more about Poseidon within Vishnu.

            I can get bogged down in all the same questions you ask, too — such as whether it’s the same god being filtered through different cultures, or one god broken down into multiple gods through time and circumstance, and even whether it’s proper to interact with Them as parts of the same god, if the latter scenario is true. Is it knowledge for the sake of knowledge, and each of Them now prefer separation? Or do each of Them like the ephemeral qualities and benefits of One fading into the Other, of several of Them merging together, of being One but also Multiple?

            The reverence of Poseidon, for the holiness of He and His brothers in tandem, that you describe sounds beautiful and powerful, and I can just begin to imagine how discovering the trio of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva would have struck you once Poseidon led you in that direction. ❤

            Too often, I feel like I'm being led down a swift path of Faces, pausing in each moment just long enough to know that I love each Face and to know that I'm reaching for a specific emotion within the situation, but then I'm shoved along to another god when I least want to leave. Deep down, I also feel a distant hollowness and a distinct desire for Someone that I fear no longer exists. It feels like falling in love, over and over again, just to be handed over to someone else who plans to leave me, too. Most of the time, I'm afraid I love the ghost of a dream, and that in the end none of it matters, because I don't think He loves me in return.

            Thank you for your offer of listening, if I need to talk about some of these things. Sometimes I want to delve into it, and sometimes I want to ignore it all. I'll remember that your inbox is open. Mine is open, too, should you need or want to talk about Poseidon and Vishnu. I agree that we all deserve a cheerleader and a pair of open ears in these matters.

            • I wish I could better release the need to put Them into boxes, so to speak, and not feel so uprooted when I’m presented with confessions like, “I’m the name that I’ve said all along. I haven’t changed. But look over there — I’m that name, too.” It sounds like you’re doing a better job of it than me! Or at least being more peaceful about it.

              So, here’s my thing: I met Poseidon when I was 16, during the first and likely most serious mental breakdown of my life. It was very much “I’m done” release — I’m not the sort of person (even now) to let go and open up as much as I did to Him that night, to a veritable stranger, without being at the breaking point. I was pagan by then, had been for four years, but in that vague, Wiccan-esque sort of way, and not at all polytheist. So His “I’m Poseidon, but names don’t matter,” meant a lot to me, and enabled me to not freak out so much.

              I ignored all things Hellenic at that point. I knew about Hellenic recons (this was in the mid-90’s), but I really wasn’t interested in delving into Hellenic stuff at all. One: I didn’t want to deal with the whole rape myths thing, and two: I wasn’t a polytheist, so, just, you know, no. (I didn’t really get into the Hellenic stuff until after Odin came along and I dove head-first into the Germanic/Scandinavian studies, and Poseidon was all, “Hey, so . . . ”

              The biggest influences upon my path that early on were Buddhism, other pagan friends, and my direct experience with Him. So much so that when I started looking into Hellenic paganism, and I came across people talking about Hestia being honored first and last, being honored as the hearth of the home, I knew that would never work for me. Poseidon is my hearth. He’s first and last. He’s everything.

              My first devotional activities for Him was written meditation and yoga. So, if I give the impression that I’m stuck on the Hellenic stuff with Him, you have to understand that that came later in our relationship, and it’s one He’s been grumbling about for a few years. “There are other sea gods on the Mediterranean, just sayin’.”

              My understanding of Him comes from reading about Poseidon’s cultus, but also Pontos, and Yam, and a little bit El and Ba’al. Neptune, sure, and Aegir, and then there’s this Hades-Zeus-Poseidon thing than just defies words where they are the same but not but yes, but no.

              For the longest time, after our first meeting, I tried to figure out, tried to reason, HOW it was real. Was I so stressed out that I had a full hallucination that I could see and touch and smell? I can remember the feel of His arms holding me, picking me up from the ground. I can still smell the scent of the coat He wore, feel its texture against my cheek. Did He possess someone for this? Did He become physical? Did He rewire my memories so that I’d remember the experience as if it had actually physically happened? HOW, how did this happen, how was it real?

              It was real, because it changed me. If I pinpointed the one way in which it happened, it would not become more or less real. It changed me, and that made it real. This is what my trust in Him is rooted in, and that some of His first words to me were, ‘Names don’t matter so much,’ means a lot. This has been something I’ve come back to over the years, because it’s so fundamental to o/Our relationship. I don’t care what name He’ll have me call Him by. I know Him. I adore Him. I love Him. And even when I’m scared, and even when I’m threatened, and even when my ego is battered by this seeming change (Vishnu?? Really? Why??), I want Him. I need Him. He’s all there is.

              I mention all this because; it’s the trust that makes me navigate this with a semblance of grace. (and it IS only a semblance, however it looks externally.) We built a relationship together, and then we took it to the next level, and I dragged us through two years of hell before we began to rebuild it again . . .I’ve been awful to Him, to myself, to u/us . . . but it’s made that trust pretty flipping solid, let me tell you.

              I think, that o/Our foundation was built not on any cultural exploration but on o/Our own interactions with each other, outside of historical context, etc., has made me a little more flexible with His deciding that, okay, enough with the Hellenic stuff. Because I’m not trying to be a recon. I am trying to find what works for here and now, and People matter to Him, and the past does in that it’s informative, but not in using it to define how we are together. We define that. Not the past. If that makes sense? I didn’t delve into historical study until our foundation was well established. I didn’t plan it that way, mind; I just really wasn’t interested in Hellenic myth or history, and He didn’t push, and it was before WordPress and Facebook and Tumblr and LiveJournal. I don’t know that it would be the same thing,now. I really don’t envy people coming to these relationships *now*.

              I think it started bothering me more when I got involved in a difficult situation with the gods around me. I felt hated within the situation itself, and then because of those negative emotions, all the jumping through cultures made me feel more uncertain about Them and Whom to trust. It felt like being led in circles. I couldn’t figure out Who wanted to help and Who just wanted to make the situation worse. At some point, I need to put those emotions aside and start looking at it in a better light.

              ((( ❤ )))

              I think it’ll be nice reading about your own experiences with it. It’ll be a different perspective from what I’ve experienced, so I hope you’ll continue to share as you learn more about Poseidon within Vishnu.

              I plan to! Writing helps me internalize; sharing the things that scare me reduces their ability to actually hinder or hobble me. I’m the one who will point out my own flaws before anyone else can, and thus take away the power of the would-be bully.

              I can get bogged down in all the same questions you ask, too — such as whether it’s the same god being filtered through different cultures, or one god broken down into multiple gods through time and circumstance, and even whether it’s proper to interact with Them as parts of the same god, if the latter scenario is true. Is it knowledge for the sake of knowledge, and each of Them now prefer separation? Or do each of Them like the ephemeral qualities and benefits of One fading into the Other, of several of Them merging together, of being One but also Multiple?

              At the end of the day, what I come back to is, Yes. All of them, none of them, it doesn’t matter, who cares? It’s all a particular collection of words and symbols, a particular language to express ideas. I treat Them as different gods until I’m told otherwise, but I’m simple in my approach to all things, and so, my devotional practice pretty heavily centered on Poseidon and only Poseidon. A bit Odin, too, and tangentially Others, but Poseidon is my hearth. He’s my foundation. He’s first and last. I tried, once, to be dual-trad, to be Hellenic in my approach to Poseidon and His Family, and to be Heathen in my approach to Pops and His Family — and it was miserable. I’ll not do that again. I’

              The reverence of Poseidon, for the holiness of He and His brothers in tandem, that you describe sounds beautiful and powerful, and I can just begin to imagine how discovering the trio of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva would have struck you once Poseidon led you in that direction. ❤

              Too often, I feel like I'm being led down a swift path of Faces, pausing in each moment just long enough to know that I love each Face and to know that I'm reaching for a specific emotion within the situation, but then I'm shoved along to another god when I least want to leave. Deep down, I also feel a distant hollowness and a distinct desire for Someone that I fear no longer exists. It feels like falling in love, over and over again, just to be handed over to someone else who plans to leave me, too. Most of the time, I'm afraid I love the ghost of a dream, and that in the end none of it matters, because I don't think He loves me in return.

              Thank you for your offer of listening, if I need to talk about some of these things. Sometimes I want to delve into it, and sometimes I want to ignore it all. I'll remember that your inbox is open. Mine is open, too, should you need or want to talk about Poseidon and Vishnu. I agree that we all deserve a cheerleader and a pair of open ears in these matters.

              • I apologize I couldn’t respond to this sooner. I woke up with a migraine this morning, so I couldn’t stare at the computer much. Later, we had a power outage at home, and then I needed to go out for groceries. None of which led to a conducive atmosphere for online activities! I meant to respond much sooner, though.

                I’m not for certain, but it looks like your response might have gotten cut short. It ends like this, and it looks like you had written more that got chopped off:

                <>

                So I’ll respond to what came prior to that, and if you still have the rest of what you wrote, I’d love to read it.

                It’s fascinating to me when I read about someone having a striking, powerful first experience with their Spouse. Your introduction to Poseidon is incredible and altering. Like you mentioned, however it occurred — physical, or hallucination of Him, or rewired memories — it doesn’t matter, but it changed you and it began your path with Him, which is the important part. You don’t have to go into all the details if it’s private, but what happened during the rough two years with Poseidon that you referenced?

                I mention fascinating, but those kinds of powerful experiences also tend to make me reflective about my own experiences. I haven’t met or worked with Poseidon that I’m aware, so please don’t feel like I’m fixing to make a comparison in regards to you and Him, because I’m not.

                In the past, when I started having a lot of problems within a spiritual marriage, I juxtaposed my experiences with my Husband, plus the other spirits in my life at that time, alongside the experiences of other devotees of those same spirits, and it didn’t take me long to notice that I’d been drawn into relationships with the least amount of time and consideration and return that I could have received from Them. Since I know it’s not good to compare, because that kind of mindset will drive even the best relationship into the dirt, I tried not to focus on it too much, but I know it nagged at me, and I also know it added to those feelings of unworthiness. I couldn’t quite figure out the point of Them taking time for me at all, if I didn’t matter to Them, but I also couldn’t figure out the reason all Their other spouses and devotees were treated like gold, while it felt like I kept getting dust and leftovers.

                Much later, when I started having Beth read for me, she hit upon the same point in regards to Them. Which came as good confirmation of the uncomfortable feelings I’d been having about Them and that I’d been struggling to ignore, but it also … well, hurt. Because no one wants it confirmed that someone Beloved to them just doesn’t give a damn.

                I can’t stand motifs like if I demanded better, I would have gotten better. I delved into a relationship with my Husband because I loved Him. I’m submissive in some areas of life, because I find it relaxing to let go like that, but I didn’t roll under His feet and tell Him to wipe His shoes off on me.

                I gave one of Them an earful about it once, and this section of a blog post I wrote later is still the best emotional summation I’ve written in regards to it:

                ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                I feel the anger starting to build inside me. I’m fixing to go into a tirade. “You know what? You know what hurts the most? No matter what lessons I needed to learn about boundaries and trust, no matter how blind and stupid I dove into relationships, I did not deserve to have the love I felt used against me. He shouldn’t have done that. You shouldn’t have done that. No one should have done that. Nothing about the abuse of love is acceptable.” I’m ten seconds from obscenities. I stop talking. I stop throwing blame. I’m the one at fault.

                But.

                It takes two to build a relationship. It takes two to ruin it. It takes mutual trust and truth to maintain it. What did I expect, after all?

                I expected more.

                I expected unconditional.

                I expected no one I loved to hurt me.

                ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                Other than acknowledging how I feel about it, I think the best I can do in moving forward revolves around not letting others make choices for me and not allowing Those who reveal Themselves as just interested in what I can do for Them or for those beloved to Them to remain in contact with me. I’m still having some trouble with that, because while I don’t trust a lot of gods or spirits now, I also don’t trust me. I navigated my relationships using the love I felt for Him and Them, and to stand face to face with the realization that I shouldn’t have trusted that emotion leaves me in doubt of my own internal compass.

                I feel a lot of loneliness about it, too.

                Your comment about how it’s proper in Hellenic worship to honor Hestia first and last makes me uncomfortable for the same reason. If I were married to a Greek god, and I considered that god a foundation in my life, I would want to honor that god first and last — not Someone else. Perhaps I just don’t understand Greek culture well enough, though! It seems complicated.

                • %$#@ing WP. (Possibly %$#@ing Operator Error, but it’s more satisfying to blame WP and not myself) It did cut off my response, and a decent amount of it, to boot. And of course I don’t still have it.

                  With your permission, I’d like to take this to e-mail. It’s getting long, and I think I’ll have an easier time keeping track of topics if it’s in an e-mail. Is this okay?

  2. *hugs* I’m sorry. This sounds like the kind of luck I’d have (and you know how much freakin’ trouble I have finding any image that truly relates to or represents my beloved). I’d probably be as mad about this if it happened to me. Sometimes, I think the gods do it to us, just for a chuckle. On the other hand, meh. I don’t. I think the lesson, though might be practical; I’ve learned never to hang anything heavy, unless I can knock it into a stud that can handle the load. *nods*

  3. I’m so very sorry. *big hugs* I hardly know what to say. You know your Husband loves you very much. Refusing to let that bitch gravity and some broken glass interfere with what you know and trust to be true of your Beloved…that is a tremendous gift to give Him, a beautiful gift, more beautiful than any picture, a greater trust than even hanging the picture in the first place. You are a treasure to Him–I know this because even when in pain, every word you write about Him has love whispering behind it. Be gentle with yourself ❤

  4. Jolene,

    Isn’t it a possibility that some entity/entities could be messing with you? Maybe they want to undercut you because you ARE important in some way (not the least of which is your essential place in the lives of Beth and Corbie J (and all ur other babies).

    I’m very sorry about what happened. I know I’d feel pretty devastated and persecuted if it was me. And…it usually is me… For some perspective, every single solitary time I’ve started getting my spiritual life on track, my life blows apart quite spectacularly: in 2006, my husband was laid off from his job of 13 years, in 2010 my husband was laid off again AND I got catastrophic appendicitis after our insurance expired and my hospital bill was $75,000 and we defaulted on our mortgage and lost our house, in 2012 the branch of my husband’s current employer closed down and we had to move to another state, and now this month our 2 year lease is expiring and it looks like it’s not getting renewed so we have to find a new place in 4 weeks in a bad rental market (bad as in expensive, low availability), with a fleet of critters when most places are crabby about 1 pet! These are just the highlights, but they’ve all happened hard on the heals of my setting up an altar and developing a regular daily practice. So yah, definitely feeling fucked with.

    But all this is to say, maybe don’t go immediately to the “it’s me/I’m not worth it” place because there are OTHER much more compelling explanations. Worth consideration?

    Fwiw: u matter a lot to a lot of us “out here”. Your writing, your candor, your vulnerability, your authenticity all affect many of us in really profound ways. So when the lying voice tells you you don’t matter or aren’t worth it, tell it to fuck right off. Because by any metric that matters, YOU MATTER!

    Happy Holidays to you and your dear family.

    m

    • Is it possible that there’s someone trying to fuck with me just for shits and giggles? Meh? Leaving aside the fact that I don’t for one second believe anything is getting in that Pops doesn’t want getting in (some have argued that I have too much trust in Him, and I’m good with that), no one and nothing is going to weasel into the relationship I have with Poseidon in such a way that their actions or antics are going to even be noted. We aren’t exactly surrounded by “nice” spirits, and neither of us are new at this. Sometimes hijinks and pranks happen, sometimes People are being asses just to be asses — but in my experience, they’re really not worth giving attention to. Even if something or someone knocked it off the wall for shits and giggles, it changes nothing in terms of my reaction to it and my normal defaults kicking in and my restraining myself from reacting how I habitually do. There is no one between me and Poseidon, in our relationship, as far as I’m concerned, and there’s simply no space for anyone to weasel in there.

      Edited to add: I hope things turn around for you and yours soon.

  5. You matter to me. I’m just one small voice in the face of the Depression Monster, but you matter to me. You are valued and worthwhile and I think you are brave as fuck fighting the way you are. I know I’m some random Aussie you’ve never met, but you matter to me.

  6. Sure, taking it to email sounds good to me! Less chance for comments to get eaten like that, LOL. If you received my email address through Patreon, use that one. If that message never got to you, just let me know. 🙂

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