It’s funny. Ages ago, I would have felt the butt of the joke, right? I get to a place of confidence, where I feel like I know some shit, that I have all this experience, all this built-upon tradition, and it’s not like I decided I was some know it all, but I thought, hey, I could share some of this, right? With confidence, not of how people SHOULD approach you, but how *a* way worked, for me, and maybe it could for others, too. I still really love the idea of the liturgy project, it’s just that I can’t continue it and not feel like a hypocrite. Not BE a hypocrite. Because, the truth is —
I eyeball a bunch of posts from atheist pagans, and humanist pagans. I’ve had Godless Pagan on my TBR pile since it came out — I bought it to be supportive, because the idea that there is any One Right Way to be pagan is something I find loathsome, and the joke is on me, because the truth is —
I mean. It’s not like I suddenly don’t believe in You, right? I’m just, these days, in a place where I find You largely irrelevant. Not You specifically, just, gods in general. The never-incarnate. If not irrelevant, than not important. And yeah, maybe a lot of that is the general powerlessness that I feel over how the greater world is going. Maybe a lot of that is having a finite amount of energy, and that, in order for me to not give in to the apathy, I have to again and again choose to not retreat into a bubble, and that in order for me to choose compassion, I have to be selective about where that energy goes, and that the incarnate and once-carnate ones — the land spirits, the beloved dead, the plant spirits, those living here and now — get that attention and energy before You and Your kind do.
There are the days that I miss You, and then the days when I want to miss You, but don’t. There are the days when I wish I could feel sorry at how things have changed, except I’m not. I used to be so afraid of being the butt of a cosmic joke, that once I began to believe that You loved me, You’d pull away, reveal that no, sorry, just kidding.
You didn’t, of course. You waited, not until I believe You cared, but rather that I KNEW You do. You waited, not until I wanted to know You better, but rather until I begged that You let me know You better, and then You broke everything I thought I knew about Who you Are. You brought me from a vaguely paganesque mindset, to a hard polytheist one (if in practice) back out to a non-dualistic one, and then shattered that, too, until the nature of gods went back to being irrelevant. It matters, for conversation, and for sharing, and for worship, because it helps define how we approach You, but in the heart, in the head, without words, it doesn’t matter. What is, is what is.
I feel like I should feel betrayed, and abandoned, and there a moments when I do, just as there are moments when I miss you. There are more moments when the past seems so bittersweet — something that was beautiful, and that shaped me, but that I don’t want to go back to.
There are moments like right now, when, if you were human, I’d call you up, and we’d chat a bit about the old days, about u/Us and check in. I’d toy with this not-pain. We’d reconnect, and it would feel like no time has passed. It would be personal and intimate in the way that life-long friendships can be, where years can go by, but then it feels like none. Moments like now, when I miss you while simultaneously not wanting anything to go back to how it used to be.
This is, I guess, another sort of devotion, and I can’t help but know that this, too, is going deeper and knowing You better. There’s a distance between us, that SHOULD feel like a thing that makes something that was once personal no longer personal, yet it feels too like it makes it moreso. This is weird . . . but it is what it is. And I’m not sad about it. and I feel like I should be, but I’m also glad that I’m not.
[Author’s Note: this is messy and unedited. Also, not looking for any advice, but take this as commiseration if you need it!]