(I mention the migraine because it makes a difference in my writing quality. This post is raw, and it’s unedited, and it’s mostly for my own record. You’ve been warned 😉 )
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m finding a host of small things coming together, adding weight, one thing on top of the next, that is helping me come to terms with this revelation Poseidon has placed upon my lap. I’m writing them down here in part so that I can see them lined up, so I can count them, so I can say to myself, “See? These things are not your imagination.” I’m posting them publicly not so much that others can see them and validate them or see them and challenge me on them, but rather because I find seeing such things useful, and maybe you do, too. Now, I realize that something to consider when it comes to seeing omens and signs, portents, and the like, is that we are all biased to one degree or another. Yes, of course, given my history with Poseidon, I am going to see connections to Him in yoga. I’m going to see connections to Him in the various topics of healing and emotional wellness. The choices I’ve made in my life since He entered it have lead me to where I am now: living in semi-seclusion with my devotion to Poseidon at the center of it. Obviously, obviously, I’m going to see all things through that particular lens, with that particular bias. This goes all the way back to the early decision in this that, if I am deluded, if this is all just my imagination, it does not ultimately matter because living my life looking through this lens makes life infinitely more tolerable and helps make me be a better person. That’s all justification I need. Know, going into this post, that these are small things and that none of them have anything objectively to do with Poseidon – they do not stand up on their own without the support of history and context of o/Our relationship as having anything at all to do with Him. There’s that bias, again.
But, that said, what are these little things?
There’s the big things, the signposts of this walk that my life with Poseidon, the cornerstones of my foundation: Awareness, Healing, Compassion. (It’s a triangular building I’m making, clearly.) Three big, huge things that one cannot obviously link back to Poseidon of Hellas. That is, clear, objective, historical connections cannot be made. But do I believe the gods are stagnant? Do I believe They are trapped in those lovely pigeonholes we like to shove Them into? Hardly. (It’s not our fault; we like patterns, remember). Historical connections to a specific place and time was not something that mattered to me in the beginning, and it’s really gotta get back to not mattering to me. Awareness. Healing. Compassion.
I think of Vishnu, and my admittedly small understanding of this being. Obviously, obviously, I cannot think of Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma without thinking of Poseidon, Hades, and Zeus. I think of Poseidon, when I’m at the coast, and how immense and huge and beyond me, and unendingly, unfailingly intimate, He feels. How immediate. How great, how much I long to be devoured by Him, to disappear into His radiance, His passion. But, I think now of Vishnu, of His role as Preserver. I think of our first meeting, Poseidon and I, and I consider His actions, His words, His kindness.
For years and years and years I thought Poseidon did not much care for humanity as a whole. I’m still not entirely sure that He does – certainly there are humans He likes. Our first meeting was rooted as much in environmental distress as it was in emotional, personal distress – for me, the ugliness that was humanity was both personal and impersonal. When He first started speaking of compassion, I understood it as a tool I needed in order to be a better functioning human, but not necessarily as something He Himself valued or used, at least not when it came to humankind. It would be some time before I realized that He truly did not set us much apart from other animals on this planet. We were, we are, neither better nor worse. So, in my experience with Poseidon, there is not that “the humans are the pinnacle of creation” mindset that can be found in much of the literature from our Greek and Roman philosphers. There is not that interested in human cultures that seems to be found with other gods. Biases again – this could very well be my understanding, opinions, and thoughts about the human animal coloring my interactions with Him, coloring my understanding of who He is. I’m not sure how much of that is true, since from the beginning He challenged my stance on my species and if this was my biases informing how I saw Him seeing something, surely it would have been easier to remain apathetic and indifferent. In my experience with Him, He does not see us as better or worse. We are animals responding to opportunity with an eye toward security, and if we are too short-sighted to see long-term security instead of short-term security, well, we are still animals, after all.
The idea of Poseidon having a past in Vishnu, the idea that He may be a part of Vishnu, knowing about avatars, about Vishnu incarnating to help mankind, challenges all over again my ideas about Poseidon and humanity. Except, the idea comes that we have the human stories, because we’re human, so at the same time, it does not challenge my ideas that much. Poseidon is greater than I know, and I know that much at least, so it’s easy enough to say, “Oh. Yes.”
I think of Vishnu the Preserver, I think of Poseidon, holding me, mending me, giving me the tools I needed in order to eventually be whole and hale again, and I can’t help but think, “Yes, yes, this.” I think of Poseidon and His ever present urge that I be mindful in consuming, but that I balance that with compassion, even compassion for our limitations, and I think, “my god, yes, yes.” I think of these things, and it’s not a very big stretch to see connections between the Two.
Small things adding up. There was that lion dream, ages and ages ago. Four giant creatures came floating in through the sky, like space ships: an elephant, a monkey, a lion, a tiger. They were colorfully adorned, obvious-in-the-dream sentient in a human-like way. The elephant and the monkey quickly became part of the background, but I had interaction with the two big cats upon an open field. An open field with a clear demarcation between territories. The tiger was stalking me – in that way that makes one unclear what sort of prey one has become – until the lion, who even in the dream was “I Am Poseidon” – stepped in and thoroughly, thoroughly surrounded me, trapping me, holding me safe, owning me. A small thing, to wake up from and to bring lions to my worship of Poseidon, except it was one of those tangible dreams that almost seem to follow you halfway out, upon waking.
Small things – anthropomorphizing Poseidon was a learned behavior, something I did in order to give Him more tools, to give o/Our communicating more tools. Something I did, later, to challenge my anti-human bias. Originally, beyond that first meeting, He came in animal shapes – horses, bulls, lions later on – or He came as parts of the environment. Cloaked in a rainstorm, wrapped in the sea. In dreams and in waking life, He would be the sea, He would be the steam of a sauna, He would be low hanging, heavy clouds. In dreams, He would often be statues – a statue garden sanctuary in Dream Philadelphia that I visited again and again in dreams until it was destroyed/dismantled after our move west; a statue complete with a gazebo overlooking a lake I spent a lot of time at growing up, with such a sense of embodiment that, in the dreams, I always stay by the statue’s side; the dream that inspired the commissioned painting (which will be here soonsoonsooooon!!) with the colossal Poseidon presiding over the harbor of Dream Alexandria, massive arm outstretched, the palm a perfect size for a pilgrim to curl up within. The, ahem, blue colossal Poseidon . . .
Small things. Head covering is a touchy subject, and it was His encouragement on this that had me wondering about People and places more middle Eastern than Mediterranean, honestly. Looking back I can list all the benefits that veiling has granted me, some obvious, some less so, but I wasn’t given those reasons beforehand. When He brought it up, it was sort of out of nowhere, and He did not give any reasons, simply gave me an urging to do so. Now, the topic of veiling within any patriarchal society is fraught with issues of gender inequality, and I am in no way denying that this is not something to be aware of. I struggled with this: considering the historical culture whose literature gives us an idea of the cult given to Poseidon throughout the centuries, can I really divorce the veiling of women and their treatment as subhuman at best from my veiling practices? Reading Aphrodite’s Tortoise really brought this struggle to heart, and I still don’t have a sound answer, except to say that my veiling practice at the behest of my god is free of the more negative connotations. Of course it is to a degree a sign of His hand upon me. Being owned by a god is not the same thing as being owned by a human, and I’m not sub-anything to Him, He has made clear enough. I am simply His, and I see my veiling as one outward manifestation of my various oaths to Him. Veiling in antiquity is widespread enough that there can really be no distinct claim from one region or another, and my style of veiling is pretty simply and not so much modeled after any historical sort. If anything, it’s closest to various tichel-styles, depending on what my head will tolerate on any given day.
Little things. A push to cease from dyeing my hair, to switch exclusively to using henna. This is part environmental, part mindful consumerism, part “why the HELL are you putting HEAVY METALS on your SCALP what is WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?” ahem. I don’t dye my hair a lot, because henna is a pain in the ass to use (I hate having wet hair. I hate getting my face wet. I hate having to wait so long for such little change) but now and again I get the urge, and sometimes I use henna. Sometimes I use box dyes. Most recently I went on a “I’m going to dye my hair blonde before surrendering to henna!” kick. (It didn’t happen. I tried a few, but quickly got tired of the work involved, dyed it back to a dark burgundy, and am back to using henna if I want to dye it at all.)
Little things, like a push to use henna for ‘tattooing’ all of the tattoos I dream of having. I have one tattoo on my arm, a tattoo that Beth and I got right after we moved out to Oregon, a beautiful bindrune of Laguz and Jera, that is a pretty thorough representation of our little family. I have wants! A valknut; a trident; a red ring around my wedding finger; an octopus; a hymn for Poseidon across my back; a stylized tree; memorial pawprints around my foot and ankle. For the last three years He’s made it clear that I am not to get any more permanent ink upon my person, that He would prefer mindful, interactive henna tattoos that would need to be reapplied, that could be changed and altered. I haven’t incorporated this into my practice, mostly because henna tattoos are about as high up on my priority list as ink tattoos (in the scheme of things, they just never make it to the top of the list).
Neither of us began existing the day I found you upon that shore, He is quick to point out to me. This is a part of My past. I have not stopped being who I am, but this is part of what has lead Me to here..
Small things – like how His asking me to sit with this has brought me back to o/Our foundation in ways I could not manage to do in the months since He asked me to come away from Hellas. Our foundation of love, of healing, of a mutual-clingy.
He asked me, not that long ago, to make magic with Him. He presented a way of understanding magic by understanding that we are the magic of our gods, made flesh. We are Their spells. I struggled with understanding Poseidon approaching me regarding magic (shouldn’t that be Odin?), but this makes it, for whatever reason, less of a struggle.
Small things that are making more sense in my mind than they are on the page, I fear.