I miss You.

I stand before the shrine, the house quiet around me. The cold clings to be from an hour spent outside in near-freezing temperatures, waiting for a cab to bring me home. The house is asleep — the cats doze on the couch, Corbie is tucked into bed with Beth. A half day on the job means I’m home halfway through the night, and my weekend, which feels like a retreat more than it ever has before, now that I’m up at night, starts early.

I consider pulling out a journal book, to write. I consider penning a letter or two. I consider opening a book to read. What I really want, though, is to turn the lights off, light the candle, and talk with You.

I miss You. Lost in my worries — financial stress that’s been mounting and mounting, though it’s also reaching a point of easement; new job stress; health worries over Beth, myself, the dog, always always the dog — and the distraction that writing often is, I miss You. I let myself get tangled up in knots, doing things properly, not doing things properly, worry, always worry, always anxiety, forever and ever getting in my own way.

I get caught up in the writing, and it starts out as something I do to remind myself to keep the boundaries thin and fluid, but then the story consumes me, and I forget to see You.

I get caught up in the healing — the toe, then the back, then the stress from the change with the job, and the fucking up the medication, and the upsurge of depression. I see You, of course, in how kindly I treat myself. I see Your touch in how I allow myself to be tired, to be run down, to rest as I need to rest without judgment or censure, and that makes me miss You all the more.

Take me deeper, I begged You, and You are. I remember that it used to be so frustrating, when You’d slip from a known path, when You’d forgo words, when You’d touch the emotion and make me figure out what was me, what was You, and then, how that distinction did not matter, does not matter, cannot matter.

I stand at the shrine that is different — a candle, images that are You and are not You. Neptune, with his trident raised, and Vishnu on his lotus, and the newest, the Krishna, with his flute, a gift I cannot not accept, all things considered. Why the struggle with Vishnu, when there’s no struggle with Neptune? I stand at the shrine, and I light the candle, and I say a prayer for she who is passing, who has passed, and I tell You how I miss You, not with words, but with heart. Standing open. Seeking. Listening.


You rush in, an incoming tide filling a canyon that was empty moments before. You, Who I recognize like I recognize myself. You, Whose touch is filled with all these things that You are, and if I hold this close to me, there is no struggle, because how can I define You in any way other than what You offer?

I miss You. I will always miss You, because it will never be enough, because the longing, the yearning, will always be there, so long as I wear this  flesh. I will always get distracted, and I will always miss You, and I will always come back to the shrine, seeking.

This is the ebb. This is the flow. I love this. I love You. I love You.


Might I offer You some tea?

Twenty years. I’ve been at this whole involved-with-gods thing for twenty years at this point, tending a shrine space just a wee bit less. You’d be forgiven if you thought that by know I’d have some of this shit down.

This week, some things came together. One: I had some time on my hands to sit and do little beyond recover from surprise!toe surgery. (Why are all my surgeries surprises?) Two: I realized I still had a growing discontent with how things with devotional practices for Poseidon- and Vishnu-with-Poseidon were going (or not going, as the case may be.) Three: I was reminded that aniconic representations of deities appeal to me, and that even when icons are what’s being used, I prefer theriomorphic over anthropomorphic. Four: Beth made me a creature for my birthday that has become my hands-on Poseidon figure plushie thing, and yes, I’m going to make outfits for Him.

I welcome Vishnu into my awareness, my practice, my life. I welcome anyone that Poseidon reveals as important to Him, and the tenderness with which Others came, once that had been opened, cannot be denied. I thought, when He first mentioned Him, Them, that it would have to be all done just so. Properly. With respect and just . . . properly.

And I fumbled. And faltered. Withdrew, because I was expected to be someone else, other than I am. Vishnu and I had a sweet back and forth, centered around felines, around Luna, around other spirits, and we were able to find a common ground, a common language, a meeting point. I realized I had to let go of the study, that I needed experience, and then I would build upon it. Slowly. Organically. Formality for formality’s sake is a sure-fire way to get me to flee.

I still wasn’t comfortable with approach Him at the shrine. The shrine had become unrecognizable, and we were all dissatisfied with it. I was supposed to be inviting Him in, and instead we were all going out to some random public place to meet up and talk over the din as best we could.
24bc1d32b6a36b533978674c4e31af85I stumbled upon this image quite by accident, and more things clicked into place. I’m trying to find the artist – if anyone recognizes it, please let me know. I’ve only been able to find it on tumblr and deviantart, and there’s no attribution, and it’s — well, look at it.

It also made me realize: this is my way in, this is my path into touching in with/relating to Vishnu. It’s the same way I needed to go with Odin, and it’s not quite the same at all, but . . . the fierce protector, the super-powerful, and super-gentle at the same time. I need that. I need the massive to be approachable.

Poseidon does that with me, too. Those moments when He is this huge, massive, beyond reckoning giant presence, held utterly still so as to not crush, not destroy, not obliterate. I need to feel my smallness, in light of Their immensity. It’s different, with all of Them, but that is a thread woven through each relationship.

I offered Him tea this morning, Vishnu-with-Poseidon. I hadn’t been; Poseidon suggested a while ago that  the morning tea was our thing, or that’s how I read it. Really, I suspect He was more possessive about the cup, and a bit about the order. Or, He was possessive about the ritual, and in the time sense He’s come to see that drawing lines between “This is Mine and not His,” is something I can’t deal with if, at the same time, He is insisting They are less different than not. Poseidon got the first bit of the tea, and Vishnu the second. I offered Poseidon His, and drank from it as is our custom. I offered Vishnu-with-Poseidon His, and did not drink from it, as that will not be our custom. His offering bowl had cat fur along the outer rim. “That’s part of being here,” I said, as I wiped it away. It will not be pristine, it will only be the best that we are able to produce.

vishI felt more at peace with this whole adventure, this morning, after offering Vishnu tea along with Poseidon, than I have during all of this development.

Though maybe He’s just looking forward to getting His own creature-plushie-doll made by Beth?



My Polytheism

There are plenty of folks abounding who are eager to tell you what polytheism is, and is not. There is no shortage of people with opinions they wish were firm boundaries. You aren’t a polytheist if: you don’t put the gods first; you don’t believe in the gods in the right way; you ‘bring politics’ into your religion; you don’t decry the destruction of ancient polytheism and the ruthless conversion of entire peoples.

There are plenty of people talking about The Polytheist Movement, and I’ll be honest here: seeing such a wide variety of ways of practicing, of worshiping, of bringing the gods into our world narrowed into such a small, singular way of speaking, makes me weep. It makes me frustrated. It makes me want to run far away and bury my head in the sand. Bottom line for me: I don’t give a fuck how you worship. I don’t give a fuck what the Powers you’re involved with ask of you.

Look: there is no ‘Polytheist Movement.’ There are a bunch of people who are working hard to make polytheism visible, who want to see it as a viable option, who want people to find the gods and know they’re not alone. Even with those I disagree with vehemently, I’ll concede that that’s something we have in common. But that’s where it ends. Don’t let the vocabulary trick you into thinking there’s one united Polytheist Movement, where we all agree on some fundamental things. There isn’t. We don’t.

My gods do not need me to help people find Them. They’ve been doing just fine for all this time. Who the fuck am I, that Poseidon needs me to get people to worship Him? I adore this God. I love this God with all my being. I tie myself up in knots for Him, and surrender, again and again and again, my comfort, my desires to be private and uninvolved. He’s created a person who strives to be compassionate and kind, where once there was only apathy and distrust. He is amazing, and I’m grateful that He deigns to share anything at all with me — but let me make this clear. He does not need me to get people to Him.

Within traditions, sure, there should be unifying goals and tenets. But polytheism is not a singular tradition, and I hope to all that is holy it never will become one. The way to counter monotheism — if we must — is not to model how we build communities based off what they’ve been doing, and getting wrong. Common ground MUST be rooted in hospitality, and not in same-ness seeking.

My polytheism does not tell you how to worship, and it never will.

My polytheism does not tell you how to believe, and it never will.

My polytheism does not tell you what the gods want from you, and it never will.

My polytheism does not pretend to be a holy war seeking enemies at every turn. Holy wars cannot be won; that’s not just a bad analogy, it’s a doomed one.

My polytheism does not require you to leave your concerns and issues at the door. It doesn’t demand that you pretend that our experiences are not connected, and the world in which we live does not inform our interactions with the Powers.

My polytheism will never pretend to be something it’s not. It’s contemporary and new and messy. It’s not a revival of polytheism of yore, because we will never be removed from the context we are in, and the wide spread of monotheism will not be undone. I don’t dream for a world in which these things never happened, because it’s not the point, and also, call me a heretic, but I don’t want a polytheism that is controlled by groups of people.

My polytheism is not rooted in PCPG, and it never will be. My relationship with my gods is mine alone, and you have no power in it. You’ve got no place in it, any more than I have a place in yours.

My polytheism is not concerned with whether you’re a theist or not — in fact, I’m likely to be curious and intrigued, because my polytheism is not threatened by your lack of belief in the gods as distinct, individual beings, and because different ways of telling the story of how and why and what is fascinating. If the only thing we can find worthy in common is how we believe in the Powers, we’re in trouble, and no amount of ‘correct polytheism’ is going to fix it.

My polytheism does not look like yours, maybe. I’m concerned with polytheism remaining visible. I’m concerned with those coming after us not necessarily having to do SO MUCH WORK to get to the point of simply interacting with the Powers. I’m not concerned with building close, intimate community beyond my immediate family, because quite frankly, I don’t trust people. I’m not involved with various communities, because generally I’m a home-body, and except for this blog, private. I’m a solitary worshiper, and I’m not interested in doing religion with other people, which is another thing that maybe makes me a ‘bad’ polytheist.

Don’t know.

Don’t care.

I’m still a polytheist. I’m still a devotional polytheist, even. I still want polytheism to be a visible, viable option for generations to come.

When people speak of ‘the Polytheist Movement’, when people speak of polytheists as though we are one homogeneous group of people, please remember this is bullshit. We are not. If the Gods are good, we never will be.

Never say never.

Every time the Vigil comes around, and I change my diet/become conscious of choices, the v word always comes up.

Once upon a time, I was a member of the Food Police. You know the sort. “A REAL pagan wouldn’t eat _______.” It was usually aimed inward, mind you, but it was still a judgment that I passed. Wouldn’t eat mass produced crap food. Wouldn’t eat fast food. Wouldn’t eat anything other than organic. Would only eat locally sourced meats, humanely slaughtered, etc.

What a fucking oxymoron that last one in. Humanely slaughtered? Humanely slaughtered?

Cognitive dissonance, let me show you mine.

I understand the sentiment. Animals slaughtered for the meat market in as quick, painless, and terror-free environment as possible. But, maybe there are different words we can use for that.

Humanely slaughtered.

Anyway. Anyway. We struggled for a number of years to grocery shop with our ideals in mind. And then? Then, we were fucking broke, and we had to get real. Organic became a sometimes luxury. We always opted for the less treated meats, because Beth’s digestive system is a princess, but they haven’t always been the best, just the best that we could afford. Because we had to, we let go of the guilt eating that way created, and really, it was a humble and needed lesson for me. Don’t be an asshole, Jo. Just don’t.

The only person whose diet I get to judge, is my own, and I am demanded to do so with compassion, at all times. Damn it. Fucking compassion. And so.

Holding Bull, on the first night of the Vigil, and feeling Him also holding me,  I think things shifted. I’ve toyed with vegetarianism off and on for most of my life, and it always come back to being too much work.

Which is a bullshit excuse. I live in a vegetarian and vegan mecca, for fuck’s sake. I pretty much have ALL the options. Can I afford them all? Nope. But maybe this means I need to be thinking about my food more than I do, and maybe this means I need to make better choices, when I can.

I used to say, I’d never be able to give up cheese. And now, eating dairy is causing Beth bodily distress, and we’re trying out nut cheeses, instead. Because, above all, I want things to be simple, and having two different menus to shop for is just not simple.

Will this take, this time? I dunno. But it feels like it might.  And I have to wonder, is prozac the reason why? Fucking anxiety. Fucking depression. Fuck them both, so much.

He pushes. He’s pushed, all this time. Gently. Water erroding rock. “Maybe try again.” No judgement, but maybe you don’t need this thing. Maybe one more try? Maybe keep trying.

Always, with keep trying. Poseidon, He is constant. He is steadfast. Moody? Unpredictable? Those stories are so out of date.

Vigil For the Bulls e-book is live!



(Yes, alas, only for Kindle so far, though, you know, I know the author pretty well. If you want it in another form, I’m sure something can be arranged.  *wink wink*)

(Note: I’m uploading a new file with hopefully corrected chapter links. If you bought a copy already and the lack of properly working chapter links bothers you, please contact me and I’ll send you a new file)

Oh, and also? The Poseidon Liturgical Year Project site is officially live! Some of you have caught a sneaky-peeky of this (and by caught, I mean, were given) but if you haven’t checked it out yet, you may want to mosey on over. Or not. It’s not that exciting yet (and it’s only going to be exciting at any point if you’re into Poseidon, honestly) but I am going to be sharing bits of this year’s Vigil experience throughout the week. Pictures, thoughts, impressions, maybe poetry, I dunno. Whatever strikes my fancy.

Can I talk a moment about how awed I am at myself? Because I am. Not in an ego sort of way. More in an “I still don’t recognize myself, who IS this person??” way.

Ten days ago, the only thing I had for this project was a cover, and an idea. That’s it. I was fed up with not having accomplished with this blog what I’d first envisioned it being, even while acknowledging that I prefer what it is to what I thought it would be. I wanted one place for people to find material specifically about contemporary Poseidon devotion. I wanted this material to be available to people. No, it’s not the be-all, end-all. I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face: I’m not special. But, if I’m not special, then it follows that my own struggles over the years are not unique, and that means that the things I’ve learned and experienced may help others along their path, so shouldn’t I be sharing? I know my writing has helped people before; they’ve told me as much.

Ten days ago, none of this existed. It was a cover, a vague notion, and a deadline.

Four months ago, it would have gone differently. Four months ago, I would have had the idea. I would have become overwhelmed. I would have put off writing any of it. I would have wondered who the hell I was, to even dare write such a thing. I would have maybe started the intro, and then set it aside.  We’d be here, now, and I  wouldn’t have it done. I would have failed, and it would have become a weapon against myself, a reason why I was worthless, as if I needed any more reasons. A reason why it was pointless to even try.

Who am I to write this? Simply put: a devotee of Poseidon’s. Yeah, He’s been in my life for two decades, and yeah, that’s granted me experience to draw upon, but in the end, it comes back to simply being a writer, and a devotee. This is what I can do.

Is it definitive? Fuck, no. If you ever hear me talking about anything I write about Him as being definitive, please slap me. Remind me to get my head out of my arse. Something. Anything. It’s just my experiences with creating a particular ritual for my beloved Poseidon. Nothing more. But I hope it helps.

Okay, look. I lied. Also, Camp NaNoWriMo!

In my last post, I mentioned that I’d be offering a stand-alone story for June’s installment. I like the idea of stand alone stories to allow you, my supporters, a chance to be free of prolonged suspense, to allow you a chance of a smaller time commitment, and also, to remind myself that that I can, indeed, writer even shorter fiction. There’s something extremely satisfying about starting and finishing a story quickly.

I love the story I’ve started — it’s actually a story I’ve wanted to write for a while, and I made good progress on it. And then we had house  guests and I couldn’t write for a week, and it was okay, because I’d planned for that, and I was still going to meet all my deadlines, even while working over time at the day job, and it was going to be fine.

Except, while I waited to get back to that story, Mundi (who is not a huge fan of that nickname) and Fen both became eager for me to finish their story. And, really, I’m not a hard sell, because it’s a more exciting story, with more chances for my favorite themes: first contact and finding home. It centers around gods I love and spirits I adore, even if they’re fictionalized. Part of learning how I am as a writer has been learning to go with the story that is the most interesting to me at any particular time — and it’s this one.

So, June’s installment will pick up where May’s installment left off, sort of. We leave Hest and Meliah behind, to follow Jormungandr. Furious beyond reason at the attack on his brother, unable to vent his frustration on his enemy, and banished from his brother’s side, Jormungandr is confined to Midgard until Loki decides otherwise. He seeks aid from a woman who just about runs him down with her car, and discovers a secret Tyr has managed to keep hidden from them all.

Sophie doesn’t know what to make of the man who fell in front of her car from out of thin air, and she certainly does not like the look of him. Bloodied, and battered, and foreboding, there’s something about him that encourages her to trust him. Or maybe she just needs a distraction from the increasing isolation she’s feeling as her family life implodes around her.
This is the first time I’ve done a series via the subscription plan. My plan is always to eventually release the stories, like I did with Igraine’s Flight (only with an editor seeing it first, yikes) but I’m not there with When Worlds Collide yet. So! If you’re interested in opting in, but you didn’t opt in for the first story, contact me (jolenedawe@gmail.com)  and something can be arranged. In fact, if you’re interested in any of my published work, please contact me, and something can be arranged. Seriously. Word of mouth. It matters.

In other, related news: Camp NaNoWriMo is happening in July, and I am signed up! My word count goal is 25k, though unofficially I’m really aiming for 30k. July seems more friendly to challenges than November does, so I’m curious to see how it goes.





Devotions began again!

Feeling like death warmed over has finally abated enough that I don’t feel gross sitting at the shrine. Not that Poseidon cares, except for the whole being upright has been a swaying, surreal sort of experience, and healing is better served in bed, but Durga was very much of the “not visiting again until you are well,” which was both stern and sweet at the same time.

At some point, and soon, I’m going to incorporate actual prayers, I think. I keep considering traditional prayers, and I keep feeling not quite right about that. So, I may just off the cuff it, and I may just recite English versions of traditional prayers, I don’t know. It’s not yet. I’m still getting myself into a place of being comfortable with this development. (I’m comfortable and also not. I’m comfortable because She is gracious and kind, but I’m a bit not, because Her presence is still so new) So, at some point, and soon, but not yet.

I feel better, so much better, for having had my devotions again this morning. Wee!

Am I a devotee?

20160311_143531Relationships are on my mind this morning.  Between Beth’s newly-articulated (yet growing for a while) relationship with the Morrigan, and my growing relationship with Durga, and the perennial conversation that occurs in the pagan blogosphere regarding labels, I find myself contemplating terms and relationship dynamics.

There is no doubt that I have affection that does not quite make logical, rational sense towards Durga. I wasn’t looking for a new relationship, I wasn’t looking to add to my worship — except, Poseidon  made noise about Vishnu, so in a way I guess I was, but not like this. Maybe I should have? At least, what with Pops and His Family, I’m conditioned to at least, if not expect, then be open to the possibility, that One does not necessarily come alone. Even with Poseidon, eventually Hekate was brought into my awareness and worship happened.

Once I surrendered my need to understand and to category what my relationship with Her was going to be, it began to unfold. Once I set aside the need to “do it properly”, communication opened up. She’s already taught me many important lessons about polytheism that I’m embarrassed to admit I hadn’t yet truly taken to heart. I talk a good game about letting the Powers lead you, or at least having the relationships be guided by the relationships, but sometimes I still fail at getting out of my own way. She’s taught me that just because one  may have a long-established shrine practice with one Power does not mean that all shrine practices are going to be same. She reminded me that They, in fact, do know more about this than I ever could. It’s been good.

At the same time, She’s introduced me to a deeper level of genuine, detached-from-judgment compassion than I’ve experienced before. But, would I call myself a devotee?

I don’t know, yet, I guess. From where I am now, I certainly want the relationship to continue, and it has a feel to it that they don’t always have. Without a doubt, I’m an admirer. Without a doubt, I’m honored by Her touch upon my life. Trying the word devotee on for size, and right now, all I can really say is, I’m a student of Hers, more than anything else, and a newly-enrolled one, at that.


I’m certainly stabilizing. I’m still sleepy, and I’m allowing myself a rest period, because my mind has been driving me a bit batty for a while. That said, I’ve noticed an up-tick in interests, this week. I managed to read a chapter of a non-fiction book, and it’s been months and months since I managed to sit and just *read*, so that’s nice. Chapter Three of When Worlds Collide went out yesterday morning, after I promised myself I would send it out when I got home from work  yesterday afternoon instead. Time does a weird thing with me, when I’m dealing with anxiety. I tend to want to horde it. ‘I only have 30 minutes until I have to leave, I need to rest and prepare!’ I was ready to leave for the day job,  and I had time, and I was trying a new way of sending out the files, and it took all of maybe ten minutes to attach the files and send them out, and I did it, and it was done. (Which is good, because I got home yesterday and crashed). I have an outline done on the first booklet of a series of booklets I’m planning on releasing. And, I’m bursting out into random song, so it’s good. It’s good.

River, today, if the weather allows. Errands. Reading. Tea.


Durga is kind . . . . and requests tea.

There’s continuing — I hesitate to use the word ‘pressure’ here, because that implies a press of urgency/impatience that is not present–encouragement? awareness-brought-to-the-fact? requests? reminders? I’ll go with reminders, that Durga does, in fact, want a tea cup. More, while She witnesses the right and proper sharing of tea between Poseidon and me, She wants Her very own. So far, it seems as though She wants green tea, with floral notes. It appears as though She’d prefer Her own tea assessories, set aside for Their usage.

I’ll admit, this is strange territory for me. I’m a low-church, practical-usage, paraphernalia-light sort of devotional polytheist, and tools and artifacts set aside solely for Their usage is very high-church, ritualistic, paraphernalia-heavy sort of thing. I’m all for having a certain cup  in my cupboard that is for a guest, because that guest prefers that cup — but I’m going to use that cup when the guest isn’t here, especially since we don’t, generally speaking, have more than the amount of cups we strictly need on any given basis.   (We own three mugs at the moment — one for Beth, one for me, one for Corbie) (he has a thing for drinking out of mugs, it’s a fun game, a treat, and  he’s not always willing to drink as much as we like, when it’s hot) so, for example, when g-c is out with her main squeeze in two months (!!!!!) we’re going to have to do some shopping. Having things just for Them is . . . not something I’ve ever before really encouraged. (Some might say I’m a bad polytheist  because of this. I’d argue that I’m definitely a bad high-church ritualist. I can do it, and I can do it well, but it’s never really had a place in my home space or private devotions before.)

Tea cup hunting is happening this weekend. I already own a small teapot that I could dedicate to Her service. (See what I did there?)  It’s plain and brown, and it’s my very first teapot, and if any of the teapots I have could be considered prized possessions, it’s this one. It came from a dear, dear friend, all the way from England, during our initial getting-back-in-touch after too long of having fallen out of touch. I’m not a thing person, but if this one ever  breaks, I’m probably going to cry.

But, tea cup first and foremost, because one can brew a single cup well enough in a tea cup — that’s what we do, after all. As shrine space allows, They may get individual cups, but only She is visiting currently.

And that’s another neat thing that’s happening. Poseidon does not live on or in His shrine. His shrine, more than anything else, is a focal point and a representation of our relationship, a focal reminder of Him being the center of my life. Odin’s is very much the same thing — He’s not quite the center of my life, but just left of center, and neither does He reside there. With Durga, and Their shrine . . . It’s certainly where She is residing within our house. It feels like that’s Her room and seat of honor, at the same time, and it’s a neat experience, because it’s different. Not more real. Not more tangible. Not more anything, just different. (I’ll admit, I feared that They’d feel more real to me, in the way that some of Them sometimes do. Poseidon feels extremely real to me, but at the same time, He is, or can be, like water you’re trying to cup in your hands, and I never know if that’s His nature, or if that’s due to not as much worship over the years, thus having a harder time getting through to our perceptions. Anyway. Not the case, thus far. Just different.)


It’s raining today. Walk to the river is postponed for now. Been doing it every week, and it’s been helping. Yesterday I finally made my dr appointment, so that’s happening on Friday, and Beth is coming with in case I get into one of my ‘don’t talk about it, don’t bring attention to it, everything is totes fine.’ phases.  So next week should be better. It’s been so interesting to what my black mood rolling over me in waves and side-stepping the emotional investment into it. The vitamin supplements have helped with my anxiety and my attachment to the emotions, and have allowed for a better perspective of how not okay I am. I would never, never expect anyone else to deal with this without help — without pharmaceutical help. Yes, I can watch my moods go high and low, and yes I can watch the baseline blue pervade most of my feelings, and yes, it’s good to be able to achieve that not-attachment to your emotions when you need to, but the downside is, because it happens so much, it’s hard to allow myself to experience the pleasant emotions, as well. I feel them, I watch them, but . . . it’s exhausting, being on high alert all the time. With the anxiety under control, or at least under control enough, I can say, this is fucked up, that I’d try to do this on my own. I have been, for a decade. But the tools in place are not enough right now, and so . . . yeah.  I always expect less empathy than I get, from my doctor, and if there is judging on this, that’s on her, not on me. (There won’t be. She’s got a beat on fatness, but that’s her own thing, and this is not that anyway.)