Belonging, Longing.

I am lonely.

I constantly feel like I’m longing for something, mourning something. Mourning for nothing. Longing for something nebulous and unobtainable. A “tribe”, a place to belong, people once again. I have friends. Good friends! Great friends! I have an amazing boyfriend. I am liked. And I am terribly, terribly, terribly lonely. Maybe it is the depression speaking, I tell myself, but I don’t think it is. I’ve been longing for this unobtainable thing for a while now, but chasing it is pointless. I can’t force it. I can’t make things happen. But that answer is not enough. I am unsatisfied. Discarding seems to be the only viable option, but discarding such a desire is easier said than done when you feel it to your core.

Maybe some say that I should be satisfied with simply serving the gods with or without a community of support. I say fuck that. I am not a hermit, a monk, a mystic in the woods. Maybe many Pagans are and that’s good and well for them, but I am not. And then I feel terrible for thinking like this since the gods have been good to me. But I’m only who I am.

I am hopeless.

With all the potshots that constantly go on, with all the “controversies” that are contrived, and with all the mud-slinging that goes on I find it hard to maintain feelings of hope for our future. Sure, you might say it is only online, but think about how much interaction takes place online for this newest generation of Pagans. Think about how much online interaction is becoming important for the older generations of Pagans. Paganism relies heavily on the internet for dissemination and introducing new people to the various faiths within the umbrella, what are they going to see? Just toxicity? Will they be chased off within 5 years? Many Pagans are. Not all, but a fair number. I don’t see a bright future.

I am tired.

Doing anything in day-to-day life is beginning to feel like a struggle more and more. Right when I think I’m getting better, bam I get worse. Keeping up with my classwork is a little bit tough but doing devotionals and meditations feel like they take twice as much energy as anything else. I’m tired of organizing and paying for rites that only three people show up to. I’m tired of celebrating holidays by my self. I’m tired of constantly having to have the same fights over and over and over again with a people that I don’t even feel like a part of.

And yet I can’t do anything about any of this. The gods have been good to me. The gods are what I know. The gods are what I’ve experienced. Yet the dearth of people, support, community, it takes its toll on me. I have good friends, I have a good partner, I’ve been blessed by the gods. What more could I ask for? I feel selfish. I feel terrible. I feel like I shouldn’t be having these complaints.

I wish I could write this stuff off as being mood related, but the moods only make the issues stand-out more. They’ve been there. They’ve always been there. I’ve just been ignoring them, faking it till I make it, making big ambitious plans to chase so maybe I can forget about these things gnawing on me. Then the plans fall through. Circumstance change making them unviable or I end up not having the energy to sell myself the lie anymore.

Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong here. I don’t want that to be true because if I don’t belong here I don’t belong anywhere. What do I do? Nothing helps.

Not gods, not charms, not therapy, not friends. There is no relief.

Bonfire, Kindling

Rekindling my flame, my fire
Bonfires burn out too
Sorry if I’m a little snappy
Crackling in the morning
Snapping in the night

Trust me my lovely little companion
Comrade, cohort, compatriot
Little kindling eats a little something

This is the process I live by
This is the process I’ll die by
And be reborn

Rekindle my flame, my fire
Bonfires burn out too
Sorry I’m, I’m a little sappy
Sweet, saccharine sap oozing like pus
Cooked in my inferno

The Gods Do

Recently Morpheus Ravenna wrote a post about the risks of dedication to which Asa West responded with this.

I’m sure you can guess where I’m going.

Usually I don’t like to respond to stuff like this, I kinda prefer to keep my head low and do my own thing a good eighty percent of the time but West’s post was just too saccharine to leave untouched. And it is dangerous. It is dangerous to tell people that the gods cannot do anything to them unless they consent to it because it isn’t true. 

The gods do.

Last spring a ferociously terrifying storm came through my area. A storm that brought damaging winds, huge hail, torrential rain, and lightning. Trees were snapped in half and destroyed and many houses had significant damage done to them. Did the nymphs consent to their trees being destroyed? Maybe, but I highly doubt they wanted that which sustains their life to be obliterated. Did those people consent to their houses being significantly damaged? Definitely not. Zeus and Hera did what they had to, with or without our consent.

The gods can completely change our lives without our consent. Will they? Usually no, but if it were not for a particularly blue period in my life I wouldn’t have encountered Athena. I didn’t want to feel that way but I did and so now I’m here serving Her the best I can.

Looking into the past we see mountains of evidence that the gods did not and do not have to have our consent and permission to change our lives. Apollo is a bestower of Plague and Health and few desire the former. Zar spirits in Sudan possesses people against their will and these people are initiated into the Zar cultus as a result, possession takes place initially without the persons permission.

I don’t usually like to just flat-out say that someone is wrong, but dedications and oaths are not consequence free. You don’t get to wiggle out of them just because you feel like it or because you’ve decided that it isn’t “fun”. It isn’t a matter of being “close” and the gods don’t exist to make us better people. The gods exist to do. When we agree to serve them we will likely become better people in the process. We will often have to become more deliberate, more disciplined, and more tenacious in our efforts but the endgame isn’t to get you to that point. The whole of it is so that their will and their work can be done.

Your actions have consequences. Sometimes your non-actions have consequences. If you make an oath or a dedication without clear terms, you will have to face the consequences for that. The gods can do a lot, but not everything, to you without you ever asking them to. They can do even more when you dedicate yourself to them.

Maybe that makes dedication sound intimidating. Good. It is a big commitment and if it makes you think twice it means you are thinking seriously about it. Take actions deliberately and with great concern. And remember, you don’t need to dedicate yourself to a deity to worship or serve a deity. Dedication is a form of giving over to the Other.

So remember, dedication carries with it weight and consequence; the gods don’t need consent from you to change your life; your actions will always have consequences; and a dedication gives a deity even more control over your life.

The gods are

The gods do

Graveyard Visit

I walked among the gravestones, silently, alone.

No one else was in the graveyard, the sun shone bright overhead. I don’t know why I felt like I had to go, I just knew I must. To get inside I walked the perimeter of the chain link fence and slipped under as soon as I could.

What sadness, souls longing to be remembered.

There were three large standing structures that I could count, houses for the family dead. Two were abandoned and in disrepair, forgotten? No, neglected but remembered. The dead receive no honor from the Teutonic and Anglo-Saxon descendants that have made their home on this violent land. I walked along the stone, some had symbols from the Masons and the Order of the Northern Star, these were the dead that slept easiest.

Not all souls slept easy.

There was a Reverend who died at twenty-four, he is resting in the arms of his lord now. There was a gentleman who died at the age of ninety and he screams to be remembered, begs to be remembered. It was heart-breaking, what can I do to assuage his grief? Nothing, only his descendants can hope to take away his grief, his sorrow, his anguish. But they won’t,they say he has been laid to rest in the arms of the lord but little do they know that his lord has not taken away his memory of them.How will they answer him when they pass away? And who will soothe their wounds? They are sealing their fate in their negligence.Such is their choice, their life. A man of eighty is at peace in what he saw, his beloved wife is not.

I am irresistibly pulled to the left by the dead as I wander.

I come upon the graves of a Mexican family and I am overwhelmed. I cry. A grandmother, a girl lost at the age of 19, a baby lost at the age of a mere 3 days. Remembered. With candles. With flowers. With beanie babies and a Princess and the Frog Balloon. Oh how I wept, how I wept from this answer, this clue. I wept and the wind swept through the air and Helios did not bare down upon my cheeks. I wept and Hera and Athena whispered into my ears “do you understand?” and I did. I really did. So I wept. I wept for the dead who have been forgotten and ache for their kin to leave flowers upon their graves. I wept for the dead whose lives were cut short. I wept for the dead who are satisfied in their passing and are resting in the retinue of their beloved god, tears of joy.

The wind brushes against my face, my tears chilling my cheeks. Oh, how I now know and how I will always know. A final tug before I am permitted to leave. An innocent worry and I want to bring them flowers and drink.Toys and Psalms.

Oh niña don’t fret, this is not the end.

And I left.