I concluded my last post with this (poorly edited bit of drivel):
I don’t know think this counts as a “fallow time” but instead this kind of plateau just means I’ve found a nice steady pace, that the overall relationship I have with whatever-the-fuck-this-is that is my spiritual life is in something like an “old married couple” stage.
I am not sure what the fuck I was thinking because first of all, a new god had shown up a day or two before I wrote that, though things were relatively quiet – and secondly . . .
Secondly, a day or two after I published it, I remembered how often I’d read articles by much more experienced polytheists and spirit workers, who recounted how they’d hit a “steady state” of some kind or other, a regular practice, they knew how things were, etc., and then the Powers heaved everything upside down. And that this wasn’t the first time such a thing had happened. Well, I thought, One of these days I’m probably bound for something similar, seems to happen to everyone sooner or later. Perhaps writing what I wrote is tempting fate.
Perhaps They appreciate comedic timing.
On the one hand, not much has changed. Yet.
On the other hand –
Several years ago, after reading a lot about pop culture paganism, I thought about what fictional characters I might possibly consider setting up altars to. What characters I found particularly inspirational. There was one who came to mind pretty quickly, and then another, and then I figured out a third. Three seemed like a good number, and they had some common qualities, and the whole idea was pretty pleasing in a way.
I never did it, though. I was afraid that if I actually set up real altars and, you know, prayed to them for guidance – someone might answer. And I found it unnerving enough when “real” (historically attested) gods talked to me. I figured it would be too much of a mindfuck if Someone answered when I addressed a supposedly-fictional figure. Anyway I didn’t need an altar to think of them – especially the first one – and draw some strength from their stories. It’s all safer that way. (I know, I know; you don’t have to pray out loud, or to a picture in a frame, for it to “count.” I don’t know if that didn’t occur to me then or if I just more or less went LA LA LA there’s no altar, I’m not directing my thoughts towards anyone it Can’t Mean Anything.)
I’ve also read plenty of books with really interesting characters, really interesting various-kinds-of-divine characters, and wondered – and always pulled back from even trying to see if I could get Someone answering that name on the line, because 1) I’ve already got enough Powers around and 2) I really don’t want that kind of mindfuck. “Are They really that character brought to life? Did they exist before the book was written, or is Someone just taking on that name/mask/etc. because . . . who knows why?????”
I did not want to open any doors, you know? And I was good, I maintained discipline, I restrained my curiosity.
I reread some books recently. They’d made a huge impression on me the first time I read them, pre-pagan stuff. I reread the series immediately upon finishing them all those years ago and then put them away for years because I wasn’t emotionally prepared to go through all that again. (I don’t feel this way about most books.)
Earlier this summer, after catching up on all the Foreigner novels, I thought of this series again, because it’s really big and I’ve been intending another reread at some point, and – wow, I didn’t feel the “nope, can’t handle it” reaction! Cool, a nice big reading project!
Though for some reason, it felt like a tiny little red flag of some sort. Like, “Oh . . . that’s funny, feeling ready for that.” Mostly I discounted that “that’s funny” feeling, even though it did feel suspicious in some way, like Someone was giving me the tiniest nudge, the tiniest premonitiony sort of heads-up. I figured perhaps I might get some spiritual pings of one kind or another, because fantasy novels often do that, but it also seemed unlikely given what I recalled of them.
So I (re)read them all, and it was a good(ish) time but it wasn’t nearly the emotional ordeal it was 7 years ago! Also, I did not think they were quite as amazing as when I threw myself into them with wild abandon several years ago! And there were no big ol’ “spooky” moments! Hurray! Minefields navigated!! Other than that one time when Loki was like, “Yeah that” about some specific thing in the text and I growled about it but agreed it kinda sorta looked like some things I’m already looking at, so, okay, another angle on that, I guess? Food for thought, okay okay. Otherwise, like before, they did really get into my head and under my skin again, and I started rereading the fan forums and stuff, and that was kind of awesome!
And then! Out of fucking nowhere!! A god shows up!!!! Using the name and imagery of one of the gods from these damn books!!!!!! And I was just like, “Oh, it’s [that name] . . . oh my god wait what the fuck oh no surely I misunderstand something????”
When I pulled some cards to try and understand, the cards did not ease my mind! In fact I have rarely looked at my cards and felt sick to my stomach about what they were saying!!
And you know? I was right all those years ago! It has been a really big mindfuck!!
On the plus side, Mr. New God #1 (C.) has been an incredibly comfortable presence. Most gods are just not comfortable like that, even when They want to be, even when I love Them very deeply and trust They’re probably not going to do anything particularly harsh. Most gods are fine IF They only stick around for a few minutes at a time, otherwise I start to feel really awkward and ill at ease because in addition to the very Weirdness of Their nature, in truth there are very few people, incorporeal or otherwise, who I really feel comfortable around for extended periods of time and so I was not expecting this but it’s really nice.
On the ?!??!?!?!?!??!? what are You all up to side, Loki and various other members of the Norse side of things have been very encouraging and reassuring, albeit in some ominous ways. When you cast runes and the runes say, in part, “This was fated. Go in peace,” I mean I don’t know, that’s. Actually kind of terrifying! Thanks, runes!! That’s good to know I guess! I’ll try to not freak out too much!! Or at least not fight whatever the fuck is going on. Much.
But despite all that, it would have been easy if it was just the one (comfortable) god.
But I had to ask, because I am a hopeless fangirl, and fuck it, the door’s been opened and now I want to know, if there were Others out there, from His same errrrrr origins/world. (Look, I can either keep saying, “You can’t really be Who you claim to be,” which seems a poor way to handle a relationship you want to enjoy and keep going, or just – go with it. Because whether or not They really ARE escapees from some once-fictional world or not, They’re using the names/imagery/etc. for some reason, so, it seems sensible to work within the same set of context.)
And I got responses! I kind of did not want that!!!!!!! They were brief but it still felt like yes, I did have some brief conversations with IDK, 3 or 4 or 5 other gods/spirits/whatever who are friends/allies/whatever of NG#1, so, you tell me how much I made up out of familiarity with the characters and how much was a Genuine Spiritual Contact! (I know: being unnerved is an indication there’s a there there.)
I especially did not want one of Them to say “Be brave” and leave it at that because first of all that’s a Power I’m not sure I want to try to talk to anyway because holy shit and secondly, fuck me, in retrospect having that one say such a thing is the sort of thing that inspires deep concern. Why are You telling me that? What do I have to be brave about right now?? Wait wait oh no – is something going to happen?????????????????? WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN. Maybe it’s just a general commentary on getting through the mundane frustrations and not-so-mundane anxiety I have about my job. Okay. I can be brave there, I got little choice, thank You.
But after the first few days, mostly things were pretty chill and pleasant. Their primary representative, C., – well. Other than the one character who I almost made an altar for, there were just a couple others who I felt some affection for, and. So that’s. What it is. It’s nice. Mostly. I mean, all gods are right bastards when They feel it’s necessary and this one is clearly on board with some of the things the Norse, etc., have been beating me over the head with for years and I’m kind of disappointed (it would be great if I could have some spiritual relationship where that topic never got mentioned) because I hate that subject so much but mostly things have just been nice.
And then another one of Them showed up, and right off indicated that He had some ideas about our future relationship that involved terminology that is about 90% certain to send me into fight/flight/Get Out of My House Good DAY mood. Plus, also, His was not a “comfortable” presence, His was a holy fucking shit kind of Presence.
But I also felt some affection and kindness towards Him, and despite the Presence terror – there was something else there that I could tell was pulling me towards wanting to agree. I just like Him for no explicable reason. So I shoved the terror aside well enough and said I’d be willing to consider His requests, and I’d be willing to get to know Him better and all that and – I’ve had close encounters with several gods that have left me in tears because of the emotional intensity of it. I’ve had other encounters that pretty much knocked me ass over teakettle and left me feeling weird for days (weeks. months.).
But I’ve only had 1 other close encounter where I felt like I was this close > < to stepping past a certain threshold that would fry all my synapses, or something, and I wasn’t even as close to Her as I’ve gotten with several other Powers.
I don’t really know what this god’s areas of expertise/affiliation/etc. are. The source texts don’t say much. (How much do fictional origins count? How much do They gain if/when They gain independence from Their origins? Because one of these gods feels “safe” and the other feels like . . . not that. How much has the “safe” one simply dialed things down so I don’t run shrieking? How much did Mr. Holy Terror decide to come on in near-full god mode because I said, “Yes I’d like to know more” and so I got More.)
The divination I’ve done myself, and had done by others, pretty clearly indicates Major Upheavals if I go play with New God #2 (K.). Also a great potential for beneficial changes in my material life! Which I am in favor of! (I do not like my boss, among other reasons.) But multiple readings that bring in cards like Death and the Tower should probably be taken somewhat seriously, right?
The Norse bunch have only been encouraging, though I didn’t need much encouragement for C. I do appreciate it that Loki has been very clear that K. is “safe”, though part of me says “well what does ‘safe’ mean here, anyway.” One of Them has essentially taken blame/credit for opening this door, and They are all but shoving me towards these Others. It’s kind of awesome but it’s also just a lot more to handle than if another historically attested pantheon set up camp on my doorstep.
I do not know at this point if this IS heralding much of a major change in my spiritual life – other than the likelihood that C. will stick around, a lot – or if this is another one of those episodes where there’s a LOT of activity and then the Responsible Parties disappear for months, maybe years.
I drafted most of this up a few days ago. Since then I’ve gone ahead with at least starting whatever it is K. is up to, because I was always going to, I just had to work myself up to the precipice. At any rate we are getting closer and I’m not in full avoidance mode any more.
So I had a day or so of relatively peace of mind, and then C. asked (again) about some kind of commitment, and then moved on to “Now it’s time to meet some more of the gang, because They’re also here to help.”
I am doing the best I can but I really don’t know how to handle all of this. None of Them seem interested in any of the traditional practical aspects of religious practices – altars, offerings, etc., what I think of as the easy stuff – and me, I just don’t do well meeting new people especially when I am not certain how “real” the conversations are.