So I uh signed on to write for Gods and Radicals, which is a group blogging/writing effort about pagan/polytheist anti-capitalism, because I had a dream, basically (well, I likely would have said “pls tell me more” no matter what, cause what’s not to love about “pagan anti-capitalism,” but it was kind of a freaky coincidence and I thought “oh maybe that had something to do with the other?”).
One of the things I’ve been struggling with a bit has been thinking about what to write about there (I do have some ideas but I want more). The tricky thing for me is not the anti-capitalism thing (which for me mostly comes down to environmental topics), it’s the pagan thing.
I wrote up a list of ideas at one point, and have mentally contemplated others, and they are things like “gosh isn’t it interesting that this rune poem says this about that one rune? See how this is relevant?? Isn’t that cool?” and then –
I kind of wonder what is the point.
I had ethics and values and stuff before the gods showed up in my life. And They haven’t really rewritten those, or replaced them – if anything, my most fundamental values have been strengthened by things that have happened in the last 3 years . . . but it’s hard to say that’s been because They said, “Yes, that’s a good thing.” Most of it has come from reading totally mundane things about the mundane world. Because one of my most basic rules for living has been about the environment/ecology. Yes, TPTB have encouraged me to read more about that, you know, “hey maybe you oughta pay attention to this thing over here m’kay?” but I can’t say definitely that (for example) the Undines truly give a shit about watershed health. I assume They do, but They’ve never come out and said it. They gave me a hint once or twice to read up on the topic, but what Their motivations are . . . ?
So then when I see various concepts crop up in historical sources (like the rune poems), I think that’s cool – but then I know what my biases are, too. So it seems like writing about that is more like rationalizing things after the fact, and that’s irritating. (I guess I could look at it as seeing certain commonalities between then and now, but again, so what? I already had ethics, I don’t need ancient history to tell me how to live.)
I feel like describing any kind of pagan ethics in my particular spiritual context, or even from my perspective, is an utter failure, IF I am trying to describe why these are pagan values, and doubly so if I try to link shit I’ve believed for decades to writing I only discovered within the last 3 years. It would feel fraudulent in some sense.
The best I can say is that TPTB don’t seem to have any objections to my pre-Them set of values, and They’ve encouraged me to go further along a road that has more deeply embedded those values into my ways of thinking. (There are one or two exceptions, in that there are some things They have encouraged me to take seriously that I really hadn’t before, and I haven’t conceived of those as “values” in the typical sense of moral or ethical concerns, but now that I’ve thought about it, those things may be values after all, after a fashion. Hmm.)
So I probably won’t write many things exploring that topic, because what would be the fucking point. It might be an interesting intellectual exercise, but – meh. I get tired of making arguments from authority. “Look, this rune poem says you ought to share wealth! Therefore me saying it based on my pre-existing values is totally more legit!”
I know there are people who do get real value from such exercises, and more power to them, but it doesn’t feel like something I can or should do. Even if it would give me something to actually write about.
I do have a piece that is done or nearly so (I should just flip a fucking coin at this point. or pull some tarot cards. anything but leave it to my choice.) that is intended to be published sometime next week, at which point I may change my name and skulk off to the fandom blog I’ve ignored for 2+ years, abandoning all other forms of social media and blog platform. (I have never angsted so much over writing before. Saying I hate this thing I’m writing would be a disservice to the word hate. Nothing has been so much of a struggle to put together despite the fact that the majority of it pretty much just came out all at once and it was awesome and amazing. Thinking about it seeing the light of day – well, I feel excited and nonsensically positive but I also feel like I might throw up, and perhaps I should gracefully bow out and write something about bees instead. I’ve written some seemingly much more personal things in public spaces that gave me far fewer feelings of incipient doom and awfulness.)
And, like some kind of incorrigible idiot, I signed up for a date in May, for another article. (Plus a 2nd date for a themed link-collection. Which is the easy thing.) I tried to start it last week. Tried. For bonus fun, I care more about getting this one “right” than the terrible thing that I have to have done in like a week, and I feel like my normal writing style/process no longer works for these topics and I don’t know what to do or how to handle it or how to even tell if the results a) make sense or b) are minimally good writing. (And everyone who’s posted something there to this point is a good writer. Like, /good/.)
I don’t know why I did this to myself. Am doing this.
Right. I had a dream. And a “yes good!” feeling. And thought it would be a grand idea to follow up on it.
Of all the things people warn others about in terms of dealing with spirits, having your life and such changed, this result was not on the list of cautions.