Husbands and marriage(s)

I haven’t made a lot of updates here in a while on that whole topic, but there are three now. Mr. Lynx-ears and I formalized things on the very last day of this past spring, and the “land spirit” who had been my consort for a while has been my husband since, er, last October.

The relationships are pretty different, though those I have with the two gods have some pretty strong similarities; I just have a lot less contact with Mr. L-e than Loki, and He’s not as invested in the details of my life as Loki is. But a lot of our interactions have been very similar to what I’ve had going with Loki: a lot of “here is some baggage, oh look! It’s yours!! You ought to deal with that. Now” and also a lot of emotional support and even some time together that’s just nice. Companionable. Considering that the first 6 months to a year with Mr. L-e were really heavy on the baggage-handling, the “nice and companionable” aspects still feel really new and unexpected, but I think this may be the new baseline.

My fae spouse (after we became married, he informed me he’s not really a land spirit, as in a “spirit of place,” he’s “fae”) has not been involved in that sort of stuff. Our relationship has been primarily focused on doing work for/with? an area of land. He often guides me to where to work, and sometimes does work “through” me, which explains part of why I’ve found my work there so exhausting at times: it hasn’t just been physical labor. We’ve done some stuff that has been energy- and spirit-world-oriented, too, but I’ve rarely gone to him with any of my mundane-life concerns, and he’s never shown up with a baggage cart in tow, either. (It’s nice. It’s really nice to have a relationship that doesn’t have a massive emotional-heavy-lifting part to it to the degree my relationships with gods do. And I don’t mean just my Husbands – other deities like to bring up baggage, too. . . It’s like it’s Their job or something. (I am grateful, because it’s helped me a lot, but it’s fucking tiring, and when it comes from Loki or Mr. L-e, it puts strain on those relationships.))

They have all told me that I should – need to – go to Them with stuff, that’s part of what Their role(s) in my life are. I’ve done a lot of that with Loki and Mr. Lynx-ears, but not so much with the other spirit – though he only mentioned that quite recently, and since we don’t talk very often, it hasn’t come up that I’ve thought to go to him with any concerns.

It feels a little strange in some ways to call him a spouse, since the relationship has little in common with what I’d typically consider a “marriage,” but clearly, “marriage” means different things to different non-corporeals, and it feels right. (One difference: He and I didn’t exchange vows; he says his people don’t really do that, but there are other things couples do that cause the relationship status to be labeled “marriage.”)

I’ve asked some of the gods at different times why “marriage” – why does it have to be that, why can’t it just be spending time together without that kind of commitment, or that terminology. Their answers have more or less amounted to it makes things easier in some way, gives Them more ability to influence things in my life.

One of Them also said, “It suits you” and wasn’t at all sympathetic to my discomfort with the amount of impending poly marriage, some of which came from the stigma that’s out there against people marrying gods, period. I know of several other people who are lovers/consorts/spouses to multiple gods/spirits, but, you know, combine two fringey practices and it’s kind of an uncomfortable place to be. I’m naturally poly, but I’ve only once in my pre-polytheistic life had more than 2 partners at a time – and I could really only manage that because one lived far away. (Now that I think about it, the balance I have right now is kinda similar to the balance I had at that time, though I “see” my fae husband more often than I saw my former long-distance boyfriend.) I feel like I’m really at my limit now, especially since there are two other gods Who show up once or twice a week for usually brief check-ins, and several other spirits I stay in touch with daily or at least frequently.

One of my biggest concerns when the topic has been raised has been how the new relationship would balance out with my relationship with Loki; I don’t think I could manage two of the same degree of involvement and intensity, and while intellectually I understood that different relationships are different, emotionally I had some major hangups with the thought of even a second one. It felt threatening, especially coming from another god, and especially because I wasn’t as bowled over, emotionally, as I was (am) with Loki. How could I possibly have a second Spouse?! Well, uh, relatively easily, now that those early months of screaming and running from the very thought of it have been laid to rest, and I’ve had plenty of time and evidence to realize that neither He nor the relationship or time or anything are a threat to what I already had.

I don’t want to give any of Them up, but sometimes I still miss the first year or two when Loki was the only one. It was nice when He was the only major focus; other deities/spirits I talked to had regular time and devotional requirements, but the emotion attached to it was very different.

He’s pushed me away to some degree, too; first (and years ago) by discouraging me from what had been a daily meditation/trance practice. I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, it’s nice having more time to use as I see fit, rather than spending it really intensely focused on relating to someone else. On the other – I miss the frequency of that intensity. (I know: every relationship has the early intense “fun” days and then settles into a less-frequently-exciting level of familiarity. I still miss it.)

The last year and a half have been rough in other ways. In addition to Mr. Lynx-ears showing up and requiring some of my time and attention, and Loki stepping back some during the early stages of that, Loki also started bringing up another stage of working on my trauma history. That was a “normal” enough part of what happened every time – or nearly every time – I tried to reach out to Him that I became afraid to reach out to Him at all. So I was upset by what He was bringing up, and wanting to reach out to Him for comfort and reassurance, but afraid to do so, because most of the time, eventually, He’d bring up the awful again . . . And there’s nothing quite as much fun as knowing that sooner or later, you’re going to get smacked with something appalling when what you wanted was the exact opposite.

That eased up last summer, and things were all right for a while, until something He set in motion hit its “everything blows up” moment about 6 months ago. It felt like such an appalling, incomprehensible betrayal that I could not talk to Him in any in-depth way for weeks without completely melting down. I couldn’t talk to Mr. L-e about it without melting down, either; I hoped He might have some insight that would help bring me through it, but really, not so much. Sometimes He’d try to encourage me to stop holding back from reaching out to Loki more. Sometimes He just had to try and keep me from completely destabilizing. Mostly He was just there, letting me vent and emoting something that felt like “I’m sorry you’re going through this but I have nothing helpful to say.”

Hearing from Them (and Others) that as truly awful as it was to live with/through, it was done for my long-term good, has only been confusing (I hadn’t been that abysmally depressed in years, or for so long at that depth). I’ve yet to understand how, or any specific details. I asked, a lot, because if I’d had that kind of information, I felt I would be able to calm the fuck down some, and actually begin to trust Him again with anything significant.

I thought I had some of my major buttons mashed unto breaking a couple years ago, but this was spectacularly worse, and with absolutely no payoff that I have seen. With every other major breakdown one of Them has brought on, I could tell to some degree what They were aiming for, and I could tell how I benefited after dealing with the emotional stuff that came up. Maybe I’m just not “through” this one to the point I can see any of that; I don’t know.

Over the last 2 or 3 months, He kept trying to encourage me to “come back,” but it was hard. I didn’t stop doing any of my normal devotional practices, but I couldn’t talk myself over or through the emotional barriers, or out of bringing the whole fucking thing up, over and over, or wanting to ask Him for serious advice in my life – but running full tilt into “how the fuck can I trust it won’t just go down in a twisted wreckage again.”

(I do realize this is Loki I’m talking about, Who has multiple myths on the theme of “fucking things up, making others really angry and likely feeling betrayed and then, sooner or later, making things better, sometimes better than pre-fuckery” but you know, those are fucking myths. One tends to hope the deities closest in one’s life won’t take actions that put the worst mythical behaviors of those gods into actual real painful display. Call me naive if you like, but I like expecting/hoping for the best in people.)

Things got easier, but then I had another brief rough spell and things got bad again. Then another god indicated She had things to teach me, and when I sat down to ask for details, it started out sounding related to, maybe, me making some progress on career-related things – but then She flat-out told me I had to turn to Him. Get over what happened, just stop, and turn to Him. He actually interjected in the reading at one point, indicated my gold ring, like He was snapping it, and asked if that was what I wanted . . . the implications seemed pretty clear. I don’t think it was a “shape up this very instant or it’s over” situation, but it was a very clear message about some of the implications of what “being married” meant.

Of course it had crossed my mind at some point, partly due to my history, and not wanting to be in a relationship where trust has been badly violated. I wondered if that’s what He was trying to make me see, to actually do: leave. Prove I could. Something like that. He’d done that before, maybe it needed to be done again? I didn’t want to, even when I was at my worst; the thought of it just added another layer of panic. Fortunately, that was not the case.

After the “get over it” talk from the goddess (She said some encouraging things after Her own fashion, too, “Husbands can be a burden, I know, but this is a good one for you, good enough, anyway”), things eased up. I’m not sure if the barrier I’d been unable to release melted away then or when He and I had another talk a few days after that. “Dancing” as a metaphor for the relationship has come up often in the past, and He used that again: “We’re married, that means things. I will lead, and you will follow. And fight! But mostly follow.” He said some of that humorously, because it is true, I cannot help but resist at times, but it’s also what He has encouraged: if I follow too closely, look to Him to lead too often, things are going to go somewhere I definitely don’t want – but I can’t go off on my own too much, either. (This is the most. frustrating. thing. to try and balance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

He also finally explained, in a way I could understand, that He hadn’t quite intended for things to be as bad as they’d gotten. I’ve often been skeptical of this sort of statement coming from gods – it seems like such an easy way to smooth things over, because we’re told gods aren’t perfect and can’t do everything, and while I believe that, I also wonder just how often it’s a believable way to give an apology and move on rather than 100% true.   Whether this time it was genuine or an example of superb acting, I don’t know, but this time I believe it.

This has been an awful year – pretty much nothing at all like what I was hoping or expecting when it started – but I think the dust is largely settled, and there’s actual progress being made, not just “trying to reassemble something from the wreckage.” I have some direction about how to proceed, though I am (as a result of this past winter) extremely gunshy about asking for details, or possible outcomes. Oh well; nowhere else to go but forward.

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About Fjothr Lokakvan

More or less Northern Tradition polytheist.
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