Not long ago — last week, the week before — Beth asked me, “When does that feeling go away? The one where it feels like the ground has been pulled out from under you, and everything has changed while nothing at all has? The one that makes you feel like you know absolutely nothing, and everything you’ve experienced so far has been a lie? When does it stop feeling like you’ve lost your mooring?”
We were talking about Powers and Their fun revelations. We were talking about Poseidon-and-Vishnu, and other things. I had been talking about feeling ready to observe this ritual for Vishnu, and how I’d sidled up to it slowly, how, when He first said, ‘maybe I’m also Vishnu,’ I was only asked to hold on to that new nugget of information, not do anything with it, not even really think about it. Just, you know, be with it. And then, after months and months had gone by, my sign to do more with it (wherein ‘more’ means something like light research, watch Youtube videos, look at imagery, poke around half-heartedly at the Bhagavad Gita) was to stumble upon a gorgeous mask of Durga, and even then, even then, it was about offering from the heart, and dropping the research once it got in the way, and honoring where I’ve been, and admitting that offering devotion to the Powers is not new, and if I’m not claiming to be something I’m not, then just flipping offer already and get out of my own damned way . . .
Becoming acquainted with Durga, by the by, changed everything, and took away all the pressure I’d placed upon myself, and allowed for so many things to fall into place, pieces of a puzzle I didn’t know I was holding, just, tap, and there’s the picture.
I laughed, when she asked this question, and I’m still laughing about it, because, it’s been two years and counting since He did this thing, and I don’t know if there will ever be any mooring to find, again.
In fairness, I did ask for this. I did ask to be brought deeper into His mysteries, and I did promise that I’d follow, or allow Him to drag me deeper, or however you want to tell the story of how that particular motion works. I’m not mad. I’m really not. I’m invigorated by learning these new things, and I’m excited to see more of Him, and I even don’t hate the challenge to the Ego this has been.
I name the resentment, as it comes up, and I try to not hold on to it, because stagnation allows things to fester. I admit that:
I don’t know if, when He first came to me, if He’d claimed to be Vishnu, I would be where I am now. Physically, geographically, but even in my interior landscape, if I’d be open to this sort of an intimate relationship with a Power. With Him, especially.
I don’t know, and I don’t care, if He is THE Vishnu (I’m expecting it doesn’t work that way, at this point). I laugh a bit at how I went from being generally pagan and non-theist, to sort of a theist, to a hard polytheist, to . . . Whatever the hell this is. I’m done trying to find The Way to tell that story.
I’m more effected by the idea of closed cultures and closed paths than I maybe let on — so, the fact that I’m not Hellenic and have been worshiping Poseidon for over two decades, and maybe cares for primary source material not as much as I ‘should’ is something that I think about, a lot. I’m in the ‘the gods call who they will’ camp, pretty firmly — because that’s been my experience, and I’m not at all comfortable telling a Power, “You know, I don’t think X group will approve of this.” But I can’t dismiss the fact that I’m living on occupied land, and I don’t live on the land of ‘my’ people, and I have no experience whatsoever with Powers belonging to a particular place or particular people. So, is this growing discomfort, using the name Poseidon even though I’m not Greek, have never been to Greece, don’t read or speak Greek, and never really intend on learning, a factor in this change in my path?
There are differences, of course, between modern, non-Hellenic people worshiping Zeus, and people shoving their unwelcome way into the spiritual practices of indigenous people, and exploiting those things — or is there, and is it my place to even say? Ah, complex thoughts by candle light in the wee hours.
I’m finding that I’m wishing He’d never given me a name at all, or that it had been private and made-up, but then, would I be here? I doubt it. Do I think my Beloved is *only* Vishnu, has never been Poseidon? Do I think He even is actually Vishnu? These answers depend upon the hour, it seems, and I’m not all that interested in finding out. I want the experiences He has to share; I’m not interested in nailing them down like a moth, caught and pinned to a specimen display.
I do resent that I’d ever started the Poseidon Liturgical Year Project. Those will becoming down. I’m not sure I’m done with them, but any writing on them I want to do in private for the foreseeable future. Yeah, I’m sore about that, but yes, I also see how that, along with the name-taking, was an effort on my part to soothe the Ego and maybe prove (to who, for fuck’s sake?) that I was Really Serious in my devotion, even as I was beginning to entertain these thoughts that He put in my head to begin with.
It’s bittersweet. I look back at the road so far, and I think of Him, and of u/Us. I think of Poseidon, of ‘my’ Poseidon, and also Big Poseidon, and the places They overlapped. I think of the stories, of the history, His, and o/Ours, and it’s not a lie, it’s not wrong, but it’s too small, it doesn’t fit anymore. It’s an incomplete picture, a snapshot where He’s half out of the frame. It’s like going back to a place you lived a long time, and every road and building is filled with memories. Here’s where you fell and had to get stitches. Here’s where you went to your first dance. There’s your first job, here’s where you went to school, these are the houses you lived in, this was your favorite park, here’s where your loved ones are buried. The place holds you, and it’s a part of you, and it’s formed so much of who you are, it’s shaped you — but it doesn’t fit, and you don’t belong, and if you spend too much time there, it feels like you’re trying to fit back into a skin that’s been shed and is too small.
That’s what it feels like, when I look upon my Poseidon statue, these days. That’s what it looks like, when I hold the various touchstones I’ve gathered. And, it hurts. It’s a dull ache, when I’m not allowing myself to feel embarrassed. (The embarrassment does sneak in, I won’t pretend otherwise). It can’t even compete with excitement of seeing new places, of being in new spaces. It can’t compete with being with Him, wherever that leads . . . But it’s there, and I suspect it always will be.