This was originally going to be a bullet-pointed ‘here’s how things are going at our place’ list, with shrine photos and Corbie photos and nice, relaxing, “this is what I love about life right now.”
But instead, it’s going to be rant. An angry rant. A “Jolene should know better than to rant while angry” rant. And I should. I should. But it’s rare for me to be angry these days, to this degree. I go forward with the assumption that people by and large mean the best, because it makes me more able to be a kind and compassionate person. It makes my world better. It makes me happier. At the very least, I go forward with the assumption that the people that are in my life, in spaces that are not so public, mean the best, and at worse are thoughtless, but never malicious or intentionally unkind. Those I believe the latter about do not make it into my safer spaces, and if they do, they don’t stay long.
What’s up with us?
Oh, you know.
As my Beloved pulls me deeper into His Mysteries, so too does Beth’s Beloved. That the guises They are both opting to don at the moment are so compatible is not lost on us, and it’s one we embrace for so many reasons, which I’m not going to get into here.
I don’t make it a habit to speak for others. You all know that. I also despise it tremedously when Beth and I are lumped together into one person rather than being distinct individual, so I’m not going to that, either. I am speaking one thousand and twenty percent for my own self right now. Kay?
Lately, she’s been sharing some stuff on her FB. Neat stuff, stuff I’m super excited about. Stuff that, because I’ve been with her for so much of her journey with her Beloved, because I know the things she’s struggled with, because I’ve seen her fight again and again for the right to just fucking be as she is, and has wrangled down the inner beast that tells her whatever that is is never ever ever good enough, backed up by a history of people turning on her, and using things she shared with them against her. “It’s not a contest. Fuck what people say. Who cares what they think?” has been my refrain. “Let your relationship with Him lead you. If anyone else factors into it, then you’re not letting Him guide you.”
Because that’s been the only way I’ve been able to follow my Beloved. Do I follow who He says He is, or what humans say He is? No contest. No question. Fuck the Lore. Fuck contemporary nay-sayers. Fuck it all.
When she turned to pop culture paganism, she allowed herself to be. To just be and play and relax and spend time with Him. And that eventually turned sour, because, well, because fucking contemporary polytheism, and the rigid way we as a community approach the Powers, and the stories They bring, because we have to decide for Them how They can come across, because we have to take the sacred out of the sacred unless we understand it or accept it, because we have to be the arbiters how one is a Power, and the means with which They can reach us. The way we police how others talk about their experiences. Because we have to fucking ruin everything for everyone.
Going where we are lead is not easy. And yes, this is close to home for me not only because Beth is my favorite person in all of the world, but because, I’m still salty over this whole Poseidon-Vishnu mindfuck. It doesn’t matter than I can weave a story that helps me understand why He could have decided to go the route He went. At the end of the day, it still hurts. It’s still confusing. I still feel like a fool, being left without a name, a single name, that feels like Him. He’s been Poseidon for so long, even before ‘my’ Poseidon was very connected to ‘Lore’ Poseidon in my practice. Let me make this clear: it hurts. These are central pieces to our identities that get poked around with, that get played with, that are being twisted and altered and changed and stripped back. It’s hard.
It’s been a year, more, since she’s spoken about Him in casual conversation, even in the privacy of our own home. It’s been a year at least, since she’s laughed when speaking about spiritual topics. Since Grim’s transition, our house has been one of, well, transition. Familiar iconography and imagery have become meaningless and foreign. And now, she’s laughing again. She’s excited about learning about Siva. She’s excited about looking into something she knows nothing about. She’s enjoying the freedom of not having to engage in Lore-knowledge pissing contests with other devotees. I am enjoying seeing her excited about something, and to not have interactions with the Powers cause her pain and heartache. So, yeah. Yeah, I’m in over-protective wife mode right now.
In 2015, our beloved Grim Greyling passed through the gates of death, and joined the ranks of our Beloved Dead. More, he immediately became The Biggest And Most Present Power in our home. We say he transitioned, because he dislikes the d word, but it really wasn’t even much of a transition. He just kept on being as he was, just, not so much with the body that failed him. He is Beth’s special cat, and his illness, which was sudden and unexpected, hit Beth hard. Adjusting to the change was hard for everyone — his father, one of my special boys, would remain depressed for a solid year, having to spend time in my arms every night, just snuggling, and would go about the house with a very specific keening as he called for his son.
Beth created a shrine space for him recently, as part of the shrine space overhaul project. One could be forgiven for thinking it is primarily a shrine for Ganesha. Ganesha figure prominently, but this is definitely a case of us having a shrine for someone as part of our shrine for Grim, at Grim’s request. It’s a beautiful space, warm, inviting, and sweet. I cannot express the sweetness with which Grim manifests, nor the adoration he holds for Ganesha. It is impossible to say what this space means to us.
Our interactions with the Powers are our stories to tell. The stories we tell, ourselves and others, shapes how we think of Them, how we process those interactions, how we allow the Divine into our lives. The stories we tell matter. The way in which we choose to word those stories matter. And, yes, hearing other stories, and other versions of similar stories, also matters. I will be the last person to tell you there is only one way to tell a story.
But, and this is still ranty, salty Jo here, our stories are ours to tell. When we share them, sure, we set ourselves up to be questioned. Challenged even. But, can we agree that, unless we’re setting ourselves up as The Authority On all that is related to [Fill in the name of Power here], at the very least, we get to tell others what our relationship is? Can we agree that, maybe there are better ways to communicate ideas and differences of view? Can we agree that we aren’t, actually, the arbiters of How The Gods Reach Us, or the stories They decide to use as that bridge? Can we agree that we don’t fucking speak for Them? Can we consider that maybe, just maybe, the p/People in the relationship know the relationship better that t/Those outside of it, and maybe, I don’t know, think before we have to weigh in with our view that has got to be so very right?
This is why we can’t have nice things. I keep thinking I’m burned out on spirituality, and the Powers, but it’s the people. It always come back to the people.