I’m pretty new to the blogging world. I’m still in the process of checking out other peoples’ blogs; I really didn’t know what I would find. I have to say I’m (happily) surprised to find so much Modern Pagan syncretism.
I’ve been Heathen–that’s the religion I’ve practiced, that’s how I identify myself–for the last fifteen years. I dabbled briefly with Wicca before I became Heathen; but then, who didn’t? I honor Freya, Freyr, Njord, Skadi, Heimdall, and others, and I am happy doing so. And honestly, I had been pretty snobby about keeping other gods and other spiritual practices out of my Heathenry, thank you. So it was quite a surprise to me last year when I got passed to Zeus.
Zeus, for crying out loud. The only gods I have worked with, really, are the Vanir Gods–happy, earthy, sensual deities with their own sense of laws and morality. The peaceful, “wise” Vanir. Easygoing, in my experience; always appreciative of a party thrown in their honor. Not much for formality, hierarchy, or war. So, to be thrown unexpectedly into a relationship with a deity that I have always associated with Patriarchy, The Law, and Power–the epitome of “The Man” that everyone complains about–was just a tad unnerving. Hel, I’m only now accepting that I have to work with Odin, much less that I’m working for the pater familias of the Greek pantheon.
Odin was an easy jump, religiously speaking. He is (arguably) the “pater familias” of our pantheon, and as his main goal is to become as all-knowing as a polytheistic deity can, has his nose in everyone’s business. I had made something of a oath to him many years ago, so while his appearance was irksome it was not entirely unexpected. He hadp opped up to force his suit the week before my dedication to Freya, because it apparently couldn’t wait until after my Dedication.
But what about Zeus? you ask. How did you end up with him?
One word: Aphrodite. Tricky love goddess that she is.
About a year and a half ago–two Pantheacons, if you’re counting–I got this sudden obsession with all things Aphrodite. I went to all of the Greek-centered panels and rituals I could; I reached out to those who worked with Her; starting attending new groups and reading about her, all due to this somewhat random obsession with her. Then, a notice for a new MeetUp group appeared in my inbox, focusing on Greek Mythology. Eureka! I thought. Perfect. Now I can actually get somewhere with this Aphrodite thing.
Once I got connected with that group (well, one person; which is how these things often go) and started attending events regularly, however, the Aphrodite obsession went away. Entirely. I couldn’t even remember why I had been so obsessed. Today, though I appreciate all Goddesses of love and beauty, I don’t feel the urge to build a deeper relationship with Her. The obsession is just gone. (It’s kind of creepy, really.)
Around about that same time, three of my friends who work with Greek deities started complaining about the lack of Greek Recon in our area. It was like a broken record. I’d hang out with one on Tuesday, hear him griping, then go to an event that Saturday, hear more griping, and then on FB I’d see yet another one bitching about how there’s no place for her to worship any of the Greek Gods except Aphrodite. (None of them are children of Aphrodite. ) So I, who had a great deal of fun teaching Greek Mythology to middle schoolers and who is currently blessed with a huge Heathen community, felt a natural sympathy for their plight. And being an organizer by nature, I decided to do something about it.
So I did. I spent a lot of time and energy organizing what, at that point, was somebody else’s religion. But as time went on, this need to collect and connect “my Greeks”, as I called them, started to feel more like a geas–something I was being compelled to do. Eventually, one of my main Greeks peeps pointed out that what I was doing was work, so I should find out exactly who I was doing this work for, and get some kind of payment for it.
I traced the path that had led me to the Greeks. I asked Freya, but she passed me off to Aphrodite again. (This is a common occurrence in our area–deities passing us from one to another and between pantheons, usually to get us trained up in one thing or another. Freya and Aphrodite are both love goddess, so this made sense.) Then I reached out to ask Aphrodite what the deal was, and I got a very brief, lighthearted Just kidding! Ta! before she zipped out of my head and a huge, dominating, glowing, bearded male figure appeared and stepped up. Holy shit, I thought. That’s Zeus.
Looking back, I don’t remember a whole lot about that first meeting. I happened to have a spirit guide with me who took care of me while I was quietly freaking out (omg, dominant male god and patriarchy! in my head!!), and I know that Freya stepped in to bargain with Zeus about stuff that was, essentially, above my pay grade, and that an agreement was reached. When it was my turn to bargain with Zeus, it was actually pretty amusing (at least I’m hoping it will be, after some time has passed). In my desperation, I tried to think of how I would bargain if I was dealing with Odin, and, assuming that whatever deal we reached would include some kind of trickery or deception (or at least lies by omission), I tried to cover every eventuality that I could think of. And I silently hoped to Hel that He wouldn’t turn out to be a pissy, sensitive god that would be offended by the fact that I was trying to bargain with him.
But apparently everything went fine, and now here I am, without so much as whiff of ozone on me, working for the head of the Greek pantheon. I’m still amused by it all. A tad nervous and confused, granted, but amused. Sure, various and sundry heads of pantheons–bring it on! (kidding) I’m already working with Odin, why not add Zeus? All Sky Gods, All The Time, here at Casa de Cara. Thank Gods I got my Dedication to Freya finally done. Sigh.
So, currently I’m awkwardly trying balance what I had considered, before skimming a bunch of pagan blogs recently, to be a schizophrenic mix of Heathenry and Hellenismos. I feel like I finally get the “poly” in polytheist, because it really does feel like I’m balancing relationships with two completely different, and equally demanding, partners. On the bright side, I’m finding that Zeus is a lot less scary than I had originally anticipated: he appears to be kind of wise and fatherly, like Njord. Dominant, but not obnoxiously so. He’s actually easier on me than I am–I get frustrated with obstacles and about how slow things are going, and he says things like, “These things take time. Athens wasn’t built in a day,” and “It’s not like you’re the only agent I have on Earth.” So I guess one can balance more than one pantheon–I already know a bunch of people out here who do–and now I know that, in the grand scheme of things, it might not be as unusual (read: verboten) as I had thought. Yay for blogging!
And something I never thought I’d say (seriously): Io Zeus!