Devotional Polytheist Meme, 1: Wealth

The first question from Galina Krasskova’s Devotional Polytheist meme:

1. What wealth have the divinities brought into your life?

Hmm, “wealth”. Well, that gets to the heart of anything Freya-related right away; no warm-up here! What an apt place to begin analyzing my life with my goddess, seeing how She is a goddess of material (and emotional) wealth, and Her tribe is the tribe of abundance of all kinds.

I pondered this one for a while before I decided what I was going to say. I knew what I thought I “should” say, what people would want to hear or expect to hear from “a Freyaswoman”, but I decided to go the real, gritty route instead. So, let me give some context about my experience, and what it has meant to me to be the daughter of a Goddess of Wealth and Abundance. (I try not to write mega-posts, but this is going to be a long one, so bear with me.)

About four years ago, I lost my job as a middle school teacher. This was a particularly big blow because I’d finally put together several years of gainful employment, paid back some debts, and been able to be generous to friends and family, and things had generally been looking pretty great. Also, teaching was my chosen career path, and I’d been working in the field of education since grad school.

Losing this job was very sudden and extremely controversial. I was in shock for at least a week before it sunk in that the place that I’d poured a my heart and soul into–the one I had hoped would become my vocational “home”–had let me go, pretty much out of the blue. It was a charter school, with no teacher’s union, and no available routes for appealing the decision. Luckily, I had huge support from the parents of my students. My parent volunteers, over 20 of them all told, got together and wrote up letters of recommendation and offered to help me in any way they could. The rest of the teachers at the school (the ones who didn’t get let go as well) gathered a good amount of money for me and gave it to me as a wedding gift, as I was engaged. So, though I was devastated, I had a wealth of support from parent volunteers from my time at this school and a nice gift from my peers.

Then I got married, and, my fiance having a good job and us being prosperous despite my job status, we had a big wedding.

Not long afterward, my marriage ended, suddenly and badly. He kept the apartment and our two cats and I was, essentially, kicked to the street.

At that point, it felt like I had lost everything: my career, the majority of my income, my relationship, my marriage, my planned future, my checkbook, my home, my cats, and the last five years of my (childbearing) life. I sold a lot of my things, including (but not limited to) two amazing, huge amber pendants. (I never liked chip necklaces, I always went for the large chunks; and yes, here’s proof positive that a Freyaswoman will sell her amber in order to survive. We are nothing if not practical.) The rest of my belongings had to be put into storage while I couch surfed, indefinitely.  I can tell you that at this point, I was not feeling wealthy in any way.

However, it turned out that I had quite a wealth of friends and family who were willing to help me out at (literally) the last minute. They offered me love, meals, laundry services, a place to crash, divorce advice, and a shoulder to cry on. I received a huge amount of support from a variety of the communities I’m involved in, and massive support from my immediate family. I’m not saying the situation didn’t suck–because it really did–but because of family and friends I got through it. I never had to walk through any part of that experience alone–not when dividing belongings, not when mediating with my ex, not when I went to the courthouse or did the reams of paperwork necessary for the divorce–everything I did, someone came with me. When I was able to lift my head from the pain, I realized this.

Eight months later, most of the divorce paperwork had been done and we’d had first court date, which granted me some money in the interim. I finally had enough money to put down a deposit and first months’ rent on an apartment.

Here’s what Freya did to help me get back on my feet.

Before apartment hunting, my sister suggested that we make a wish list of everything I wanted in an apartment. My sister, who is not a pagan but who is very spiritual in her own right, encouraged me to be specific because, as she said, “You won’t get it if you don’t ask for it”. I had printed out a couple of places I wanted to check out. As we were driving to the third one, we made the wrong exit off the highway and went to turn around. At that intersection was a medium-sized apartment complex edged with redwood trees and a sign saying “For Rent”. It was not on my list, but I felt drawn to check it out anyway. The available apartment? It met 20 out of 21 of the criteria on my list. It was also almost $200 cheaper and had twice as much space as any other apartment I’d seen. An hour later I walked out with all of the paperwork filled out for a 1-bedroom and a check written for the deposit. (If you’ve ever gone apartment hunting, you’ll realize how rare this situation is.) So I was approved for the perfect apartment, though I’m not entirely sure how, as my credit was shot due to the divorce and my entire income was patched together from a variety of unreliable sources. (I wouldn’t have rented an apartment to me.) I felt pretty wealthy in my housing situation. (I remember my first night staying in it–no bed, no chairs, just a few boxes–overcome with gratitude, feeling that I  had somehow been given a castle to live in. Perspective makes all of the difference.)

I’d been job hunting continuously since I had lost my teaching job, with no luck. I was basically living on a hope and a prayer, because I had no clue how I would make this all work. A month after I moved in, I got a call from out of the blue from one of my most supportive parent volunteers–the mother of a boy with severe ADD, whom I had placed directly in front of me and had kept a very close eye on during the year I had him. (It turned out that this had earned me her undying gratitude, though I didn’t realize the true depth of it at the time.) A job had opened up at her company that she thought I would be perfect for, and she wanted me to apply. After some quiet freaking out about moving to the corporate world and brushing up on my MS Office skills, I did, and I got the job. The week before my job started, my unemployment claim ended. I had a week of no money, and then I was getting paid more than I had ever earned while teaching. At that point, it really sank in–I was Being Taken Care Of. I couldn’t have planned for this to have happened if I had tried.

That was two years ago, and I’m still in this apartment and still in this job. The timing of this meme really is a gift, because I’m not feeling very wealthy at the moment. Any money from my ex is gone along with the killer medical benefits, and I’ve racked up a bunch of medical debt–yet another bill kicked in last week.and I’ve been asking Freya and Njord for ways to make more money so I can get myself out of debt. Clearly, more money will help, right? I work for a freaking Goddess of Gold, for crying out loud. It’s embarrassing to be a poor person working for a rich goddess. I mean, what would people think? No one will believe that She is real, or that I have a relationship with Her! says my head, over and over again.

And then this meme comes along, and the very first question asks me to analyze the wealth that my deity has brought to my life. Well played, Momma; well played. If I turn control of my life over to Your hands, who knows? The future just might turn out to better than the problems I can see in front of me right now.

My goddess. She is many lovely things, but subtle is not one of them.

P.S. Oh, and now I have new cats, as well–a red tomcat like I had always wanted, and a black snuggle cat who I hadn’t wanted but who has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Nube and Ra cuddling

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