And then there’s that moment when She appears out of nowhere, as if She never left, and She blesses me with inspiration and compassion, opportunities and respect. And when I come back home, the house smells of fresh, fragrant roses (not dinner, or burnt popcorn).
Good to have you back, my Lady, if only for a moment. 😉
A note on this pic: The gold collar Freya is wearing here is an exact replica of the Färjestad collar I saw when I was in Stockholm at the Historiska Museet (Swedish History Museum).
One of the big changes that I haven’t really touched on much yet is how Freya’s absence has affected my 12-step program. She was my strong foundation in every aspect of my life. Literally. As the 12-step program is at its heart a spiritual program that relies so heavily on an individual’s strong connection with a Higher Power, losing Her feels like it has undercut all of the trust and intimacy work that I’ve done to regain sanity through my program. Ironically, due to my move, I have a new sponsor who has asked me to work the Steps again, and I find myself now on Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to care of God as we understood Him. The is the lynch pin of any 12-step program. The question is, which God is my Higher Power now?
Time for my weekly round-up, in which I get to play “But why am I so tired?” This is why I am so tired:
Saturday: Day-long commitment for my 12-step program.
Sunday & Monday: Prepped first “Intro to Heathenry” class; started several Patheos posts
Tuesday: Co-led “Intro to Heathenry” class, with my Rokkatru BF. (Missed my weekly program meeting to do so. Bah, scheduling.)
Wednesday: Rehearsal for my ADF grove’s Mabon ritual
Thursday: Wrote and submitted entirely new Patheos column (revise, edit, add pics, etc.) Also, libated every single one of the gods, ancestors, and landvaettir that I work with. (This includes three altars, 5 different kinds of booze, several trees, and 10 or so shot glasses)
Friday: Was swept off my feet and taken to a lovely sushi dinner by the BF
Saturday: Slept a lot. Also spent some more time with the BF watching the newest Doctor Who episode (BF, yay!; Dr. Who, eh.)
Sunday: ADF ritual: Rehearsal, set up, long ritual, tear down, and chatting afterwards. Came home and crashed. Finally caught up on this week’s Project Runway. (neat leather corset and jacket!)
And now for something more serious then my usual posts. If you read the blog at all, you’ll know that my currently developing relationship with Freyr is not one that’s gone smoothly. Despite working with Freya, his sister, for a very long time, and despite the fact that Freyr energy still makes me very comfortable and happy, and even despite the fact that if you were to put together all of the male deity characteristics that I have ever liked and admired, it would look an awful lot like Freyr, I’ve still been fighting it tooth and nail. Ever wonder why?
It doesn’t make a lot of sense, I know. Trust me, I’ve been getting flack about it from my Heathen friends and colleagues for years. “But he’s Freya’s twin brother!” they argue. “What, you thought you would get the one and not the other?” Or,”‘But he’s sexy! And has that antler thing! And is easy-going and not all battle-grr-argh like most Viking male deities, and did I mention sexy? Where is the problem?”
Yeah. So. The problem, it turns out, is my ex; or, rather, our history together. I had forgotten exactly how much the blockage was about him until I finally sat down and accepted that it was going to happen, and decided that I might as well take it like the strong Freyaswoman I know myself to be. And I ended up running head-first into unresolved issues with my gods due to my ex.
So, now you get the story of my ex. A shortened, names-removed, bare-details version of it, anyway.
In which I try to get Ratatosk’s kin (aka squirrels) out of my head, and remember to ask the Gods for help.
I’m in the process of creating a section on my blog about Dedication: ideas, opinions, and my own experiences with it. All I really have to share are my experiences; but it’s really cool to see what other people have gone through as well, and their thoughts on it. In doing so, I came across the controversy over Morpheus’s broken ankle.
Last October, a big thread went around the pagan blogosphere about how dedication and/or working with the Gods can change one’s life. The discussion was kicked off by Morpheus in her Shieldmaiden blog, here, and was added to by many others. (I’ll link or paraphrase as many as I can in the dedication section itself, once it’s completed.) Her post came down to this: She promised to write a book for her Goddess, and she had been given a deadline by which to complete it. Though she was actively working on it, she was also participating in other groups and duties. It came to pass that while she was in the middle of one of her other activities, she busted up her ankle pretty badly. This injury ended up keeping her off of her feet–at home, writing the book–until the deadline of her book had passed. (Literally. Her deadline was December 31, and I think she gets rid of her boot and off of one crutch this week.)
The response from members of her group, and many of us in the larger community, was pretty straightforward. You promised your Goddess a Thing, and She helped you get it done on schedule. Not, perhaps, in a friendly or easy way; but then again, perhaps, a nicer way wouldn’t have been as effective. To me, it was as clear-cut a case of deity intervention as I’ve seen, and I took it in stride. I thought most other people had, too. What caught me off guard was all of the hoopla in response to it.
Tonight, I went to my first meeting since moving, and damn if Freya did not talk to me through every woman there, and all but slam into my hands the exact opportunities and community I was wishing I had from back home. Wish = Granted. The group was small but on point, and I get the chance to do exactly what I know love to do. (Let’s hope that remains the case after the rosy glow has worn off!)
I always joke with my friends in recovery that my Higher Power is not subtle, because they are continually amazed by any of the (honestly, really pared down) stories I tell them. Subtle! If only they knew. Try working for a pagan goddess and see how “subtle” a Higher Power can really be.
In sitting down with myself the past few days, I find myself filled with fear. Now that I’m settled physically, and am no longer leading a nomadic life, I can allow myself to feel that fear. Hopefully in feeling it I will also be able to release it, and move on to a happier life that my Lady has promised me. “So, this change is a good thing, then?” I had asked her before I left. “That depends entirely on you,” She had replied. That’s a very scary answer to hear, when I’ve spent so much of my time relying on her–first in my program, and then as I worked my way back into the Heathen community from which I had temporarily withdrawn.
Still, my experience in recovery points to two solutions: Do the footwork, and rely on Her. Do the footwork, and rely on Her. And do the footwork. And rely on Her. So I fall back on a program prayer to help see me through, when I am feeling too full of fear to reach out to Her the way I know I should. Trust in the process, says my program. And here’s hoping that, like every time in the past, it helps pull me through. Paradoxically, I have often found that my greatest strength and peace of mind comes when I gracefully and willingly surrender myself to Her.
A Prayer to Freya
Freya, I offer myself to you,
to build with me
and to do with me as you will.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do your work.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of you power,
love, and benefaction.
Help me do your work always.
(11/30/14–edited to remove unnecessary biblical language)
Heilsa, my lovely Lady.
(revised version of a post from earlier this year)
Along with everything else I do, I’m a member of a 12-step program. No, it’s not AA; there are many more 12-step programs out there. No, you don’t need to know which one I’m in. It’s anonymous; that’s the point. What you do need to know is that my experience in this program has helped to re-sculpt a lot of my underlying assumptions and beliefs about the nature of Deity and how I shape my relationship with Her (and Them).
I’ve struggled for years now in making my hard polytheistic worldview work with the 12-step concept of a higher power. Sometimes I can make it work, sometimes I can’t. Even so, one of the most useful concepts I have about working with the deity comes from my program: the idea that if my Goddess is not working for me–if She is limiting me or critiquing me or undermining me or whatever–I can (and should) make my understanding of Her bigger.
Before I landed in my 12-step program, I had what amounted to a superhero understanding of the Gods. The Gods were like us, just a bit bigger. They could do a bit more than we could and could help us out a little. They had the same idiosyncrasies as humans, and were bitchy, fallible, and easily bored. My understanding of them, and how I experienced them–while interesting and exciting–did not bring me a whole lot of serenity or peace in times of crisis. While intellectually I knew that I should be able to rely on them, I did not actually feel like they would help me through tough times. After all, they were barely bigger than us humans. But then, what is the point of having a relationship with a deity if He or She is not there to help you through tough times?
I remember thinking, when I landed in my program and found out what the 12 steps were and our overall plan of attack, that this should be easy. I’ve already spent my entire adult life finding my own spirituality and delving deeper into it, often at odds with my family or the larger culture around me. Not a problem. I’m halfway there!
Or not. It’s a lot harder, it turns out. I had spent a a great deal of time and effort learning about and working with my gods, but in all that time and work, I hadn’t learned what I’ve come to consider to be the most important part of any belief system: I hadn’t learned to trust my gods.