I talk about being a Hard-Polytheist from time to time, but mostly in passing. This is not completely accidental, honestly. It has little, if anything, to do with the social stigma in unironically believing in a model of divinity that doesn’t have anything to do with crosses, moons, or Stars of David. It’s also doesn’t have really anything to do with shame in the Gods I believe in, because if I was trying to have all my views on Loki pass unnoticed I’d probably have talked about him a lot less*.
No, the truth is I don’t talk about it much because I’m really really crap when it come to devotional praxis. Like, craptacular.
I was raised virtually without religion of any kind. I don’t mean atheism, either; religion was negative space in my world view until my teenage years. My mother was vaguely Christian, my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother were both pretty obviously Catholic, and my Dad has once gone to a Catholic school for a few years. Both my parents had a pretty bad taste in their mouth for organized religion, however, so they weren’t keen to introduce me to any of the same and seemed to make the conscious choice to let me come to my own conclusions.
This was a commendable ideal, even if they had some missteps later on when I started poking at Wicca and they both lost their minds for a time. The upside was that I came in to religion and philosophy without the taint of personal bias, Christian or otherwise, hanging off my every thought and idea. There was no conversion guilt or internal barriers to have to wear down or work around; all I needed to do was think, read, and study.
The down side is that when it came to interacting with all this reading and pondering, I had no idea what I was supposed to actually do with any of it. I knew what I wanted to pray towards, and I knew how I felt about the entity in question…but it felt like I talking into a phone that wasn’t hooked up to anything.
People gave me advise of course. One of my least favorite was the avocation of meditation. Oh it was a good idea and everything, but I want you all to know how much bloody fun it was learning how to meditate with an attention spectrum disorder. Advice on “clearing your mind” sounded akin to “use this broom to clear the sky of all that blue”. I eventually figured it out, but it’s only after thirty years sitting around trying to think of nothing that I actually got anywhere.
It’s not like I stayed at this awkward phase forever; the stuff I’ve written should speak to at least some of that. Still, it was a very long and frustrating time, and I spent a lot of it completely confused and muddled. So when it comes to talking about my own ideas on how to act on religious practice in a meaningful way, I feel like it should be literally anyone but me initiating that conversation. This is low self-esteem or any similar nonsense; this is a pragmatic respect for the subject matter.
Writing on a blog is presenting yourself as a form of authority on something, no matter how politely or humbly the material is presented and delivered. As such, I feel I have no business on being an authority on pretty much anything when it comes to the nuts and bolts of devotional practice. While I stumble in my own practice, I’m okay with that because I’m supposed to be stumbling. There is some combination of frustration and joy when it comes to proceeding into a realm where you have no idea what the hell you are doing. Every single thing you can poke with a stick becomes an adventure, and everything you discover belongs to you in a personal and satisfying way. I’ve had moments of sublime, perspective shifting euphoria from exploring such metaphorical vistas. Ineffable, untranslatable things that have altered how I’ll see the world for the rest of my life.The problem is that even trying to express my view points, ideas, and experiences always feels underwhelming. Whenever it comes time to write about the spiritual and the divine, I get two paragraphs in before the gulf between my feelings and the words I’ve chosen to express them with becomes too much to bear. I hit a writer’s block so immediate and dense that I turn back…because suddenly forgotten what I was trying to say in the first place***.
So….consider this post an attempt to change that, by slapping myself with a font-based glove as I attempt to push myself forward.
As I’ve said more than once, I genuinely hate it when all I have to offer is holding people to account for themselves and their dishonest rhetoric. I don’t mind that role; I’ll even say I’m proud of it in a somewhat disappointed way**. What I truly detest is when that feels like all I have to say at a given moment. Not that it would harm the blog; I could probably have a nice little amount of pocket change if I monetized it and wrote nothing but click bair articles about Metagenetics and what not…but I would hate that. I want truth and integrity; not just an obnoxious fight where the people I personally agree with take less shots than the people I disagree with.
When it comes to the spiritual disconnect I experienced and still experience to this day, I know I’m not alone. I know that I am not the only person to have emerged, wide eyed and baffled, from the tangled ideas of the broader Neopagan movement(s) to come to Heathenry…only to become ever more baffled by a new panorama stuffed to the brim with a lack of context or perspective. I know I’m not the only one who has ever tried to empty their mind of all distracting thoughts, then become distracted by the idea of removing all distraction, and then finally get a headache as their brain become a paradox riddled chamber of failure. I know that I’m not the only person to have been given a slate so blank you can barely tell that it even is a slate whilst simultaneously being possessed of a spiritual hunger so gigantic in scope that you are about ready to eat that blank slate just to see what happens.
Also, I know that I’m not the only person to overcome it.
What I want to do is talk about that; what it’s like to seek, not knowing quite what you are looking for, but know the shape and feel of it when you’ve never seen it. Trying to identify that which has no language that can quantify it.
That’s what I’d like to write about, and I think there are some people who would like to read it. If you have an idea for an article, or a question related to your own struggles, feel free to post it below.
*On that note, I haven’t said anything about Loki in particular because I haven’t had anything new to say on the subject. I have no interest in beating a dead horse. My points are still out there, they really haven’t been meaningfully addressed in any sort of salient way. Every now and again I admit to having a thought or two, but nothing really meaningful or demands to be said; just a couple of jokes that could be made at the expense of a few idiots du jour, and that seems to be remarkably boring. I will say that I have one article I’ve been kicking around, in regard to people who think it’s really funny and telling when chaotic things happen to worshipers of Loki. I haven’t had the words in my head to put that one down yet but, for the moment, “Oh fuck off; bad things happen to everyone and at least I recognize a deity who knows the terrain” would serve as a pretty accurate reader’s digest.
**If you truly love the truth, you’ll defend it…but you also hate that the truth needed defending in the first place because it’s the bloody truth; it should have the entire world as a defender.