Laying down the gauntlet

November 9, 2011 at 4:57 pm (Spiritual) (, , , , )

Most of the time when someone needs something, they hear the phrase “ask and ye shall receive”. I feel this is a very selfish way of looking at the world. and yet many pagans I know have this attitude towards their Gods. Whether it’s a spell, or a ritual, or a prayer; we act as though our Gods are a cosmic Santa Claus just waiting to hear what we need/want and judging us either naughty or nice. Then we have this false justification as to why we receive or do not receive that which we ask for — either we were naughty, either through some Judeo-Christian concept of sin or through our own guilt ridden associations with not enough devotional work; or we were nice and got what we asked for.

For  me, there is a great deal of discernment that I go through before I involve the Gods  in my needs and wants. Heck, I go through a great deal of discernment before I involve other people. The first thing that I do is I dig deep. If I really need something, and that need is strong enough, I do everything within my power to fill that need by myself. It sounds a lot easier than it is — some days this looks like me debating whether or not I can make it up a flight of stairs to prepare myself a meal or if my need for food is weak enough that I can live until Ninja gets home to get it for me. (One day we will live in a house where the kitchen and the master bedroom or on the same floor!)

When I decide to involve other people, I am keenly aware that a debt is being created. Even if the other person swears up, down, and sideways that they are doing something out of the kindness of their heart and they do not recognize the debt; my Norse philosophies says “a gift for a gift”. Hospitality, one of the nine Noble virtues, is incredibly important to me and the way that I move throughout the world. Maybe this is because I have found that a single “thank you” can be enough of a gift  to make up for volunteering for hours for an event, and yet so often that single act of kindness is overlooked.

Maybe you can see where this is going. When I turned to my Gods and ask them for something, boy howdy am I aware that I am incurring a Debt. And unlike human beings, “thank you” is not enough to repay a debt to the Gods; that is just an acknowledgment that what you have asked for has come to pass. More often than not, I will find myself years later asked to take on a new client,or do some strange task, or something I can’t even imagine that pushes my boundaries in ways I am not ready to have been pushed. When I look up to the sky and wonder why my Gods would want such a thing from me, I am gently reminded of my debt. Unlike with humans, usually this repayment is not something I can negotiate. I don’t know how much of this is tied up in me being a shaman or if it happens to just anyone who asks favors of the Gods. (I’d like to hear from you if this happens to you as well.)

But when all other avenues have been exhausted, I do turn to my Gods. When it comes to needs that I had to do the Work that they want me to do, I see it more like laying down the gauntlet and less like asking for a favor. Maybe this is flavored by the Gods that I work with; Norse deities like followers with spunk. I see this need as an obstacle rather than a desire; I think this outlook also changes the way I approach my request.

This is an awful long way to explain that I am now using Dragon to write this post. My hands are in such pain that interaction over the Internet was becoming an impossibility. When I typed my entry yesterday I cried afterward. (And that was only 277 words!) I prayed to Baphomet and told Him that if he wanted me to continue this blog he would find a way to make Dragon work for me. I guess I got His attention — I had several offers of real help that ended with Ninja being able to install the copy I had been given onto my machine. And as a backup, He also sent me someone who is willing to buy me a copy as a gift.

I guess this means that Baphomet wants me to write this blog after all. I had reached the place where I had dug deep and could only produce 277 words; there was no way that I could produce blog entries on a regular basis I asking people to come over and take dictation; so He was my only hope.

But now, I Have a Debt. I don’t know what it is, but I know it won’t be pleasant.

 

 

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Milestones

October 11, 2011 at 9:30 am (Death and Dying, Living, Spiritual, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

Today I am the oldest I have ever been.

-Seen on a T-shirt

Today is my 37th birthday. It’s one of those years that no one celebrates. For those of you who are younger, there comes a time where you stop really celebrating your birthday every year, and only wait for the ones that have some artificial meaning, like a new decade. The only association I have with the number 37 is this:

Dante: how many, how many dicks have you sucked?
Veronica: something like …36?
Dante: 36, is that including me?
Veronica: ummm …37?
Dante: 37!! (Turns to Customer) my girlfriend sucked 37 dicks.
Customer: In a row?

-Clerks

Not really something I want to think about. (Not that anyone I know has celebrated a birthday year by trying to suck that many cocks. I have no friends like that at all.)

I’m not doing anything super spectacular for this birthday. I have a few friends coming over for dinner, and then later on this week I have a date night with Ninja planned. I already got my present from Ninja at Disney, so I don’t really have anything like that to look forward to either.

I just feel like I’m older than I’ve ever been. And yes, I know 37 is not very old in our era, but just like I felt like turning 30 was the end of my life as I knew it (and in some ways, it really was) the fact that I’m a year older now just makes me feel closer to death. Instead of thinking about the year ahead, like I did when I was younger (“Now I’m 9! Think of all the wonderful things 9 year olds get to do!”) I think about the year behind. 36 was hard.

I should feel triumphant. My life has been pretty rough – I survived a pretty challenging childhood, a terribly bad young adulthood, a complete nervous breakdown, a marriage that turned out to be a mistake, a commitment I thought was going to last the rest of my life and then didn’t, a complete destruction of my personality and sense of self and rebuilding process that took place hundreds of miles from anywhere familiar, the death of one of my parents, and now this mystery chronic illness that is slowly eating away at my ability to enjoy life. In the last year, I ended a relationship that meant a great deal to me, I have had even more intrusive symptoms that make life harder, and spent more time at home in bed than I ever have before.

On the up side, I am still here. Even as recently as this weekend, I was able to give someone a Message from the Gods that they desperately needed. I received one of the most touching love letters I have ever had yesterday from my girlfriend Ruth. I have this wonderfully strong marriage that bends and changes as we bend and change, that gives me hope and support and makes me want to wake up every morning. I get little notes from my friends reminding me that I am important to them. I know that I still make a meaningful impact on the world, in my own strange way. So it’s a good thing I have lived another year.

Instead of celebrating, I almost feel like I should memorialize the year behind. Let it go, dissolve into the ether; let it’s lessons mark me and make me stronger and let the hurts and disappointments give me resolve to look for more happiness in life. Along those lines, I reached out to someone I’ve been crushing on and made a move. Let that be my birthday present to myself. I still have hope.

In these last years I have left, I feel like I should be looking at each one like a vintage. Condense the feelings and emotions, the memories and the sensations down into something spiritually tangible. That way, when I look back at 36, I can soak in what I want to remember from it in a mouthful of complex tastes and smells, but have it be a singular experience. 36 would taste like bitter red wine, but the rim of the glass would be coated in opiates that made you feel withdrawal the next day. It would smell oaky and dark, be chewy like wine is chewy, but with a small whiff of cinnamon and tabasco. The aftertaste would be slightly acidic and the sulfates would roll along the sides of your mouth. If you drank too much of it, it would give you a really shitty hangover the next day; but just enough would give you moments of dark ecstasy, like indulging in a fetish you haven’t really come to terms with. It would definitely cling to the sides of the glass like blood, and is best served in big glass goblets that would make even the manly hands of a drag queen look dainty.

I don’t know what my hopes are for 37. I can only say that I have some. Even as I do the Work I need to do to prepare to die, I’ll take today off and think about what I need to do to prepare to live. It’s the much harder of the two, but it’s also the most fun.

Hail Loki, who gives me the fire of life through my veins, who gives me my purpose and keeps me pointed towards the Ultimate Goals;

Hail Odin, who reminds me that the journey is a gift of joy, if you put your back into it and do the Work;

Hail Erzulie Dantor, who gives me love and affection when I am lonliest;

Hail Erzulie Freda, because I should;

Hail Ogun, for challenging me to be a man;

Hail the Lady, for Her healing presence and Her inspiration;

Hail Baphomet, who in His own way reminds me that my Decay is a spiritual process worthy of reflection, but that in the end, all efforts to save our lives will fail. Even when others wish to lend their strength, it is I who must walk towards the Other Side alone.

Hail all the spirits that guide and support me, and may they give me another year of life towards my Purpose.

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