Thinking About Devotion Tonight
Thinking of my mom tonight. I found my common book, a collection of quotes and musings and helpful things that she inspired me to keep. I had thought the book lost. She was often my lifeline through the difficulties of devotion and when I was most discouraged, and tired, and frustrated, when the Gods seemed so very far away, her wisdom often helped me to find my way back to Them, or at least to open up again to the sense of Their Presence. It is so very easy, after all, for the poison of this world to close us off.
I was contemplating devotion tonight. It’s been a long, hard haul since her death in 2010. Even a shaman can get angry at the Gods –irrationally so, i will admit–for the death of a parent. I redid my altar tonight, my working space and it is stark, as I often feel inside when thinking of how much I miss her. My dead have been very present today. They sustain me in so many ways.
I was thinking of all the tools and techniques that I used for so many years to strengthen and nourish my devotional work, and my connection to Odin. It’s always funny for me, when a cherished technique no longer works. I’ve moved on from those first faltering steps but that does not mean I don’t falter. Sometimes, He prompts me to find new ways of connecting because it is never, ever good to grow complacent in one’s relationship with the Gods. I know that much: it is not a thing to ever take for granted. We must work to make it anew, again and again and again, to keep it vibrant and ever-changing. We are ever spinning that thread of connection. It’s never a set thing, a done deal. Thinking of all the currents that have carried me through and forward in my work, there has always been one necessary constant: getting myself out of the way.
As I was thinking of this tonight, i happened to snatch up my common book and I opened to a page with a quote, something my mother said so many years ago. I want to share it with you, my readers, tonight:
“You have to be as still and empty of yourself as a reed-flute — only then will the Gods play you.” -Fuensanta Plaza
She is right of course. She is so very right and the grief and anger that has taken root in my heart for so long, the pain of missing her, has filled up too many spaces that were once empty for Them. Time to shatter myself again, break myself open, give myself up as fruit to the winepress to begin anew in walking with Odin. Even when I hate this process so, it is much like coming home to an old friend. I want to share too, for all of you who struggle with your communities, with your families, with everything that devotion to the Gods can demand, another quote from my journal, something my mother Fuensanta gave me, a quote this time by Ida Goerres. I don’t know where she found it, but it has helped me in the past to consider and considering has filled me with a ferocity to proceed and endure. The only context I was given for this quote is that it is about those called and claimed by the Gods:
“Those who receive such a call, and answer it, are not inhuman. They are marked souls who must call forth in us fear an awe, reverence, and perhaps painful sympathy. And if they offend us also what does it matter? Everything that exceeds average humanity offends those who cannot understand it.” -I. Goerres
So that is all I have tonight. Keep to your practices. When it is difficult know that there are those of us who have stumbled over the same broken and bloody rocks. You are not alone in your barren places. Those places echo with the tears and cries of all who have passed before you. Let us sustain each other in between the moments of blinding joy that true devotion brings.