Allegiance

 

takei lions

So my article on re-enchanting our world seems to have provoked a bit of concern among some of my readers. Normally, this would pass unremarked but I think in this case it really highlights the major ideological fault line running through our various communities today: what takes precedence, the Gods and spirits or humanity?

This is not new. In fact, I think it’s always been the primary fault line upon which we dance for at least the twenty-five plus years that I’ve been a polytheist. I wasn’t surprised to see it come up here. This is what the differences in our communities largely come down to: do you prioritize the Gods or do you prioritize the people and if the latter, then what it eventually becomes is prioritizing politics over any Holy Being. That is the inevitable outcome of that consideration. Is it any wonder then that the political pagan crowd are so doggedly determined to silence polytheists? We challenge the entire framework by which they have ordered their world. We also apparently challenge contemporary parenting styles, you know, the kind that teach you that there are consequences to one’s actions.

There are rules to dealing with Gods and spirits. They don’t have our ethics and we don’t make those rules but yes, we are expected to abide by them. This is not a difficult thing. There is, in fact, no small degree of middle class Western privilege inherent in our difficulties with what is really a very easy equation. It’s something that anyone raised in their own indigenous polytheisms easily comprehends. Hell, it’s something that anyone raised in a culture still possessing a vibrant folk tradition (like, for instance, Appalachia) might also comprehend. It’s only the privilege of the supposedly enlightened middle class that refuses to see what any five year old familiar with Grimm’s fairy tales might know: there are consequences to ignoring rules and we don’t get a pass with the spirits when we do so just because we’re happily steeped in social justice, politics, or racial self-abasement. Some spirits value our consent, but not all of them, not by a long shot and that goes for Gods too. What is the saying? Ignorance of the law does not excuse breaking it.

Now, one may argue that by laying my charms I’m setting out a honey trap. Yes, I am. It is still the choice of the passer by whether or not to steal it. Choices have consequences and if I am able to create even the barest crack whereby my Gods and spirits might gain greater purchase in our world, then I am happy to help and I shall sleep content.*

I think that at the core of this fault line is fear of the Gods warring with lack of belief and perhaps lack of desire to believe. If you believe in the Gods after all, then don’t you trust Them? Why would you not wish to return the world to Them, to restore what was destroyed? If you don’t believe in Them, why are you bothered at all? A delicious catch twenty-two, yes? No matter, paucity of piety on the part of others will never impact my own work and let me be clear about what that is.

My allegiance is to my Gods and spirits. My job is to open doors for Them, restore Their cultus, reclaim territory ripped away by monotheism. I am not in the least bothered if that makes people uncomfortable. I will always put the needs of my Gods and Their attendant spirits first and foremost, understanding that They are hunters, understanding that They have been waiting a very long time to reclaim what was Theirs, understanding that in struggles such as these there is always a rate of attrition. I will break your reality down until you see and hear and taste and smell, acknowledge and maybe even fear what is actually there.

and i’ll consider that a good day’s work. 

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* I might also add that it’s rather insulting that my readers might assume that I simply create blanket doorways for random passing spirits. Of course they are keyed to a very specific group of spirits and Gods. I am very careful in what I do.

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Posted on June 17, 2016, in Esoterica, Fighting the Filter, Lived Polytheism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I love your original post on this subject and read the comments that provoked this. Heh.
    Hare Krishna’s do similar things when they go around beating drums and singing their mantra – I may be wrong, but I’ve been told the mantra is to encourage enlightenment to those that hear it. Likewise for myself when I do public art. The largest piece I did was intentionally composed to provoke initiation experiences in the public’s mind.

    You don’t need peoples consent to inspire awe.

    My favourite aspect of what you propose is it’s not intended for humans, any interaction by a human is a matter of circumstance and therefore part of nature. I.e. a squirrel taking your charm for its nest is as guilty as a innocent child playing with the charm… and I’m sure the squirrel is as susceptible to possession as the child…

    *Now getting fantastical images of Odin possessed squirrels leading The Wild Hunt with a troop of slave kids that dared touch Galina’s charms.*

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, exactly! Other religious people are comfortable doing this, but pagans have all this angst because it’s really not about their gods for them, it’s about their social connections first and foremost.

      One of my favorite things about doing this spirit-worker glamourbombing sort of thing is that you’re right, it IS for the spirits, and you have no idea what will happen to it after you let it out into the world, whether any human will see, care or interact with it. It’s a sort of purity that I really need for my own art/magic work.

      Oh gods, that last image you proposed is fantastic! Odin-possessed squirrels, yes!

      Liked by 4 people

    • fear their squirrely wrath? *ducks thrown produce*

      all sass aside, i honestly don’t comprehend the idea that doing this is harmful. maybe i am too much of an optimist on this, but i suspect that the gods and spirits are not going to be quick to break the people (and furry rodents) who come upon these charms. it is my theory that they are more inclined to be subtle (except when they’re not) and draw the people to them that would serve their purposes best. and one does not generally break a good tool for fun.

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  2. Squirrels have their own magic, when they repurpose articles for their nests and bury acorns. I have seen nests with t-shirts and yarn for the babies. And squirrels could be seen as timeless beings as they live in the past, present, and future.

    A comment that your husband made to my question about what is the religion of current Pagans made sense in this context. He said they were a combination of politics, therapy, and fantasy. I would add play acting (LARP). Therefore, Gods are not front and centre to their beliefs. The Gods are pushed into a corner, or outside of their world. Hence, the whole reworlding the Gods idea. We humans have such power that we can will the Gods back into our world, on our terms.

    Establishing what Shinto describes as Torii is something that Polytheists do on a regular basis. It may not be a formal gate but they have habits they do which open the doors. The altar is such a space. The roadside shrines are other spaces. In my walks, I know where the natural doorways are, and make offerings.

    Maybe I should leave charms around for people. Do you have suggestions on how to determine the proper doorways?

    Liked by 2 people

    • ganglerisgrove

      i’d suggest divining, Virginia. and if you recognize natural doorways…build those up with offerings and attention. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This thing about “there are rules and you don’t get to break them without consequence” remind sme of one of the final scenes in the movie “The Hogfather” (based on the book by Terry Pratchett). It is where Death slowly approaches the Auditors behind the shit going down in that book/movie) on the edge of cliff. They plead “You can’t do this… there are rules…!” and he replies infuriatedly: “Yes, there are rules. And YOU broke them. How dare you? How DARE you?!? *pause* Now only one final question remains… have you been naughty… or nice?” And the the Auditors who have been doing the shit fall off the cliff.

    Not entirely on topic, it just reminded me of it.

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