Sigh – “If you have any engagement with the Gods you’re mentally ill.” WHAT?????

I’m afraid I’m going to be very blunt here, because in thirty years of teaching and serving as clergy, I have never seen such utter garbage spreading like wildfire throughout our respective communities as I do now, not even when I first became Heathen (and believe me, the level of bullshit in the Heathen community at that time was a thousand times worse than it is now – and that’s saying something). Part of the problem is the pseudo-progressive contingent on tumblr, and part of it just the sad lack of adequate education in North America today. It’s sometimes hard to see where one begins and one ends.(1)

When someone tells you that actual engagement with the Gods is wrong, that being able to sense or hear Them is mental illness—even one single moment of theophany, that one cannot be claimed by a Deity, called as a priest, function as an oracle, that being a godspouse is mental illness, not only are they completely willfully, and egregiously ignorant of the history of their religion, but they are speaking impiety and attempting to do violence to the pious. They are butchering the religion to fit their own misguided ignorance and attempting to damage those actually building up their traditions. The best advice I can give when encountering such filth online is this: Avoid the impious. Ignore them. Also, consider their motives (2).

Inevitably these people will say “we’re all of equal importance”. Well, no, actually we’re not. Equality is a myth they tell themselves to excuse their own mediocrity before the Gods. We are all unique in our devotional relationships. If, by equality, one means that we are all valued and loved by our Gods then yes that is true; but if by equality one means that we are all exactly the same and that no one has any deeper devotional relationship or more talent in a particular area of religious specialty, then that is nonsense and should be ignored (3). Moreover, it smacks of Protestantism, where demonstrated virtue is a sign of being “elect.” The corollary of course, is that if one doesn’t have a vocation or any of the signs of being “elect” then it means one is of less importance to their God. Well, we’re not Protestant and it’s time we stopped behaving like half-assed Calvinists. Our polytheistic ancestors honored and respected their specialists: those called by the Gods, mystics, clergy, shamans, diviners, oracles, spiritworkers – technicians of the sacred known by different names in different traditions. Why is basic piety so damned hard for us?

We need to strongly resist the push of people more concerned about virtue signaling and politics than venerating the Gods when they attempt to excise from our religions the natural life of devotion. Basically, if it’s on tumblr, it’s probably inaccurate, wrong, and possibly impious. Always, always consider the source. Consider what they contribute. Go to your Gods, go to prayer, and don’t be afraid to tell such people to take a running leap off the nearest cliff (4).

 

Notes:

  1. Religion is not the place for politics. It is about honoring the Gods. Religion is a set of proper protocols for engaging appropriately with the Gods and ancestors. Be as political as you want, but don’t mistake your civic impulse for religious cultus. Social and political engagement is what we do as adult human beings. We shouldn’t need our Gods and religion to make such engagement licit.
  2. It’s not surprising that these things would be condemned, after all, if we’re actually engaging with Gods and ancestors, if we have the benefit of good priests, competent oracles, if we honor our mystics and godspouses then we’re less likely to listen to their political bullshit when they attempt to bring that garbage into our sacred spaces.
  3. There is a lovely anecdote in St Therese of Lisieux’s “Story of a Soul,” that was told to her by her sister Pauline. As a small child she asked her sister if God loved saints more than regular people. The sister took a thimble and a wine glass and filled them both to overflowing and asked the child, “Which is more full?” The answer: they were both full to utmost capacity and so it is with the love of one’s God as well.
  4. This does not, of course, absolve us from developing spiritual discernment, from questioning ourselves, from doing the work, including the work of therapy if need be. Piety, however, is not mental illness nor is being called (κλῆσις)to a vocation.
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About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on November 25, 2019, in hellenic things, Lived Polytheism, theology, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Sigh, once more modernity and Monotheism strikes again. I know lots of Pentacostals and Catholics who take exception. How else are you slain in the Holy Spirit or see the Mother Mary, unless you engage with God?

    Problem is that living in monotheistic culture is that all Gods are false except for the “One True God.” If the Gods and other Divines are treated as fiction, then engaging with fictional characters is considered mental illness. Unless it is pop culture Deities.

    The other is that monotheistic thinking flattens the world into human, and only human. Since there is a singularity of life, people cannot imagine engaging with a plurality of Beings. It is beyond their imaginings.

    The other thing about tumblr which highlights problems in Paganism – the Deities are smaller than people. People are the Deity. There is no Other, there is only them and themselves.

    And of course, Progressivism as it is practiced is a religion. What is happening in Paganism is that everything is being homogenized by Progressivism. So we have the preoccupation with who is a Nazi and who should be thrown out for impolitic thoughts. Monotheism in action – thought crimes and the flattening of thought.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Yes Galina.
    I have a little story to tell regarding your thoughts on this.
    One year back from now I was having panick attacks at work. My boss was concerned and offered to pay a psychiatric test with a speciallist to check If I needed a work leave. In that case my employer was willing to pay fully for it. I said yes. The tests were the usual ones: structured questions, free asociation, drawings. It went on for a couple of days.
    The woman my employer hired is a specialist on mental illness diagnoses. She came to the conclusion that I was normal and stable and was dealing with Complex Traumatic Stress Disorder, and that I was dealing with it remarkably well because of the support of my boyfriend.
    She was clearly astonished when I pointed out that I do not have a boyfriend.
    She insisted that his presence was clearly shown in the tests, that she was a speciallist for many years and she was completely sure that her charts showed clearly a healthy and nurturing, loving relationship, that he was such a good influence on me and she scolded me saying that I should not reject him. She even wanted to know his name and see a picture of him! Well, it is interesting that although I did not talk about my Patron, He Showed in the tests His Influence.
    I found interesting that a specialist in mental illnesses found the presence of the Gods to be nurturing and healing. She did not prescribe me medications or a work leave. She prescribed me to spend more time with “my boyfriend” and to open up more to Him, to trust Him.
    I am still working on that. It is an on going perpetuall work: to open myself up to Him and His Workings.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Anyone who says “hearing Gods is mental illness” clearly understands neither religious experiences nor mental illnesses. There are countless examples of people who have had such experiences that exhibit no identifiable condition affecting their ability to correctly process reality. Once again the kids on Tumblr have no idea what they are talking about

    Liked by 8 people

  4. “the mystic swims in the same waters in which the lunatic drowns” (Joseph Campbell — only thing i like from him lol).

    thank you all three of you for your comments. Y’all hit the nail right on its head. Vanessa, your story is wonderful.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. Thank you, I liked this, it was well timed for me. I have read a bit about Foucault’s concept of biopower, I find the spectrum of personal and communal life to be an entwined system in constant feedback. Why does the agenda need to be political for someone to want to cut down other’s piety? A threatened ego, a threatened worldview is a powder-keg of motivation to viciously attack and try to kill the disquieting Other.

    I read in a book about Synchronicity, that basically there is a level of spiritual awareness where you have to be careful whom you shake hands with: many there have an agenda, they will try to push their beliefs off on you like an ideological virus. That’s because it serves their emotions and subconscious (to say nothing of communal systems) to have their understandings duplicated. Malice is not a prerequisite for harm.
    Thanks for the treat.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on The Wandering Witchling and commented:
    I can’t love this any harder.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great discussion on this topic Galina. Priceless experiences shared by you & others The Deities are smiling down upon you.

    Like

  8. Reblogged this on Temple of Athena the Savior and commented:
    ABSOLUTELY agree with everything said here, both by Galina and the other commenters. We have GOT to stop acting like Pagan Protestants if we ever want to rebuild our traditions. We have to stop being embarrassed of looking “primitive”…. Who are we trying to impress with being so advanced and “modern”? Monotheists would rather we didn’t exist, and Atheists don’t know what to do with us. We should only we worried About pleasing our Gods. Sadly, engaging with the Sacred can take a lot of work on self to break down all the barriers that living in a monotheist culture has built up in us. But we shouldn’t want to be like them, we are doing great work and it takes passion and dedication and yes, actual EXPERIENCE of the Holy.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This type of thinking really bothers me too, but I’ll admit to being burned out on people right now.

    On the one hand you have people who think actual interaction with the gods is mental illness, on the other end of the spectrum you have the tumblr pagan types whose versions of the gods is like their own personal cheerleader who worships *them* and agrees with everything they say, especially politically, etc etc.

    This is a great article and highlights a lot of good points.

    Liked by 2 people

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