I recently received a notification from WordPress wishing me a happy anniversary. Believe it or not, it’s been a couple of years now since I started this blog, though the first year of my posts are no longer online.
When I first began, I had no idea where the next couple of years were going to take me. If you took the Lucy of 2 years ago and sat her down with me today, I’m pretty sure Past Lucy would probably pee herself.
I still have no idea what the next couple of years will bring, but I’m at the point where I don’t really want to know. Precisely because I can look back and say with a fair amount of confidence, knowing myself as I do, that wherever I will be 2 years from now, I am no more ready to be there right now than I was ready 2 years ago to be where I am today.
And that “where I am” is a strange place indeed.
Jo has written before about asking her Beloved to take her deeper into His mysteries (her writing is beautiful and I cry every time I read that post, so have kleenex ready before you click it!) I’ve been thinking about that a lot. And until recently, I didn’t understand what it meant when she would write “take me deeper.” I mean, I did but I didn’t. I understand that the Gods are vast and great and complex, I understand that there is more to Them than what we see in the surviving scraps and old stories of another age, and sure, there are situational differences, but at the same time, what does it functionally mean for a devotional Polytheist to “go deeper” with the God(s) of their devotion?
I can’t speak for Jo or her understanding of it, of course, but the way I’ve very recently come to understand this in my own path is by basically waking up one day in the cooking pot, wondering when it got so darn hot in there. By which I mean, the deepening in my own Relationship with my Patron has happened gradually and by degrees, one seemingly minor revelation building on another until suddenly it’s not so minor anymore, and my understanding as a whole has irrevocably changed.
This change isn’t the kind of change where there’s some old beliefs about my Patron to chuck to the curb because they no longer apply, though anyone following this blog knows I’ve had to do quite a bit of that regarding other subjects. It has been, as I said, more of a gradual unfolding. The Odin I know today is the same Odin I wrote about 2 years ago, but I understand Him differently now, and the difference is not an insignificant one. Not even close.
I don’t know any famous people in the conventional sense, but I imagine it is something like having some kind of involvement with a celebrity. Most people have at least heard of Odin, if only because of the Marvel movie treatment. A fair number of people could even cough up a story or two from the Eddas, whether they are treated as fictional or otherwise. And there are certainly many different opinions about Him and His stories, entire books’ and blogs’ worth of opinions and theories and pieced-together research and UPG on Him and how people used to honor Him in a different time and how people honor Him today. So there is a lot out there about Him. Odin is by no means an obscure entity.
Yet at the end of the day, I have somehow found myself in a place where the same things that would have delighted and satisfied and inspired me in my devotional practice for Him 2 years ago, the same artwork and statues and beads and prayers and writings, have, with a couple special exceptions, become hollow. I see the resemblance still to my Patron, but it’s only a passing resemblance now, a reminder of all the other things not represented. The pictures and figurines and books I once treasured look small and pale and pitiful now compared to this new-to-me reality. The reminders that once gave me comfort now seem lacking. There is no “closer” that is close enough, nothing that evokes Him nearly enough, nothing that looks or feels exactly right.
And it should probably be more upsetting than it is, but weirdly, the “things” and reminders just don’t seem so important any more. I’m having trouble even remembering why they were so important to me in the first place, but I know they were. The shrine remains, of course, but my relationship even with that has changed.
It’s not that He’s a different Person now than He was 2 years ago. It’s not even that I’m a different person, though I’m sure I am. I just…didn’t know. That’s all. I didn’t know a lot. There’s so much I still don’t know.
It has been a deeply unsettling realization when it comes to my other Gods as well. I am suddenly and keenly aware that, just as 2 years ago I wasn’t even scratching the surface when it came to truly knowing my Patron, I am sure that, in reality, I barely know the rest of the Family either (as I think of the Norse pantheon). Their public faces, Their stories, what others say about Them, sure. Even some things They say about Themselves.
And these things are still important. They’re not inferior to other knowledge about these Deities. It’s just been a little bit of a mindfuck, now that I grasp how much I didn’t know about Odin. (I don’t know if this is coming out right, but please don’t think I’m belittling “gateway knowledge” of Deities! Definitely not. This is entirely about the kind of stuff you think about when you find out your mom has always been the world’s biggest Beastie Boys fan and ran a fan club for them once and you somehow never knew even though you’ve known her your whole life AND WHAT ELSE DON’T YOU KNOW? Are there life size cardboard cutouts of the band in the attic or something?? You know??)
For I am keenly aware of the fact that I don’t even know all I don’t know, which makes it a little uncomfortable as I visit Their shrines and find myself wondering Who I’m “really” talking to, and what might be in THEIR attics, for all I know. In these moments, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed. In these moments, I suddenly understand all the implications of a prayer like “bring me deeper,” and realize how fucking brave people like Jo are. I may never know my other Gods the way I have come to know my Patron, at least not in this life–I certainly don’t expect to–but truly understanding just how little I know, and understanding that with my heart rather than just with my head, has been…I don’t have the word for it, really. It’s one thing to “know” something, and quite another to know it. I would say I “knew” these things before, but they never hit home for me the way they do now.
It renews my awe of my Gods, and somehow, paradoxically, makes me love Them more. I can’t explain it. This paragraph could be written, rewritten, and deleted a hundred times, but I still can’t find the words to explain what I mean. It shouldn’t make sense, but when has the heart ever given a damn about logic? (And yeah, I do kinda want to know what’s in Everyone’s attics, but I know it’s not really my business. Not all mysteries are meant for everyone, and I thank the Gods for that, because who knows what Loki’s got in there 😛 )
I’ve been on the devotional path for as long as I’ve been cognizant of Deity, which is far longer than the length of my association with Odin, and I freely admit I am still a baby. No joke. I should perhaps be embarrassed for putting myself forward on the subject at all, for writing so much about something that I am still only learning about, but in reality, I don’t think anyone ever gets to the point on this path where they’ve mastered it. It’s not the kind of thing that can be mastered. It’s how one lives and interacts with their world and what lies beyond it, rather than an achievement to be had, and if watching me fumble and flail helps somebody make a little more sense of their own path, then I’m all for it.
In any event, although it’s been a challenging time in some respects, I have no regrets, and this post certainly isn’t intended to be a complaint. After all, I knew well in advance not to mistake the doorway for the destination. Now I know not to mistake the coat room for it, either. 😉 Who knows what else I’ll figure out in another 2 years, eh?