I read a really great post by Twisted Rope this morning. You can see her work here and the original post here. The point of this is simple: what do we do when the Gods are asses? I am going to try a simple response as a pseudo-heathen and as a shaman.
The answer is simple: you say no. And yes, before you ask, we DO have the right to say no. We work with the Gods, not for them. Unless you have specifically stated you are a servant or a slave of that God, we do have the right to say no. I say no all the time, no to being a godspouse, no to being someone else’s worker, no to working with individual humans when their Gods request it of me. Sometimes I say no because I have made a choice to respect my own Gods’ requests. Sometimes I say no due to time or energy constraints. Sometimes I say no because they are an asshole.
Having the Gods pester you doesn’t automatically make you a better person or more special, just like being a boss doesn’t automatically make you less of a moron. It just gives you more work.
I feel very blessed. My Goddess, Hel, is busy, which means she lets me make choices and doesn’t pester me 24/7. She also doesn’t waste time or energy on chaos, if she tells me to do something it is because it needs doing. I also work with the Norns and have the ability to see a little bit farther into the future if I choose. I don’t do that very often, I prefer to give people their privacy, but if need be its there. I have interacted with deity that I have had to say no to, including some big names on the scene at the moment. I said no to Loki. I said no to Odin. I’ve turned away more than one Celtic deity, including the Morrigan. I’ve also banned Bast from my sphere of existence.
If you have ever been a supervisor, you know these simple truths. Humans work harder when its our choice. We do better when we are invested in the outcome. We will put more effort into something if we think it was our idea.
Yes, the Gods have farther sight than us, but they need us for a reason. They need to learn to work with us again.
Ok folks, I could use any input and advice you might have here.
These thoughts have been weighing heavily on my heart the last few weeks.
As most of you know, I am involved with 2 separate groups in my area. The Wiccan coven, of which I am an initiate of the first degree, has been here for me for the last 6.5 years. 3 years ago I was asked to help start a Heathen group and I ended up doing most of the work for the group.
I find myself wanting to move away from NHU and heathenry in general. I can’t continue to do all of the work for them, they need to sink or swim on their own. My own Gods are pushing me towards Traditional Witchcraft. I need to start focusing on the Coven, my training as a counselor and a priestess and a teacher, etc. I simply had to pick a priority.
So part of my leaving NHU is tying up lose ends with what I am calling “Meet and Greets” in an attempt to get everyone on the same page.
So here is the dilemma. (And for those of you who know me irl, feel free to give input w/o names or email me.)
The other 2 leaders of NHU are very nice guys, but one is essentially atheist and the other is very busy and not willing to do everything required to be a spiritual leader. Is it possible for a person to step back from leadership and still be a priestess/gythia? Am I reading the energy wrong?
Last night, one of our members mentioned the need for real spiritual leaders in NHU, people willing to help others dig beneath the surface. And now I am stuck in a conundrum. Do I leave and let them figure it out? Do I stay and keep doing all of the work? How can I transition from what I have been doing to what I see needing to happen?
On spirit companions.
This is a wonderful breakdown of one experience having the Voices with you day in and day out. I’m one of the spiritworkers who has to learn to deal with people, I am being placed into positions of power and leadership. But I also don’t talk much about the day-to-day stuff that would put me so far outside the spectrum that I couldn’t do my work.
The act of wildcrafting is holy.
It forces you to your knees, bends your thoughts to the Earth. It keeps you bowed as you do the sacred work. Your movements become sacraments, soft fingers amongst the delicate petals, soft prayers dropped from your lips as you turn your attention to the plants before you.
Each plant holds its own source of holy. There is the thrill down your back at the sight of the bounty, the outstretching of arms to welcome you home.
Nettle demands your attention. Be careful where you step, careful where you put your hand, careful of your words and your thoughts and your actions. She teaches us the art of anger, to sting only when rubbed the wrong way. She reaches for the sun and laughs at our fear.
Violet is so soft, you must bend low to hear her words. She sings of protection, not from action, but from the warm embrace of arms. She speaks of the heart and the joy of home and family, hearth and heart.
Dandelion roars into the sun. She sings loudly of creating your own path, digging deep deep deep, stretching up up up, riding the wind of joy and abandon. She dares you to pick her, laughing at our bumbling attempts to draw boundaries.
These are the church, where I bend before my teachers. These are the hours of sacrifice I share amongst those I love.
This weekend I led my very first oracle session. I’ve been wanting to do one for years and modeled it on Diana Paxson’s group. But I wasn’t really prepared when the Gods presented me with the opportunity out of the blue. And a week of prep? Really? Come on guys.
I decided to use the skills and tools I have come to count on in my private work. So I put out an S.O.S. call to my bestie and another really good friend who I knew was an experienced practitioner. We set up a makeshift high seat and figured out the best way to get people to and from. I also used my drumming (via my phone) and Belladonna flying ointment (via a reputable source) that I have worked with before. I journeyed to the Well and used the surface to answer questions.
What I liked: The people loved the opportunity we presented to them. About half the group had questions and a few wanted to talk about it after, which I was fine with. One woman needed a lot more clarification when the Well didn’t provide an immediate answer. I loved working with the 2 people I chose. I felt safe and was able to focus on my job.
What I didn’t like: The wind smacking the makeshift veil around my face, the chair hurting my back after awhile. We were also too close to the main group and it was distracting.
Changes for next time: a different area, maybe inside. I also need a lot more prep time to get securely stationed by the well. And we need to devise a way to bring the oracle back up. It took me a long time to recover. I think next time I will give the questioners more time as well.
He comes to me in the middle of the blackest of the night, between the beams of the moon. He whispers to me of rotting flesh and broken bones, blood gone black from decay. He whispers words of poetry, of the process itself, of the art of Death, of the action of decay. She is the movement of the shovel through the dirt, He is the scream of the vultures, the crack of the rope as we slip sideways.
He is the Dead God hanging on the Tree, already having leaked his offering of blood into the waiting Earth. He is the battlefield after the last cry of metal upon metal. He is the process, always the process.
This is the God who beckons to me, the balance against the pale white and silence of Her grave. This is the smell of rotten fruit and the buzz of flies, He who moves into the Silence like a fat toad in the mud, waiting for its prey. I don’t know His name yet, or even if He has a name. He is unlike any other deity I have ever come across, foundational but kept separate. It is He who takes the offerings of the Sacrificial Kings, who choose to die in order to live. It is He who consumes life, cell by cell.
He asks me to hold the space, keep the tension, allow the process of decay and breaking down to occur in the world and the lives around me. He asks me to see the entirety, to see beyond this tiny grain of here and now. He asks me to sit in the rotten wounds, keep company with the maggots, allow the scent of the carcasses to perfume my outlook. He asks me not to be scared but to embrace the necessity of His work. He pushes me and pushes me and pushes me, until I am coming apart at my seams.
And I am coming apart at my seams.
My local group, Nebraska Heathens United, is starting its third year.
Being a leader means that you get to stand in the line of fire and take all of the mud slinging.
So be it.
Lots of time for hot showers. :)