What does devotion mean in this day and age? What does it mean when someone tells you “I am oathed to such-and-such Deity”? Do they say it with pride? With discomfort? How does our practice and faith interact with the mundane world on a regular basis?
I know, I am full of circular questions today.
Let me give you a foundation to relate to all of this. I’m a pretty liminal person. Everything that everyone else is, you can pretty well assume I am not. I think it started from my childhood of abuse, was burnished pretty in my Scorpio personality, and has been both the cause and the answer to many, many, many issues in my life.
I was born and raised Jewish in Southern California. After a lifetime of bouncing from state to state, I ended up in Nebraska as a practicing shaman. Try telling people out here you are a vegetarian considering veganism. Try telling them you are a liberal. Try walking into a very patriarchal, chauvinistic job where the nurses call for more men on the ward even if there isn’t an issue. And try doing that as a classically trained feminist. Try discussing environmentalism with men who think that people should be taken out back and shot instead of locked up in a mental hospital. And try doing that covered in tattoos and piercings.
And none of that even begins to touch on my spiritual faith. If I can’t explain to someone why I chose not to eat meat, how the Hel am I supposed to tell them about the voices of the Gods in my head?
Now none of this outsider status means I would change a thing. Without my Gods I would be a lump of depressed, anxiety-driven, eating disordered flesh on my parents couch still. They push hard, but I would never walk away from it.
So what brought on this introspective rambling? I got my lip pierced. Twice. On the right side.
Why you might ask? Well I shall tell you, gentle pagan-leaning reader. I did it because my Goddess requested it of me. Not in a “oh by the way” kind of request but more of a “do it! do it now!” type of way.
She: you need to go get your lip pierced.
Me: are you kidding me?
Me: Are you Kidding me??!!!
Me: I am terrified of needles. Terrified!! And please don’t bring up the tattoo thing, its different.
She: I know but you still need to do it.
The end result of this is two very important lessons for me. 1) Don’t argue with Hela. When she makes up her mind, there is no changing it. 2) Don’t tell Hela you are scared of something. Fear, blood, pain and ordeals are all very real things to sacrifice on her altar. So after much divination and arguing, I went and did it. She didn’t care how it was done, only that it was done and that it was a ring.
So…. (I promise I am not rambling too badly this morning.)
The lump sum of this is that my piercings are a shamanic ordeal for my Goddess and swearing of an oath into her service. Or will be when the studs are healed and I put in the rings next week. But I live in the mundane world with an atheistic fiance and I work a very conservative mundane job. Who does one juggle mundacity with having a very real faith that intercedes in daily life?
Ok, so maybe I am rambling a little. There is so much in my life that makes me feel so alone. I know 2 other practicing shamans in the area and neither one can connect with what I am going through. My fiance is an atheist. My friends adore me but are not god-touched. And I am spirit-taught, most of what I know is from UPG.
How do you handle feeling alone in your practice?