All by mysellllllllllllffffffffffffffffffffff

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.

She makes my heart skip a beat

 

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?

She: *silence*

Me: Are you Kidding me??!!!

She: *silence*

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?

 

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9 thoughts on “All by mysellllllllllllffffffffffffffffffffff

  1. ladyimbrium says:

    Everything I ‘know’ comes from one of three sources: the Church I was raised in, the wide variety of books I’ve read (many of them denounced as evil by that same Church) and what I have experienced (also a frequent target of denunciation by the Church.) As you may imagine, I’m very alone in the final tally. Most of the time I don’t pay any attention to it. My spiritual practice is my own, and I’m not sure I’d want to share it but so much anyway. Of course, I’ve never shared personal space well, so maybe that’s just me.

    • lcward says:

      Yes, UPG (unverified personal gnosis) or “What I have experienced” can be fun but it can also be very isolating. I am glad to hear you take pride in it. ๐Ÿ™‚ You know, the early christian church was a wellspring of UPG. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. ladyimbrium says:

    Indeed it was. I find it kind of ironic, really. The personal revelations that built the Church in its early years are now seen as the whispers of the Devil when experienced by those outside the Church’s walls. In fairness, I’ve seen quite a few Pagans (of a wide variety of stripes) claim that their personal revelations are true and that those of the Church are delusions. Sorry, but either UPG counts or it doesn’t. If each path gives credence only to the revelations within its own community, than they should extend that same belief to others as well. We know this is real, why would it be any less real for “them?”

    Sorry, ranted a bit there.

  3. How do I handle feeling alone in my practice? Hmm, I encounter this aching and longing for support and guidance and kinship often…but alas, I am by nature a very private and reserved person who actually prefers being left alone with my thoughts and the nature around me.

    I am still seeking the answer to that question…having “been” walking within my faith for years but never sure it would meet with the standards of others…I’ve remained to myself. So, I find comfort and companionship – and even get put back into check sometimes – by connecting via the Internet.

  4. lcward says:

    Maybe we aren’t supposed to find a comfort spot. The discomfort keeps us searching and looking and pressing onwards. Maybe this is what it is like to build a community from the ground up.

  5. Cat says:

    I haven’t experienced that sort of loneliness about my spiritual practice, but I can still relate to the feeling of always being the odd one out, no matter where I go (although probably to a lesser degree than you).

    The internet has probably saved me more than once from going crazy (not sure how literally I mean this) over always feeling so different. Online, I kept (and keep) finding people who seem to know what I’m talking about, whatever it is. Knowing enough English to benefit from that and to be able to even participate in the exchange certainly also helps with that (my first language is German).

    Other than that? Trying over and over again to find others who at least have some aspects in common with me. And sometimes accepting that there isn’t anyone else right now. Not that any of these is necessarily easy…

    Recently, however, I’ve noticed an interesting shift. It suddenly seems to be easier for me to find common ground with (some) people, many of whom are very different from me. And then I realized how much of my very core identity is tied to being different (not any specific kind of difference, because that changes, but different from whatever is the majority in any given space). I’m not sure I actually want to give up this part of me and the blessings it has brought. Still, it would be nice to be different and to still feel that I belong…

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  7. myownashram says:

    Hello – New reader here. I came via Me. I am starting to really embrace the aloneness of my practice. I finally find solace there. Sometimes I’m disconcerted by the silence at the other end too, but even then….. it feels more like a smiling silence, than one of absence… if that makes sense.

    However, the internet and various gatherings have helped me maintain a community, so I know that I’m not alone in this lonely process. And now you’re on the internet, building community too. So welcome.

    • lcward says:

      Awww, thank you. Sometimes if you listen hard enough to the silence and speak to it long enough, they start speaking back.

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