Friday, April 20, 2012

Help me with my dilemma

A while back I encountered a Pagan practice that I must admit made me extremely uncomfortable.  I won't use the phrase here because I don't want to get hit by google and end up being "educated" on the topic so we'll just say it's when a deity decides he, or she, is going to enter into a marriage with a human.  Initially I saw it in Hellenic polytheism and it struck me as being not only arrogant on the part of the human, but also abusive on the part of the deity.  There was a lot of jealousy and a lot of demands put upon that person.

I introduced the topic today in a Heathen group because I was curious if there were any precedents within Northern Heathenry to account for it, especially as the Norse path seems to include the most cases of this practice.  I was told that there were instances in the past, but they weren't considered husband or wife in the sense we do today.  They were more like priests or priestesses. 

Okay, I could see that.  It lined up with nuns and monks or priests in the Catholic church.  But what I'm seeing in blogs out there doesn't resemble that at all.  What I'm seeing are wedding ceremonies, sex with gods, huge demands put upon the human and a whole lot of bragging.

I was sort of put in my place by someone who knows a man married to a Norse goddess and she believes it is genuine although the guy apparently is a real jerk about it all.  I was polite and promised to be more open minded about it but I'm just not sure I can be.

I mean...I dealt with similar situations in Christianity where I was not one of the favored ones who the Christian god spoke to at all.  I lied about it, of course, because if god wasn't speaking to you, then what was your problem?  So this smacks of the same shit.  The Gooder than You Club.  I'll admit it pisses me off just a bit.  And then it worries me that if it's true and I'm being snarky about it, won't I piss off a god or two and then won't my life be just wonderful after that?

Yeah...still some Christian hellfire and damnation spilling over.

It still feels like I'm not good enough and I really don't think that's what Heathenry or Paganism is all about.

I do try not to scoff at other practices.  I don't want the world to laugh at me so I try not to laugh at those I think are being silly.  But I mean, really....don't we all think Scientologists are just ridiculous, especially when we know for a fact that the whole religion was invented on a bet?  Okay, maybe not a fact, but there is a good deal of evidence out there that it was invented for a profit.

I see a lot of similarities in the Catholic church's treatment of nuns, aside from the sex part, although I have read stories of "ecstasy-filled visions" of nuns with Jesus.  I mean, there is the wedding ceremonies with the bride's dress, veil and a wedding ring.  Celibacy for life, etc.

And yet at least on one blog I've read on the topic the "wife" was also married to a human male so I'm not sure how that worked out.

And believe me, I have yet to read a blog on the subject where the "husband" or "wife" was merely a priest or priestess.  They're talking full conjugal rights and pleasures.  The exact kind of relationship you'd experience with a human.  Except they don't seem to have any equality in the relationship.

This disturbs me so much that I've had a few moments where I was re-thinking this whole Pagan thing.    Fortunately I got over that feeling but it still squicks me out immensely.

Am I being unfair?  Should I accept that there are just practices within all religions that exist on intimate levels, that there will always be the favored few and the rest of us are just fodder?  Or are these people living in a realm they have invented in order to make themselves more important?

I'm serious and I'd like serious responses.  If this is genuine, I will do whatever I can to accept it and never mock it again.  I'm just having a hard time believing it's anything more than role-playing.

Enlighten me, please!


  1. "This disturbs me so much that I've had a few moments where I was re-thinking this whole Pagan thing."

    Paganism is a circle not a box. There are a million different ways to be a Pagan and there are a million different ways people behave and call themselves a Pagan.

    This is why I detest labels.

    I hope you don't find me out of line here but you did ask for opinions and when I hear that I am always ready to offer mine.

    I think your past in Christianity is still riding shotgun in your life. I think that "all or nothing" bullshit of organized Religion is on your shoulder. Unless and until you free yourself of that mindset and allow yourself to be who you are, you will forever be in those shackles. There are no rules and regulations in Spirituality. Period.

    I also think you spend a lot of time in these groups and such and it seems like they really upset you. I know you also say you meet some good people and such, but maybe it's time to make a list and decide if this "networking" is really fulfilling you Spiritually.

    Get out of your head and get into your body.

    I hearts you and hope you don't come beat me with a bat.

    1. You done good, Hippy. I need blunt talk. I have eliminated the groups that upset me, though, and the ones that remain have been nothing but helpful. It's just that Loki came up on a board and that reminded me of all the Lokean wives blogs I ran into while trying to find more information about Norse stuff. They really did help me understand it all.

      I know my past with Christianity is baggage I need to discard for sure. But in this case it's not the all or nothing shit (although I do struggle with that from time to time.) This time it's the line drawn in the sand shit. I mean, in Paganism, is there every a line drawn where people say this goes too far or the gods just do not behave this way? I think that's my problem more than anything.

      Love you bunches and don't ever stop being honest!

  2. Hippy Jersey Devil has a good point. I've been active in both real life groups of various sizes and on line ones. Online ones ( and not just pagan ones) really sometimes go in directions that aren't always personally beneficial.

    As to the practice your speaking. I've read blogs on it also but I've never spoken with a person directly about nor known someone in real life who followed it. It isnt a view that fits with my spiritual beliefs but its existence by others has no affect on me either. There is no rule anywhere that you have to agree or believe everything other pagans do. The only rule I think is that we all give others the freedom to have their own beliefs. Hope that helps.

    1. Thanks Velody (love your blog, by the way). As I told Hippy, I had to delete the ones that were contentious and bossy. The two that remain aren't like that. Although they get spirited from time to time, they don't get overbearing or condescending. Especially the women's group. They really keep things civil and interesting.

      The women explained a lot to me about the practice and I understand it better although I suspect much of what I have read is more a trendy, jumping-on-the-bandwagon thing instead of the real deal. Anything that is trendy and fake will set off radars, I think, rather than something that is precious, sacred and genuine.

      I really appreciate your advice. Thanks!

  3. I have to second Hippy Jersey Devil as well- the beauty of the pagan labyrinth (it's a whole lot of paths, not just one) is that you can find a way that's right for you and it doesn't have to look like anyone else'. The idea of being married to a spirit or god/dess exists in a lot of cultures and religions from Roman Catholicism to Voodoo to Norse Heathenism and many many others. It's not something I personally think I could handle. I don't share space well at all.

    My understanding is that the process is not always voluntary either, and that's the part that I can't accept. Sorry, but I require that I have a choice in what happens to me. I won't put anyone down for believing as they do, or for accepting the attentions of a spirit or god/dess in that manner. It just wouldn't be acceptable to me personally.

    Since this more or less sums up my understanding of the subject, I would gladly accept further information from a source more in the know.

    1. I really am comfortable, so far, with my path and it's not that I think I have to participate so much as I think this makes a mockery of my beliefs. The women's group has said that this practice is rare and not generally publicized and that those who do probably aren't genuinely doing it and that the trend seems to have been started in a particular group that has questionable practices.

      I have seen blogs that talk about not having a choice in the matter, but I question that, too. I've noticed in my past religious life that people sometimes attribute to the Christian god things they really wanted to do in the first place but it makes look more special if they insist their god demanded it of them.

      As someone on the women's group said...the gods may lie, but people lie, too, so I shouldn't believe everything I read. Truth is, I really didn't believe them. I'm a bit skeptical after having been burned so many times in Christianity by people lying to me about their experiences so I don't just accept everything people say. I guess that's what bothered me the most, that they were just believed and no one questioned it at all.

      I also think the genuine practice is more like a priest/priestess rather than a sexual marriage type relationship.

      Thanks so much for your input. As always, you've provided me with lots to think about. :)

  4. I'm going to throw my voice in with the masses here...;-) And say that, first off, your path is yours. It's every bit as valid and important as every other person's is. No matter what. But of course, you know that...or should!

    And yes, there are these ceremonies in Voodou. I've never heard of the whole sex thing happening even as a vision...although I'm suppose there are those that would claim a thing like that. And as far as being married to both human and Lwa...there is one day a week you're prohibited from having sex in RL (depending on the spirit your married to) so it all works out. :-D

    I just went thru this myself, tho it was Twitter-created. It's like mirror-mirror syndrome; just like the evil queen, I want to feel that I am beautiful...or in this case "spooky." And it's frustrating when I feel not so good by comparison because they're flying their "spookier than thou" flag. Pffft. They're not. In this case, I just unfollowed a bunch of people that were affecting me. I don't need to read it, if it makes me feel that way. And I'm much better now without them.

    1. Thanks so much for commenting, Camylleon! It's good to hear from you. I love your blog and especially your last post.

      Thanks for the information about Voodou. I haven't read enough on it yet, but it does look interesting and very different from the blogs I had read. It seems to be more a very deeply connected bond between god and human, rather than a "marriage." I could be wrong, though, as I didn't research it fully.

      It's good to know I'm not alone in my feelings of inadequacy and it's bad to know it, too. I don't know if I have that low an opinion of myself or if there are people out there who just need to make themselves more important to the gods. I think it might be a combination of both. Certainly in Christianity, especially in the fundamentalist world and even moreso in the pentecostal world, there is always that gooder than you thing going on. Someone prays more, watches less television, spends more time with god, gets visions, speaks in tongues, etc. Nothing I ever did within Christianity was ever good enough to get me the same kind of relationship they seemed to have with their god.

      I think the fear of not connecting like that has made me a bit reticent to give myself fully over to the gods, open myself up and commit to them. But I do have over 50 years of indoctrination to overcome. I'm sure it's not going to happen overnight.

      Thanks again for commenting! I love what you had to say.

    2. Kathy...Awwwww...shucks! Thanks! :-D You're pretty darn spiffy yourself. I've been reading & loving your blog for awhile, but this is, quite honestly, the first time I've bothered trying to comment on a Blogger post. They used to only allow registered users & I never wanted to deal with it, so I didn't try. Guess that's changed! ;-) So here I am.

      You know, I believe (and I'm no psychologist so take your salt with this) that *everyone* is insecure. We just exhibit the symptoms differently. You and I beat ourselves over the head and cry out to the masses looking for sympathy and support...while others fluff up their feathers, parade themselves about, and fake it in order to get support. Either way, we're insecure. Either way, we're looking for approval and support. Just different methods of getting there. I find "my" way less annoying than the peacock path...but whichever way works, right?

      Like you, I've got a number of years of Christian baggage to shrug off. Most of us have some, but fewer of us were more involved. I'm thinking that like me, you were actually Christian, not just raised there's more than average to get rid of. And boy, do I feel that!

      In Voudoo, it is called a marriage...but I think it's less a marriage than even the nuns commit to. You're bonded to that Lwa, but it's not sexual, it's not slavery, it's mutual but not abusive. You do have your own life still, and they don't really ask all that much of us in the long run. It's a relationship; we take care of them, they take care of us. We give from love, and they give from love as well. Of course, they're also teachers...which means sometimes you get a lesson. Which is sometimes a bit harsh depending on how long it takes you to learn it and how stubborn you are! ;-)

      I've also read some of the blogs of the people who believe they're married to one god or another...and frankly, some do seem more like abusive relationships than healthy marriages. Not all of course; just a few. I don't think I'd want to be involved in that way!

      Don't my experience, when the Gods want you, they'll come and get you. And those are the best, most rewarding experiences I've had with any gods. When I forced it, when I chose the gods...nadda. Now...well, it's not the uber-super-spooky-mystic experience some people have, but it's spiritually fulfilling.

      And that's the point, isn't it? :-D

    3. You may be right although it's hard to imagine some of the arrogant people in my life as being insecure. Maybe it's a cover or maybe they're just played the role so long they wear it well. Who knows?

      What you say about Voodou makes sense to me and I can accept that those kinds of relationships exist between the gods and humans. It's just the giddy, planning-your-wedding stuff that makes me question the validity of it all. Renting a hall, writing up a wedding ritual, buying a wedding dress and all? Just seems a bit trendy and cosplay to me. I could be wrong though.

      Your last paragraph really resonated with me as I'm not sure if I've ever been called yet and maybe that's why I've wandered so much trying to find my path. And yet, when I stood at my altar last night I felt that I am on the right least for now. I'm learning never to deal in absolutes anymore. I'm not trying to force a relationship with them as I have done in the past with other gods. I'm just here, learning about them and seeing what happens. Who knows where the road will lead?