Almost a week ago, some dearly beloved deities left me.
I knew this was coming, but the time table I had in mind turned out to be not what They had in mind. The date of Their leaving was sooner than I thought, and so I had to show up looking my very best and watch as a complex ceremony marked a firm division between the private, playful time I had spent with Them, and the formal, rules-bound time I would spend with Them from now on.
And my stupid heart broke because I felt like They were leaving me. Even as They were invoked more fully into my communal midst, I craved only the loose and unstructured moments I had spent in Their company. I felt like a child whose friends were moving away; I was irrationally jealous of the new school I knew they would have, the new friends who would certainly be more fun than me, the new home that would definitely be larger and more interesting and that I’d probably never get to visit because I was sure to be forgotten. I resented the forces that took my friends away even though I knew that they had very important jobs to do. I was so sad I cried all day, cried until my contact lenses stopped letting me see clearly. A few days later I was still crying, this time in a mixture of sadness and free-floating anger. I didn’t even know who I was angry at – mostly at Them, I suppose, angry that They couldn’t stay and be my playful carefree friends forever, that They were soooo important that They could give me nothing, no reassurance of company or remembrance or consideration.
But really, sulked my bitter little heart, what did I really expect? “O listen, dear! | Your Tomorrow became a today | with other women.” I have no claim on the affections or attentions of the gods, and yet every scrap of logic or reason I tossed at my emotional distress was quite useless. I couldn’t find any comfort. I knew I would simply feel bad until I stopped.
Last night I finally realized that there was no small measure of arrogance inside my anger and sadness. Yes, obviously it’s legitimate to feel angry and sad when one feels left behind or ignored; yes; it’s quite legitimate to have emotional reactions within relationships. But it can be helpful to understand *why* reactions are taking place, especially if the reactions are rooted in misplaced beliefs or assumptions, or in unhealthy egoic beliefs, or other psychological issues. For me, one of my perpetual issues is fear of abandonment and the deep-rooted belief that I’ll always eventually be abandoned. This leads to a rather shaky ego integrity; I tend to overcompensate, trying to make myself invaluable, trying to seek praise and assurances of love and gratitude from others even in venues where such things are not really appropriate, or even necessary on an ongoing basis (because shouldn’t I just be able to trust that I’m loved and appreciated? I’m incapable of doing so? Well, that might be a personal problem then because it’s not everyone’s job to assure me of such things). Because, just maybe, if people declare that they truly do love and appreciate me, they won’t be in such a damned rush to ditch me. Trouble is, I never actually believe them when they do assure me, so we’re always stuck in a damned quandary.
One of the challenges I’ve had with the gods – and with Loki in particular – is trusting that *I* can be loved and appreciated while others are also loved and appreciated. That is, I always doubted that I was at all cared about with anything approaching the same magnitude that He seemed to care for others. I didn’t believe anything He said to me, even though I pleaded for words and gestures of affection. I’d be heartbroken and full of doubt when I couldn’t find Him in my life, except that I’d be endlessly second-guessing myself and Him when He was around. This went on FOR YEARS. Like, I might roll my eyes and grit my teeth at people who seem to need endless assurance about divination or omens or whatever that Himself is in communication with them but I was at least as bad. I had zero ego integrity when it came to anything related to Him and our relationship. I had been so beaten down by myself, by life, by past abuse and trauma, and by the inherent stress of being 22 and out of my mind that I really couldn’t see that a lot of these issues were self-created, or at least self-perpetuated.
It took a long-ass time to grow an emotional backbone of sufficient strength to be OK with different relationships existing in different states at the very same time. Because I looked like a goddamn basket case worrying about the state of relationships that weren’t my own – and even though this wasn’t exactly what was happening in the past handful of days, I still had to confront the specter of arrogance inside me.
See – a devotee of any Power that exists in a shared field with any other devotee (say, like a god or other well-known spirit, not like a personal ancestral Power but maybe even then to a much more limited degree), is likely to get fucked up if they can’t cope with the idea of that Power having private time with other people. They share unique and complex expressions of relationship with each of us; They have to, in order to suit our often highly individual needs. Although some of our interactions and experiences will line up in interesting and perhaps even meaningful patterns, many will not and we have to be OK with that, and not worry about that or second-guess ourselves or prod too much at one another. This kind of egoic integrity takes some time to grow; experience with a Power helps. Talking to lots of people can help, too. (Or maybe it hurts. Depends on who you are, I suppose. Some people flourish best in private. We have to come to recognize that about ourselves – and others! – and allow for the space with gracefulness.)
I was finally able to recognize that although I did have some genuine, healthy relational connections that were suffering appropriate sadness as I went through a transition period with these Powers, I was also suffering reactivity from some unhelpful arrogance. Thankfully the worst of the distress only lasted a handful of days; it could have lasted quite a bit longer but even so I’ve been quite grumpy and unhappy in a way I really dislike being. There is absolutely no place for arrogance in relationships with the Powers, because what kind of contest or race do I imagine I’m in? Who am I trying to impress? Who am I showing off for? If any of my energy is spent on showboating, then I’m taking away from the attention I should be spending trying to improving my connecting with Them – and that certainly does not impress. In this case, these Powers were absolutely right to let me feel some pointed separation. Loki just tends to fuck off and leave me stew for months at a time until I get over my bad self.
It’s rather like the difference between cultivating a witchcraft practice that is magically potent or one that simply looks good on social media. One that’s magically potent lets you actually accomplish your goals and keeps you in balance with the forces you’re working with. Sure, you might have some cool tools and you might even meet some cool people along the way, but the point is something else entirely. The other one is all about social capitol. You’re always worried about what other people are doing, about what shiny objects are trending, and about how your own feed fits into various niches. Actually accomplishing anything magically becomes secondary (or tertiary!) to a e s t h e t i c.
So I dunno – I’m glad for the growth opportunity, but it always sucks to trip over my own shoelaces, especially when it seems like these are lessons I should have learned already. Just goes to show that there are lessons that have a tendency to always show up in new guises, and that deep fractures of the self are going to show up wherever we encounter the Work. It’s a good thing we are not rejected; it’s a good thing I’m met only with patience.
And have I been left? Of course not. In fact, I was told quite directly that I have no idea what the future holds. While I might be experiencing this particular emotional reality at this moment, and it certainly has its own validity and legitimacy (colored with misplaced ego constrictions or not), it will not last and it will be replaced with something new for me to experience. I will be able to explore some new unfolding territory of relational reality with these particular Powers. It could be sweet; it could be quite terrifying. I have no idea really. No idea at all. But They’ll be with me, and so will He, so I suppose it’ll all be alright if only because we’ve come this far together and survived. I trust Him. And slowly, slowly, I’m coming to trust myself.