You might be aware that it happens but you don’t think it’ll happen to you: You think you know a Guy and suddenly He might be someone else. Perhaps the One you’ve been praying to for month or year – or decades – slips off the mask and a new face appears. A new form, unfamiliar faces, unexpected attributes rise to the surface of Their presentation and you’re left feeling confused, betrayed, and upset.
Have the emotions been lies? Have the words They’ve spoken been falsehoods to lure you into believing something that wasn’t ever true? What of the promises made, the vows spoken, the ordeals undertaken, the faith kept? Can you trust anything They’ve said at all? Can you trust yourself anymore?
It happens. It happens more than you might expect. In fact, for polytheists this kind of categorical disruption is almost – but not quite – entirely normal.
Except that it’s not, you know? The books don’t mention that the Gods can change. Our kindred leaders and religious guides don’t talk about the time that Anubis was Coyote was Aphrodite. We don’t swap stories at meetups about confused identities and the complex knotted mess of faith and vows and promises left in the wake of Their coming out. This experience is turned into a solitary ordeal endured quietly in the most private corners of our hearts and minds. This happens because not only have we individually been chastised for being too emotional, too devoted, too enthusiastic in our embrace of a divinity, but because we now have to admit that – on some level – we were wrong.
In that admission is an immense ocean of tumultuous accusation. We should have known better. We should have studied harder. We should have joined an orthodox group instead of striking out on our own with our cat spirits and faery guides and dream life lived Somewhere Else. We should have stopped watching anime in high school. We should have read a scholarly book or two. We should have listened to our elders – you know, the ones who never told us that anything could go wrong on the path to spiritual growth.
It’s a lie, you know. It’s all a lie.
I’ll tell you a truth: You’re not wrong.
You’re not wrong to experience the Gods changing shape. You’re not wrong to experience the blurring of lines, the erasure of titles, the disruption of names and familiar forms.
The lie is that this never happens. The lie is that you’re doing it wrong if it happens.
That’s not a lie I’m willing to perpetuate.
This kind of disruption happens for many, many, many reasons, not all of which are even able to be spoken aloud. Some of these reasons are for the Gods themselves to explain to you, in Their own words, in Their own time. Some of these reasons are for you to discover yourself as you experience the unpleasant growth that is forced during this period.
You’re not wrong to feel this way.
You’re not wrong to want to pitch the whole thing, to toss it in the dumpster in the alley out back, to fling the books out of the window of a moving car, to delete your blogs and Facebooks and emails and mailing list memberships. You’re not wrong to want to change your name.
There is no easy way out of this. Sorry/not sorry. This experience is the path teaching you something that you need to know. I can’t tell you what that thing is because there are lots of possible lessons to learn in this. It might be that you need to get to know yourself a whole lot better. It might be that you need to exercise that backbone you just grew. It might be that you need to let go of what you thought you know, what you trusted because someone else told you was true. It might be that you need to grow the truth for yourself and that can only happen through personal lived experience.
Names, forms, attributes – these things are mostly convenient for us. The Powers don’t need them in the same way we do; they have a very different relationship to Their names and forms and attributes than we do. However, They have a degree of ownership over these things that gives Them permission to move them about as They wish. The Powers reveal chosen names and forms and attributes as They wish, when and where and to whom They wish. This isn’t done necessarily to frustrate or hurt us. Usually it’s to teach us something very important about how we should – or could – relate to Them.
Though I said that many, many possible lessons might come from this experience, there is one that I feel is especially relevant to any polytheist, devotionally-identified or not, and that is to let Them be as They wish to be. If we accept that the Powers have wills and desires of Their own, then it follows that They would have preferences regarding how They are related to by us (collectively and individually). The Power in your life might be getting tired of living up to the role of wacky sidekick, stern uncle, or distant mother. They might wish to express Themselves on Their own terms and so are leading you to acknowledge different sides of Them through the adoption of unfamiliar guises and behaviors.
You might discover that you really were talking to an entirely different Power than you thought you were. You might also discover that They were really only just Themselves all along.
13 thoughts on “When Lines Blur”
‘let Them be as They wish to be’ – this is sound advice! Of course we don’t have much choice in how they appear to us, but we can choose to honour and accept their appearance(s) rather shunning them for fear they’re not ‘right’ in others’ peoples eyes or in relation to ancient texts!
The last time I was depressed, Odin made a point to come by in His Santa Claus aspect. Or something, maybe the Yulfather I don’t know. But then I also got dreams of Santa as a separate entity coming to visit while Odin was there. Maybe They tag team? I don’t know. But it was really helpful, in the midst of a depression, to see a sweeter side to my God. (I should thank Him again for that actually).
That’s really sweet. Yes, definitely thank Him for that. Maybe Christmas cookies in June? 😀
Eheheheheh. I shall look into that! Thanks for the suggestion.
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Thank you for sharing this. ❤
And thank you for reading. ❤
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Another brilliant post, Silence. I was born in the spring and summer of 2012. Who I am now did not exist before then; and has not finished baking from that oven, though taken out of the immediacy of it. During that period in my experience of many Gods and Goddesses as middle man between a Beloved Priestess broken in war and the Holy Powers, there was a period where there was a showing of Who and What aspects They were by choice evolving into.
Recently, on questioning embarking on a new pathway I was warned by the God that all my boundaries would blur and that I had no idea what would come with that first step. After pushing me into some of my hidden fears, His last point to me was that if I could come to Him without fear, and only love, that all would be well.
That is my only ticket and has been for a long while. My heart.
I can’t exactly relate to the experience you describe, though I do know how it is to be in a position where the only option is to trust. Thank you for sharing this.