a little rant about being “special”
Just a little disclaimer. You don’t have to agree with the things I say here, but please try to argue with me about what I actually said, and please try to refrain from yelling and insults. Thanks. Here we go:
Last night I was looking through my journal with the intention of sharing some of the Nephthys and Morrigan related entries and I thought to myself, I can’t share any of these because then people will think I’m trying to be special and I’ll get a bunch of blowback that I don’t want to deal with. Who am I to have such positive (mostly) experiences with the gods, when so many others seem to have such grim ones? Yet, the revelations and experiences detailed therein are real, or as real as UPG can be. I didn’t make them up in order to make myself feel worthy, but as soon as the gods turn up and show favor it seems like there’s fallout from the polytheist community (in a general way, since there’s not necessarily one polytheist community). Which lead me to the following serious question: why do we hate specialness (or perhaps perceived specialness) so much?
In fact I think I’ve witnessed other polytheists police specialness more than I’ve seen them practice their own shit (no this isn’t about anyone in particular but if the shoe fits feel free to lace that bitch up and wear it). Whether it’s the person who follows a particular God daring to say she’s earned a place at his side in the afterlife, or the people who have D/s relationships with their gods, or godspouses, or–to reference one of the arguments I’ve been in recently–people who dare to express interest in a priestly path, all must be slapped down so they don’t get too big for their britches! Plus, I feel like spiritual BDSM and ordeal deserve a shout out here too, since apparently practicing these things makes other people feel like they have the right to level all sorts of false accusations at the practiioniers for the crime of being special and/or perverts.
I went in to this a bit in my C is for Controversy post awhile back, about certain prominent people in polytheism and all the bullshit they have to deal with. But you know what? I look at what people do. And some of these controversial figures were some of the ONLY people standing up and saying that maybe, as a pagan, you shouldn’t fuck kids (around the whole Klein thing) or hang out with people who fuck kids. They’re some of the only people doing any organizing or planning as far as polytheist events go. It doesn’t matter if I do or don’t like them as people, as long as they walk their talk.
Anyway, getting a bit off track.
It’s not just religion though, but everything that could make a person stand out. If you have more than two medical conditions? Special snowflake. Have you experienced more than one interesting thing in your life? Yeah right, that so happened. Are you genderqueer? Whatever, you just like to be difficult and complicated. Obviously your identity is a choice, you sad little person, not something inherent about you. Oh, sure, little pathetic human, why don’t you tell me about how you’re a spiritual shapeshifter some more? As if.
In some ways it’s understandable. We all know that one pagan or polytheist who swans in to gatherings and overshares the oral sex they supposedly had with Freyja that morning, right before Loki sent a flight of Valkyries to sing the person’s praises. But oh oh, they’re also Bast’s favorite devotee, and they’re part unicorn and whatever. All of this in and of itself is certainly possible and potentially legitimate, but there are people who misuse these things and I acknowledge that. There are people who view experiences and relationships with the gods as merit badges to be collected, ornamentation to doll up a lacking personality. Sure. I acknowledge that. You’ll never see me of all people saying that narcissists and psychopaths don’t exist, not to mention the myriad other conditions and issues that might make a person construct a wall of bullshit to hide behind.
Plus, this is not to say that people don’t need guidance and don’t need their heads tugged down out of the clouds sometimes. Especially for people just figuring out a polytheistic path, their eagerness can work against them. They need help as far as practicing discernment, approaching the gods and spirits respectfully, and not rushing in to permanent astral contracts. In my view one of the most important things everyone should learn to differentiate is what is the bullshit your own mind is generating, both good and bad, and what is actually an experience with divinity? Awhile back I mentioned how when I’m sick it’s pointless to do any spirit work or even try and talk with the gods, because illness brings up negative feelings for me and suddenly I am confusing that with the gods disapproving of me. Or, it’s all too easy for us to put our issues with our parents or our issues with Christianity/Judaism/Islam on to the gods. They are the ultimate authority figures and if you have a problem with authority, it will come out, and likely in a way that will fuck with your perception of what the gods are trying to communicate to you.
But really, what skin is it of your nose beyond that? If the person is disruptive, you remove them. If they’re acting out because of a mental illness or a drug addiction, hopefully you or someone else in the circle will recognize what’s happening and hook that person up with appropriate help. Hell, I’m skeptical of pop culture deities. There, I said it. But I could be wrong. And, furthermore, what people do with and in regards to their experiences with pop culture deities is none of my business and impacts my own practice not at all. It is not my job to police them.
Is this why there are so many grim experiences regarding the gods out there? Are people afraid to write about positive ones because they don’t want to be accused of being a special snowflake? Of course I think the grim, hard work of being a god’s servant is real and a common experience and I’ve been enriched by reading blogs of that tenor, but I know there’s more out there. A big rainbow of relationships, if you will, but only some of the colors seem to be coming through strongly. It’s similar to how I suspect there are Kemetic godspouses out there, but they’re afraid to blog about or otherwise admit to it.
Once I get home I’ll post some of those entries. I’m afraid to in a way, given everything I’ve said here, but if I want that rainbow to have more colors I guess I have to do my part.