Oh Facebook, whatever would I do without you, my ticket to the most hardcore of hardcore recon rantings? In the vaguest of terms, Asshattru became butthurt re: Loki and started demanding that Lokeans explain why they honoured Loki despite scholarly consensus (LOL, scholarly consensus, that’s a new one) that he was never worshiped.
So, yours truly, being the
masochist nice person that I am, decides to try to explain that sometimes you just don’t choose which deities you’re going to worship. This is a fact that is lost on lorethumpers, who can’t imagine that anyone could possibly interact with their deities, but I tried anyways, it can’t hurt to try.
Alas, the nature of mysticism is completely lost on these people, who tend to have a “no sharing” policy on things like UPG. The arguments that went back and forth in that thread reminded me of two classes I took to earn my masters, one was a course on storytelling, and the other was on folklore and fairy tales.
I find fairy tales very interesting because you can enjoy them in so many different ways. You can just enjoy the story, or explore the variations (Cinderella alone has over a thousand variants), and then there are layers of meaning to explore….
…..and that’s when you learn that Little Red Riding Hood is all about sex and cannibalism, or becoming a prostitute, and you can never look at it the same way again.
While reading the thread (and I read the whole thing) it struck me that these people were like one person in my storytelling class, who, upon hearing that one story had talking animals, asked “Why are there talking animals?” What I saw in that thread was the same kind of thinking.
This is conventional logic, but it’s not fairy tale logic. According to fairy tale logic, animals talk, and if you want to survive your tale with all your parts intact, you fucking listen to that talking animal! Fairy tale logic doesn’t adhere to the same rules, and applying conventional logic to them just doesn’t make any sense.
It’s the same for more mystical traditions. Mystics don’t follow the same rules, they may be a part of a larger tradition (say, Catholicism) but something’s a little….off….about them, and the thing is, all the scholarship in the world doesn’t matter when you’re face to face with a deity who would like you to do something, now, as in right now.
Now, don’t get me wrong, scholarship can help you understand what you’ve experienced by couching it in religious language that you understand, but all the sources in the world that tell you “Loki was never worshiped” don’t change the fact that Loki showed up in your fucking living room, and He’s been showing up in other peoples’ living rooms, and sometimes, He even shows Himself to people who have had no exposure to the lore before He showed up.
Society, understandably, doesn’t know what to do with mystics anymore than they know what to do with goddesses like Freyja. Mystics are reviled one moment and grudgingly accepted in the next. Everyone agrees that they’re nuts, of course, but at the same time, they get away with things that any “normal” person in that society would probably be executed for doing (likely on account of their perceived madness) and yet, no one wants to be the one to tell them to clear out, instead, they get them to write books, or poetry, and then we read these these and conclude that a saint’s mystical vision is suspiciously similar to sex, followed by an orgasm. In my storytelling class, we learned of individuals known as “storm fools” who would venture out in blizzards to bring news and tell stories to people living in the next settlement over.
So, this is basically history repeating itself. Congratulations! You get to have conversations with deities–the downside is that everyone now thinks you’re crazy, when they’re not killing you, of course. There’s this real anxiety directed at more mystically-inclined people. Heathens can pretend that their reluctance to discuss things like magic is due to a lack of credible source material and the influence of Wicca, but I honestly think it’s more of the same anti-mystic BS.
Before I end this, I should also say that talking to deities and journeying and having all these neat experiences isn’t an excuse to be a total asshole to others. This is probably preaching to the choir, but in case anyone new is reading this, seriously, no one likes an asshole (certain sexual practices notwithstanding). I know, I know, it’s like being given a new car, being told that people are going to hate you for having it, and then being told that you’re STILL not allowed to be smug about it, even though you really want to be.
So yeah, mystics, it sucks to be you, even if everyone else secretly envies you, but don’t get smug about it.