Pieces of the Spirit World

I know some of you are not on tumblr. To encourage you to continue not being on tumblr, I heard this from a friend this morning.

Apparently someone who has never had contact with deities before apparently had a thing with Loki, Thor, Fenris, and Ares, and they were all fighting over who was going to claim her as godspouse. Odin comes in to break up the fight and can’t (why the fuck not?) so her friend had to go in and do it, and then suddenly she’s claiming that she had sex with Thor on the astral plane.

What is this I don’t even

So, yeah, exhibit #1895 in WTF?

I’ll leave unpacking this person’s possible issues to the professionals.

But this post made me think beyond the usual sense of entitlement I’ve seen among Pagans of various stripes to something one of my crazy religious studies professors said in an undergraduate course in Gnosticism. He was talking about the concept of a “spiritual partner” and oblique references to the “bridal chamber” rite (which may or may not have included actual intercourse, although orthodox Christians were of course eager to claim that those gnostics loved their orgies).

And then my prof. said (paraphrased): “I think everyone wants a little piece of spirit that belongs to them.”

I think there’s something to this.

In Sumer, you have people addressing prayers to their personal god or goddess, in Vodou, you have the concept of the met tet (“Master of the Head”), in Catholicism, everyone has a guardian angel. Heathens may have fulltrui (but the fylgia might be a more apt comparison), more generically, people look for patrons and power animals.

The point is not that these things are analogous to each other (because they aren’t) but that they all share the quality of being yours.

They are your little piece of the spirit world.

I don’t mean to imply, of course, that all of these things are uniquely and forever and always yours, because some of them definitely are not. Multiple people have the same patron, or the same power animal (especially in the New Age/Neo-Pagan sense of a power animal, which is tied to an individual rather than a clan or tribe). It’s a bit like a song. My high school vocal music teacher (also a bit crazy) would always tell us “make the song your own” and a bunch of people can sing the same song, and it will be the same song, but each one of the singers puts something of themselves in it. It’s yours, but it’s not just yours.

So when I see people going on about trying to find their patron, or power animal, or what have you, I can’t help but think of this religious impulse. I suspect I could go on about human psychology and rugged individualism and ‘speshul snowflake’ stuff, but I expect I’d come up with something like “Humans, especially white, middle class, North American ones, raised in a culture that values the individual, want their pieces of the spirit world.”

Hence, you have people who search far and wide for their patrons, or convince themselves that having a patron/ness is the only legit way to be a Pagan.

In short, there are a lot of people who get hung up on this idea of “specialness”, everyone and their brother wants to be a godspouse (which doesn’t mean that there are no genuine godspouses, they just tend to be quieter about it because of all the crap that goes on), because so-and-so is and they have such intense experiences, and that makes it so much better than every other relationship and everyone wants a deity to pay that kind of special attention to them, don’t they?

No, no no no, because having that kind of attention paid to you means a ton of responsibility, and right now, I don’t need it, right now, there are a bunch of things I could be doing that I’m not doing right now.

Yeah, I really should go do things.

 

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5 thoughts on “Pieces of the Spirit World

  1. “Apparently someone who has never had contact with deities before apparently had a thing with Loki, Thor, Fenris, and Ares, and they were all fighting over who was going to claim her as godspouse. Odin comes in to break up the fight and can’t (why the fuck not?) so her friend had to go in and do it, and then suddenly she’s claiming that she had sex with Thor on the astral plane.”

    Sadly, this is not the first such time I’ve read about or heard (like, with my own ears) someone making such a claim.

  2. Heh. I saw that, too, and it made me laugh in a very sad way. Because being a godspouse is all about the sex and the petty jealousies.

    1. It just strikes me as so odd that in this day and age anyone would think that deities would get their panties in a bunch over us humans, it’s just so, so….I don’t know…the whole thing is just…

      Oh, and if I had those four in the same room together I would RUN AWAY VERY FAST (and not just because I’m a lesbian either) before I ended up with more than a few broken bones.

      1. No shit. I cannot imagine, for the life of me, those four arguing over a mortal. Can’t. It just makes me giggle. It’s like high school all over again. You know if they got really picked up by a God for a spousal relationship with all that goes along with it that they’d flip the fuck out.

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