Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Being God-less (And Pagan) is A-Okay

{photo from http://itrustican.blogspot.com/}

Welcome back to the Duskenpath blog, guys. It's the new year. Hope yours is going well.

I've truthfully tried to write at least 3 posts up til now--but this is the only one that suddenly struck me with importance enough to write it. Because it wasn't so long ago I recognized this myself.

There is a difference, you'll find, between being Atheist and being God-less. Generally speaking, Atheism is the belief in no-gods. I am, or have become, effectively, God-less, which is different. (PS I also think it's a-okay to consider oneself Atheist and Pagan, but that's not the focus on this particular article, since it's my-experience based.) I believe in Gods, and in general you can consider me a more or less hard polytheist, as in Thor is not Anubis is not Zeus in my thought-paradigms. I have good reason that goes beyond belief to know Gods are there; I have worked with some in the past and a few have put themselves forward to me. I have no doubt these entities exist and roll the dice on our collective lives.

To understand this article better you need to grasp that you can believe in Gods, but believing does not necessitate worship, prayer or devotion to said Gods. So more or less, I believe in these Deities, but as it stands now, I am devoted, worshipping, or praying to none. Practically speaking.

When I began the path (I still identify as Pagan for all intents and purposes, discussion over that term recently notwithstanding) it honestly felt weird to me to worship Gods. I believed they existed even then because I had a few CLEARLY come through to me--but it felt unnatural somehow to pray, or worship. And I thought that was weird because I had conflicting desires--some part of me WANTED to be able to throw my devotion behind some being bigger than me (you can see this conflict coming through in some of my older posts)--and the other half of me said NO and put up a block, and made it feel unnatural. And no matter what Deity I tried, what paradigm, even when they came to ME and said "We're working together", it still didn't...feel right. It never "clicked". Like being stuck in dress that's a size too small because you keep telling yourself you'll lose the 5 pounds and fit better--but you know you're delusional, and the other half of you is like why are you even pretending? Cave and buy the fucking bigger size. Nobody cares but you. This applies to all labels, by the way.

I had Deity statues around and included them in rites and rituals--and it still felt wrong. Like it wasn't right somehow and I didn't have WORDS to describe why it wasn't right. But the Pagan comm at large puts an emphasis on Deity--naturally, of course--so I kept thinking maybe if I give it more time, if I keep trying, maybe the path just hasn't found me yet, and I'm missing something here.

I was half right. The path DID find me--the Deity never did. And for a long time I kept thinking that was wrong somehow. I went through the motions of petitioning Deity and the other stuff, too caught up in the action and the idea I had of this devotion to face the fact it was JUST an idea. It didn't hold water, which is why it made me feel hollow and hungry no matter how much I did it--like pouring water into a vase with a hole. There was no way those actions could fill the spaces I knew I had.

And it was only VERY recently--because it happened without me really noticing, the Deity thing I had, the IDEA slipping away--that I became aware that I had filled those holes, and I no longer felt the hunger. And here I was on the other side, with a healthy respect for Gods, but no pact, nor devotion, nor prayerful relationship with one--and that was okay. That was fine.

There's a point in the Path where I think you tend to step back and look at yourself and wonder why you're trying to hold up a sinking ship. It's sinking, so let it go. It's so much effort, and time, and annoyance, to try and keep, or be, something we know just ISN'T us. At a certain point you have to let go because the holding is just too intense, and the gain doesn't feel like anything but hollow. Eventually, I let go of my boat, which was this idea I had of what I as a Pagan path-walker SHOULD be doing.

In the place of the boat/the leaky pail was astral awareness, and Spirit-Walking, and knowledge born of direct experience, and a bond with my Guide, who is a God, but I don't Worship him, either. In the place of the hunger were answers, and pain, but even the pain was good because it was not hollowness, and there was a certainty of knowing myself and where my path leads. There have been Gods who have aided me, for sure, in my past, when I was younger--but truthfully I think we were never much invested in the other. A passing glance, perhaps, but on different paths. Different wavelengths. And there is nothing wrong with that. And, having reflected on this, I'm no longer afraid of this reality. It's not some lonely, terrifying path I imagined it to be. It feels right for me. It feels as though I should have cut away those parts of my path long ago, because it was never meant to converge with a God's. And I'm writing this because AS I write it I am realizing that it's okay. And I want others who have that same nagging doubt, or feeling, that they should be involved with Gods despite what they feel--that really. It's okay.

You can call yourself a Pagan/whatever term you want here and not be involved with Gods. Really. You don't have to have a Patron. It's not a requirement to worship and pray and offer. Trust me, you'll be fine. If you are into praying/worshipping/offering, that's fine too. If it's just for now you're Godless, and you won't be later, that's fine too. If you were Godless before, and now you have to hit them off with a stick, that's fine too. (If you're okay with that.) It's fine wherever you are, on your path, right now, because that's where you're supposed to be. If you're confused about Gods, that's also fine. You don't have to figure this shit out now. It took me a solid 6 years or so, and I'm standing on the other side of a healthy divide, writing this now.

But your path--your life--is what YOU make it. If you want to be Pagan and don't want Gods--do it. If you're a Recon dedicated to one, or many Gods--do it. If Gods want you, and you don't want Gods--tell them no. (And then, if need be, take Other Measures.) This Path is for you to decide. You decide where to walk from here. And it may be the deciding takes you years and talks and discussions with your Gods, and other people, and what have you, and wherever you end up, in the end, make sure it works for you. Make sure it fulfills you. And if that includes Gods, that's great. If it doesn't, that's also great.

Just a short post I probably could have used ~6 years ago.

PS, post on Fate and Threads coming very soon, I promise.