On choices and priorities
Unexpectedly (though perhaps by no one other than me, considering the crisis point that occurred in my relationship with Odin this past week), last night’s oracular seidhr reached a new level. I had intended to experiment with a flying ointment (as I did last month, with one of Sarah Lawless’s excellent salves), but then Odin showed up to help me with my final preparations (the cleansing bath, and setting my ritual crown on my head right before I ascended the high seat—things that can potentially happen when you have the good fortune to live with a talented Odin horse who is pretty much always wide open to Him) and all such thoughts were banished from my head, along with all of my woe-is-me residual garbage left over from last week’s fighting. Thus cleansed and consecrated by His own hands, I didn’t need a flying ointment; I flew anyway. The door between the worlds that I am, that I embody, burst wide open, and suddenly my high seat stood by the Well, where the gods and spirits gathered around us. And visions and words poured into me and flowed through me in a torrent, into Jolene’s waiting pen (and from there, in the next day or so, into the in-boxes of those who sent in their queries).
At Yule, He told me quite clearly that this was the year the training wheels would come off, and He has been true to His word. In fact, all of last week’s strife between us was centered on that very issue: although His tenderness, His gentleness towards me remains (when I allow it to), He is quite finished coddling me when I hear Him but refuse to listen, and in situations where I know the right thing to do and still refuse to do it. He is quite finished with allowing me to get away with either intentional or mindless neglect of my body and its needs, because my body is His tool as well as His shrine. And He is quite finished with standing by while I struggle to apply labels dictated by others to my path, or to wedge myself somehow into boxes others have designed. And honestly, I am quite finished with all of that, too. Last night’s seidhr allowed me a glimpse of who I can be and what I can be: His Seeress, His Mate, His Queen, His priestess, a worthy consort for Him—all that I have ever wanted, and it is only myself and my own stubborn foibles, my headstrong resistance to following where He leads, that have stood in my way. He is the binder and releaser of fetters, and last night He released the last of the fetters I had installed myself, years ago, so that I could finally see the truth.
“You will walk My path with Me or I will drag you behind Me—but either way, you are coming,” He tells me. This, I am ashamed to admit, has become something of a refrain with Him. He will never let me go, He assures me; He will keep me even if I should grow to hate Him. “I want your love—I want it desperately—but I do not require it.” And my secret is that I, in turn, would never leave Him—not even if I were to suddenly despise Him as much as I now love Him—because it would render my life up until this point utterly meaningless, without hope or a shred of promise, a black pit holding nothing but rot and despair. He is my life’s only joy as well as its only source of meaning, and even if I did come to hate Him—which I once thought impossible, but after this week I have sworn an oath to myself that I will never allow it to happen, because I have seen that it could—a part of me would remember that and always yearn towards the slightest, most fragile wisp of hope that it could be brought back, fanned into life again. So, we are bound together, stuck with one another, and as I would truly rather die a violent death than have a continuation of last week to its inevitable end, I will do as He says. I even want to do as He says.
“Love Me, serve Me, do as I say, and I will be your slave.” This too (quoting Jareth, the Goblin King from The Labyrinth movie) has become a refrain of His, and I know it means that, ideally, if I allow it, as Husband and wife we will serve each other, in a partnership in which we are each the devoted slave of the other, willingly and passionately. But that is only if I allow it. I can walk with Him, hand in hand, or I can be dragged; there is really, He has made clear to me, no other choice.
In light of all of this, you would think I would—years ago, now—have realized the truth of the matter: that I am in fact a godatheow, a godslave. For years, though, I have resisted using that term, partially because I had some bad experiences related to it in the Heathen community, and for the same reason He has not pushed the matter—until now. Yet, in the wake of my having pushed Him as far as I did this past week, He is pushing the matter now. In the now-pretty-distant past I have been known to make some rather contemptuous comments about both godslavery as a concept, and godslaves in particular, and so this is me, owning my shit.
At the same time though, He has also always stressed to me the power of choice in our relationship and in my own life. “Valkyrie” means “chooser of the slain,” and accordingly He has always urged me to identify and remove those things that need to be eliminated from my life, the things that stand in the way of my moving closer to Him, because my eliminating those things myself is less painful than waiting for Him to do it. (As I found out last week.) In relation to which, a post by Thista Minai caught my attention:
I can be the priestess I want to be. I’m already on that path; I’m doing it now. I’m proud of what I’ve become, of what I’m becoming. All it takes is a monumental commitment of time and energy. On some level, I’d already known that. The revelation was fully understanding that I’m not going to get to do all the fun mundane things I thought I’d be able to do when I finally finished graduate school. I have a steady job with a predictable schedule and good hours, so how come I still never have time for anything? Because I spend all my time doing spiritual Work, or tending to my sanity so that I can do spiritual Work. The Gods have not forbidden me from taking karate classes, or joining an A Capella group, or performing with a fire spinning troupe. There just isn’t enough time in my life for me to do any of those things and all the work I’d need to do to be the sort of priestess I want to be. I have to choose: I can do those things and be a lesser priestess, or I can give up those things, and do what it takes to be the best priestess I can be. If there were time for me to do both, I don’t think the Gods would object. It’s not about Them denying me things I want, or controlling my life. It’s about me having priorities.
So in the end, even allowing for my newly realized Godatheow status, this choice is still left to me: “Walk My path with Me or be dragged behind Me.” Given such a a choice, why would I choose to be dragged, and why would I force Him to waste His time and energy—which could be so much better spent—dragging someone who should be His willing partner in all things, someone who swore to serve Him willingly? I have seen where I have the potential to go—I was allowed a glimpse of that last night, when He placed the crown on my head and then I flew—so why wouldn’t I put all of my time and energy, willingly and joyfully, into reaching that? Unfortunately, it is not as though I have all the time in the world; I still work mostly full time, and I still have the physical limitations that I have, and I am only a few years from reaching fifty. It is, indeed, all about priorities, about choosing to be the best priestess, the best seeress, the best wife and Queen I can be, and about making that goal the center of my life—as it should be—and eliminating whatever stands in the way of it.