Godspouse? Say what? (The Pagan Experience)

Odin and His brothers create the first humans

Odin and His brothers create the first humans, by Ksenia Savchenko

(February Week 1 – Humanity)

What is your contribution to the collective space of humanity? How does your spiritual path support this definition and contributions?

Hi, I’m Beth, and I’m a godspouse! I live in the (urban) wilds of Oregon with another godpouse, in what can best be described as a DIY nunnery situation; we both work outside the home, and I work on my business AT home in addition to that. (As I am disabled, I’m trying very hard to morph my business into being my primary, or even only, job.) But other than that, we lead a semi-secluded, more-or-less monastic lifestyle with our respective gods and a houseful of animals (both living and dead).

Now, you can sneer at the “godspouse phenomenon” all you want—and plenty of people do—but it’s not a fad, or at the very least not a new one; it’s been going on for at least the twelve years I’ve been married to Odin. And although I am an old-timer at this particular gig, I think there were a handful of people doing it even before me. So, what is a “godpouse”? Basically, it is one the most common terms used to describe a person who self-identifies as the mortal consort of a god. (There are also spirit spouses—people married to spirits who may lack “official deity” status.)

One of the first things the skeptical ask when they learn that I’m a godspouse is “Why would the gods even want human spouses? They already have divine ones, don’t they?” Yes, They do, and we are not a replacement for Them. But the notion that a god would not want a human woman for a wife when He already has a goddess-wife makes the assumption that the gods see humanity in the same way we do—as inherently lesser than They are—and I don’t think that’s true. Yes, without question They are bigger, and They have more power—and, of course, there’s that fringe benefit of not being mortal. (Although, some of the gods do manage to die even despite this; witness Balder, as one example.) But my experiences and interactions with Odin, as well as His teachings, have led me to see all of u/Us—humans, gods, spirits, ancestors, and other races of beings such as Alfar, Duergar, Jotnar, etc.–simply as spirits in different stages of our own personal journeys towards self-actualization (or, towards our own personal “Great Work,” if you prefer). Clearly, some of us are further along in that journey than others; Odin, for example, is much further along than I am, but He recognizes in me a kindred spirit who, rather than being inherently inferior to Him, simply has different challenges to deal with in this current phase of my existence. It has become something of a cliché to say “I am not a body that has a spirit, but a spirit that has a body”–however, that’s more or less it, in a nutshell. In my own philosophy (which—with a nod to my friend Nornoriel Lokason—is decidedly a Left Handed one), some of us began our soul’s journeys with incarnations as beings other-than-human (as giants or elves, for example, or even as what we would now call “gods”), and some of us will end them as other-than-human.

This viewpoint makes it a little easier to understand why some gods may choose human spouses (maybe we’re human right now, but were once something else; maybe we won’t always be human); however, it isn’t the point, and doesn’t really answer the question I started out asking: Why would a god even want a human spouse? Sure, there could be personal associations with an individual from other incarnations, other realities, etc., but given that we’re incarnate and They’re not, why wouldn’t They just wait to resume the relationship once we’ve ditched our fleshbound status (as it were)?

My own line of reasoning is as follows: For me, what separates “the gods” from “other spirits of various realms and tribes/races” (Jotnar, Alfar, etc.) is that the gods—the deities that have been recognized by humanity as worthy of worship down through the millennia of human history—have a proprietary interest in humanity as a whole; They have watched us, fostered us, taught us, helped us when They could, and perhaps even had a hand in creating us in the first place. They have chosen to bind Their wyrd with ours in a larger, species-wide sense; They are invested in the success of our race as a whole, the human race.

Many skeptics of divine marriage will point out that the practice is mentioned very little or not at all in ancient sources, and I think there’s a reason for this: in the ancient past, when our ancestors were committed to the gods on a widespread, cultural basis, when the worship of the gods pervaded every aspect of daily life, this sort of intimate involvement in the lives of individual people was less needful. (This is the same reason there were fewer mages, mystics, shamans, witches, etc., way back when; we didn’t need as many.)

But now, at least in America (and other first world countries), the issue isn’t just that our society is no longer dedicated to the ancient gods; it isn’t just that we’re living in a predominantly Christian culture. No, the problem is that we’re living in a predominantly secular culture, one in which most people have not only forgotten the gods but have even forgotten the meaning of holiness. Having lost this, how can we remember our link with Them, our mutual pact of protection and worship, Their agreement to foster us as we grow more and more like Them? No, in our modern culture, we assume that we ourselves, as humans, already ARE the gods, and then we throw away all that is potentially holy in that very assumption. We are all-powerful—but we have no responsibilities to other species, not even to our own. We do things that our ancestors would have thought only gods capable of achieving, but we never ask ourselves whether these are things we should be doing. (Fracking, anyone?) We are the pinnacle of creation—but we don’t even remember that creation is, in itself, the source of all that is sacred in the world. We don’t even remember that the world IS sacred.

And so, my most simplistic theory of “why godspousery?” is that the gods have come back into our lives in a very direct and intimate way in order to remind us of all of the above. To remind us that our destinies are bound with Theirs, that this is an ancient pact They made with us as a species, that we are kindred spirits, albeit at different points along our respective journeys—and to remind us of those things in a more tangible, practical way, They have taken up some of us who can hear and speak with Them, and have married us, literally binding our wyrd with Theirs in a more personal way. By inserting Themselves into our lives in this way (yes, do go ahead and enjoy the bad pun I just made), They are making Themselves real to us and making Their various agendas our own. They are binding us to other worlds beyond this one (the worlds They Themselves call home); They are rending the veil between There and Here, and teaching us to do the same. They are showing us that “kin” and “family” extend beyond that which we call human, in the most direct way possible. They are re-enchanting the world, re-sacralizing it, one mortal marriage at a time.

What does it mean to be the human consort of a god? For me, that while I am here on earth I am the tangible and mortal representative of a god, His agent in the quest to re-establish bonds between humanity and the gods, His doorway into this realm. What does it mean to be human? In my own practice, it means to remember that I am not lesser-than, that I am neither the very top nor the very bottom of creation, that I have tangible links to other beings of different tribes who inhabit different worlds, and that I am neither more nor less than they are; I am simply at a different point in the spectrum of my own journey.

 

paganexperience

 

 

New votive spell candles for Valentine’s Day and Imbolc at FiberWytch on Etsy!

I have two new scented (and very sexy!) soy spell votives for Valentine’s Day (just in time for that special date with your b/Beloved), and one for Imbolc, in addition to new votives with my Dreamtime fragrance blend! I’m very excited about these new blends and absolutely love them (so much so that I’m reserving one of each of the Valentine’s Day votives for Odin and myself). As always, these were hand poured in very tiny batches and there are limited quantities available. (And unlike with my previous votives, only ONE candle is included per listing.)

IMG_4277

My Sex and Chocolate votive candles have been hand dyed in a sexy lipstick-red shade, generously scented with premium fragrance oils, and dressed with shimmery white glitter. They are “fixed” or spelled to encourage passion, desire, lust, and love, and are perfect for love spells and sex magick, or just for that sexy evening the two of you have planned alone together.

How do they smell? Like your B/beloved brought you a box of chocolates and a big bouquet of flowers (think lilacs and lilies) and you had hot, sweaty sex with him by way of saying “thank you.” There are notes of chocolate, florals, musk, and leather.

IMG_4314

My Love Potion candles have been hand dyed in a luscious pink shade (like a strawberry milk shake!), generously scented with premium fragrance oils, and dressed with glam red glitter. They are “fixed” or spelled to encourage love, romance, and desire, and are perfect for love spells and sex magick, or just for that very special romantic evening.

How do they smell? Like your b/Beloved brought you a bottle of pink champagne, poured it into two sparkling crystal glasses, and topped them off with fresh strawberries. Notes of champagne, strawberry, and pink sugar.

IMG_4300

My Imbolc candles have been hand dyed a cheerful, sunny yellow (with a lighter, buttery topping), generously scented with premium fragrance oils, and dressed with vibrant gold glitter. They are energetically charged with the blessings of the growing light, the promise of spring, and a peaceful and cozy home–all of the delights of the festival of Imbolc!

How do they smell? Like freshly washed linen, a bowl of fresh cream set out for the fairies (and topped with a touch of honey), and the first sprinkling of spring violets. I absolutely love this fragrance! Although these candles were designed with Imbolc in mind, they will provide blessings and a delightful fragrance any time of year, and would be especially suitable for any spring festival or spell for new beginnings, growth, or harmony.

IMG_4340-001

And finally, if you liked the sound of the Dreamtime Tea Lights but prefer votives, now there is a votive version available! These votive candles have been hand dyed in a beautiful lavender-violet shade, generously scented with steam-distilled, certified organic essential oils of lavender, rosemary and valerian, and dressed with violet-pink glitter. They are designed to encourage relaxation, deep sleep, dream recall.

Lavender is calming and comforting, and encourages harmony and relaxation.

Rosemary improves memory and encourages awareness of the subconscious (dreaming) mind.

Valerian encourages deep, restful sleep.

These candles ended up having a berry-like fragrance which complements the lavender color very nicely, *however* NO fragrance oils were used! This blend contains only pure essential oils.

All of my soy votive candles have a fabulous scent throw and will burn for at least 10 hours in a votive holder (due to the generous amounts of oils used, for best results they must be burned in a holder). These are all hand poured soy candles, 100% vegan, with a braided cotton wick. They are “Dixie cup” votives–meaning that they were molded using a Dixie cup–so they are slightly shorter and more squat than classic votives, but contain about the same amount of wax. The wax is blended with a small amount of chemical-free, vegetable-source stearic acid, which results in the pearly slightly mottled appearance.

My soy votive candles are made from Eco Soya wax, which is 100% vegetable, made with soybean and botanical oils.

•EcoSoya waxes are made using soy beans exclusively from U.S. farmers.
•Soy is a renewable resource and environmentally friendly.
•EcoSoya wax does not stain.
•All EcoSoya waxes are Kosher Certified.

***Please remember that unlike with my previous votive candles, only ONE candle is included in each listing. Also, I’m sorry but due to customs issues I’ve had in the past, and the expense of shipping candles safely, I am now unable to ship my votive candles outside of the United States. Thank you for your understanding and support!

A few things

This post is going to be a (probably a bit rambly) kind of laundry list of some of the things on my mind this morning. A few of these will eventually be posts of their own, but right now they’re still in that “not ready for prime time” stage (and I’m too tired to write about anything in a more in-depth way).

  1. My Neo Lana e-spinner arrived! Although she did get here completely undamaged, I have not yet been able to use her for more than a few minutes, because when I set her up I thought her drive band was too loose, so I trimmed and reattached it. (Most wheels now use polyurethane bands that can be resized using a lighter.) She spun along great for a few minutes and then the drive band snapped, and my attempts to repair it were unsuccessful (plus it was now too short). Part of the problem stemmed from my misunderstanding that she was not built to spin as quickly as her sister, the Vespera (the seller has an instructional video available for the Vespera, which is her non-bulky e-spinner, but none for the Neo Lana), so the band was probably just fine to begin with.  The seller (Jan at Heavenly Handspinning) is being really nice about it and sending me a new drive band for free, but in the meantime my brand new e-spinner is sitting here and I can’t use her–which is frustrating, to say the least. Here she is, though, in all her glory.  She comes “naked” (unfinished wood), so I still need to make up a batch of my carnauba wax furniture polish to protect her wood and do a consecration and naming ritual for her. (Yes, I name all of my tools; I’m an animist that way. My new camera is a Canon Powershot ELPH, so her name is Elfshot.)
    IMG_1090
    IMG_1089
    Her bobbins are enormous, so once I get her working and get up to speed working with her this is going to be a really great thing for FiberWytch. Right now, though, it’s mostly just frustrating that I can’t practice on her.
  2. I spent most of the day yesterday making Dixie cup fixed votives–so named because I’m using Dixie cups as the molds for these.  (The Dixie cups are the molds only; these do not ship in a container, but “naked” like regular votive candles.) This results in a candle that’s a bit wider and shorter than your typical votive candle, but should burn for about the same amount of time.
    dixie candles
    These candles are all fully fixed and consecrated with herbs, oils, and glitter, but (just as with the first batch of my mason jar candles) this is a Beta batch, so they are physically imperfect and I will be offering them at a discounted price.  Ultimately, these votives will be listed at $10 for two in my shop, but for this first batch I will be asking only $7 for two, plus shipping. In this batch, I have votives for Odin, Loki, Yggdrasil, Frigga, Freyja, Yule, and Ullr. (There will be some Hellenic deities in my next batch.) I will be listing these throughout the week, and will probably only post about it here once they’ve all been listed (which will take several days)–so, since the mason jar candles went VERY quickly, the best way to make sure you get first grabs on these is probably to keep an eye on my Etsy shop. (If you favorite the shop, my new listings will show up automatically in your Etsy feed.)
  3. I will be participating in NaNoWriMo this year–sort of.  I can’t afford to go whole hog with it, since my first priority needs to be getting (and keeping) the store stocked for the holidays, and since I also work a day job my time is limited. However, I want to put a book together on my own perspective and experience regarding spirit work. Much like similar books a few other spirit workers have published, it will largely consist of (possibly reworked) posts from this blog, with some new material added in.
  4. Speaking of which, I am currently reading Nornoriel’s book Walking Between Worlds: A Survival Guide to Life Touched by the Unseen, and even though I’m very far from being a new spirit worker (having been married to Odin since 2002 and practicing magic and witchcraft in various forms since around 1978–when I was all of 13) there are a lot of things in it that are both serving as useful reminders to me and kicking my ass a bit. I plan to do a book review after I finish it (I’m nearing the end at this point), and it will probably spark a few posts here as well (as will the trio of excellent posts Jo made over the weekend, especially Doing everything right and still failing; go read that if you missed it!). Probably most importantly, reading about Nono’s experiences with burnout have made me realize that I was in a period of burnout myself from early 2011-2013 or so (our first couple of years in the apartment where we live now, right after breaking off a couple of toxic friendships, and also right after having to re-home two of our cats in order to be able to move in here). This was the period of time in which I immersed myself almost completely in the fiber arts and took a big step back from active spirit work. I did not entirely drop my spiritual practice during this time period (I stayed married to Odin, obviously, although our relationship had some pretty severe rough patches and might not have survived if we hadn’t had such a long history together–and if He wasn’t determined to keep me no matter what, and I kept practicing seidhr and offering readings), but I was experiencing a constant low-level depression and I did need to begin distancing myself from some practices, ideas, and attitudes I had picked up from the former friends and from their general peer group, to sort out what was really me and what I had (inappropriately and unconsciously) absorbed or adopted from them, since they had been a big part of our spiritual lives for a few years. This is still an ongoing practice of continuing to examine things and strip away what isn’t really part of me and doesn’t serve me or my path, but 2014 has seen a huge uptick in my spiritual practice, with me finally embracing my own personal mythology and my primary spirit work Job, re-grounding myself in my love and trust for my Husband, and walking a path that is truly my own, not influenced by anyone else’s. I will probably have more to say on the whole burnout thing in future posts, and definitely in my spirit work book. Right now, the important thing for me is finally recognizing that I was burned out, and that I have moved on from it.
  5. In case you missed it, over the weekend I listed several new ritual cords designs: Self Love cords (for self esteem and pampering your inner child), Sweet Dreams Cords (for help in dream recall, dreamwork, and having pleasant dreams), and Winter Yggdrasil.  Three of the Winter Yggdrasil cords are still available, along with one each of the Self Love and Sweet Dreams cords, but (it being the time of year that it is) I expect them to go quickly, so if you need any of these, go take a look!
    IMG_1123
    IMG_1192
    IMG_0984
    IMG_0941

Promised

(© 2005 from Odhroerir: Nine Devotional Tales of Odin’s Journeys)

The black depths of the Well,
The chill embrace of its dark waters,
The Sight that no one wants and all men fear,
The knowledge that becomes a gaping chasm,
Separating the seer from kith and kin,
This You promised me, Odin.

The sweetness of the Mead,
The intoxication of golden honey,
The gift of inspiration teetering on the edge of madness,
The song of fire in the soul and spirit,
Threatening to burst all reason asunder,
This You promised me, Odin.

The torment of the Tree,
The hunger, the thirst, unending pain,
The symbols burned into flesh, blood, brain,
The secrets that have torn screams from a God,
Sacrificing comfort for candor,
This You promised me, Odin.

The terror of the storm,
The shrieking winds and cold, driving rain,
The madness of the Hunt, laying waste to all in its path,
The wild, fierce joy of the wolf,
Howling to herald the birth of life in death,
This You promised me, Odin.

The loneliness of the wanderer,
The isolation of the outcast,
The one who sells stories for food and drink,
The vagabond who earns his place by the fire,
Spinning tales to entrap the foolish and educate the wise,
This You promised me, Odin.

The warmth of Your embrace,
The electric thrill of Your arms around me,
The ecstasy of Your kiss that kills doubt and fear,
The sacrifice of body, heart, soul and mind,
Bright as spilled blood, on the altar of Your love,
This You promised me, Odin.

And the sanctuary I have found in Your arms
Is worth many times the trials and the tears,
The sweetness worth the sacrifices,
The tenderness worth every last torment.

My soul is mead for Your horn, Beloved,
My spirit bread to sate Your hunger.
Drink deep of me and I will be Your comfort;
All of the life, joy, light and hope within me
Is Yours to feast upon, to bring You strength.
This I promise You, Odin.

So you wanna be a godspouse? (some plain talk)

First, an announcement: as of today, January 1st 2013, I will no longer be available to answer either seidhr or divination questions along the lines of “Does Deity X (fill in the blank, but Loki and Odin are the usual suspects) want to marry me/sleep with me/date me?” or even, “What does Deity X want from me?” in which the unspoken subtext is, “Does He/She want to marry me?” Once again, any seidhr questions or reading requests that follow some variation on this pattern will be refused, and a link to this post given.

This includes any similar questions that I have already tentatively indicated I would try to respond to, as of this date.

The reasons for this decision are many, and frankly they include the preservation of my sanity, since in the past couple of months this has become the most popular variety of question sent my way, not only for seidhr but just randomly dropped in my inbox via email or Facebook, even after I had posted a notice in the sidebar of my blog, months ago now, that I would not be able to answer ANY free questions outside of my regular posted seidhr schedule. Even being in the midst of Yule, the holiest time of year for me, or days before my 10th anniversary in one instance, has not hindered people from doing this or prompted them to consider that perhaps they should wait, that perhaps their approaching me at such a time might be inconsiderate or disrespectful. It has seriously been annoying enough to make me consider putting my seidhr practice on hiaitus altogether for a bit, and I was set to do exactly that until I saw how many people I was able to help in unexpected ways during the Samhain and Yule sessions (this last being one of the primary reasons I began my oracular practice in the first place).

The root of the problem came out during a discussion with Jolene the other night, and was echoed by a recent comment someone else posted to my blog: entitlement. Too many people among the newest crop of would-be godspouses and spirit workers apparently feel somehow entitled to not only have the help and guidance of those who have been on this path for years, but to have it now, on demand, when they are ready and not when the other person is ready to help them (assuming there is such a time; please see further below for more on this). Believe me, I have been on the other end of this scenario, back when I was a baby godspouse myself; not only did I feel entitled to the advice and assistance of my elders, and not only did I actively pursue the same by (in a couple of instances) all but shoving my newfound status in their faces, but I got downright sulky and resentful when I was occasionally rebuffed. Looking back now, I am mortified by my own behavior. I can only hope the current aspirants can eventually grow beyond this attitude as well and be similarly ashamed someday, yet somehow I doubt that will happen, since our (i.e. American/Western European) culture as a whole also seems to have embraced wholeheartedly the doctrine of entitlement in general.

Ironically, my first reaction to the lack of support I received (I have written before about how few and far between access to either oracles or spirit workers of any kind was back then) was to want to help all of the new people who in turn eventually approached me, but at this point–when hardly a week passes in which I am not contacted by one or two new people wanting to make their existence known to me–I really need to take a big step back and acknowledge that the trend has gone too far, at least for me personally to want to continue to aid and abet it. To keep on as I have been doing would require truly becoming an interactive priestess in service to a human community, and that is outside the parameters of what Odin wants or expects from me at this time. To the extent that I act as His priestess in regard to other people, it is for the purpose of helping to educating people about Him and of promoting both His interests and those of my own little group of spirits. And towards that end, I will continue to share what I can about my path on my blog, including stuff about being a godspouse in more general terms, such as the remainder of this post. I will also be making “Ask me about Odin” a permanent and ongoing feature here, since I was unable to address the questions I received during the month of December.

And so, in lieue of addressing your individual godspouse-related queries directly, here are a few rules aspiring godspouses may want to consider:

1. You cannot trick, coerce, bewitch, or otherwise force a deity into marrying you. (This should be a given for most people reading this, I hope, but one never knows, so we’ll go from here.)

2. Closely following upon the first point, it is a Bad Idea (with “bad” underscored multiple times) to decide that you would like to become a godspouse and then set about to find a god or goddess who might be interested in marrying you. If you are going to go about it in this way, you may as well ask the Ouija Board to send a suitor your way, because this is, in effect, exactly the sort of call you’re putting out. A deity marriage comes to pass as a result of 1) years of devotion on your part that naturally and gradually turn into something deeper and more intimate, or 2) a deity’s sudden decision to actively pursue and court you–which is, believe me, an obvious and undeniable state of events. If this happens to you there will be no need to consult a seidhrkona or reader; there will be no room for doubt left in your mind. The gods–especially the northern gods, the primary ones I am consulted about–are VERY capable of making their desires and intentions known along these lines, even to those who may consider themselves blocked or headblind. Besides speaking directly inside your head or through spirit workers, They can also communicate through dreams, natural signs (such as an animals or birds sacred to that deity suddenly stalking you everywhere), chance comments from strangers who have no idea what is going on, partially overheard conversations when out in public places, bibliomancy (open a book to a page at random, and there is your answer), random response generators such as the 8 Ball (you laugh, but I have seen it work), and unintentional oracles such as graffiti, street signs, or what song or show is playing when you turn the radio or TV on. And of course, runes or Tarot cards you draw for yourself in response to your question, in addition to divination systems such as the pendulum that yield a yes or no answer, can be added to this list. (If you know from experience that you can’t read for yourself get a friend to do it for you; it doesn’t necessarily have to be someone trained in spirit work.) The Gods are incredibly and endlessly resourceful and if They want you, YOU WILL KNOW IT. And They will not give up until you do. In most cases of serious courtship, a number of these signs will coincide.

As a codicil to this point, if you really feel you do need direct input via an oracle or other divination from a qualified spirit worker, ASK SOMEONE LIKELY TO BE IMPARTIAL. This is why I often prefer that people send me as little background as possible for seidhr questions. We are all human, and as much as I may want to give you an impartial answer, if I know that your question has to do with marriage to Odin (and believe me, you won’t be able to hide this one from me easily; also, after this announcement, if you try to pull a fast one on me anyway I promise I will never accept another question from you again) my own filters are very likely going to affect the answer somehow, for yay or nay. My best advice for this particular question would be to go to someone who has as little as possible to do with Odin, preferably someone from a different tradition entirely, and then pay for a reading, giving them as little information beforehand as you can.

3. Deity marriage is not something to be entered into because all of your friends are doing it and you feel left out, or because you think it might be a shortcut to being taken seriously among spirit workers. (It isn’t.) Neither is it something to pursue because you were reading a blog about it and it sounded cool. But if reading the above makes you feel desperately lonely, sad and forsaken, you may want to start a devotional practice; there is absolutely nothing wrong–and everything right–with deciding that you would like to get to know one of more of the Gods on a more direct, personal basis. You can’t force such a thing, but you certainly can put out the invitation, and devotional practice is the way to do this.

4. Deities who want to marry you–especially in the Northern Tradition–tend to approach you directly, rather than through a human or disembodied intermediary. They are not shy about these things. (See the list of possible communication methods above.) This is another reason why I am going to be stepping back from addressing these kinds of questions: you don’t need me–or anyone else, no matter how well intentioned–to run interference for you. As I have said before, I do not want to be the person standing between you and your God, and I would be a little suspicious of anyone who did wholeheartedly embrace such a role, frankly.

5. Generally speaking, deities do not force marriage on humans. Deity marriage is a devotional path, and every single godspouse I have ever met married their god for one reason only: they were so passionately in love with Him or Her that they couldn’t not do it. However…

6. Be aware that deity marriage is NOT a temporary path, to be put down again once you become bored with it and want to move onto other things, or once it becomes too inconvenient for you. If you give marriage vows to a deity and if those vows are accepted, the immense weight of the obligation you have assumed is taken very seriously not only by your Spouse and by the rest of the Gods but by the Norns too. It directly impacts your Wyrd, which is now entwined with that of the God in question. Like a human marriage–only more so–a deity marriage requires work, and although your Spouse will help you as much as They can a great deal of that work will be on your end. Like a human marriage, a deity marriage will transform your life, not only in the dreamy-blissful ways you’re envisioning but also in practical terms: your existing human relationships may fall apart under the strain of your new commitment and you may be called upon to endure hardships, loneliness and poverty for the sake of your Beloved. And unlike a human marriage, for its very existence a deity marriage requires that you remain open, constantly, to your divine Spouse. In practical terms, this means that every time you feel your heart begin to close against Them even the tiniest bit–through anger, complacency, disappointment, pain, or any other cause–you will need to willfully rip it open again in any way you can, once more offering Them the core of who you are, laid bare and bloodied before Them; and this is not something you will have to do once or twice but repeatedly, every time that wound begins to scab over again. “Does it hurt?” some of you will doubtless be wanting to ask me. To which I say, “Are you paying attention?” I’m not writing in code here but being as literal and explicit as possible, so you’re damn right it will hurt, like nothing you have ever experienced. But this raw openness allows your Beloved direct access to your heart–which is no longer, strictly speaking, yours but Theirs–and if you love Them, if you truly love Them, if your commitment was made cleanly and for all the right reasons, then the results of this painful process will be a source of unending joy for you that I cannot even begin to describe.

Okay, before I make divine marriage sound too idyllic (which is not the goal of this post, after all), we’ll take a step back and consider the topic of entitlement again.

A few points of etiquette (and “netiquette”) for aspiring godspouses:

1. No matter how loved and cherished you may be by your god, do not assume that you are automatically more important to Them than someone who has already devoted years of loving service to Them (in divine marriage or any other close capacity). Believe me, your god will not appreciate it if you approach such a devotee of Theirs making demands on their time or attention that the other person cannot afford or is for any reason unwilling to give you. Even in the case of high profile followers of your god, never assume that the person you are approaching owes you anything at all, and if they tell you that they do not have the time for you or just do not want to deal with you for whatever reason, take the hint and leave them alone. Along these same lines…

2. After sending off an initial email and not receiving a response, it is generally okay to send one more polite inquiry after waiting a few weeks or so (since emails do get lost in Cyberspace occasionally). After that, if you receive no response, assume that the other person does not want to or cannot deal with you at this time. (It may not even be a personal thing; you have no idea what may be going on in the other person’s life. If someone in their family is gravely ill or they are in the midst of a spiritual crisis themselves or they have just lost their home, imagine how much of a heel you’ll feel like when you later realize that you were pestering them in the midst of such a thing.) If you haven’t received a response and you’ve written twice, it is never okay to send a third email saying “I was wondering if you got my email.” You have just turned into a pest.

3. If someone with years more experience than you has been kind enough to correspond with you to offer some of their perspective or wisdom, do not assume that now you are good friends or pen pals and do not demand that they continue to write lengthy emails to you or confide their own secrets in you. Some will, and it is quite possible to make friends in this way. However, if they seem to be making an attempt to taper off their replies gracefully, allow them the room to do so; once again, this may not be a personal thing, and may not even mean that they do not like you. But do not assume that because they have written to you or helped you they are now your peer. (Or, worse, that you are now in a position to offer them advice, especially if its unsolicited.) And last but certainly not least…

4. Don’t assume that anyone else owes you the benefit of their experience or hard-won wisdom, either pertaining to this path or any other. People who have been on this path for a while, like myself, started out when there were very few people around to seek advice or guidance from. We learned the hard way, reading what we could here and there but mostly learning to listen, hard, to what our gods were telling us. We fell down, got our knees skinned, then picked ourselves up and kept going–and we did this over and over and over again. Some of us are a bit jealous of the knowledge we’ve won through our own pain and hard work, and some of us are of the opinion that this kind of wisdom can’t be spoon-fed anyway but must be fought and bled for by each individual who seeks it. (Consider Odin, who was taught by both His mother and His uncle Mimir when He was first starting out–and yet, that didn’t keep Him from needing to rip out one of His eyes, or hang on the Tree, to get where He wanted to go on His path.) Some of us believe we aren’t necessarily helping you by attempting to spoon-feed you these lessons, but only hindering and delaying the necessarily painful process of learning them for yourself.

If this sounds mean or harsh to you, consider that it takes big-time cojones to become a god spouse in the first place, to stand up before the world and say, “Yes, that’s right, Deity X loves me. Yes, I know I’m overweight, or not outstandingly pretty, or don’t have a college degree, or can’t sing on key, but the one thing I do know is that this particular God cherishes me and is passionately in love with me, so much so that He accepted me for His wife.” That takes not only balls but big brass ones, because the most common reaction–outside of your tight little circle of friends–is that the world will laugh in your face. However, declaring yourself is the easy part, and it is exactly those types of balls you are going to need to get through the lessons that will follow, that type of unshakable belief. In the end if you can’t manage to believe in your own worthiness (and I’ll tell you a secret: few of us can, when it comes to something of this magnitude), you will be asked to cling to the fact that your Beloved God tells you you are worthy, and that His or Her divine Word therefore makes it so. This is faith on a level that most human beings never have to wrestle with, and it takes not only balls to carry it off but plenty of muscle power, which you will build up gradually by working your way through lots of difficult lessons, endless testing, and plenty of hardship and self-discipline.

Ten years ago, when I first married Odin, one of the experienced people I had pestered told me, in a fit of pique, to come back and bother her again when I’d been on this path for a decade or longer. I haven’t taken her up on this, however I will say that I now appreciate where she was coming from, since I have observed that a good many of the people I have seen start out on this path are not around ten years, or even five years, later on. Whether or not you will be depends on how hard you are willing to work on your relationship, what you are willing to both give to it and give up for it, and not on whether you receive words of reassurance or guidance from a seer or from another godspouse. Validation is comforting, but it’s also overrated. In the end, it’s all up to you, and Them, really.

Time to unmask

So, as you may have noticed, it’s been a bit quiet around here. December hasn’t been going exactly as I expected. Turns out, I had one plan for the month I had decided to set aside as a special devotional month for Odin, and He had an entirely different plan altogether. Needless to say, since it is His month, His plan is winning.

“This is the month the bullshit stops,” He told me on our anniversary eve–or words to that effect. “I have earned your trust–I have more than earned it–and I will have it. It is time for the training wheels to come off.” And I had thought He did have it, I had thought I’d long since given it to Him, but once I actually did, once I surrendered that last little bit of doubt I had been stubbornly clinging to, the doubt that kept me circling the same little cluster of issues again and again–once I did that, the floodgates opened, and it was like I could suddenly see everything with new eyes. Things that I had thought were so important suddenly simply weren’t. Things that I hadn’t given enough attention to became vital. With His help, I have been poking at my comfort zones, one by one, and uncovering some things about Him, myself, and the Work that I had apparently been blocking for a while now. I’ve been challenging my illusions to find and shatter any last boundaries remaining between Him and me, because I would rather face a thousand uncomfortable truths than have anything stand between us. I have found a few places where walls I had foolishly erected readily tumbled down to rubble at the lightest touch, and others where the assurances He had given me long ago, which I expected to crumble, were impregnable as bedrock. The Hunt season is when illusions are stripped away to the bare bone, when even Grimnir Himself unmasks. The guising and revelry goes on throughout the evening, the orchestra plays on, but at midnight the music stops, the guests reveal themselves, and you see Who you’ve really been dancing with. And even if you’ve had a pretty good idea all along, there are always some surprises.

And so, I’ve been spending most of my time offline this past week, and instead of working on devotional crafting projects, or posting to my blog, I’ve been spending lots of time with my Husband–meditating, doing uti seta and breath work, pathwalking, reading runes, writing letters to Him in a special little notebook, writing posts and partial posts that may or may not ever be posted, and just in general being enthralled by Him. The post ideas have been coming faster than I can keep up with them–and I will be answering your “Ask me about Odin” questions, I promise!–but some of the material that’s been coming to me will be saved for my book. Spending less time online, cutting down on the barrage of words and images that I normally ingest in large quantities from the internet, makes it so much easier to hear and interact with the spirits, not only my Husband but the others as well. It looks like I will have to start limiting my online time in the future, from now on. There will be some other changes too, though it’s too soon to speak of them. But at any rate, Odin’s idea of December was to use it as a kind of reset button, not a time for me to do all of these extraordinary devotional activities but for me to prepare for the challenges of the next ten years of my extraordinary devotional life, in which the training wheels will be off, and I will begin the Work ahead of me with renewed vision, insight and clarity.

There will be a lot–a LOT–of new stuff (in terms of Work, writing, crafts, everything) coming down the pike in the new year, and I’m gearing up to be ready for it.

Seidhr for Yule is still set for the 16th, and although I am almost ready to close the session I still have room for two or three more questions.