I’ve been wanting to post something about my current spiritual situation, but it’s hard to find something to say that isn’t either over-sharing (by my standards at least) or so vague as to be meaningless. I usually try to find something in my experience that is relevant to others, but I’m not sure that many people go through this kind of dramatic spiritual upheaval, much less several times in their lives (isn’t one drawn-out, painful, ego-destroying, life-changing initiation enough?). But you never know when something might click for someone, so what the hell….
Back in January, I mentioned my Not-Doing experiment intended to help me shake things up, break old habits and approach everything fresh, but that was just the beginning. Since then (and in some ways, for the year previous as well) I’ve been going through a transition at least as significant as back in 2006-2007 when I went from being primarily a devotee to being a spirit-worker. That previous change upended my whole life in many wonderful ways, but it was often extremely painful and this process is no different.
I have re-focused on my “core” personal pantheon (Dionysos and several personal spirits at the very center; Hermes, Hekate, Odin and local spirits secondarily), which has been very powerful, but that meant setting aside several divine relationships that had once been very important to me. And within those remaining core relationships, the dynamics have drastically changed (not the first time this has happened, but it’s always excruciating) – forcing me to let go of every pattern I had built up over the years and start from scratch, hoping desperately that there was still that connection when everything that used to reassure me had to be jettisoned. I have been shifting the way I approach ritual, magic and devotion at a fundamental level, and while I know it’s “for the best” (in the sense that it will bring me in line with what my spirits want, and bring me more personal mojo and other good things), it has been ridiculously difficult to actually implement. It’s very frustrating to have reached a place where you finally feel like you know what you’re doing in your practice, and then be told to essentially abandon that practice and do something far trickier. Each time I made a breakthrough, I would then be plunged back into the depths of self-doubt and distance and madness. Part of me has been fighting this tooth and nail. I have been in some dark places. But I kept picking myself back up and trying again, because over and over I have received extraordinarily clear signs from my spirits that this is the right track, no matter how terrifying and impossible it seems sometimes. That’s one of the reasons I made that post about tangible omens recently – these have totally saved me many times over recently. I put my trust in the communications I was receiving because they were confirmed so solidly, and these have guided me to ideas and insights I never would have come to on my own, but make total sense now in retrospect.
(I also recommend keeping a spiritual journal – mine is not narrative, just a collection of experiences, rituals, divinations, dreams, omens, etc., but it’s so helpful… recently I went back through the past year and noticed that at least THREE different times I had asked one of my spirits a similar question and got the same exact Tarot card – in different decks – as the response, which I had not realized at the time. He was probably getting sick of saying this to me over and over!)
Hopefully I’m not jinxing myself here, but I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of this new approach. Maybe the spirits won’t have to repeat Themselves quite so much anymore. I’ve understood the basic concepts for months, but I think I really had to be totally broken down and destroyed before I could truly let go of the past and what I thought was going to be, and embrace the present and the beautiful gifts They are offering me now (gifts I specifically asked for in some cases, but I have a terrible habit of asking for things and then complaining when I receive them because they’re always harder than I expected). And to confirm this feeling, I recently had a string of significant dreams, including one I can only describe as intensely shamanic, that showed me how things can be now.
So I have less to say here these days than I once did, because so much now revolves around personal spirits and the Work I do for Them which doesn’t involve or affect other polytheists or spiritworkers directly, but I can see now that it’s the culmination of everything I’ve been working toward for decades. My 13 year old self would be amazed at my life now, and how it has been shaped so heavily by the choices she made. And yet, I do not regret a thing – if nothing else, They have made me into a creature that only wants what They want. All the warnings about such spirits are true, but I can imagine nothing better than a life in Their company.
“The mask is constantly changing. Behind the mask is nothing. You are headless.” (Sannion)