What the spirits call you

Sarah Lawless recently posted about spiritual/magical labels, and why we all have such a hard time with them. She makes a lot of good points. Personally, I have been using “devotional polytheist” and “spirit-worker” to describe the two distinct but intertwined threads of my path for many years now, and am still very comfortable with both of them as clear, descriptive and accurate labels. But I have also become less attached to them than I once was.

“The simple answer: no one actually cares what we call ourselves so why should we? Does it help us advance in our path? Does it increase our magical powers or our experiences? If we get too caught up in trying to find the right word for our path, we can waste years over it instead of living and breathing our path exactly as it is and becomes over time as we practice it.”

The thing with such labels is, they are very anthropocentric. When we call ourselves these words, we are communicating certain things to other people – but the spirits rarely care about these human titles. It’s almost ridiculous to call myself a spirit-worker to the very spirits I am working with (I mean, obviously I’m a spirit-worker, I’m talking to Them aren’t I?). And if I’m doing devotions to my gods at Their shrines, then clearly I am a devotional polytheist, by definition.

Since I don’t care much for other humans in general, and don’t spend any time these days participating in communities of any kind, I don’t really need to concern myself over what I’m called in that context. A much more important issue for me is what the spirits call me. With Them, I have several important titles – more job descriptions than honorifics, but thus functioning as crucial reminders of what I am and what I should be doing. These are the only labels I really care about, even though few humans will ever know them.

Even if you are involved in human community and need to pay attention to what labels you use there (at least for the sake of clear communication), take a moment to look at things from a different perspective. What are you in the eyes of the gods and spirits you serve? What are your most important duties and roles? Are you living up to the titles you have claimed, or which They have given you? In the end, that’s what matters most.

~ by Dver on January 2, 2013.

8 Responses to “What the spirits call you”

  1. Humans complicate everything. I find labels necessary only when working with other humans & still, my own “labels” often only serve to confuse. Ah, well, it’s the price of community.

    P.S. You have video advertisements all over the blog now. Were you aware of this?

    • I wasn’t aware of the ads. I just looked it up though, and apparently sometimes WordPress runs ads (only seen by non-Wordpress users), and to make it stop you have to pay $30/year per blog… since I have four blogs, I will not be able to do that, so sadly there are going to be ads sometimes. Not loving that, but then again, the service is otherwise free.

      • Ah, the price of free. 😉
        As a follow-up, I wrote that comment from the phone. It appears that the ads are prolific when visiting via mobile. From the laptop, I see none. Just fyi.

  2. […] the moment I do it doesn’t fit any longer for me. So Sarah’s article really hit home. Dver, from A Forest Door also wrote her thoughts on the matter and here are my own (now outdated) thoughts, that being the idea that the spirit world does not […]

  3. I, too, get my fill of people, especially when they become caught up arguing over the petty things. Nevertheless, it’s always refreshing to view a situation from other perspectives, so thank you for contributing to the topic. You made a valid point.

  4. I make jokes about labels… light worker this and angel vibration that… it’s all nonsense to me, but I do make very cheeky jokes about being a dark worker… those who understand know there is nothing to understand!

  5. I agree, since I live and Work so far from any practitioner, I’ve since given up the idea of titles. Well said Dver!

  6. […] this brings me to another related point, the issue of labels. As I said recently, the way many pagans think about labels is very anthropocentric. It focuses on what other people […]

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