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.