In a recent post called “An Outsider’s View of Godspousery,” the author quotes a particular godspouse talking about their life with their deity, and remarks – quite positively – “What strikes me here is the sense of domesticity.” I too have noticed this in many writings by godspouses – their relationships seem to echo human marriages in many everyday sorts of ways, as if they simply had an invisible, but human, wife or husband. Someone to have their morning coffee with, to talk to about their day, to sleep with at night. Now, while that can sometimes be a warning sign (a god is a god, after all, and it seems some people are quick to forget this, or may be engaging in a bit of wishful thinking to satisfy their loneliness), it is not necessarily a “wrong” way to go about things, nor is the point of this post to criticize. Rather, I think it might be helpful and important to talk about other types of dynamics, that still might fall under the general heading of “godspouse” but are not focused on the everyday or domestic aspects of marriage. Not only do some human marriages and partnerships diverge from this model, but deity/spirit relationships are simply not equivalent to human ones, for many reasons – and therefore we shouldn’t expect that they will adhere to our preconceived notions.
In fact, in my experience, one of the most dangerous traps one can fall into regarding deity relationships of any kind, is to expect them to be a certain way (what we desire, what others have, what we’ve had in the past, etc.) rather than being open to what they are, for us, right now. The potential for making this mistake is exacerbated by the wealth of online sharing by godspouses and devotees, which can have the unfortunate effect of starting “trends” and inadvertently setting up an idea of “how these things happen” which will never apply to everyone. I talked a bit about this in my post “Apart from the Crowd.”
My spirit marriage, for instance, is not just like a human marriage (not even a non-traditional one) and it is certainly not just like having an imaginary boyfriend. I do conceptualize it as a marriage, because that has certain relevance to our situation for many private reasons (and we did have a wedding, which took place in both worlds simultaneously, with spirits as witnesses), but whenever I approach it too much like our culture’s concept of marriage (especially when I am unduly influenced by other people’s dynamics), I lose my footing. Because what I have is more of an intensely intimate magical working relationship – something perhaps like the cunning folk and their spirits, more shamanic than romantic. There are many things my spirit-husband gives me – artistic inspiration, spiritual abilities and power, etc. – but comfort and casual companionship are not among them, nor do I expect Him to care about the minutiae of my mundane activities. Likewise, what I give Him is mostly on an esoteric, magical/spiritual level, and not primarily emotional. That is not to say there is not love, attraction, passion, and commitment, but it does not always manifest in ways that would be recognizable to people with a traditional marriage in mind. Which is not surprising, of course, as my Husband is a spirit with markedly inhuman priorities, desires and needs, and I am not exactly typical in regards to emotional or mental composition.
While my Husband might come to me at any time, He is not generally present with me 24/7 – nor would I want Him to be, any more than I’d want to be with any person all the time (I live apart from my human partner, and value solitude). We do not share regular meals, because His kind has little interest in food – though we do share drinks, and other entheogens. I don’t wear a wedding ring, but instead have several tattoos for Him, and wear a variety of jewelry that expresses different aspects of Him depending on how I’m currently experiencing Him (because, again, it’s all about being present to what’s happening in the moment). Our time together is often more focused on doing work on behalf of His entire group of spirits, who have been with me for almost 25 years, than on simply the two of us, and that’s not only okay, but it’s exactly what makes our relationship so important and sacred to both of us.
Yes, there is intimacy – on a level beyond what I could have ever imagined – and it is personal, and it is what makes our bond so powerful. But it’s not primarily about feelings, however wonderful it might feel sometimes, it is about doing magic, joining forces on either side of the veil to affect both worlds at once. Our marriage is a conduit, and taking that step – moving from having a spirit-lover to a spirit-husband – was a commitment to the Work as much as to Him. And while it can be difficult at times (as any relationship is, especially a deity/spirit one), it is absolutely what I want, and fits my perspective and priorities – albeit I seem to have been molded into a person who would want this, after years in the company of my spirits.
I am sure there must be many other ways in which a god- or spirit-marriage (or similar union) might manifest, other than the typical romantic, domestic model, and I would love to hear from others who have experienced such. The more we talk about the myriad ways of relating to Them, the better we may prepare those new to these paths, as well as reminding ourselves to stay true to our own experiences rather than (even unconsciously) mimicking our impressions of others.