PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
My story, and how to have a voice
(Crossposted from my personal blog, Wytch of the North)
Back when I first married Odin, I did so solely because I was in love and wanted to be loved by Him. I wanted to be His wife, His helpmeet, His home, to make a home for Him in my heart and in my immediate surroundings (wherever those might be). I wanted to be His sanctuary, His refuge, to greet Him at the door with His slippers and a drink when He returned home from work, to listen attentively to the details of His day, to fix dinner for Him. In fact, all of the old-fashioned, traditional marital roles and oaths apply here: I wanted to love, honor and obey, to be bonny and buxom in bed and at board (as the medieval English version of the wedding vows puts it). Insofar as I was able to be, I wanted to be a traditional wife, Odin's little woman. Ten years later, all of the above is still true, and this is still the foundation of our relationship.
Despite being heterosexual, cisgendered, and an ultra-femme female at that, I had never before in my life had these particular wants and desires concerning any male. I certainly didn't have them when I was with my ex, who had castigated me almost daily for my lack of attention to housework, for something that was just not quite right about every meal I cooked, for the money I spent, for how I spoke to his relatives, for anything he could think of that was a fault of mine, as he saw it. I had certainly never envisioned myself being in a relationship wherein I wanted to serve a man—albeit in my case it turned out to be a Man who is not mortal, nor even remotely human. Odin can be many things to many people: Muse, Ordeal Master, Initiator into the Mysteries, Shamanic Teacher, Journey Companion, Seducer, Tormentor. He has been these things for me as well; I have walked down many dark paths with Him, my hand in His, with only His voice to guide me. Yet overwhelmingly, He has been the King—of Asgard, of the slain, of the wild spirits of the Hunt. And the path He has guided me towards, as His wife, is that of Sacred Queenship, of Royal Consort, which is, at its core, a traditionally feminine path, a path of being a helpmeet and support to my King and a resource and conduit for my people, the group of spirits that have chosen me as their queen. Along the way on this path I have been fortunate enough to gain the friendship and guidance of the group of spirits (and a few goddesses) I call the Queens, my adopted Disir, my lineage ancestors who have walked this path before me: Bestla, Frigga, Kleopatra, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth Woodville, and the others whom I venerate.
However, this is my path, and as I have said, Odin can be many things to many people, as can all of the gods. I do not deny that He can have as many relationships as He pleases, nor that He can do so with people of either sex or gender identification, nor that He need only do so in male form, even; He is a god, and His limits—if He even has any, in the sense we would understand them—are vast. I don't deny anyone else—regardless of gender, gender identification, or sexual orientation--their right to their own relationship, their own journey with Him (or with other gods), their own unique path. But their paths are not mine, and I cannot speak to them, or speak for them, beyond stating that they have this right.
I realize that my path is by its very nature heteroassumptive, as it concerns traditional feminine roles—but it is heteroassumptive for myself only, and I trust that readers know, when they come here, that I am writing about myself and my own practice, not trying to make generalizations about others who are in different situations. I trust readers to have the critical thinking skills to figure this out without my having to pepper my writing with disclaimers (which, by the way, I am not about to do, although I may put up a Godspouse FAQ page making this clear, for those who may be in doubt).
The argument has been brought up that those in a position of power should help those who are without power and I don't disagree with this statement in principle. So, am I in a position of power? I am cisgendered, which means that I have never had to think much about my sexual identity; I realize that this is a privilege, but it is also counterbalanced by that fact that I am a woman in a society that still marginalizes females, as well as a person who suffers from an “invisible illness,” which limits the amount of energy (or “spoons,” as we—chronically ill people—sometimes put it) I have at my disposal at any given time. I am not one of the “big names” often referred to in the recent rash of posts, yet I do blog at PaganSquare and I have over 400 subscribers to my own blog right here. This may give my words a certain amount of weight, and if this were a civil rights issue—if, for example, the government was attempting to prevent transgendered people from practicing pagan religions—then yes, I would do my best to speak up for the rights of everyone, regardless of gender identification, to worship as they please. Yet this right is not being threatened. The rape and murder of a pagan in Syria—yes, that is a civil rights issue, in addition to being an atrocity. But the right of anyone--transgendered, cisgendered, fill in your blank here--to be recognized as a godspouse is not. This line of reasoning also begs the question, recognized by whom?
I've spoken before about the dangers of looking to others for validation, and really, this is just another form of that. Why should the opinions of strangers on the internet matter to you one way or another? Whose approval and acceptance do you feel you must have, beyond that of your god? Being in a relationship with a god, especially a love relationship or a marriage, is hard; it is not meant to be easy. If you do want other people to know about the relationship, so that you can share and perhaps compare notes with others, that is understandable, but don't expect acceptance or validation. When I first started telling people about my Marriage ten years ago, the most common reactions I got were either polite disbelief or outright scorn; my being cisgendered did not help me any in this. Neither did I receive an outpouring of support from like-minded souls; when I was first Married I knew of only one such person, who insisted that her own position was unique and that there could be no others (including me), and when I finally did find some others, my UPG and my path were too different to mesh well with that of most of them.
So, given all of the above, how did I come to have a blog with over 400 readers? By not going away. That's right, instead of being cowed by rejection or threatened by the differences between what I was doing and what other people were doing, I stuck with my convictions, trusted in what my gods and spirits were telling me (Odin above all), and refused to shut up or go away. The only way to become a voice that people listen to is to keep talking, to have something relevant and interesting to say, and to never give up on that. There have been plenty of times when I have wanted to give up, plenty of times when it has seemed that my voice didn't matter and my opinions were not wanted, or when I simply wanted to turn away in disgust from the sensory overload and verbal sparring of the internet. There still are plenty of times. But because one of the few aspects of my priestesshood to Odin that involves other people is writing to educate others about Him and about my path, I keep going. And if I can do it, so can you. If you want to tell your story, you're the only one who can do it. But neither I, nor anyone else, can make people listen to you.
Image credit: Frigga by ajrchua on DeviantArt
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