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(February Week 1 prompt for The Pagan Experience - Humanity)
What is your contribution to the collective space of humanity? How does your spiritual path support this definition and contributions?
Hi, I'm Beth, and I'm a godspouse! I live in the (urban) wilds of Oregon with another godpouse, in what can best be described as a DIY nunnery situation; we both work outside the home, and I work on my business AT home in addition to that. (As I am disabled, I'm trying very hard to morph my business into being my primary, or even only, job.) But other than that, we lead a semi-secluded, more-or-less monastic lifestyle with our respective gods and a houseful of animals (both living and dead).
Now, you can sneer at the “godspouse phenomenon” all you want—and plenty of people do—but it's not a fad, or at the very least not a new one; it's been going on for at least the twelve years I've been married to Odin. And although I am an old-timer at this particular gig, I think there were a handful of people doing it even before me. So, what is a “godpouse”? Basically, it is one the most common terms used to describe a person who self-identifies as the mortal consort of a god. (There are also spirit spouses—people married to spirits who may lack “official deity” status.)
One of the first things the skeptical ask when they learn that I'm a godspouse is “Why would the gods even want human spouses? They already have divine ones, don't they?” Yes, They do, and we are not a replacement for Them. But the notion that a god would not want a human woman for a wife when He already has a goddess-wife makes the assumption that the gods see humanity in the same way we do—as inherently lesser than They are—and I don't think that's true. Yes, without question They are bigger, and They have more power—and, of course, there's that fringe benefit of not being mortal. (Although, some of the gods do manage to die even despite this; witness Balder, as one example.) But my experiences and interactions with Odin, as well as His teachings, have led me to see all of u/Us—humans, gods, spirits, ancestors, and other races of beings such as Alfar, Duergar, Jotnar, etc.--simply as spirits in different stages of our own personal journeys towards self-actualization (or, towards our own personal “Great Work,” if you prefer). Clearly, some of us are further along in that journey than others; Odin, for example, is much further along than I am, but He recognizes in me a kindred spirit who, rather than being inherently inferior to Him, simply has different challenges to deal with in this current phase of my existence. It has become something of a cliché to say “I am not a body that has a spirit, but a spirit that has a body”--however, that's more or less it, in a nutshell. In my own philosophy (which—with a nod to my friend Nornoriel Lokason—is decidedly a Left Handed one), some of us began our soul's journeys with incarnations as beings other-than-human (as giants or elves, for example, or even as what we would now call “gods”), and some of us will end them as other-than-human.
We stereotype the peoples of Northern Europe as aggressive, looting, sea-faring warriors, hauling back pillaged booty or trade goods from abroad. We stereotype Odin (blame Wagner and his Victorian romanticism for this) as the stern, grim king: father of war. Thor as big-hearted, lustily drinking smiter of evil. While attitudes have recently begun changing, portraying the Vikings' "softer side", that aggressive image sticks-- both inside and outside of Heathenry.
It ignores that there is a third strong image of masculinity, from a triad of Gods honored at the ancient temple of Upsala, Sweden: Odin, Thor and Freyr....
It's October, which is a special month for Himself and me, and the artwork featured in this post is commission is a gift for Him for a personal festival. The artist is Tab Cole, and her deviantArt is here: http://www.ladysaishan.deviantart.com/gallery/ if you'd like to see more of her work.
In other news (?) there seems to be yet another godspouse controversy, which has generated posts here and there. I'm not sorry to say that I've been engaged in other activities and don't know what started people ranting. As someone who gets asked a lot about godspousery, I'll say this:...
I’ve been quiet this month, but I’ve had a lot of offline goings ons – I am teaching regularly at the Raven Faerie, and I have a class Saturday, August 31st from 10-12 on making your own rune set. We also have a psychic fair coming up on September 7th as well. Do ALL the physical work! during Pop’s month is not a huge surprise to me, given that the Vanir are about hard work leading to prosperity. The other pleasant surprise I got was that Mom came around – Gerda.
I have strong feelings about Gerda and Her lessons – she’s an Etin Woman among the Vanir, a stern Queen, and a keeper of healthy boundaries. She’s not a cuddly Mother, but She is fiercely protective of those She loves. I have more in common with Her than just Pop, and having an opportunity to reconnect with Her is a delight, like finding a long-lost relative. Truth be told, when I picked my nom de pagan, I considered the notion of using Heather Gerdasdottir, because not many use their mother's name for the surname *cough* Laufeyson *cough* and because I adore Her. Pop as a surname won out because He has pointed out, rightly, that I do much better with Disir ancestor work than I do with my Alfar....
When mature theologians study the question without pubescent embarrassment, it is clear that there is a point at which female Goddess worship is inseparable from pornography. Try as we might to separate the sacred from the profane, and to tease out the purely biological facts of procreation from the universal hormonal urge to have a good time, we are continually faced with areas in which they become the same thing. To most spiritual Pagans, the congress of vulva and phallus is sacred - a celebration of the life-rhythms of the universe.