What do you do?

What do you do when you persistently experience something extremely important regarding your god that runs counter to the experiences of everyone else?

The majority of the advice I’ve found says that it likely means that this bit of UPG is wrong, and I should try to readjust my vision/ears/memories. It is not completely personal, but I often find “peer-corroborated” things highly questionable as a verification when the peers are close to each other.

I do not, in any way, experience or know Freyr as a god who dies or is sacrificed at the harvest or for the blessing of the earth, or who was at one point or another to end a terrible famine, or someone who is dead for three days and returns.

I also do not experience him as someone who changes very much from season to season, though for lack of a better word, he does seem to “glow” brighter in the summer, and the ways in which he connects to the earth (in the sense of the ground, the things that grow or lie dormant in it, in whichever place) shift in ways that seem in line with how people themselves used to change, and how animals change. There are different things to do; there is time to plant, to grow, to gather, to rest.

He is, to a certain extent, quieter in terms of energy and activity. In the summer, he was always doing something; he was outside all of the time, going off to visit people, riding his horse [at terrifying speed, to me] through field and meadow, and laughing with the pure pleasure of it.

He is most often at home, these days, and people come to him, or he spends his time with those closest to him, such as his family. There is more meat and heavier foods, root vegetables, and things that can be kept for the winter, on his table, than the large amounts of green vegetables and fruits of the summer, and the breads and squashes and other things in the autumn.

His apparent death and rebirth are what everything to do with him these days seems to revolve around — it is the central point of his entire modern mythos and cultus. There is nothing more important, in the eyes of the people who revere him.

And it doesn’t even exist for me. It doesn’t happen. It feels deeply wrong to me.

I’ve spent the last several months feeling like I should not or could not talk about anything to do with him, because either I was wrong about everything, or whether or not I was wrong about everything, anything else I said would be valueless because if I am insisting that water is not wet, why would anyone pay attention if I said it was snowing?

I’m either insane or my perceptions are so warped that they should all be discarded whole. There’s little point in trying to sift out something that isn’t crazy or completely wrong that happens to come out of my mouth.

“Well, say,” Brand offered, flopping down on my blanket, “that if it is Really Really For Extra Real for the entire rest of the multiverse, including him, is it impossible that your version of him doesn’t, because one must not.”

The nature of the multiverse is such that everything is possible and everything exists, somewhere — for every choice you make, another universe springs into existence where you made the other, etc, and so there are infinite varieties of everything. This is not the same as thinking that all gods are manifestations of one ultimate god, or something like that; there is no One True You in the multiverse; there are infinite yous. This may or may not be true of gods — while it may be for some, I know it isn’t for all; I know at least one god who absolutely only exists once and exists simultaneously in all universes (this god is not the God of Everything, for the record), and know of others who seem to have multiple versions from different universes.

“You need an apologetic bumper sticker that says SORRY, STRING THEORY JUST WORKS FOR ME,” Brand said. I don’t know how to drive, but apparently that is not an impediment to needing a sticker.

“I think that may actually just make everything worse.”

“Why? The Everyone already believe gods have myriad faces that they show their followers as they deem convenient or desirable.”

“Those are faces that one singular-unto-itself god possesses,” I said.

“And their worlds would end if there were actually many of that god?”

“Probably. Witness the massive kerfluffle over your father, and how desperately people have tried to rationalize why they or why some people insistently see him as resembling Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Ultimately, they decide they’re all the One True Loki, wearing his face or guise or using Marvel to lure them in, and so on. ”

He grinned. “Which is always worse and more offensive than people finding him through Neil Gaiman or other people who’ve written about him, isn’t it? Anyway — this isn’t about my father or any other Loki, and neither is it about the actual fact that I know alternate universe versions of people, or, you know, anything that I don’t feel the need to get upset about whether or not someone else believes or understands.”

“Despite that, you’ve been extremely clear that this world/this universe has one Loki, and that one is your father.”

He stretched, looking as absolutely unconcerned as a cat. “Yes.”

“Which Freyr belongs to this world/universe?” I said miserably.

He waved a finger at me. “That is for you to angst over while you waste your time trying to figure out how to delete a WordPress journal, because you have an opinion that other people will find upsetting.”

“I don’t have the energy to fight about it, or to be called names for it. I don’t want to be called a fake or be told that everything I believe is a lie. I don’t want to be told that my marriage is what doesn’t exist and hasn’t actually happened.”

“What do you want?”

I sighed. “Fewer great big bloody sacrificial messes that people make more important than anything else to do with him or about him — it’s just like how Everything has to be about his cock, and even when he gets killed, it’s always emphasized that he has a massive erection at the time. If they want to sacrifice something, maybe they should learn how to humanely sacrifice animals and then eat the animals and use all of their parts, or as many of them as possible, for things. Which was what actually happened… in my warped, insane view of the universe.”

“Great big animal sacrifice thingy?”

“They had a feast, yes. I was only around to bless it afterward for its own sake, to help it achieve a fortunate rebirth.”

“Getting your Buddhism all up in the mix.”

“He wanted me to. He thought it was important.”

“What did they feed you, and where were you? You never even told me about it.”

“In his room. Feeling weird, like always when there’s a major event going on nearby and you’re the only one left out, even if you’re left out because you chose to be, or have to be, or need to be. There were some herbed potatoes and carrots that she cooked separately, baked apples with spices, and seed bread with butter and honey that had been mixed together. I don’t know what the seeds were; they tasted like sunflower seeds.”

Oh. ‘In Germany, it is mixed with rye flour to make Sonnenblumenkernbrot (literally: sunflower whole seed bread)…’ From the pictures, that is what she gave me, though I think she must have used something other than rye — I’ve come across a recipe that uses barley, and some that just use wheat — because it didn’t have the intense bite that rye does. I don’t know what bread made with barley tastes like, and, having celiac, can’t find out. I suspect I would probably like it, though, if I could eat it. I can only remember having barley in soup, for which I’ve yet to find a properly satisfying celiac-friendly substitute.

“And,” Brand said, “just to rule out the potentially obvious objection: you don’t think he goes around not-dying because it might upset you.”

“Why would he? I expected it to happen. I thought it would right up until it didn’t.”

He laughed. “It’s probably a lot kinder of a way to disabuse you of the notion that Everyone knows half as much as they think they do than what dad did with me.”

“If it were genuinely something important for him to do, he should. Whether or not I like it is extremely superfluous when I’m not being forced to participate. Plenty of gods die. For fuck’s sake, you’ve died twice because of your father and you’re currently supposed to be human.”

“Would you have watched if he’d asked you to?” he said, suddenly solemn.

“…of course. What is there to a marriage if you are unwilling to go through difficult things beside each other, or if you are unwilling to go into dark places to find each other, or unwilling to even do something discomfiting. If you love someone, you stand beside them, whether through the worst of all things or the best. Bad things are a guarantee in life, and good things are a blessing to rejoice in. You can’t just choose the fun parts about a relationship or a person and throw out the rest and claim any kind of real love.”

What I believe is complex, and possibly overall completely stupid. I don’t know. I feel terrible, conflicted, extremely unhappy. Utterly miserable, hopeless, and forlorn. The only reason I haven’t deleted everything and disappeared is because R. asked me not to, and so did Brand. They think conflicting opinions are important, and that, due to having one, I should talk about it, rather than getting rid of any evidence of it outside of my own head.

The only thing I request about having made all of this public is that if we are to discuss it, we do it calmly.

If you would like to speak to me in private, my email address is shannon dot kotono at gmail.

I have to travel this week, so my replies may be a little slow, but I will get to them as I can.


8 thoughts on “What do you do?

  1. naiadis

    I realize that, in many of my responses to people, I always start talking about my experiences, my relationships with my gods, me me me me. I don’t intend for that to then make it all about me and mine, that my way is the right way, and so on. I simply don’t know how else to share of myself without sharing what I’ve done/where I’ve been/where I’m coming from, etc. Anecdotal stories are the best way I understand other people, and they are the best way I have to communicate something like this.

    What do you do when you persistently experience something extremely important regarding your god that runs counter to the experiences of everyone else?

    The majority of the advice I’ve found says that it likely means that this bit of UPG is wrong, and I should try to readjust my vision/ears/memories. It is not completely personal, but I often find “peer-corroborated” things highly questionable as a verification when the peers are close to each other.

    What do I do when I persistently experience something extremely important regarding my god that runs counter to the experiences of everyone else? First, I thank said god, and all the gods in my life, that I had the good fortune to have met Poseidon before I was active online. I hold fast to my gratitude that, going into our relationship the only thing I really knew about Him was that He was one of those rapist gods, at worst, and a womanizing bastard at best, and that, knowing that and experiencing what I was experiencing, I decided to go along with what He was presenting to me and ignoring the rest. I hold fast to my gratitude that somehow I’ve managed to retain my “I don’t give a flying fuck what others think of me,” unless they are part of my immediate tribe. I do care, to a degree — of course I do — but not to the point where some person I hardly know, whose life is not a part of my daily life, is going to have the final say over what I’m experiencing with my god. I am so humbly grateful that my relationships were pretty solid before “PCPG” became a thing. In my household, our UPG doesn’t match all the time, nor does it have to, because at the end of the day my relationship with Poseidon is my relationship with Poseidon, and we are the only two who get to define what that looks like, up to and including any bits of Himself that He chooses to share with me that do not match up with what bits of Himself He chooses to share with others.

    I feel that, along the way, we’ve lost a bit about why it’s important to share. We here being the pagan community, and specifically the smaller polytheistic pagan community that is on wordpress and blogging. I don’t believe that we will be united by some homogeneous spiritual community that agrees about the finer spiritual points — heck, the big’uns don’t have that, why the hell should we? So this growing desire to have PCPG among people just baffles me. Even within one tradition, the human lens of experience can be so varied, and then add to that the interaction with the gods, and I’m left wondering, why? Why must we make it all look the same? Why must we insist on a linear, orderly way of understanding, why cannot there be room for more? Why cannot the unifying force instead be that we are all human, whatever else we are, struggling to express and share our spiritual interactions in a meaningful way that can build up paganism? Why can’t it be “here we are, and here our gods are” and leave the rest up to the individual to explain, or not, as they so choose?

    So, to sum up: I have no answer. I’m sorry that you are struggling with this.

    1. shannonkotono Post author

      Thank you so much.

      I haven’t been sleeping much and I can’t think clearly because I am so tired, but I wanted you to know that this was genuinely helpful and very comforting.

    2. shannonkotono Post author

      I’m still tired — I fell asleep sitting straight up last night and thankfully didn’t move much, I suppose, because I’d just finished laying out my runes for 2014 — but a little more coherent today.

      It has seemed like this (Freyr in general) has happened to me in part because, in the opinions of everyone I know, there are things that he wants written about, in public. Whether they’re things only I experience of him or not. And also, that there is some sort of value in all of my earnest struggling and stumbling, because people aren’t often willing to expose that about themselves or their relationships. They want everything to seem perfect, powerful, unquestionable. And I suppose finding some kind of party line regarding their gods to follow to the letter is helpful in that — in creating some sort of unified face of Real Things that no one can dispute (and if they do, there’s a mob ready at the gate to retaliate).

      I can, fairly easily, find things that do unify the gods themselves in themselves, i.e. there are things about Freyr that always feel like him, always feel true, whether it’s my experience or someone else’s. Even if other things are very different, and the sameness is as thin as a thread. Brand does the same thing with his father; I remember some time ago when he started to cry after reading a poem someone wrote because he said that they obviously knew his father. Those are the things that tell me that something has really happened, generally. Not an adherence to the popular opinion of what they are like or what they do.

      Other things just feel real or true, even when I don’t know the deity or spirit in question in the slightest.

      Through that, I usually end up seeing variation and don’t have trouble accepting it. There’s a blogger whose experiences with Freyr aren’t much like mine, but I do recognize the same Freyr in both my life and theirs, regardless of how different things are. There’s an underlying current that I instantly know, instinctively. But I have to be open to the idea in order to recognize it. I have to be willing to see him through other people’s eyes.

  2. Heather Freysdottir

    If it helps any, I don’t experience Pop dying either. I’ve never seen it. I chalked it up to the fact that I live in Florida, which is forever growing – we have no latent season. So you’re not totally alone in that UPG.

    But my relationship with Loki isn’t like other people’s either, in spite of Him having eleventy-billion other wives. So I think that at some point you just have to say “fuck it” and accept your Beloved the way They come to you, because all it did was annoy and then piss off Loki when I questioned our interactions to death.

    1. shannonkotono Post author

      Thank you. That really does help very much.

      We certainly have a winter — I’m trying to deal with needing to travel during the winter storm we are about to have — and a stunningly beautiful autumn, and I experience the seasons at his home, as well… but…

      From what Brand has told me, I know Loki can get irritated with what other people are doing, or say he is doing, whether or not they are completely right about it, because it doesn’t have anything to do with what he is actually doing right at that moment, with the person he is with. I think it must be hard for spouses of his to deal with, because there are so many others, and so many of them have a desperate need to prove that their experiences are real, true, and valid, so there seems to end up being a lot of fighting about who is right and whose Loki is the Real Loki…

      More than most gods, the lyric, “I’m a million different people from one day to the next,” applies to him.

      1. Heather Freysdottir

        I do relate; I have had the “your Loki isn’t douchey enough so it’s not really Him” implied to me more than once. I leave off the people who want to tell me how He ought to act. I’ve even had to tell a couple to stop talking to me, point blank. Conversely, I’ve had people desperately want me to validate their experiences too, which is not my job either. But I think the Lokean community’s penchant for pushing boundaries doesn’t play well with my tendencies as Gerda’s daughter. People can GTFO of my garden if they don’t know how to act like adults, and I don’t even feel bad about it.

        As for Pop and winter, He does change when He rides with the Wild Hunt, and I have also encountered a really ancient version of Him that I don’t know if you can even really call Freyr; it’s Him but it’s so ancient that people didn’t even have agricultural arts then. (kind of like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sorcerer_(cave_art) ) or this: http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/a4/68/d8/a468d87cc02dae7219477f64eda7129e.jpg It’s definitely Him, but I don’t think that many in heathenry or Vanatru have met Him in that form. It’s one of those wibbly wobbly, godly wodly, timey wimey mysteries. And I’ve met that aspect of Him in summer as well as in winter, but more often than not, I get regular Pop, the familiar Golden God.

        1. shannonkotono Post author

          The second picture gave me chills.

          There was a picture of a deer that I saved some time ago that just… stilled me when I saw it.

          I tend to save pictures of many sorts of deer onto my tumblr and I wear an antler pendant, and I’ve never felt it had much to do with the fighting-with-an-antler bit of lore… or at least, it’s never had much to do with the idea of having an antler in one’s hand (even if, perhaps not at all oddly, my pendant can be held like a weapon very comfortably), felt awkward about possibly encroaching on someone else’s Horned God sorts of territory… but this isn’t an unfamiliar side of him to me, at all. I wouldn’t claim to always see its depths, but there are glimpses.

  3. modifiedlizard

    I am not really seeing anything here that would invalidate one person or an others perception of Freyr

    What looks like a contradiction on one level becomes a perfectly logical response to circumstances when all the factors have been taken in to account.

    And this is what looks to me to be going on here.

    Gods are multifaceted beings, with some of these aspects being built around the gods functions and others around the gods personae which has developed over the course of the aeons. That they have a more human and intimate side to them is precisely what makes godspousery possible, perhaps even necessary, and the gods themselves seem to differentiate between what happens at home and what happens at the office.

    Freyr’s position as a dying god is his day job, it does not strike me as at all strange that he would not want to bring his work along when he just wants to have some R & R with his spouse.

    May be that POV is a bit irreverent but Hela has encouraged me to understand things in terms of “that is business” and “this is personal”, it’s an essential part of my relationship with her.


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