All, and None are Special

If you have been with the Lord Apollon for some time, after the often initial reaction to flee from His glory, you may find a very different expression of His personality, waiting just below the surface of what you had first encountered.  He waits there with open arms to embrace you, and to entangle you in His gravity, where you will orbit Him like any loyal satellite.

It is often the kindness of our Lord that most surprises those who are new to this face.  But what could rightly come next after the harsh truth of His nature?  After the pursuit, after the tearing of the flesh, did He not seek your surrender?  In giving all of ourselves to our Lord, we make ourselves open to receive His many gifts.  Our Prince is a generous God.  Generously doting, generously affectionate, and has been known to subsume His loves, taking them into Himself, and into ecstasy.

It is not hubristic to accept the love of a God.  It is not harmful to Hellenic Polytheism for the mortal brides/loves of our God to been seen and heard, because from my experience, it is typically the God who makes the request (or demand) for those intimate details to be shared.  And even in those instances where it was up to the devotee, it is not necessarily a cry for attention, or any other inane fantasy.  The fact, is that we are loved, and the excitement of having that love in our lives bleeds out into our words, and everyday interactions.  It can make some people quite uncomfortable to witness a relationship so unlike their own being enthusiastically embraced. For whatever personal reasons they may have, our love and excitement are met with screams of  “Special Snowflakes!”  As if we were all out proclaiming that our loves were the pinnacle, or the model from which all should be molded.  Such attitudes toward us are unwarranted, in most cases.

We all know what can happen when someone loses sight of themselves, or loses sight of their humanity, in reference to bridal mysticism, so let me state, outright, here and now, that I am not special.  But, neither are you.

Apollon has many, many mortal loves.  Each of us brings a little something different into His heart.  But, while we are each unique, and loved for our uniqueness, there also is a kind of commonality between the lot of us.  It is this commonality which causes the most friction, not between us and more mainstream devotees, but amongst ourselves.

None of us are loved above the others, and yet He may make us feel like the most important thing at any given moment.  His love reaches so far into our hearts, that it may not even be possible for us to deny the special feelings it induces.  And why should we?  Our relationships with Him are our own. However, any human being who says (no matter how beloved of their God they may be) that they alone could be the focal point of their God’s affections, is lying with malicious intent.

Do not trust the shallow and purposefully misleading words of the insecure. To puff oneself up at the expense of others who share similar doxa, is just silly, and it makes those who engage in it look more the fool.  If Lord Apollon treats you like a princess (or a prince), then accept it.  Enjoy it.  Revel in it. But you are but one princ(ess) among many.  We must remain mindful of the simple fact that all of us are special to Him, and yet, none of us are special.  There is not a single one of us that He could not live without. There is not a single one of us, whom He can not replace.  And there is not a single one of us who holds a monopoly on His affection.

More importantly, if someone tells you that your God told them something explicitly about you, with no prompting or questioning from the claimant, you can take that as an immediate red flag.  Gods do not go around spreading gossip about Their humans, to Their other humans.  I mean, really, folks. Anyone who throws out vague warnings like: “Deity X said [insert painful non-truth] about you, and They would never lie to me…”, is a lying liar who is most likely nursing some kind of personal wound, or petty jealousy.  Let me repeat:  Gods don’t gossip with Their devotees, about Their devotees.

So, in a few words: trust Apollon, or Whomever your God may be, and for Gods’ sake, don’t drink the haterade.

— Columbine

My Practice as a Headblind Devotee

I’m dedicated to my Lord Apollon. I am His to take on and use as He sees fit, rearing me in whatever ways He deigns appropriate as His devotee. My relationship as a dedicant is slightly interesting, in that I’m mostly headblind. I don’t “hear” the gods like some others do. I don’t sense things, or have visions and dreams. My divination, though it’s getting better, is spotty and unpredictable, while the extent of my meditations is breathing in a funny way until I feel kind of floaty. Because of that, oftentimes, I don’t function in my relationship with deity in the same way that many others in the various pagan and polytheist communities do. Although all paths are different, and all are our own, I wanted to write what little I could about my own path in an attempt to shed light on one of the many ways Apollon may reach out. This is all from my own point of view, so it may or may not apply to any others! Take what you will.

Any relationship with deity can be incredibly hard work, work that sometimes breaks one, even as they may not realize it. Being headblind and yearning for deity, wanting to do my best for Apollon but being unable to feel that closeness in return sometimes felt like the hardest work I had to do. It was like a constant fallow time, with no evidence of my practice having any meaning or impact.  It was as if I was being broken down, little by little. Each offering and prayer, all the shrines I maintained, they began to feel like they were for nothing. How could I love my Lord, and do right by Him when He won’t even show me what it is that He wants of me? I couldn’t contribute in any meaningful way, so what else is there? Why is He even here with me?

Of course, Lord Apollon heard me. He got me through that time, using it, I believe, to teach me more about my path as a headblind devotee. He impressed upon me the need to be my own person, the need for trust, and the need to focus on us. He taught me to be strong in myself and in Him, relying on the good foundations I had built through that hard work and faith, rather than the more “woo” things I’ve experienced a few times. Looking back, I’m so grateful to Him for that period and those times I went through. In a way, a small part of me was transformed and made into something stronger, more solid, more worthy of being called His.

When I first began to learn that Apollon had an interest in me, I read the blogs and writings of others involved in the pagan and polytheist communities. Concentrating so much on the people I felt were my elders and basing my practice on their relationships with their gods set me back more than I care to admit. I rather foolishly felt that my lack of abilities or a godphone made loving my god in a way He deserved seemingly impossible. These other wives and devotees of His, they could hear Him and speak with Him, joke with Him and play with Him. What could I have to offer? I felt that surely He would tire of me when I couldn’t really hear Him or interact with Him. Don’t we humans get bored with those who don’t respond to us? Shouldn’t the gods be the same way? I’m sort of giggling at how wrong I was.

There’s plenty that those who are headblind can do for their gods, because not all of us are called to be spiritworkers or godspouses. Whether it’s wiring, timing, or anything else at all, not all of us are called to have that experience. I felt that because my calling included being headblind, I would never have that closeness with Apollon. I thought that I would never know anything for sure, that my whole devotional practice would be a guessing game each time I left out an offering, or asked for Him to listen.

Eventually I came to the realization that I am this way for a reason. This is one hundred percent my path, and being headblind is the best way for me to serve my Lord, at least at the moment. I stopped comparing, and stopped reading most other pagan and polytheist blogs. I learned to rely on Apollon and myself instead of what others had said or experienced. Through this, my Lord helped me to come into my own a bit more. I’ve become stronger because of what I’ve been through the past year, and got to know myself better than I thought I would. In getting to know myself, I began to learn just how to reach Apollon in my own way. Communication opened up in new ways by following my gut and intuition, which surprisingly, is mainly on track with what He asks of me. I did all of this because I learned to trust Apollon. If I hadn’t opened myself up in that way, then I know for a fact that I’d still be floundering. Trust is probably the one thing that Apollon has impressed upon me the most. Trust in Him, trust in our relationship, and trust in myself. Without that trust, I was stagnant. I couldn’t go anywhere, I couldn’t do anything, and I was of no use to Him or myself. The biggest setback to learning that trust in Apollon was the fact that I’m mostly headblind. Being headblind oftentimes cuts me off from Apollon, forcing me to do things all on my own. Or so I thought, until I learned to trust in my Lord.

Perhaps the biggest thing I’d like to impress on others who are headblind is that just because you can’t feel Them, it doesn’t mean They aren’t there. It doesn’t mean They aren’t still teaching you, helping you, and loving you. Apollon has always been there for me, always, without exception. When I lost faith, He was there. When I felt my heart hardening and my spirit breaking, He was there. When I decided a few times that I couldn’t do this anymore and that I’d rather leave my religion and my Lord behind, He was there. He’s taught me everything and carried me through everything, so long as I have that trust. When I can’t trust and open myself up to Him, He can’t (or won’t) help me.

A large part of learning how to work with my Lord while being headblind was about realizing that this relationship isn’t all about my feelings and experiences. The relationship is, of course, about the relationship. It’s about us. It may sound somewhat obvious, but it was so easy for me to begin losing sight of Apollon as a Person and begin thinking about our relationship as an experience. For me this was a huge block. It can become hard not to focus on the few amazing experiences that the gods give us, that wonderfully amazing overwhelming feeling that is Their presence and love. But that feeling, I came to learn, is not Them. I laugh at myself now when I think about this. How could I mistake the bond with a god for the tingling feelings of warmth I’ve felt once before?

The relationship is in the every day things, the things that I don’t always think about.  It’s when He guides me in following His ways, or moves me to prayer between classes. It’s when He allows me to see the beauty in the new moon that belongs to Him, and sing (screech?) to Him at the tops of my lungs out of sheer joy for His existence. There are no “woo” things for me, really. Just living my life with Apollon in it, even though I can’t sense Him in the slightest. The relationship has become more about what I can give back to Him, more about serving my Lord. Even though I don’t expect it, He does so much for me in return. He gives that love back a hundredfold, saving me in ways I didn’t know I needed saving.

I suppose my whole point in this mess of me blabbing about myself is that being headblind and being devoted to deity can work, if that’s what you’re meant to do. It does work. I thought that I’d live the rest of my days living secularly, doing whatever I wanted with no thoughts of anyone but myself. But He changed all that, swooping in and surrounding me no matter how dense my head and walls are. He’s there for me just as I am, headblind and oblivious, doing what I can for Him.

— Atalanta