This is actually in response to this Tumblr post that has been going around my friends’ Tumblogs. I’m going to do this in the same way that I’ve done my infamous [in my own head] 101 posts.
When will I be called by an OTHER™?
This is actually one of those really common questions in the pagan sphere. A lot of newer practitioners begin to read others’ blog posts or comments on pagan-oriented forums in regards to working relationships with OTHERS™. They see all of these pagan practitioners discussing their “god-bothered” status. (I use this term to denote that gods are in my life, although I believe it was A Changing Altar via their Tumblr that mentioned they didn’t quite like that word. I have to agree that it isn’t the most accurate terminology since it makes one think that those of us who do have close relationships with the gods aren’t thrilled with it and that’s not usually the case. Another reason why this terminology is so inaccurate is because it does not take into account the lwa, the orisha, or any of the other beings out there that are beyond our ken.) And they begin to think that they’re not special enough or able enough or pagan enough or what have you because they haven’t been called the way some others have. This isn’t the case. Every pagan is different; every practice is different even if you are following along with a temple or a grove or a coven. Since every human being is different, no matter how similar the practices and beliefs may be, then you have to go into this whole “god-bothered” thing thinking that each relationship, worship, etc will be different as well.
The thing is that there is no set time frame on when an OTHER™ decides to make contact with someone. While some people have come into this life with an OTHER™ already prepping them or in their lives, in some form or another, that’s not exactly the norm. And then we also have other pagans who have never once had a close relationship with any of the OTHERS™ and not for lack of trying. Whatever the OTHERS™ decide in these cases is up to them. You can’t force something. You can’t assume that because it’s happened to X, Y, and Z pagan then it will happen to you. I’m going to point back to what I said above about everyone’s practice being different in some form or another. And you know, just because a “deep, meaningful relationship” doesn’t happen with an OTHER™ that doesn’t mean that you’re not pagan enough or good enough or any of that jazz. THAT’S BULLSHIT RIGHT THERE AND STOP THINKING THAT WAY. That just means that you’re more likely to explore outside influences while those of us in the “god-bothered category” are less likely to jump outside of the box. (I’m not saying that this is how it is all the time, but I do tend to see a general idea that most people who have a particular patron from a specific pantheon don’t tend to explore outside of that pantheon or culture. Again, this isn’t how it is all of the time.)
We should also consider that there are different levels of relationship, as well, so that may have something to do with it as well. We have god-spouses and god-slaves, we have children of the gods and we have patron deities and and and. So, in some cases, when some of the younger pagans are discussing the whole desire to being called by an OTHER™, we should also take it with a grain of salt. The level of commitment can be very intense – I know of a few god-slaves and a few god-spouses. Their relationship is truly something I cannot comment on (not just because I do not fall into these categories, but it’s nobody’s business what kind and how intense). But some of these other relationships can be fleeting, can be for a specific time frame, etc. For example, when I first began working with Hekate, it was only supposed to be a one month and one day work together. It was just supposed to be fleeting, whereas my relationship with Sekhmet transcends time and space. (No more on that. That’s for the S entries.) So, in that respect, we can sit there and think that maybe it’s not that it won’t happen but that the newbie in question just isn’t ready yet.
How do I know if I’m being called by an OTHER™?
This is something that is difficult. The experience is very different for each individual pagan, but this is also one of the most common questions in regards to relationships with OTHERS™ that I’ve seen. How will I know? What should I look for? The thing is that what I experienced before I realized what was going on isn’t what Joe Blow or Jane Doe will have experienced when it comes to their relationships with their OTHERS™. This is born out in the numerous comments to the post that started this entry. I’ve seen people comment that it was a bit like falling love and others like it was a dawning moment one day.
In my life, when I knew I was being called by the main movers-and-shakers, it was pretty much all a lot of little coincidental moments that added up to one of those dawning epiphanies I have tend to get. It wasn’t like I was falling in love. It wasn’t like I had a particular OTHER™ on the brain. It wasn’t like any of the other ways that pagans have mentioned. And while I could sit around and mull and moan about how it’s “not like everybody else” we have to keep coming back to the point I’ve made in this entry and in others: each practice is different from one another. So, how it works for me may not be how it works for you or you or that person down in the back over there.
If you start thinking that you may be called, then maybe you are. The only way to find out is by asking.
How do I ask an OTHER™ if they are calling me?
This is one of those tricky things that has more to do with the “god-phone” thing than this post, but I thought it merited a little section. The thing is that when it comes to communicating with OTHERS™, how do you do it? Do you just say, “I want this,” and hope that they hear it? Do you have to be in prayer? Do you have to do a ritual? How in the world does anyone ask an OTHER™ anything? They’re a being that is pretty much beyond anything we can think or imagine. (Whoops. My Kemetic half is coming out.) The thing is that we have to first trust in the fact that they are there and that they are listening.
As to how they will send the message, it’s entirely up to them. When it comes to communication, it’s as different between the OTHERS™ as it is for us. We use various languages to communicate with one another and different forums to see it done. So, too, do the OTHERS™. Primarily, my contact with my “god-phone” is limited to oracle and Tarot deck use that is specific to that OTHER™ in question. There are other pagans, however, who have dreams when an OTHER™ is looking to get communication going. You can meditate. You can do a ritual. You can use Tarot or oracle decks. You can pray and ask for them to give you a sign in X way or a dream or whatever you so desire. The “how” the communication comes about isn’t so much important as the fact that the communication ends up happening.
Why is an OTHER™ calling me?
This is one of those things that is entirely up to you to answer. I can sit there and look at the situation, but I won’t know for sure. That’s the problem. Each OTHER™ calls to a person for different reasons.
For example, Hekate never actually called me. I called to her and she accepted the companionship that I had proposed. In this working together, we’re mostly trying to help me to get to a place where I can, actually, start practicing magic again. We discovered that a lot of my past life and current life traumas were holding me back in various ways. She decided it was in my best interest to banish them. So, while this is an ongoing project, since we’ve been working together longer than the month and a day that we had initially agreed upon, that is the nature of her working in my life: guide. Whereas, if we look to Legba, his position in my life is to make contact with that liminal aspect that I deny. And if we look to Hetharu and Sekhmet, we have still other reasons for their being in my life.
When it comes to fostering a relationship with the OTHERS™, it is as varied as how they communicate and how our practices end up. Some relationships with OTHERS™ can be a life-long commitment, while others can only be to help you work through a specific aspect of yourself or your traumas (as in the case with Hekate). And still other types of relationships can be specific to a particular ritual, a time of the year, a festival you’re celebrating, or what have you. Just because an OTHER™ doesn’t come down and tap you on the shoulder to let you know that you suddenly belong to them doesn’t mean you can’t make relationships with the OTHERS™. It just means that you have more free range than some of the rest of us.