A quick note before I begin: I would just like to apologize for my dearth of posts this week. I just started a new job as a temp at a local insurance claims facility and it’s kicking my ass. It’s not because I’m not still religiously oriented or that I’m having a Fallow Time, it’s just that time and energy are escaping me while I get back into the work flow.
Sometimes, as a polytheist, you get to a point where the OTHERS™ you have a working relationship with take a kind of “vacation,” of sorts. A lot of times, personally, I tend to misconstrue this as a Fallow Time – one of those periods where religion takes a backseat. However, when an OTHER™ is taking time off from you, this doesn’t necessarily mean you or I are in a Fallow Time. So, let’s talk about what happens to me (and so, you know, you can base yourself off of this if you so desire) what happens when the OTHERS™ take a vacation.
When will an OTHER™ go on a “vacation”?
This is one of those questions that are actually specific to the OTHER™ in question. There are numerous responses that could be considered appropriate and numerous responses that could be considered wild guesses in regards to this query. The thing is that we don’t know when something like this will happen. We can assume it will, at some point in our lives, but we cannot always know when it will actually occur. Unfortunately, as much as divination may be part and parcel to the religion you practice, you can’t know in the future when an OTHER™ will be taking a break from you. If they wanted you to know in advance, they’d probably send you the OTHER™ version of an E-mail or voicemail about the thing. In the mean time, let’s talk about the “when” question and cycles.
You see, I’ve come to notice that when it comes to my OTHERS™, I have specific times of the year where contact is more pronounced, or louder, if you will. (What I mean by louder is that Papa Legba gets quieter in my head as opposed to leaving off entirely.) So, in my practice, I tend to find that the communication thing goes in and out via cycles, which are directly related to the time of the year. Now the specific reason behind this cyclical thing, I’ll get into later (or at least, theorize about it later), but in the mean time, I can tell you that I hear from Sekhmet and Hetharu less and less as autumn and winter culminate. In the mean time, I’m lucky enough to have “off time” OTHERS™ to take up their spaces, in the forms of Papa Legba and Hekate. So while Hetharu and Sekhmet get quieter and quieter or their communication becomes sparse, the other two fill in the hole.
Now, not all OTHERS™ are obviously cyclical. For example, I honestly don’t understand why I hear Papa Legba more pronouncedly in the winter time than I do in the summer time while I understand the slack in communicate in winter from my goddesses. Again, I’ll theorize about this further on, but in the mean time, I just wanted to get out there that sometimes, the OTHERS™ don’t really have a rhyme or reason as to why they go on a vacation at specific time.
Rest assured that it isn’t just you. They have their reasons and they’ll either tell you about them or otherwise when they get back. Now as for the OTHERS™ that don’t hold to specific cycles as clearly cut as mine do, there could be a couple of reasons for this. However, the one thing I want to get into specifically in this section here is that keep calm, cool, and collected here. Just because an OTHER™ goes off on walkabout doesn’t mean that you are doing something wrong or that you fucked up along the way. It just means that they went on walkabout.
When can I expect my OTHER™ to come back?
Unfortunately, this is yet another one of those questions that people have that are pretty much unanswerable. As I said above, as much as divination may play a large part in your religion that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be given even a second of an inkling as to when they will leave or when they will return. They will come back or at least send you their version of the E-mail, as I mentioned before. (I tend to think of OTHERS™ as not very rude, but big sticklers on formality, which is why I mention that they will probably let you know what’s going on at some point or another. Whether or not you realize that you are receiving a message, well that’s a whole different ball park.)
The thing that we tend to forget about the OTHERS™ is that they are, you know, more powerful beings than we are. So, while we may have a perceived schedule of events in regards to our religion, they don’t even remotely care. It’s not because they don’t have emotions in regards to us or that they’re emotionless creatures that are just levels above us (as evidenced, clearly to me, by the Greek gods, themselves…). It’s just that they are indefatigable in what they are doing that we may not be aware of and that they are, well, you know, OTHERS™. And that does, indeed, mean that their motive may be miles and miles above where we are on the ladder of life or whatever you want to call it. It’s not that they don’t care, okay?
So, again, I have to rehash what I said above. When an OTHER™ disappears, don’t just freak out that they’re never coming back. Don’t immediately assume that you did something wrong. Don’t immediately start crying and freaking out at your altar or in prayers (or both). The OTHERS™ are the OTHERS™ are the OTHERS™. They do what they want and when they want it. So, as much as we may have a perceived timetable, they probably aren’t going to abide by it. They will come back when they come back.
How will I know an OTHER™ is going on “vacation”?
I don’t really think that there is any sure-fire indication than an OTHER™ will be taking a time out. It’s not a very clear-cut process all the time. I consider myself very lucky in this that I have gods that are cyclical. (And of course, as I said, I will get to that later.) However, sometimes, it just happens.
Obvious signs are obvious: lack of communication, feeling like you’re in a case of the druthers for that lack of communication, etc.
Whenever I start to feel like my goddesses are doing their vacationing thing, I have a kind of depression for a week or so. It’s not that they aren’t there to hear me out or anything, but I just feel less connected than I usually do. And this ends up leading to a kind of depression period that tends to last about a week [for me]. Some of the other signs about this can also be directly related to real life. One of the things people tend to forget when the mundane gets in the way is that it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to head into a Fallow Time. It could just be a type of signal from your OTHERS™ letting you know that you have to take care of A, B, and C before you can get back on track.
Other signals can and do include communication via your divination weapon of choice. I use Tarot cards and oracle decks almost exclusively to work with my OTHERS™. So occasionally, I’ll get a bunch of cards that mean it’s time to take a step back, rethink some things, and then come back to it from a different perspective. I’ve never gotten a card, specifically, that said “HEY I’M TAKING A VACA; I’LL CALL YOU WHEN I GET BACK,” but you never know. Pulling runes or using other types of divinatory oracles are another avenue you can explore when it comes to getting that precog moment where you realize it’s getting time for the OTHER™ in question to take back.
As a side note to signals and signs: I feel that I should add that you cannot discount messages from outside sources. I’m not talking about the divination in as much as I’m talking about some random person contacting you out of the blue and saying, “Hey, OTHER™ X just notified me that they’re taking a break from you for a while.” While I have had some of my UPG verified by outside sources in various capacities, I’ve never had one of my OTHERS™ utilize another as a conduit for communication. (But wouldn’t that be kind of neat if they did?) However, I have known of it happening to people, both as conduits and as people who have received messages from outsiders. So, while you would probably prefer to stick to yourself in regard to this situation, don’t necessarily discount outside messengers.
Why do the OTHERS™ go on a “vacation”?
Okay, so this is really the meat and potatoes of this post. Whenever it comes to the OTHERS™, one of the main types of questions some of us older practitioners tend to receive are “why”. And who doesn’t want to know why? We get these types of questions from kids all the time. “Why is the sky blue?” “Why do I have to go to bed?” “Why can’t I paint poop on the walls?” Lots and lots of times, you’ll hear or see me go, “why is this happening?” I think it’s pretty much natural, as human beings, to constantly ask why. So, let’s wade through this mountain of possibilities.
As I said, my OTHERS™ are almost entirely cyclical. My two main deities, Sekhmet and Hetharu, are solar deities. So, it tends to make sense that these Kemetic goddesses would be more able and intense in their communication with me when it comes to spring, summer, and early fall. The sun is shining; the heat is profound; and everything is in bloom. All of these are aspects that I tend to associate with my goddesses anyway, being solar deities. Especially in regards to Sekhmet, who is an Eye of Re (also known as the super solar deity), it makes absolutely perfect sense that I get a deeper and more fulfilling connection with her in the summer months. In like fashion, we have Hekate who is an opposite of sorts to my Kemetic deities. She tends to be more associated with the autumnal and winter months, so when it comes to communicating, it seems to make a lot of sense as to why I have a more intense connection with her (and darker deities, besides) in the winter months.
As I said earlier, in the land of Papa Legba, I’m unsure. I have my theories, but I really can’t comment. As a crossroads lwa, he serves similar function to Hekate. However, he is lwa and I haven’t read too much on them being specifically associated with timing or cycles. I mean, certain lwa will obviously have a more direct connection with nature and so, therefore, it’s possible relationships will end up being cyclical. However, Papa Legba is a kind of alpha and omega in the lwa world. He opens up communication with other lwa…
as well as stirs shit in your life. So, aside from his perceived lack of cycles, my only possibility is that I tone him down in summer months so that I can pay more close attention to Sekhmet and Hetharu. It’s a guess, of course, but it is possible to kind of tune out some kinds of OTHERS™ so that you can focus on communication with other kinds of OTHERS™.
Now, so, we can take perceived communication outages as cyclical. Obviously, your mileage may vary and it really does depend on the OTHER™ in question. Some are more clear-cut and obvious than others: Persephone, Demeter, and gods that are inherently tied to cycles. However, there are deities that aren’t so neatly tied up and wrapped into a bow. In cases like that, we have to start sifting a little deeper for the reason behind this.
I tend to view it in a general sense. Since I do work with cyclical OTHERS™, I have less need to take a broader view here. However, I tend to believe that when an OTHER™ goes on vacation, we should probably also pay attention to how wide-spread their following is. While we read a lot of blogs about Loki followers and the like, we have to assume that Loki can’t be in all places at once. (Then again, when it comes to Loki, one never really knows.) I think a large problem here is that we tend to come into polytheistic belief systems from an Abrahamic background. This makes it difficult to disassociate the OTHERS™ with the omniscient, omnipotent YHWH from the Abrahamic side of things. We can’t just assume that the OTHERS™ are able to be in all places at once, able to know things at all times.
And again, maybe they need to take a break. We don’t know what happens on their plane of existence. We don’t know what they’re going through, who they’re hanging with, how many followers and worshipers they may have. We just don’t know. And even though you may have a more personal relationship with the OTHER™ in question that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not going to need to take a time out.
So to sum up: OTHERS™ take time off. They do so for various reasons. They will come back when they so desire. And at some point, they will probably let you know in some form or another what’s going on. It’s just a matter of keeping your mind open, your eyes peeled, and keep on keepin’ on when things go quiet.