Be Unreasonable

Last night I did a long cleansing bath under the guidance of the Orixa whose service I was taught in American Umbanda. After the bath, I meditated for quite a while, counting my breaths in batches of 8, for Obatala, who had requested the cleansing in the first place, listening as well as I could for the words of Powers whose relationships with me I have come to doubt over the past couple of years.

I lack confidence that even most of the resulting conversations were received clearly, but enough of what They had to say is true regardless that I see little harm in accepting it. One thing that is quite clear is that I need to take better care of myself, especially my body. The Orixa seemed to feel that Their having stepped back to let me focus on the Vanir after so many years of dividing my focus on cross training may have not worked the way They intended. They’re stepping back up, because They feel I need more help than I’m getting dealing with the practical and everyday aspects of my life, and They want to help with that while I work with the Vanir on the more esoteric and religious things that are my current projects and calling.

I managed not to balk at the prospect of new obligations, but I must have at least thought of it, because Obatala reminded me that I have already made many gifts and performed or helped perform many rituals, and not asked for much of anything in return. I always thought of the help running the rituals as being on behalf of the people, and the crafts were in return for the inspiration for the crafts. But the Orixa did not feel the same way about it.

They apparently feel that I have a too-large backlog of credit with Them, and Obatala and Oxun had come to demand that I ASK FOR THINGS I NEED.
Even if I think they’re not reasonable to ask for.
Even if I think I don’t deserve them if I don’t put in yet more work.
Even if I think I shouldn’t need them, or shouldn’t need to ask someone else for help getting them.
Even if I think it’s not fair for me to have them when other people have even less than I already have.
Even if I think it’s not fair for me to be given them as gifts when others have to work so hard for what they have.

I have been admonished before for giving away my blessings. Passing what is given to me on to others when I no longer need it is wonderful. Passing things on that They tell me to give someone is great. Sharing my knowledge with others so that blessings may be multiplied is fantastic. But giving away what I need for myself, giving away my blessings because I can’t believe I deserve to be so blessed – that’s not good.

They choose to give me many blessings for Their own reasons.
They choose to value what I have already done for reasons of Their own.
I don’t have to agree with or even know of Their reasons.
They don’t appreciate it when I throw Their blessings or my own efforts away.

Then Oxun spoke:

“Beauty is not Reasonable.

Love is not Fair.

This is why you are not my child.

I want you to tell me what you want. What you really want. What you wish for, even if you think you can’t have it.”

And I remembered that luxuries belong to Oxun. The gifts She gives don’t have to be necessary in the survival sense.

And I remembered that it’s part of the human condition that we need to have enough not only to be alive, but to be hospitable to each other, in order to participate in social networks. Humans are social animals, and the ability to support each other is part of our own needs.

I NEED to be able to be generous.
I NEED to have enough to share.
I NEED for my loved ones to be safe and healthy and happy.

So I bit my lip and I asked for what I really wanted, and what I knew I needed – even the things I was quite sure I’d be scolded for asking for. I asked for 5 households dear to me to be supported, listing specific things I knew they needed in order for us all to be well. I asked for the things I know are coming up in my life to be easier than is fair, or reasonable for me to expect. I asked for things to be handed to me that I would normally not be willing to ask for much help with until I’d done absolutely everything I could to get them myself – because they’re things that I am so anxious about that I can’t even bring myself to LOOK at what those things I should do even ARE right now.

This is more than I’d planned to write. It’s been a hard several weeks for several reasons, most of which are internal to my body and mind, but I’m coming out of it, and looking forward to the future.

A future with many gods and spirits in it.

A future with many blessings.


About EmberVoices

Ember Cooke has been a member of Hrafnar and Seidhjallr for more than a decade, where she trained to be a Seidhkona, Galdrakona, and Gythia. She founded the Vanic Conspiracy and made ordination vows to the Vanir and her congregation in the summer of 2013. She has contributed to several publications on Heathen and Northern Pagan subjects and regularly presents rituals and workshops at festivals. Her personal practice is more diverse, as the Vanir have lead her into cross-training and service for the wider Pagan community. This has including medium and servitor training in American Umbanda, clergy training with the Fellowship of the Spiral Path, and jail ministry for local counties. She holds a BA with honors in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University. Ember has lived all her life in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and is intimately bound to the valley of her birth.
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4 Responses to Be Unreasonable

  1. I would say a lot of stuff here about value and worth, but you already know what it is I would say. Let me know if I am someone who can help you with one or more of these things. *hugs*


    • EmberVoices says:

      You are already helping with the stuff I need you for the most, which is keeping the Vanic corners of the local community going on the front end while I work on back-end stuff that’s not ready for prime-time yet.

      I value your feedback, and I value you as a peer as well as someone who has things both to learn from me and to teach me (which is, I suppose, another way of saying “peer”, eh?)

      Thank you, though, for stepping up overtly 🙂


  2. Lon Sarver says:

    It’s hard to ask for what you need, when the whole rest of your life has trained you to not be a burden, to not ask too much, to do for others.

    Some folks get trials and tribulations from the gods; pain, loss, madness. For some of us, though, They know that we’ve had those lessons. What’s hard for us is something else… So that’s what they hit us with.


    • EmberVoices says:

      I honestly didn’t think I was quite so thoroughly trained to avoid being a burden until They started testing me on my willingness to be a conscious burden…



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