DPM 3: Monsters On My Side

My lover Lon Sarver  and I have decided to go through Galina Krasskova’s Devotional Polytheist Meme questions together over the next several months.

We encourage our friends to follow along, and welcome links to other people’s answers in our comments, as well as your thoughts on our answers.

3. How have the Divinities helped you in times of adversity and violent upheaval?

Well, mostly by preventing me from having to experience violent upheaval, I suppose. At least, external violent upheaval. Internal is a whole other issue.

In my life, the hypersensitivity, anxiety, and depression are probably my biggest source of adversity. I’m blessed, lucky, privileged, and talented enough to not have had to work very hard to live a relatively stable, somewhat prosperous life. (This is not the time to get into the sources of those blessings, privileges, and talents.)

Yeah, on the occasions when I have major obstacles to overcome, the Powers do tend to help me get all the ducks lined up, quacking in unison, and waddling more or less in the same direction. Just about everybody chipped in when the time came for me to find a new house to live in with my partner Chien, or when I was trying to get into Santa Clara University for Religious Studies (vested interest, what?).

But what stands out to me somewhat more on a personal level than the willingness of various Powers to arrange for blessings within Their purview in return for service or votive offerings is how the Powers closest to me personally take care of me when I’m not capable of providing those services, can’t afford to make those offerings, and can’t even really tune in well enough or think straight enough to make the requests.

Basically, times of panic or nightmare. Papa Ghede in particular is amazing for this.

In the waking world, if I am overwhelmed and having panic attacks, the gods have Their ways of making sure I know They haven’t abandoned me just because it’s too noisy in my head to hear Them just now.

For a while, any time I got frazzled and lost while driving, I would always find my way back on track right after passing a graveyard. One particular day, when my car was acting dangerously strange, and I panicked about it and drove along a different path than I’d planned, I passed not one but TWO graveyards, and then got onto the main road headed towards my home and my family mechanic, only to find myself behind a vehicle with the license plate “Papa ❤ U”. My car, for her part, behaved well until I got to the mechanic, and then promptly demonstrated what was wrong, which is its own kind of handy – but the car gets credit for at least some of that, being awake and attentive herself.

As a dreamworker, help I get while dreaming is also significant. Growing up I had extremely vivid nightmares, and was very afraid of the dark. I dreamt of being chased by assassins and other kinds of problems straight out of horror movies.

Sometime after settling into my relationship with Papa, I found myself having those dreams again, but instead of being the victim running from the monsters, I was someone others asked for help solving the problem. I would do my best, and if it wasn’t working, shrug and say, “Well, you had your chance – they’re all yours Papa!”

Yet more recently, I’ve found myself being the one to whom the monsters report for duty. The monsters from the horror movies of my childhood telling me that there was some kind of bad thing, and they took care of it for me, did they do it right? I can’t tell you how disturbing it is to see Freddy Kreuger looking up at me from a half-floor below with a hopeful expression like Runt the Dog, or the Slender Man pouting at me for being subjected to bright orange fuzzy “party pimp” clothing in punishment “for scaring the customers.”

Somewhere along the line, the monsters in my closet stopped scaring me and started working for me. The Powers in my life, especially Papa Ghede, have a whole lot to do with that. I guess it’s hard to be afraid, when the dead guy in the corner is on your team…

–Ember–

Lon’s answer: Divine Intervention

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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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