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Question 5: Relationships and Being a Godatheow

March 10, 2013 2 comments

From Dreaming in Smoke and Fire:

How does being a godatheow affect your relationships with your family? partner? child? employment?

Being a godatheow puts my God at the top of my list.  Given how most people feel about children, and how much I love my son, that is not an easy thing to admit.  Mercifully, it is an understanding with Him that my partner understands, and much of my family at home understands.  As for my employment, well, this is may sound odd, but I did not get regular employment until after I became a godatheow.

I had a temporary job in the drought of four years of unemployment.  When I was laid off from that job after about two months, ironically while I was at Etinmoot, where I was told I by Odin that I was His godatheow, it was another year or so before another job so much as reared its head at me.  I worked for the Great Golden Arches for a few months under a wonderful, understanding manager, and now work doing respite care and direct support.   The pay and hours are better, and I am getting practical experience in my degree.  So while there was upheaval in my life from the impact of becoming a godatheow, once I got with the program and started walk with the leash instead of against it, my life, and that of those around me, got easier by several degrees.  I have a budget now, and by and large, have stuck to it.

So much is going right in my life since Odin took me under His leash.  My relationship with my partner has never been better, to the point where she, along with our son, now live with me.  My relationship with my Gods, Ancestors, spirits, and landvaettir has never been stronger, or so deep in my life.  If anything, becoming His godatheow has been a stabilizing force in my life.

Where my being a godatheow may have the greatest impact is on potentials, such as where I might work, the next place I might live, relationships, and the like.

Odin owns me.  Odin owns me.

If He dictates to me, in a manner I cannot mistake as anything other than a command from Him (and I would do goo-gobs of double-checking, discernment, divination, talking with elders, friends, etc. just to be sure) to leave everything behind and to start wandering I would do that.  Not because I want to abandon my family, not because a roadtrip sure sounds swell, but because my God demanded it of me.  Would I try to get out of such a command?  No, but I might ask Him to delay that until, say, my son is out of school or we are in a better place financially.  I would ask He lay that burden on me, but not upon my family.  I cannot say whether He would accept such a request, but I know He loves His Sons and knows how deep I love mine.  The Gods are not without mercy; He has not asked such a thing of me, yet.

Thinking about this is not easy.  Not in the least.  Let no one tell you being a godatheow is easy, because these kinds of choices can loom over you.  I have to think down this line, and talk with my partner and loved ones about this because there is the possibility that someday I may be called to do something that society would deem ‘crazy’, like taking off for 9 days/weeks/months/years and then coming back.  Is that written in stone?  No, but then again I would be a fool not to look at that possibility, and at the least make people aware of it.

While being a godatheow has been one of the most stabilizing forces in my life, it also has the potential, at any given moment, to destabilize it.  It makes me thankful, even if I am not always as vocal as I ought to be in that thanks, for the stability I do have, for what I may have in the future.  It makes me treasure the moments where I have down time and I am not going here and there doing my God’s Work, or my other Gods’ Work for that matter.  It pushes me to be thankful and treasure the moments I have to be a father and a lover.  It makes me treasure the moments I have to relax.  At any moment Odin can say “Time to go this way” and there I will go.

It is not easy to have this kind of relationship.  It is far easier to brush it off, to self-sabotage, and say “I am not worthy” or “I cannot do this thing” and let the charge be.  That said, it is hard to argue with a leash about your throat and feeling a supreme tugging this way or that.  I will eventually get there, wherever He is leading me, but it is entirely incumbent upon me whether or not I make it harder.

Odin owns me, and in so doing, He has direct influence on my life.  My life is my service, and my service is my life.  In understanding this simple truth I have made my life a good deal easier.  Do I still have autonomy?  Yes, and choices  in my life are plentiful, but this autonomy and these choices are within the larger context of what He gives me to choose from.

With my life being Odin’s, doing well everywhere I can in my life is an offering to Him.  Parenting my son well, treating my partner with respect, love, and dignity, and doing well by my clients are all part and parcel of offering to Him.  My work with the communities, great and small, are part of my Work with Him.  There is no aspect of my life untouched by Him, no aspect of my life that cannot be offered to Him.  While being His godatheow may present challenges to me, my loved ones, and my communities, it is also one of the greatest blessings He has given me.

A Note

Being a godatheow is not for everyone, nor am I any better than one who has never ‘heard’ their God.  This is a wholly different way to live one’s life, to worship and to serve the Gods, a God or Goddess in particular.  I do not expect everyone to be a godatheow to have a deep level of commitment to their God/Goddess, nor godspousery, nor even to ‘hear, see, taste’, etc.  Each person’s relationship with their Gods is between them and their Gods, and while there may be community standards one needs to meet to be part of a community, this is not one of them in the Northern Tradition.  You do not need to be a shaman, a priest, a godatheow, a godspouse, or anything ‘called’ to love your Gods with everything you have.  You just need to give the Gods your time, attention, energy, and love wherever, whenever you can.

Thoughts on My Spirit-Horse Partner and Ehwaz

March 29, 2011 Leave a comment

When I first met my spirit-horse, the one who travels with me through my drum, or who allows me to ride him in spirit, I was intimidated.  I knew that many spiritual traditions had spiritual horses that took them where they needed to go, and that alone made me uneasy.  I didn’t want to ‘gib’ other traditions’ practices.  When Odin introduced us that quickly fell away.  I felt an instant connection to the spirit-horse (he has asked me not to write his name) and he all but swept me onto his back, and away we went.  He made it clear we were to work together as partners, that though I rode him and occasionally directed him, that I had to put my utter trust in him in kind.  It was, at first, quite intimidating.  Over time it has become easier.  Where I once mounted him with worry or low confidence, I now slide on and we go.  Drumming-wise, it only takes a few strums until I am ‘down‘ and we are gone.  It used to take me about fifteen minutes to half an hour to get that far down.  I have only ridden horses on trails in my adult life, so riding through the Worlds at a full gallop took some getting used to.  I can only imagine what the drumming sounded like, as ‘gone’ as I tend to be when that happens.

I’ve read a post by Kenaz Filan, Jalkr TempleKeeper, and Galina Krasskove on Ehwaz and horses today, and that is how I got the push to start this article.  In my own experience,  is the Rune of Fast Travel, a Journey Rune (usually short, though that depends on other Runes that may be around it), speed, virility, and natural grace and power.  My spirit-horse has me use it as a kind of signal, especially if I need to be away from a place quickly.  As a spirit, the Rune seems very horse-like to me, perhaps like a stallion or matriarch of a herd.  It’s a Rune that communicates leadership and confidence as much as it does swiftness, resilience, endurance, and power.

I’d certainly say that my spirit-horse partner has these same qualities, but he has a kind of gentleness or patience about him that I don’t feel as much from the Rune.  I’m thankful for it; he had a timid partner at first, and I’m sure that was frustrating.  I’ve worked with him for almost a year now, and it is amazing to me how far we’ve come in trust, and how many places we’ve gone.  It’s  a powerful partnership, one I’m happy to have.  In his own way, my companion has pushed me to grow.  Before I accepted my work as a shaman, I was very-much a “go-it-alone I need no help” kind of magician; I was very used to just making my own way.  I’ve had to unlearn a lot of that, and see that while I poured on the armor, spiritually speaking, it was a tremendous waste of energy.  If I just trusted my Gods to have my back, or a spiritual friend, I would not have had to be as keyed-up anywhere near as much, and could have focused on the work I needed to.

I wasted a lot of energy watching my butt and doing continuous cleansing work; some of it was needed for the work I did then.  Most of it was because I didn’t ask for Anubis’ help, nor did I ask for a ridealong partner from any of the totem animals I knew, or spirits I worked with.  I didn’t want to inconvenience, but I also did not want to trust that deep.  I liked the working relationship Anubis and I had, as well as the genial brotherhood relationship, but I took care of my own stuff and that was it.  When Anubis eventually pushed me on to work with Odin (I had it in my head I would be working with the Egyptians the rest of my life), I was taken entirely outside of my comfort zones.  I was placed into a magical and spiritual practice where spiritual alliances, such as with my spirit-horse partner, were part of my path and comprised close bonds where trust was paramount.  Where I had once trust my Gods to watch my back for big things, I now entrusted my Gods with the little things.  I once thought my Gods were too big to care about my problems, big or small to me; it turns out most of Them (though some do have that attitude) just wanted me to trust Them enough to let Them into my life.  The same with my spiritual companions.  My spirit-horse companion follows me most anywhere, and my Gods speak with me on a regular basis.  For me, it was allowing that connection to be, whether at first between Odin and myself, or later with my spirit-horse companion and I, that was the challenge.  It was a lot of working through self-doubt, and especially self-esteem issues (i.e. “My Gods have better things to do than listen to me”, or “I don’t want to be an inconvenience to my spirit allies”), something that  has taken dedicated work and opening to the Gods and spirits that I didn’t do four years ago.

In becoming a Northern Tradition shaman, I have realized that, at least in my path and work, this opening is necessary.  Without it the Gods can’t use my body for communicating with people, spirits can’t get their messages across through me, and the magic of the Runes I have come to know, both in knowing them through Hanging on Yggdrasil, and as spiritual beings, would be reduced.  If I were not spiritually open, I would still be seeing the Runes merely as tools.  A large part of my life that I now lead would be shut to me, and my journey as a shaman would have gone nowhere.  That’s what Ehwaz also speaks to me: trust, implacable trust.  If I do not trust my spirit-horse, I could drum for hours and go nowhere.  If I do not trust my Gods, all the prayers in the world will not matter if I give Them nothing to work with.  If I do not trust my friends and family, how can I say I love them?  Inviting spirits and the Gods into my body requires a large deal of trust.  I have to at least trust that Odin, being my patron, will have my back if the spirit or God/dess begins to do something foolish, illegal or immoral.  I have to trust myself, that I can and will go down far enough for the spirit or God/dess to use my body, and trust that my assistants will support me.  I have to trust that when I mount my spirit-horse, that we work together as one, trusting him to carry me where we need to go.  This has taken healing, but it is healing I sorely needed.  So in a way, becoming a shaman and following this path has healed my heart, psyche, and soul.  It has helped to put me into a better place.  Perhaps they were broken so I could come to this path and find that healing.  Either way, I am here.  The growth has been slow, but very-much worth it.

I should have the entry where Odin introduced us up soon.

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