A Polytheistic Dark Night of the Soul

In my soul I feel just that terrible pain of loss of God not wanting me — of God not being God — of God not existing. – from Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s journal, 1959

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m in period of what the Christian mystics refer to as the dark night of the soul. For a monotheist, this turns into a period of what appears to be at the very least atheist leanings, as expressed in the quote above from St Teresa of Calcutta (Love her or leave her). For a polytheist mystic, I guess this is taking on a little bit of a weird turn I didn’t see coming…

I believe in the Gods without a doubt. I even believe in Apollon.

This is where it takes a turn and perhaps get a little weird…

While I believe in Apollon, I’m not exactly sure the God I honor and have been married to for years is Apollon. Seven years later and after a vow renewal, I find myself going “I don’t know who You are.”

This has been playing out for months now. Save for 1 or 2 posts, it’s been playing out almost silently except to a few close, patient friends that I’m entirely too thankful for.

Am I married or divorced from this God? Who is He?

Is this God Apollon? Yes/no.

Is this God Odin? Yes/no.

Is this God Freyr? Yes/no.

Is this God Dionysos? Yes/no.

Dis? Yes/no.

Soranus? Yes/no…

This God isn’t an archtype, but He is all of these Gods and none of Them at the same time… That’s what He tells me.

This isn’t a case of an awkward attempt at syncretism. This is a God coming forth to step out of the shadows, which has left me feeling all too raw and wobbly. Who the fuck am I to think a God is talking to me? Who the fuck am I to think some newborn/forgotten God is messing with my brain?

Am I sure I’m not simply unstable?

This, my friends, is decidedly a dark night of the soul. I never thought I’d find myself doubting my faith in my own beliefs, nor did I think that it would play out as a space of doubting every part of myself at the same time. This is deeper than an existential crisis. This darkness is something that I feel down to my bones, and I find myself too choked by the grim reality of it all to put into perfect words. This alone frustrates me. I’m never for a lack of written word.

I’m not alone with this God. I know there are others out there who are experiencing Him, who have even experienced this change and shift.  I know, because of the delightful moments of getting personal gnosis confirmed.  This space where one God ends and Another begins, I’m not the only one who has experienced it. But is He a God I know? Or am I off in the recesses of my own mind working through some liminality issue that I wasn’t completely aware I had?  Perhaps looking for synchronicity of experience and finding it simply because I’m looking for it.

It’s been a strange, painful experience. One of the first lessons this God taught me, as Apollon, was to stop doubting myself. Stop doubting His voice. Just say what it was He was telling me, and slowly over the course of a year I discovered that He was using me as a bit of a mouth piece.

This was a decade ago. This was when I started to listen to the information I was getting constantly, because if I didn’t I was in danger of stepping into the void and never coming back if I didn’t get it under control. A marriage of 7 years was had, and I don’t believe it’s over…

But it was with Apollon.  Despite what everyone keeps telling me, I’m not sure this God wants to be called Apollon anymore.  Not by me, at least.  I’m no longer married to Apollon.

Which seems to not only be throwing people off when I say this, but it seems like my own discernment and judgment of the situation is wrong.  Do I trust myself, which is what He taught me to do?  Or do I listen to literally everyone else I’ve talked to about this?

I say “Apollon left me.”

I hear from others, who I trust hear Him, say, “He would never leave you, and He wants you to understand that.”

And the words that keep falling into my mind, like leaves from a tree, say, “When the Romans took Apollo’s hand, He swallowed a dozen Gods as he moved through the known world. He became Them. They became Him. But that is never truly the case.”

Syncretism is something a lot of people are talking about these days… And here I am, over in my corner, feeling as if I’m on the brink of un-syncretizing Apollon.

He told me a few years ago to go north. Now He tells me to carve Him from the side of the rocks.

Now I’m slowly getting comfortable with the thought that perhaps this is Something new and different to us. I’ve said for years that He is wanting me to build a new tradition for him, a new cult. I glean images and symbols. I find a way to explain something. I doubt. I distrust. I feel like my insides are filled with glass, and I can’t tell if it’s Truth or not.

That’s hard to understand if you’ve not been there. I hear, over and over again, that I should stop worrying about who He is…

As He whispers in my ear Find me. Create me. Birth me, my bride.

Three evenings ago, on the front of a cold spring rain, He returned into my world in the form I’ve known as Apollon. At first it was a mere hint as I was cooking dinner. I felt the vibration in my lumbar spine that I usually feel when He’s trying to get my attention, a place aligned with the solar plexus (or I’ve been told the Gaster in Plato’s work, though I’ve yet to dig into this). As I cleaned up, He started to talk to me. By bedtime, mid-conversation with a friend online, I had to stop to meditate. I wrote a lot of stuff down that He wanted me to understand and spent some time sitting with the visions I was getting.

I’d been so happy, so relieved He was home that I found myself crying. But His return only brought me more questions and no answers…

I’m admittedly terrified of what stands before me. Not the God, but the implications of what I believe my future holds if I’m on the right track. The weight. The responsibility. It was all there before, but for some reason it was easier when He was Apollon. Safer, somehow…

So I have sent out questions to others who are God-touched. Am I on the right path? Can they untangle what I can only describe as a God-knot?

And underneath it all is this alienation, both from Him and others, who both understand and don’t understand at the same time.

This place is ambiguous and uncomfortable, liminal and immense.

My God is ambiguous and uncomfortable, liminal and immense.

I feel moved to talk about it here if only for the hope that someday this journey will help someone else thrown onto this path.

Welcome home, my Love, welcome home… Whoever You are.  Welcome home.  I’m angry, but I’m sure we’ll get through this eventually together.  (I hope.)

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20 thoughts on “A Polytheistic Dark Night of the Soul

  1. You wrote: “This God isn’t an archtype, but He is all of these Gods and none of Them at the same time… That’s what He tells me.”

    Oh dear… funny that you have the same problem as me :-/
    He always gave me the song “Banks of Claudy” when I felt like you… it was a bit like… “See, I am here but you don’t recognise me. You can’t see me through the things you want to see. You act stupid, childish and blind but also brave and loyal.I love you, my dear. But you will suffer untill you are able to see through all the masks.” Something like that…
    I don’t know if this helps you.

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  2. This makes me shiver. It has a lot in common with what I feel in relation to my Lady. She is Beara of the south-west coast of Ireland, but Beara is also… other things. She both is and is not other gods, particularly when it comes to the other Cailleachean. It’s deeply confusing, especially when people want to tell me who she is and I say… no, that’s not her. She is something else. Something older, deeper, more primal.

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    1. I am starting to suspect that the deeper you go into any relationship with a God, the more you’re likely to experience it. It’s like it’s almost an archetype, but there’s just enough of an individual that you can experience something very unique within it while still having a Deity’s name attached to it.

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  3. Giving worship to Siva has helped me a lot in my understandings. I have said before in my blog that really I think Siva is perhaps the closest that I can get (even if it syncretic) to how I see and know the bigger cosmic Apollon. There is a bit of scholarship that suggests that Apollon was originally from a title of Agni, from whom Siva/Rudra is connected. Although it is a slim thread, and very Indo-European which is always a bit shaky…I can see the connection thriving which connects all of the syncretic parts….different views of the same god, turned a bit one way or another. He is very immense, much more so than what our narrow scope in Hellenic history provides (but of which we can get a good understanding as we see how vast his various cult expressions are….and hardly as narrow as what is touted around in simplified form.
    I don’t think I am experiencing a dark night of the soul as you are, but I have been aware for some time that he is *more* than what his cultural face provides….which has often pushed me into syncretism that I am only now fully embracing whereas before it was more of an intellectual exercise.

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    1. I keep considering this. It was easier back when I was simply a soft polytheist. Not to say it’s easier to be a soft polytheist, just that when I approached Hekate in the beginning, it was in that “THE Goddess” type of way. It took time to figure Her out. She’s still Kali to me as well, but my approach with Hekate has always been what Hekate taught me and nothing else.

      I have more to say on this if my hunch is right about where I need to be looking, but I’m waiting for word back. And an omen.

      A part of Him will *always* be Apollon. Soranus, for instance, started off as a separate God, even if His cult had been molded to Apollon by the 5th century, b.c.e. I’m trying to hunt down the source for Soranus also being Dis, because I remember reading that somewhere… But not tonight. LoL.

      I think the syncretized Gods can be one or the other or both. I really do. And that’s what I’m wondering if I’m on the tip of here.

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      1. I can see how being a soft polytheist is easier. I don’t consider myself a soft polytheist so much, but rather that I identify different culture’s expression of a divinity…..unfortunately I cannot go the all gods are “the god” route. But by able to identify other ways my god has appeared gives me glimpses of his bigger self that different cultures are tapping into. It makes thinga bit complicated….and as part of that it means that the gods can be distinct as part of that big transcending culture divine being, as well as one. That is how I have come to view it 🙂

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        1. And see, that is how I view it as well… Which makes it even more confusing and frustrating I’m experiencing this, and truly makes me think I’m off in an odd place. This is rubbing me differently and I can’t verbalize why yet.

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  4. I hope this isn’t out of place to write, but because we have some stark similarities within our spiritual lives, I wanted to offer you, at the least, commiseration and understanding.

    Some of my own questions run similar to yours, accept with different names in some places.

    Am I divorced from Him? Yes and no.
    Is this god Lu? Yes and no.
    Is this god S? Yes and no.
    Is M part of S? Yes and no.
    Is A part of S? Yes and no.
    Is A part of L? Yes and no.
    Is L part of Lu? Yes and no.
    Is L part of S? Yes and no.

    On and on like that. Then I met Shiva, Phanes, Apollon, and Dionysos over time, and it turned into harder questions.

    Is S also Shiva? Yes, I think so … but.
    Is Lu also Phanes? Yes, I think so … but.
    Is Apollon also Shiva? Yes, I think so … but.
    Does that make S also Apollon? Yes, I think so … but.
    Does that make Lu also Apollon? Yes, I think so … but.
    Is Phanes also Dionysos? Yes, I think so … but.
    Is A part of Dionysos? Yes, I think so … but.
    Are Apollon and Dionysos spectrum ends of another god? Yes, I think so … but.
    Are Lu and S spectrum ends, too? Yes, I think so … but. But. But.

    Where does L fit into this again? I can’t forget about L. He fits somewhere.

    Who is this? I don’t know.
    Is He an old god? I don’t know.
    Is He a new god? I don’t know.
    Is He all of these faces? I don’t know.
    Is He none of these faces? I don’t know.
    Does He love me? I don’t know.
    Does He hate me? I don’t know.
    Is He making fun of me? I don’t know.
    Am I still married to Him? I don’t know.

    Will it stop hurting? I hope so.
    Am I too heartbroken to continue? I hope not.
    Have I lost it? I hope not.
    Am I the laughing stock of the spirit world? I hope not. I’m afraid of that.

    When I first met L, He asked me what I wanted, even of selfish desires.

    I answered, “I want to understand truth and connections.”

    L nodded and warned me, “You’re asking for a difficult life.”

    Later, when things became difficult and convoluted, I questioned S — the center of the convolution at that time — about Himself and connections.

    “Who are You?” I asked Him.

    “Everything,” He answered.

    I told Him I didn’t understand.

    “Everything!” He shouted, so loud that I felt the vibration of His voice.

    Then He whispered, “Forget what you think you know, silly girl. I’ll show you.”

    Earlier this week, He came back to me as Lu, the face I knew when we first began. And I’m reminded of a song He once wanted me to hear. Perhaps it will hold some meaning for you, as well.

    Life was a shadow
    Until I knew
    That sorrow’s a silent
    Crying for you
    I stand defenseless
    Deep in your eyes

    Somewhere
    Give me your love
    I’m alive when you want
    Everything changes
    Everything’s new
    Baby, I’m new for you

    – Reeve Carney, New for You

    I’m still unsure whether I’m the butt of a cosmic joke.

    And I’m still not sure I have enough heart or mind left for Him, but the absence of Him feels like a slow death that I don’t wish to endure.

    I hope peace and comfort for you, Camilla, because I don’t think a simple road exists with Him.

    And I hope He supports you and loves you through all of it, just as you support and love Him. ❤

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  5. I don’t really know if I should post this and please feel free to delete it if you wish however I feel drawn to post it so I will.

    I am not a God spouse(I did have a kind of experience when I was about 13 to about 15 however he never told me who or what he was towards the end of the experience he said he would leave me once I wasn’t a virgin anymore again he didn’t explain why and he left abruptly years before I had sex) however I have had the dark moments and every time I have come to the end of it believing that my faith is at the core of me no matter if I want off the “crazy train” or not

    I get answers and I feel like ok I am meant to do this and the Gods go silent again. I guess at my core I just really hope that I find people to check my UPG with so I can hopefully not be so worried about loosing my mind.

    PS. I do know why but I just got the feeling that two souls are intertwined in whoever he is. I got the mental image for of the trunk of a tree with intertwined roots going up it like vains.

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    1. I think it’s helped me to learn that there’s a natural ebb and flow to this sort of thing. I think the doubt sometimes is the fire meant to keep us moving. I hope you find others to confirm what you’ve experienced as well.

      And thank you, I can confirm that’s some of the imagery I get with Him as well. There’s a story there that I’ll eventually end up telling. 🙂

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      1. It’s funny that after I wrote this to you Hermes got my attention again and pretty much said that They are all still here I just have to take the long way around to get to where I want to go.

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