I Speak to My God in Silence, but I am Not Silent.

Disclaimer: If there is one moment where you can point to this blog and say “And this is where Camilla stepped off the edge with complete faith in her God to catch her; this is it.” (Because you speak with semi-colons rolling off your tongue in my version of the story.)

This, my friends, is the point of no return. This is where I start to shoot off at the mouth (or fingers) about what I’ve learned and been given to work with. As a note, I’m going to try to come back and actually cite things and provide sources, but since this is really just me babbling I may have to follow up with a more, uh, scholarly… Scholarly thing. Yes. Scholarly things. For Revivalism!

(There’s always so much terror in sharing this stuff.  I’m not gonna lie.)

It has been bothering me for a while that, for some reason, it seemed like everyone I know, including my students, prefer to speak aloud to the Gods. Except me. Now that I’m modeling praxis in my home to a 3-year-old, I’m finding myself forced to say with my physical voice. I am perfectly fine saying prayers aloud. But talking, actually having a conversation with my God and occasionally Others? No, I’ve always, always done it in my head.

There are some of you that will say that if I believe the Gods are individuals and not archetypes or facets of my own spirit, then I’m talking to myself. In fact, I’ve had quite a few people kindly explain to me that their Gods require us to physically talk to Them, because that’s what polytheists do.

And I smile, thanking them for the clarification.

And in the back of my head, I’m going “This doesn’t mesh with my experience.”

My experience has been that certain Gods, especially those that are connected to oracular arts, have absolutely no problem hearing me. Or, if a God does not seem to be able to hear me, my God is more than willing to be a translator for me.

This led me to a few different theories…

One, there is quite a bit of Quaker in my ancestry, so maybe there’s something to be said about that and having some natural propensity towards hearing the inner-voice. This has absolutely no backing in my mind, but I’m amused by it enough to mention it here.

Two, slightly less out there, but probably only partially involved… I’m neurodivergent. I’ve got sensory processing disorder and ADHD. Recently it’s been figured out that I fall on the autism spectrum. My brain is simply wired differently, and part of that wiring involves being able to write what is on my mind eloquently and openly… But physically talking is harder. Much harder. Getting words out physically when I’m trying to communicate something important is, more often than not, like swimming in gelatin. It’s possible, but it’s probably going to be ridiculously harder and slower to do. I have no problem assuming that my natural inclination towards a deeper inner-voice than outer voice leads me to be naturally wired towards having an inner-relationship with my Gods.

Except that some people apparently don’t believe that’s possible…

Which was weird to me, and I couldn’t figure out why my experience was so vastly different than others who honor the same Gods as me.

Except, oh right, this God I’m tangled up with has been part of the mysteries I’ve been taught. It’s very much like the Shakti of Kundalini or the Holy Spirit, the breath of life and the Thing that connects everything. Not the air, but the Spirit. When I say He’s not the Divine “One” (if there is such a thing, which even with a decade of exploration I’m still not willing to say yay or nay to), but He is the vehicle from which the very essence of being comes forth on.

He is literally that: inside of me. He is my breath. He is your breath. He is the breath of the world, which is the wind… Because we, in ourselves, are the microcosm of the greater cosmic macrocosm. We are our own universe, and from each of us creation is capable of springing in art, music, and work. We were created, and each of us creates in one way or another, even the simple act of cooking is creation. Our words are creation that come out on breath, and when we cease to breathe, we cease to exist.

He is the Wind-wolf of the Indo-Europeans, though I will likely spend the rest of my life chasing His trail. He is the original psychopomp, carrying up from the Underworld and returning all to that place. He is hiding in many Gods, Gods you and I can both name, but He is, Himself, simply woven through Them as He is through the rest of us.  But when you look at me, you don’t separate my breath into a separate entity from me.  I’m just me to you.  So is my God.  He can be separated, but it’s been so long since anyone has done that that He is honored by many names as a facet of the Gods we know.

And He’s not alone in that, but that’s a story for another day.

What I was talking about was how I realized that perhaps I couldn’t understand that others weren’t having the experience of inner-talking that I do with the Gods, because my life is dedicated to this God, who dwells on the inside as He does on the outside.

So, yeah.

I guess I’m the Quaker version of a polytheist over here…  Not all Gods may be inside of us, but we shouldn’t dismiss that some are.

(insert much throat clearing) Carry on.

Care to Join Me for a Woo Experiment?

This idea keeps popping into my head and is getting the nod from a certain Fellow in my life, so I’m kindly requesting that if you have inclination to do this, please do so…

For visionaries, travelers, seers, and any other spiritworker that I’m simply blanking out on right now, I am curious about a name/word/sound that continues to show up in my life.  So I even more curious what will happen if others focus on the name/word/sound.

The word is “Owello.”

I promise to explain more sometime in the near future if my theory is correct, but I’m not wanting to influence anyone right now.  If you’re up to joining me in this experiment, I’d appreciate you emailing me what you discovered and experienced at notawiccan(at)gmail(dot)com.  Images you got or anything else, if anything at all, is highly welcomed.

Spirit-Working Artist Problems

Me: I’m going to draw Freya next.

Loki: Why hello there! *lounges on the couch with no clothes on, eating an apple*

Me: … Hi.  You’re naked.  I’m not going to draw you right now.

Loki: Yes, you are.  Look at me.

Me: … *glares and goes off to do housework instead, muttering about how this isn’t going to end well*

One week later…

Me: *sits down to draw Freya*

Loki: *refuses to let her visualize anything but him nude and eating an apple*

Me: Damn it! *tries again*

Loki: I’m glorious!

Me: Fine!  Fine!  Fine! *grumbles and starts a preliminary figure study of Loki* But you have to cover up a little…  I’m a prude.

Loki: Deal.

Here we go…

The Neighbors

The elderly couple who lived on the other side of our duplex died… The wife first after a terrible fight with cancer, I knew the last time the ambulance left she wasn’t going to be back.  A month later her husband simply got sick and gave up. I never sat with either of them while they were dying. They were private people even in death.  No burial.  No service.  Before they died, they made a final trip to Myrtle Beach with their family instead.

It’s been a bit of a surreal experience, to say the least. Even more so, they’ve both been here to visit since passing. The husband more than the wife. He says he’s hanging around to make sure they get his home cleaned out and rented to someone who won’t make our lives chaotic.  I don’t rush him.  I feel thankful he is willing to watch out for us.  I catch him sitting on the front step, smoking cigarettes. I say “Hey, George!” and then remember he’s not alive anymore. He comes in dreams to tell me stories that he wanted to be sure someone heard.  We laugh about the deer coming through our back yard just as if he were alive…  Me thinking they look beautiful; him thinking they look delicious.

This is my life. I guess it’s always been my life to a certain extent, but it’s become more pronounced in recent years. I no longer can ignore the Dead. They don’t allow for it.

Truth be told, I’m not sure I would really have it any other way.

Asklepieion: My Big Dream

I mentioned in a video that I had been given the charge to build a temple for Apollon, but I realized that I’ve been kind of nervous about talking about what it is that I feel called to accomplish with my life… Partially because I really don’t want to hear the naysayers’ opinions. Partially because I’ve spent so much of my life avoiding the calling towards what I realize I’m meant to be doing in this world… It’s hard to say I have a calling and a vision for my future, that I feel I was placed in this point and time in history because I have Work that I am supposed to do, and not feel like hubris is creeping in.

I talked to my therapist about this the other day. I went back to therapy, because I’m working on social anxiety issues and pain management via cognitive behavioral therapy. But really? CBT is pretty awesome. It aligns with Stoicism and mindfulness. Finding Personal Center and conquering the doubts, fears, and shadows in my own psyche while on relatively equal footing instead of in the middle of mental health emergency is proving to be a really empowering and enjoyable process thus far.

It’s that whole “Know Yourself, y’all” deal that Apollon has driven home to me.

But as I was saying, I talked to my therapist about it the other day. This was a huge deal for me, because I’ve only talked about the Big Dream in bits and pieces to anyone. Never mind that this fantastic woman, truly a modern day healer, who I’m paying to help me untangle the knots holding me back, isn’t Polytheist or Pagan. I have no idea what her beliefs are, other than she wasn’t too keen on the local inter-faith community locally and she’s got friends with children who are Pagan or Polytheist. And yet, we were able to talk Jung, CBT, and the intersection of mental illness and spiritual experience on a neutral place… She got it. She understood where I was coming from, even if I struggle with an elevator speech on what I believe and can talk more easily about what I’m not instead.

She looked at me. She smiled. And she told me, “Your road is lonely.”

She got it.

Each time I’ve talked to someone, even in bits and pieces, I’ve felt a little more brave about putting it all down in one place. So, despite the fact that I have questions I’ve promised to answer, I wanted to take the time to put The Big Dream down in words to share. The Big Dream I’m eventually going to have to have people helping with, because it’s too big to do on my own.  Even if for now it is lonely.

As I’ve said, Apollon has made it clear that He wants me to build Him a temple. It’s not simply a temple where religious services will be held but a place of healing. And not just any healing but spiritual and mental healing specifically.

I think my own life and watching other friends, both in and out of the Pagan and Polytheist communities, struggle with spiritual emergence, spiritual emergencies, and mental illness has led me to understand that this sort of place is needed. We have very few allies we can go to when we find ourselves having experiences we cannot explain. Mystical experiences can be quite close to psychosis, and typically there is no one there to help navigate the person experiencing them that has a firm understanding of how the spiritual, mental, and even physical integrate to make the larger whole.

You may find yourself seeing a therapist or psychiatrist who can help you get leveled and back in control of the situation, but you may find yourself scared to talk to them about the religious part of your experiences due to being branded one of the mental ill, widely stigmatized in our society.

You may find yourself falling into a community where psychiatry is demonized. Even though it may, in the right hands, be a key to help you obtain some relief without removing the underlying spiritual work. And you may find in that situation that your life falls away from you in a way that causes you to lose more than you are willing to give up.

Or, worst of all, you may find yourself unhelped at all and end up dead.

My dream is to build a place, with a trained and professional staff, that brings about equilibrium for those in this situation. Professionals with degrees in social work, psychology, chaplaincy, and so on, to help serve a person transition from mundane existence to a more spiritually-led life. A psychiatrist who is friendly and open to the needs of this type of situation.

The logistics is that, eventually, a live-in religious community of Polytheists and Pagans would develop on the land that the temple would be on. Small individual houses for those who work both the land or with people along with communal space for (optional) shared meals and celebrations. More small quarters for those who are coming to be helped. All surrounding the space that’s dedicated for Apollon’s temple.

Around that would be a sustainable farm using permaculture, including a bee sanctuary and shrines set up in various places throughout the zones. We would offer a training programs for veterans, teaching them both to farm and helping them work through any mental health problems they might have problems with. We would offer internships and a residency program to hopefully help train other professionals to go out into the world and offer services that align with our values.

This serves 2-fold: One, it provides Pagan and Polytheist training. Two, for those who can’t afford the services monetarily, there can be a sliding scale and payment via work that must be done to keep the community thriving.

If I can get enough land, I would like to offer space for natural and green funerals. At the very least, I know that with my current training in being a death worker will be used to serve those who need help dying, though eventually I would like to explore the thought of offering hospice space for those in need.

I’ve had this idea in my head for about a decade now, but it’s only now that I’m starting to think that it’s quite possible I may be able to actually have this happen. It’s only now that I’m brave enough to start talking about it with others

So… There is my Big Dream. When you hear me talk about building at temple for Apollon, this is what I actually mean. When you hear me say that I’m struggling to figure out what I’m going to do education-wise for myself, this is why. This is what I want to make happen. This is what I’m called to do.