Breaking down the fourth wall: I often write blog posts a few at a time and schedule them to publish at random times in the future. I wrote “Food for Thought” the night before Election Day, but scheduled it for that Saturday because I wanted to focus on the time sensitive topic of voting.
A regular commenter wrote at the bottom of the post “This is rather thought provoking. Though I can’t help but think that even though the logic of “No one can deny another their experience” is utterly sound, most people won’t be able to respect that.”
I responded, “After writing this post, I had just that experience! I am letting emotions die down before I go into details, but they’re coming.”
This is that post.
I had the experience after I had written the post, but before it was published.
No one can deny another their experience. Those are my words and I hold them true. I would never ask anyone to change what they believe. I would ask only that they do not push their beliefs onto me and that they respect my beliefs as I respect theirs.
I used these memes on previous posts, but they fit the bill here as well.
I have mentioned on here that I am a public school teacher. As such, I am a worker bee of the state. I do not and will not preach my theology to my students. I would be livid would someone ever dare try to push their theology onto Witchlette. She could pick up any faith she wants, or decide on none at all. That is her personal choice…and anyone who would try to convince her otherwise would have to deal with this Mama Bear. Point is, I keep my faith out of the classroom.
This year, I am teaching British literature with my seniors (as an English-EC teacher, I have a very small class). We were reading Sonnets 116 and 130. Both are about love, 116 is serious and 130 is less so. Sonnet 116 discusses what true love is and what it is not. I was able to get my students to the points that true deep honest love is not an emotion that is fleeting. It is not something that you wake up one morning and are suddenly without. It is not something that one feels for things. Real love has to be reciprocated.
It was at this point that a very religious co-worker walked into the room and headed for her desk.
One student asked, “Well…what about God? I love God. But that’s not reciprocal….so is it not real love?”
“Sure, it’s real love,” I answered, “And it can be reciprocal.”
“How?” another student asked.
Like I said, I like to keep faith out of the classroom. But I cannot deny the questions these students were asking. But still, I refuse to preach. My response began with a disclaimer: “Remember, when we were reading Beowulf, and I told you guys I wasn’t Christian?” All nodded. “So when I say Goddess, I don’t mean the Christian God, your God, I mean one of my gods.”
“There is only one God.” butted in my coworker, standing up.
I could have spit nails. That falls under preaching, especially with the standing, and you’re hijacking my lesson! I am still very proud of myself for keeping my cool in the moment. I did take a week to get this into words on this blog, however. I needed emotions to die down and I didn’t need to write something that could hurt me in the long run.
“That’s your opinion,” I responded.
“So what,” she countered, “You think there is more than one god?”
She rolled her eyes, sat at her desk, and looked at her computer.
I returned my attention to my students and repeated my disclaimer. I then related to them the story of how I was struggling with nursing Witchlette when she was just a few days old. We had a really bad attempt and an hour later, after Hubby sent me to be and soothed her then put her to bed, she was up and crying for food again. And we again had issues. But this time, I felt a calming presence and a voice- I wasn’t literally hearing things, but a voice in my mind that wasn’t my own- said, “You know what to do.” I adjusted my position, tried again, and had had success ever since. And that Goddess coming to me that night was a reciprocative relationship.
The student who initially asked the question smiled knowing that her love for her God is real. My other students were left with something to think about.
Truth be told…I still exploring polytheism, but it felt right to say. At this point, I think I am hard polytheist when it comes to the deities being individuals and not representations of the one divine. However, I also think there is a reason why so many gods and goddesses have similar roles across pantheons. I think there may be a definite set number of deities and that they present themselves to cultures who name them and worship them. I think Freya and Venus and Aphrodite and Hathor and Aine may be one in the same. They presented themselves to the peoples at the times who interpreted them to fit their cultural needs.
The polytheism I am focused on currently is in the Norse pantheon. My main three are Ullr (this was deity identified in the Rune reading I had done in September), Thor (he also came up in the same reading…and I have been feeling his pull for a long while now), and Frigga. I am convinced that Frigga is the one who came to me that night with Witchlette. I was doing some reading and researching and when I came across her name one night a few weeks ago, my crown chakra lit up! Even now, when I think her name, my chakra tingles. I have dreams about these deities at least once a week. There is no denying that my spiritual atheism with a strong focus on the elements has evolved into light polytheism with a strong focus on the elements.