The Gods Are Not Post-Truth

Or, “If Nixon Did It Today, He’d Get Away With It.”

Let’s define terms.

In short, “feels before reals” on a large scale.

As with “On ‘Admitting’“, this post popped into my head when I was doing something else, this time my day job. I received the title and little else, and I started wondering, “Do I know a single soul who would argue that their gods care more about emotional arguments than the facts of the case?” I don’t think I’ve encountered such a thing in my ventures into the Pagan internet. I know of plenty of people who care more about feels than reals, to put it colloquially, but no gods. (Or in one specific case, the words were put into the divine being’s mouth and I’m sure He’s a bit salty about it. I would be if I were used to make a political point I might not agree with, especially without prior consultation.)

Further, I have a Christian friend, and she is liberal-minded but still a Christian. And given my (admittedly limited) understanding of her god, I don’t think He is a “feels before reals” type, either. So, I think it is common of divine beings to say “cut the crap, and get to work”.

Which brings me to, I suppose, a question. Or perhaps just a thought, or observation: humans can operate in a post-truth society, but Gods and other such beings cannot or do not. (The Fae, as a very noteworthy example, cannot or will not lie for unknown reasons.) I’m not sure why this is but I think it has to do with perspective. They can see farther out than we can, and on at least some level see through us (though they very rarely feel the need to, at least, not enough to do it constantly as I was once taught). They know enough to know when we’re lying to ourselves, to others, and to them personally. Therefore they know all the tricks, they can pick them apart with ease, and are quite done with it all.

Plus, it could have to do with perspective in another sense: they understand more of the world than we do and have more concerns than mere humans. The Gods don’t seem to trouble Themselves with the “feels before reals” shenanigans engaged in by petty people trying to make short-lived arguments (I’ve noticed this is something engaged in by people on both sides of the aisle, not exclusive to one group or another, but that doesn’t make a feels before reals position any more valid). They have things that need to get done, and would rather you buckled down and did the work.

On “Admitting”

I had a dream. Browsing a website for something spiritual or religious (presumably), I noticed one of the tabs was labeled “admitted” (sic), and I knew it meant “people admitted their experiences were real, come read them”. I also knew I had to write about it. I had that feeling within the dream that said “this is important”.

This concept came up in Paganism In Depth: A Polytheist Approach, to which I am currently listening. The recommendation is to experience the experience, and then interpret it later. One must show discernment, of course, and if you find a “rational” explanation you’re happy with, very well, but this isn’t always possible, and for that category, that’s where “admitting” comes in. You have to face that what you saw is what you saw even if you don’t know what it means. (I touch on this sometimes when I think or talk about UFOs: If an object is unidentified, then you can’t well say “I know what I saw,” can you? Except in the broadest possible sense of “I know that I saw it and I can’t explain it”, which is where I slot my own personal experience.)

Paganism in Depth is written by a guy who, among other things, saw a glowing green bird. How the bird got to be glowing, no one seems to know. But he touches briefly and periodically where relevant on the process of accepting the reality of the experience, and dealing with people who try to, helpfully or not, provide rational explanations. Once each is processed and compared with the experience in question, and if you happen to work through all of them, that’s where admitting comes in.

And you have to deal with that.

You saw a thing, or heard a thing, or felt a thing, and you can’t explain it. You have to then figure out what it means, and what you’re supposed to do with it. Do you package it away and eventually forget about it? Does it change your life in some way? Do you regard it as a sign from deity?

I had a dream this morning. On a website for something religious or spiritual, there was a tab called “admitted”. I had to write this post because of it. This is an important concept even if it seems “basic” or “101-level”. Because having an experience you can’t explain and coming to terms with that tells you that the world is bigger than all of that, and somehow it seems like that’s easy for me to accept and way harder for other people. I always felt like the world is “supposed” to be bigger than what other people told me (probably in part because I knew somewhere that my parents were liars and therefore not people to listen to with regard to “the world is like this”). It seems to have come naturally to me. Maybe it was meant to, all things considered. I’m not sure.

I learned this one through my critique partner: Just because it makes sense to me in my head doesn’t mean it always translates.

The Shrine

In my new home are two somewhat awkwardly placed cabinets, whose doors open from the inside out toward you. I’ve made them into shrines for my gods. Andred prefers, by and large, Her doors to be left open so that Her essence may seep in and act as a protective force and sort of like a home deity (though I recognize well enough She is much more than that). My mother closes the doors. She did it once when I was away, and then another time I watched her do it right in front of my face, like it was nothing.

While Andred respects that I don’t want this to happen, it points to my mother’s disrespect for sacred spaces from religions that aren’t hers. Which is to say, if it isn’t some flavor of Christian, she doesn’t agree with it. She treats it like it’s a quaint little thing that I’ve done that I might one day grow out of with the right “guidance”, or I might just…come to realize one day that I should be on the Path of Christ…or something. This isn’t the first time or way she’s mocked my practice. She mocks spells, Yule (doesn’t seem to know the other holidays exist), and so many other things, yet has made it abundantly clear to me that she still holds to Christian stances on so many things (such as homosexuality, “a sin”).

Andred seems Endlessly Patient now, but I wouldn’t be shocked to hear one day that my family’s couple acres or so is absolutely covered in rabbits. In fact, I’d laugh my ass off.

Labor Day

I’m beginning to feel Andred again. The summer heat broke a couple of weeks ago and now it’s starting to be properly chilly. Fall is coming. It’s September, today is Labor Day, and it’s the second or third week of pre-season football (my parents are protesting this year, due to the whole hullabaloo about kneeling/”taking a knee” started by Capaernick last season). And, it has a particular order in this town: summer is tourist season (and also the heat of Ra, who gets brief mentions here where relevant), then we come into hunting season, and then, snow gods permitting, skiing, snowboarding, snow machining, and the annual sled dog race (top notch puppers right there).

In ancient times, this is about the time everyone goes back to their villages from the hills or from wherever they were fighting and raiding, to harvest things, cull the herd, and prepare for winter. It’s time to start cleaning up, regrouping, and preparing for the coming year.

And, as you might be aware, I’ve recently moved (I call it being kicked out with plausible deniability because I don’t like to sugar coat things). I’m almost completely set up, and She has her own shrine space. My mother keeps closing the door on it, but that’s a post for another time. So personally, I have to regroup, because a wrench has been thrown into my plans (to be brutally honest, it’s the latest of many wrenches, but at least the most brutally honest of the lot of them). I have to reassess and gather myself up. I don’t know what awaits in the days ahead, but this is not a season for very much action. This is a season for figuring out what I’m going to do next.

I learned within the past few years that if I move with the seasons, instead of trying to move in spite of them, then I’m a lot happier. Now I’m at least in an environment that ensures me peace and quiet, free from certain toxic persons, and I can still myself and worship the gods. Perhaps this time I’ll make choices I’ll be satisfied with, not ones I feel half-pressured into.