Thursday, June 16, 2011
Viriliter Age | Act Courageously
I haven't been formally initiated into a tradition. No nudity and ceremonial flogging. No being smeared with oil and sprinkled with holy water. Part of me wants the ceremony because it is a demarcation and public declaration that you are dedicating yourself to something, that you take the yoke and follow the disciplines. It's something I take very seriously, and I get the feeling that I take it more seriously than a lot of people who are actually initiated.
People say you can't self-initiate. The power must be passed from one person to another, and you can't do that if you don't have the power. I get the importance of community, accountability, and spiritual mentorship. What I don't get is that denying solitary initiation's existence denies that a deity is incapable of initiating their own devotee without the help of a human. I have offered myself to serve and have been filled to overflowing. If I wind up on the floor, shaking and sweating, skin cold, and unable to talk for hours afterward, have I not been found as a worthy vessel by the divine? The purpose of initiation is irrevocable transformation, not attaining your +3 Robe of Sorcery and +5 Wand of Casting.
Whatever it truly means to have been initiated into the service of divinity happened a very long time ago. Maybe that's why I take it so seriously. The benefits of service outweigh the demands, but only when you let yourself be used as an instrument. Resisting will wreck you, and the work will still have to be done. I've already been made a fool and a freak for following instructions. It comes with the package when you sign up to serve. I've already been broken and re-formed more than once, and it will happen again. And then it will happen again after that. Their truth is incisive and inescapable. Its scars run deep and proud.
Maybe the gods call some people to huggles and snuggles and glittery kittens. I believe that we are all called to do our best to live in love, no matter what else we are called to. I don't walk with death and decay often, though it wouldn't surprise me if we interacted more in the future. Birth and death work together, and at this time, I am called to fecundity, gestation, birth, and nurturing. The Empress card. The mama bear who nurtures and protects in equal measure. It's fitting that I have these birthing hips. In my important dreams I am almost always heavily pregnant, even if I am handing out justice with a blade in my hand. Grandmother teaches me about these things, breaking my heart with the depth of her love, and I still cannot find words to express my gratitude.
Truth be told, the ongoing service and devotion is a lonely thing. Who can come with you when Grandmother points down the path and tells you to go in spite of your fears? We are often called to strange and uncomfortable work where it's easier not to have to explain yourself. There's more than enough of it to go around. Lonely, frustrated spirits of places and things and beings, eager things clamoring for your attention or for the chance to be a part of something, all of them ready to be heard by someone who can hear them. Those things are hard to ignore, hard to walk away from, and can affect you more deeply than you'll ever be able to explain. So you serve because you have been called.