Some food for thought from Patheos…
The Toxic Narrative of “Being Chosen” by Gods and Bad Boys
came across my Facebook feed yesterday afternoon.
I am glad that it did.
Misha Magdalene’s words have given me lots of food for thought concerning Deities and the topic of consent as this is an issue that has been on my mind for quite some time.
Like the author, I too have definitely noticed a particular toxic narrative be bandied about in several Pagan communities, and I agree with the author to some degree on the most problematic aspects surrounding the belief that one has been ‘chosen’ by a Deity, and more importantly, the inherent unhealthiness of attraction and desire to be chosen by ‘bad boys’ (let alone Deities) 1
Now, before I get too involved, I do want to state that while I agree with the author on some points in their argument, I do disagree with some nuances of their argument.
Allow me to explain…
While I agree that it is a toxic and unhealthy thing to believe that devotees “are powerless protagonists at the mercy of domineering [Gods Who are]
socially inept aggressors who control the relationship” 2
(because I believe that such a mindset is an insult to humans, let alone Gods; aside of the fact that as much as one might be tempted to apply tenets of human psychology to Gods, They aren’t human…)
but more importantly, I disagree with the author that the Gods don’t choose Their devotees
(because, sometimes, They do.)
BUT… on the point of contention concerning consent – I do believe that just because you are chosen by a Deity
– Loki or otherwise –
1.) Being ‘chosen’ doesn’t confer some extra legitimacy to your praxis
2.) You don’t have to say Yes.
But….this article gave me food for thoughts that led to several jumping off points in my head concerning consent in regards to Deities, more toxic narratives regarding Loki as found exclusively within Lokean communities, as well as some convoluted thoughts involving the ‘legitimacy’ surrounding experience, praxis and UPG within said Loki-friendly communities.
- “…some folks derive both personal validation and self-esteem from the fantasy—or, in some cases, the reality—of being romantically involved with someone who’s just bad news, relationship-wise. They’re emotionally stunted, they’re dangerous, they’re “troubled,” they’re emotionally absent, or they have some other personality issue which makes them fundamentally a poor choice for an emotionally intimate relationship. The kicker, though, is that it’s precisely this unsuitability which makes them such a desirable relationship partner. The risk of being harmed—emotionally, financially, even physically—makes the dalliance far more exciting and gratifying than being involved with someone safe and, well, boring. The thrill comes from the danger, but also from that feeling of being chosen. Remember, of all the people this moody, dangerous, emotionally distant partner could’ve chosen, they chose us. The “bad boy” doesn’t like anybody, but they like us… and that makes us feel wanted, desired, validated. It makes us feel special, and “feeling special” can be intoxicating, exhilarating, incredibly seductive.”
(from the article)
I agree on what you disagree. Gods do choose, it doesn’t not come with a rank, and we don’t have to say yes.
I would also say the relationship with a divine is incomparable to “a bad boy’s special flame” scenario, however it is likely some people imagine it to be so.
Hello! I’m the author of the piece in question. I just came across your response and wanted to chime in for a moment, because from what I can see, we’re actually in full agreement on this issue. I think gods *do* choose their devotees, and that devotees have both the ability and the responsibility to consent to that relationship, and to outline . What I was objecting to was the narrative I see in a lot of Pagan and polytheist spaces, in which “being chosen by the gods” effectively abnegates the devotee’s responsibility for that relationship.
Thank you for reading, and for your thoughtful response.
Ah, I thought that I had responded to this before.
I do see what you mean, and I thank you for the clarification.
We do agree that the devotee has consent and responsibility for the relationship.
Thanks for your comment