Inspired by a detail in Northern Tamarisk’s blog associating fool’s gold and Loki the other day, my brain went off on a tangent, thinking about items that some folks associated with Loki.
I was intrigued by the casual reference to her association of Loki with fool’s gold.
As you may have read my experience of that first Dragons Treasure meditation in 1997, I was reminded of how I had participated in another guided group meditation ritual several months later that same year
Except instead of a vision of Hostess Donettes, I received the ‘gift’ of a piece of fools gold.
It strikes me as strange to think now about how that was twice in as many months that I had sought out answers in guided meditations during a public ritual that initially appeared – on the surface – to be in the form of some sort of joke or trick.
And trust me, no one likes to be made fun of or to be the butt of a joke…least of all, me.
Nonetheless, after that first guided meditation, it became a goodnatured joke in the community I was trying to join: If they couldn’t remember my name, I was that ‘newbie’ that received the doughnut.
And a few months later, I became known as that woman that got the fool’s gold.
And yet, I am amazed to realize how both times these odd ‘journey-gifts’ were read by others – the Pagan elders and the other assembled group members – as a sign that I must be pulling their leg or proof that I wasn’t taking whatever spiritual exercise I was attempting to engage in seriously enough.
The gifts don’t lie, they’d said.
So as we sat in the circle and shared our experiences:
What is that again? some folks snickered in response to my share, that makes no sense.
While others muttered, I don’t understand how you could have gotten that.
Are you sure that that is what you saw? sighed the leader of the meditation.
I was dismayed by this…and at the time, I recall that I was ridiculed for not taking the meditation seriously and the woman who’d led the meditation eventually opined that the presence of fools gold always represents/symbolizes ‘what is not for you’
At the time, I felt that it meant that the Gods were rejecting me in some way, and I feared that that meant that perhaps the Pagan path was not for me.
And I took that to heart.
And it would seem that a lot of those ‘experienced’ Pagans (‘experienced’ at least by virtue of the fact that they’d been practicing at this Paganism thing a lot longer than I had) had some rather specific opinions about what is and isn’t an appropriate level of piety during guided mediation.
Honestly, I was just trying to fit in…or at least, find others like myself in the Pagan community…and yet, in this small way, I was looked upon as this person who wasn’t taking things seriously enough, whether I was sharing my experiences or I was asking questions.
In short, I began to feel as a bit of an outsider at their rituals, as no one seemed to take me or my experiences seriously.
Because, in their eyes, if I was taking things seriously, I’d be getting meaningful gifts like roses or silver chalices or the feather of a spring robin, or…whatever.
I became discouraged.
I began to question myself.*
And several years after that, in 2000, I was sitting at a Catholic funeral.
I could have sworn that I had silenced my phone. I distinctly recall turning off the ringer before putting it in my handbag.
And yet, my cell phone rang loudly right in the middle of the priest’s sermon.
Just as he was just getting to the part about how even during times our darkest times of spiritual struggle, we can all find shelter within the arms of the Lord.
It was embarrassing certainly, except for the fact that it was even more so in that my cell’s ringtone at that time was a clip of the chorus from Rage Against the Machine’ No Shelter:
(There will be no shelter here/the thin line is everywhere…)
So that doughnut must mean I’m not taking this seriously enough.
And yes, that fool’s gold must be a sign that that path was not for me.
And certainly, despite how respectful I was trying to be during a beloved relative’s Catholic funeral…
I took that as a sign that I, for one, am not meant to find shelter in the arms of (that) God.
And so, what did I do?
I decided none of it was for me.
Even though it broke my heart to think that any form of spirituality as I understood it was not for me.
But there were more answers in store.
*In retrospect, I realize that I gave in too easily to the discernment of others, rather than my own discernment. (And yes, I would be presented with that lesson again and again.)