bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: thoughts

Some food for thought from Patheos…

This article:

 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

and

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.

~~~

  1. “…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)
  2. Ibid.

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Throwback Thursday: Bourbon Street.

Here is a post from two years ago today:

2 November 2015

I had planned – upon coming back from New Orleans – to write a lot about Bourbon Street. 

Bourbon Street is a decadent place that is both cheerful and incredibly sad. 

Anything that one can imagine that would be sinful in excess is there: strip clubs, massage parlors, 24-hour sidewalk bars, hookah/smoke shops, all you can eat buffets, and shop after shop of souvenirs that celebrate various forms of said over-indulgence and excess.

As well, the trappings of religion are everywhere: Christian preachers preaching hellfire and damnation, of judgment and shame in the midst of the red light district, while two blocks away, Voodoo priestesses hold court in the middle of the cobblestone alley-way, the low, husky chanting of their congregants echoing off of the walls, attracting the interest of tourists whom have strayed from various hawkers who’ve bombarded them with offers of free walking-tours, cheap drinks or discount meals.

(At least for the itinerant Christian preachers, if they can’t sell you on a drink, they will try to sell you on their God….)

But, on the upside, there’s art and there’s music – and musicians – on nearly every street corner, with artists hawking their wares from the sidewalks, alongside tarot card readers, psychics, and buskers willing to juggle or sing or dance or play with you for only a few bucks, won’t you show some appreciation for all that Bourbon Street has to entertain and amaze you?

And yet, Bourbon Street is a place of extremes:  if it isn’t promising you a 24 hour access to an all you can stand to experience in the celebration of excess, then it is hidden, barricaded or locked up. 

There’s gorgeous iron grill-work everywhere, serving as a deterrent to the casual on-looker from seeing, from accessing the inner worlds of Bourbon Street’s inhabitants. 

Even the garbage cans have padlocks on them.

And then there are homeless people begging for change, hustling tourists for money by passing out cheap plastic beads in exchange for $5, or a cigarette or two. 

V stopped lighting up as we walked because he became tired of being hassled every few feet for cigarettes and spare change. 

We stopped taking pictures of the sights because it marked us as easy prey for the relentless street hustlers.

But V loved Bourbon Street, I suppose. 

He constantly talked of going there, likely drawn in by the strange and rather tawdry aura of excitement that seems to surround Bourbon Street. 

I found this aura to be oddly fragile upon further examination.

Bourbon Street had all the hallmarks of a carnival midway, and its promises struck me as similarly ephemeral.

As an empath, I found myself feeling intrigued, aroused…but also unbearably sad. 

I couldn’t help but sense something yearning there; as if something had curled up and wept there, behind the iron scrollwork. 

It became difficult for me to remain positive as I felt bombarded by the undercurrents of powerful emotions and sensations. 

Yes, Bourbon Street is haunted… by a despair thinly disguised, hidden beneath the glittering layers of carefree fun and frolic. 

Bourbon Street is reminiscent of forced laughter, a wan smile deftly masking pain and fear; you might sense its dark and sorrowful beauty as it lay upon everything there. 

Bourbon Street is a lovely yet terrifyingly complex dream – the shadow of desires and shattered yearnings – stitched together.