Sundays are cleaning and cleansing days in my house. I clear off all the offerings and incense and wipe down the shrines. I go through my sacred items and decide which will be in storage or left out. Vacuuming and sweeping is done, and if I’ve had an especially tough week I’ll dab water on the doorways and burn stronger incense. Sundays are days for reviewing my space and myself.
This is especially relevant to the work I’ve been doing lately. I do a great deal of journey work in order to receive stories from the gods and spirits, as well as to better understand those stories. The stories that bring me the most joy to bring over to the manifest world are the Romances, the name given to stories focusing on the ladies of the Otherfaith. Though not all of those stories are happy (plenty end in the loss of love or relationship or in death), they are fun to learn and write. Quite different is the main mythos of the Four Gods – even during moments of joy, my limbs feel weak and my eyes blurred.
The portion of the mythos I have been working on lately is not one of joy.
Though the group of gods I work with on this is called the Four Gods, there was a sort-of fifth god – the mirror image of the Dierne, called Mircea. Mircea is the main antagonist and destructive force in the mythos of the Westernlands, and as part of my work I have been trying to understand how he rose to power as well as what he represents in the religion. Last night held a breakthrough in that understanding.
However, being close to that energy – which in the Otherfaith is seen as toxic – means lots of cleansing. Even if I viewed these spirits as parts of my consciousness (which I don’t), cleansing would be needed. Mircea is the twisting of emotion. Since I view these spirits are real and outside of me, simply being around him is dangerous. In the mythos he rises to power largely through charisma. He offers deals that sound too good but are oh so tempting, and he encourages us to indulge in emotional states and mindframes that are inherently damaging. His promises are glittering but hollow.
Because Mircea is not ‘pure evil’. He would be easier to handle if he was some sort of purely evil figure. In the mythos he is seen largely as capable of fixing the damage he has done until he rapes Pallis. That act is what situates him entirely as an antagonist and irredeemable figure, needing to be purged rather than reincorporated.
In the Otherfaith, cleansing is usually more about incorporating all of our parts into our whole. We don’t want to toss out our anger or sorrow but instead understand those emotions and work with them. By doing so, we can better understand ourselves and do the work of the gods – whether that be intense journey work to commune with them or living a life that brings them (and us) honor and joy. We seek integration. But Mircea is outside of that. He seeks connection and integration through violence, disregarding consent and in doing so placing himself outside of the realm of the Westernlands and Otherfaith.
It is strange working with such a force. This is partially because he is outside of right relationship with the spirits and gods, yet he still has a place in the mythos. It is strange to have a spirit that is marked as an ‘outsider’ and the implications of such. It is strange to feel the effects of him in visceral ways, like glass around my heart, and to feel that release after cleansing. It has given me much to think of and consider, and much to cleanse away.