Thoughts on the Laetha

Keeping in mind my last post – I’m going to attempt to write this as simply as I can.

Last night I had quite the experience. At this point in my life, after dealing with spirit activity and being bothered by faeries for most of my life (as a child, as a teen, as a young adult), I’m rather used to the symptoms that can arise. Especially with the gods are near. Shaking legs, shaking hands, inability to focus or see clearly, manic energy, blabbering – all lovely results of being close to my holy ones. Being near the faeries has its own ‘problems’, some of which I am willing to accept. I am mostly capable of handling myself and whatever fallout occurs.

Of course, the holy ones have their own schedule, especially a holy one like the Laetha.

Last night I sat, eating a huge dinner – a special treat, a brief tease of what could-be and what-has-passed in my life – and discussing the ethics and meaning of meat, of food, of living. There was music, and talk, and atmosphere, and halfway through the meal I became horribly ill. Not from the food, all excellent and healthy. I became ill as I felt the presence of my god wrap around me. It was a clenching in my stomach, a pounding in my head that did not manifest as a true headache, an overwhelming wave of inspiration and horror.

(Looking back, the combination of the food choices, the conversation, the timing of it all – it makes sense that I was open to the god’s presence and that he decided to show.)

the Laetha is obsessed and slightly connected to trains – though I’m using this photo mostly since walking on the tracks is sometimes comparable to walking with this god.

Usually, I can ride and grip the waves of inspiration and divine presence so that I glow, allowing myself to behave pleasantly even around those that have no idea what is going on. This time, however, I felt my bones quivering. I excused myself to the bathroom for a few minutes to try to compose myself, but what had instigated the experience continued in the bathroom, and I was left breathing and trying to wall myself off as best I could.

I was able to continue the night with little issue – except for the constant thrum in my body that took on unpleasant qualities. It was not the energizing zap I was accustomed to. It was a forceful buzz.

On some level, I am always used to unpleasantness with the Laetha. Thursdays are not the best days for me. He comes, he does his work, and then I’m left cleaning my room and either immediately resting or being completely incapable of rest for hours. My friend pointed out the image that ‘hosting’ brings up – of putting out tea, cookies, making a comfy living area – and while that’s true on my part, the Laetha still rips through the area and leaves shards of tea cups and crumbs of metaphorical cookies everywhere. So when he came last night, I accepted it.

The other gods in the Otherfaith I will tiff with. the Laetha, even when I am greatly against what he advises, will eventually have my head bowing, usually with a grimace on my face. The other gods – they win me over with patience, with sweet words. And, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. the Laetha reminds me there are duties, there are rules, and this religion isn’t just staring at the skies at night captivated and in love.

I’ve known people who call mystical experiences ‘waking up’. And, in a way, I can understand that. But for me, it’s not – it wasn’t – waking up. Waking up means that maybe someday I can go back to sleep. And since I was a child and had my first mystical experience, since I was a teen and counselled others, since I set foot properly and intentionally on this road, I haven’t been able to go back to sleep. I can close my eyes and plug my ears, but I can’t go back to sleep. It’s not even that I’ve been ‘enlightened’. It’s not that I don’t doubt.

When it comes to the Laetha and the way he has stuck his claws in my life, my mystical experiences are like being flayed open. Like being slashed and bleeding (sadly, not always a metaphor). The gods are real for me because of what has happened in my life, because of my mystical experiences. Perhaps they are so real because their effects on me are so real.

I’m not waking up. I’m being opened up, and in some ways it is beautiful – to be bare before the gods, to give them that, to see in return holy images of them – and in some ways it is horror. I can’t go back to sleep to a time before the gods.

Last night was an experience. My guts were in knots. My eyes burned with tears that didn’t fall. I wanted to pick open my skin, my arms, my hands. No great answers came down from the god. No great unveiling or ‘truth’. Just presence. ‘He is here.’ He was there in a way that made my throat stick. And perhaps it affected others in the room, perhaps it affected no one else. But my god was there, around the dancers, in the meat, in the coffee, in the air. He was as unpleasant as always, as heavy and painful as he always is, but it would be a lie to say I hated that. It is difficult.

It is the life I have chosen.

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About Aine

Aine Llewellyn is a 20 year old girl creature currently mucking about in southern Arizona. She enjoys the winters and rain but can’t stand the heat. She is a difficult polytheist that natters on and on about her faith.