Every Friday, in the ‘Musings’ series, we’ll be exploring in-depth or complex topics related to the Otherfaith and our gods. These will be wandering, wondering posts, and not presented in any expected order – they are entirely based on events or occurrences that happened during the week.
This Saturday, we’re focusing on the concept of love in the Otherfaith.
We’ve got our musing post a day late, but it is thankfully for a good reason.
Since January 1st, the end of Reunion, the gods have gone their ways to conduct their business for the rest of the year. Slowly, they return to us, filling our lives again with their presence. the Dierne is the last to return, and I’ve been waiting for his return eagerly. Last year I experienced the same gap of time, the other three gods returning quickly while the Dierne was a great gaping hole in my chest.
On Valentine’s Day, a holiday I already had marked down in the Otherfaith calendar (since part of our holy calendar is based on the US holidays), I felt the Dierne settle around me once again. His presence started as a slight itch, and by the end of the day was a loud rush, filling my ears and making my skin tingle.
I’m a romantic, but the god of love arriving on Valentine’s Day is a bit too sappy even for me.
Still, if that is how the god works, then that is how he is – I’ll give it another year before setting the date in stone.
The world of the Four Gods is founded on love, and the Otherfaith is founded on love too. It was falling in love with the gods that sparked the Otherfaith into what it now is; it was love for modern Paganism that even planted the seed of the Otherfaith in me. It is love for the gods that keeps me going.
It’s love for other people to, something the gods split open my heart and shoved inside me. Perhaps that was one of their greatest acts, stripping away all that I had once known and assumed, unraveling my skin and bone, remaking me in an image they preferred to do their work. I had thought I knew what path would be best for me to walk and had striven all my life, but the gods crashed in and rewrote all of it.
They wrote love into my veins where it had not before been.
Valentine’s Day is about romantic love, and the story of how the West was founded involves romantic love. But working with my gods has been more an experience in un-writing romantic love as it has threaded into me, stripping away those ties as they stung and dug poisoned thorns into me.
Until this year, when the return of the Dierne, when I was met with a cacophony of heavenly noise that reassured me that, whichever way my many loves have twisted me, I’m holding on to the compass the gods gave me.
Love is the foundation of the faith, and it features prominently in most of our stories. We’ve got the Romances of the lady-spirits, the passionate love affair of the Laetha and Dierne that shakes up the worlds, the sundering and explosive love of the Ophelia and Clarene. There’s the fractured, unreapired love between the Clarene and her queen-mother, and the lost love between the Dierne and his brother Mircea.
Compassion is a part of love. Compassion is what the Clarene sewed into my body when I met her, and it is a lesson I am continually trying to learn. Even Mircea, who is destroyed by the gods, is mourned by his brother in some of the stories. And Valentine’s, more than chocolate or romance, was about compassion for me. Relearning how to be compassionate when it is hard, learning to make room for the many pains in the world and listening to them, honestly and openly.
Feeling the crashing waves of the Dierne returning, reminding me to be compassionate to myself and others, reminding me of the many beauties of love, I was overtaken.
Now that the Four Gods have returned, it feels the year is truly beginning again.
We are holding an Otherfaith discussion group every first Sunday of the month. Click here for more details, and send me a message or leave a comment if you would like to join!
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