Avoiding the Gods

I wrote last week about being young and feeling called by the gods. André Solo wrote a great post last week on how difficult it is to hear the gods. He says that hearing the gods is not difficult just because we need space to hear their voices, or skill in listening, but because we so often are listening for what we want to hear, what we think we’re supposed to hear. This ties into Aine’s quote at the beginning of my last post: We want our calling to be Awesome.

What if the call is difficult?  What if we have to give stuff up? Perhaps this is a short term giving up, like a Lenten fast or something. Perhaps this is something far more serious – never having children, or becoming vegetarian (or the reverse) for the rest of one’s life. Perhaps it means turning away from one path and embracing something different entirely.

But what if the calling isn’t Awesome? Finding out that we’re not all meant to be spiritual ninjas or Druid pirates can be a bit of a let down.

I am not a druid pirate.


The above was part of a thousand word post that I wrote and threw out. I liked the beginning. The rest of it was about mindfulness and how hard it is to hear the gods while the children fight in the background and the Christian idea of the ‘still small voice within’ and advice I’d like to have given my 21 year old self. It was all gentle namby-pamby avoidance of something I’d ‘let’ myself forget.

Kali gave me some clear direction about a year and a half ago. I have continued to drag my feet at Her request and it’s no surprise that She’s been a lot more quiet these past many months.

Sure, it’s hard to hear the gods. It takes practice and focus – two things that can be a challenge with dependent others and most day jobs. However, if the gods do say something, why should they keep talking if we – I – ignore what they’ve said?

I’m no Ella Fitzgerald. (Publicity photo, 1962)

Kali told me to sing. In no uncertain terms, that’s what she said. She didn’t tell me where, how, or what to sing. She didn’t say I had to be any good. Eight months after she gave me that direction, at the soonest available opportunity, I joined the best choir in the area. I don’t think that’s the entirety of what she meant. It is nice and safe. It’s a good step in the right direction.

The thing is, I don’t want to deal with my unfinished singing angst. Just thinking about dealing with it, thinking about writing even a little bit about it, has me in a sweat and staring longingly at the last of my limoncello. My inner 4 year old is curled up in an angry ball over in the corner, yelling “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!!” I can see her so clearly, plugging her tiny ears and stomping on the floor. It’s not terribly mature of me, but there it is.

This resistance is entirely counter-productive. I know that by dealing with this something wonderful will open up. No, I don’t expect to win American Idol anytime soon (I’m probably too old for starters), but I suspect that something vital will be freed up, some new energy will fill this dead space. Who knows how Kali will use my voice? She’s never let me down before.

And still I resist.

For so long I wanted nothing more than to sing. I wanted it so badly that I barely even admitted it to myself. Now I’m trying to put that chapter behind me. I’ve let go of my identity as a singer. I now say “I used to be a singer.” I am contenting myself with being a motherly choir type with decent musicianship, trying to keep Old Lady Voice at bay (you know that voice: wobbly vibrato on a thin, shrieky soprano).


I am STILL avoiding the post I know I need to write.


A few weeks ago I started to come out of the postpartum brain fog. I wanted to check in with my gods and see where my devotions were at: what needed to change, what I needed to know, should I still be working with certain gods, and so on. It was interesting to say the least. Some of the information was not what I was expecting. Much of the information has been revealing more nuances and clarity as I sit with the information. One particular goddess told me that I was not ready, not in a position yet to work with her.

Kali revealed herself as much more watery and gentle than I typically experience Her. She encouraged me to press forward with strength, courage, and beginner’s mind (something I am terrible at). She asked me to be complete and whole, not ‘good.’ Let go of doubt. Embrace my witch power. There was more in there. Something about communication that I am still working out, but communication ties in with singing.

And I’m back to the beginning. Singing.


I’m still resisting.


I’ll get there. I promise.

I don’t give up easily.



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Relational Polytheism
Polytheism, Politics, Discomfort, and Growth
So Long, and Thanks for All the Clicks
Many Gods, Many Peoples, Many Experiences
About Niki Whiting
  • http://saracamis.blogspot.com/ Sara Amis

    I sing in ritual. Sometimes when other people are there, but often when they are not.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

    I wasn’t overly fond of the Rogue Priest piece. It wasn’t _wrong_, but it was a little too psychological for my tastes.

    But this? This is familiar…. in a “yes, I believe I’ve felt that foot in my backside too” sort of way… and I’m starting to feel it again.

  • Eilidh Nic Sidheag

    Nor do the gods (give up easily). They’ve just kicked me in the backside to start running again…

  • https://celestineday.wordpress.com/ Celestine Day

    Thank you for this post. I am a past master at avoidance, so this resonates with me.

  • Sarah Sadie

    Great post–so often the voices tell us to do what is hardest…not “scale Mt. Everest” but do what is hardest *for us.*

    Also interested in the watery/gentle face of Kali. If we lived closer I’d take you out for tea/coffee somewhere and we could talk long…

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram/ A Witch’s Ashram

      I have to unpack that whole watery thing a bit more. Lots of temperance – but in tiger form. Lots of riding the waves. Not passive watery, but boldly riding emotions and flow. …..Something like that.

  • M.A.

    I am no singer, and yet I’ve been finding myself chanting, sometimes, during my morning healing meditations. No one but the cat has to listen, and he doesn’t seem to care. It’s not really so much about singing, with me, as about opening the throat chakra: truth and the expression of truth; the power, and the promise. Which is all to say, you might try sidling into it, while it looks like you’re doing something else…

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram/ A Witch’s Ashram

      That is good advice. One thing that helps me is to put on cheesy pop music and sing along. Choir starts up again in Sept, but I need to deal with my angst and practice singing out. Yes, throat chakra blockage is most likely involved.

  • http://goddesspriestess.com/ Molly

    Loved this, Niki!

  • http://www.paganista.wordpress.com Tiffany

    Niki, I work closely with the She-Wolf, and She calls me to howl. Howling is one of the most powerful, spiritual, beautiful and utterly terrifying and exposing things I do. I can barely get one out once a month, even alone, even in an enclosed space. It makes me cry, feel vulnerable, but also utterly spiritual and devoted. The first time I realized this was what I was supposed to do I had the same “You can’t make me!” and ignored it for months. Sometimes I still pretend to forget and avoid. I think that discomfort is good, though; we cannot grow without struggle.