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Practicing Polytheism: A 30-day Challenge Day 1

On her blog, A Forest Door, Dver has challenged Polytheists to write about their religious practices for the month of September. The blog post https://forestdoor.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/are-you-up-for-the-challenge/ and the John Beckett’s post which is referenced, are both worth reading.

It has been months since I last wrote a blog post, let alone a series of blog posts, but I felt like this was the perfect prompt to get writing again, no matter how raw I might feel.

 

It was my good fortune to be raised by parents who were not religious, but indulged their first born’s (that’s me) need for a religious life, no matter how unconventional that religion may be. They were at best, suspicious of Christianity, and in many respects, outright hostile to it. For my parents, the religions of “the book” were the enemy of fun and everything that made life worth living.

Though the term channeling comes to us from New Agers describing a method or experience of spirit possession, it is a word that I feel best captures a talent I have long had – the ability to host the divine and allow them to speak and move through me.

I have heard the stories from more than one family member, and more than one family friend. Even at the tender pre-school age of four, maybe five, at seemingly random times, I would stand outside and close my eyes. My arms would stretch out from my sides until my body made the shape of a “t.” A gentle wind would blow and I would speak with a voice not my own.

I don’t remember these episodes, but over the years, I heard fragments of what others heard – what was said with my lips, but was not me. At first, I was the beloved child of Aset. At that time, I knew her by her more popular name – the Goddess Isis. She would always introduce Herself before continuing, usually helpful tidbits, where someone could find a lost object, the health of various family and friends, sometimes what the future held. Then the wind would die down, my arms would lower, and I’d be back to my self.

The problem with channeling, or any type of possession work is that it isn’t helpful without others around to hear what They may have to say. I no longer work with a group, preferring to follow my own rhythms, intuition, research, and inspiration.

So now, I dance.

I have a series of interconnected rooms for my shrines, altars, and working space. With the small sound system I have, I can dance for my Gods as an offering, as a way of seeking communion, and as a way to celebrate. It has become a way for me to reach the ecstatic states that channeling can offer, but remain conscious and embodied at the same time.

This evening, I lit candles and incense for my Ancestors and for my Gods. I danced for them to express my joy in knowing Them. I danced to express my gratitude for their influence, wisdom, and occasional assistance.

1 comment… add one
  • Dver September 2, 2016, 9:13 AM

    Fascinating stuff! I wonder how many of us had these abilities from childhood, even if we didn’t quite understand them.

    While I do think that some types of possession can be useful even without others people present, the type of channeling you’re talking about, where messages come through, does indeed require others around to hear those messages. I’ve often wondered myself if I would do more of this work if I had a group practice rather than such a solitary one. Interesting how the circumstances of modern polytheism inherently change some of our actual practices.

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