This past Wednesday, March 10, was the three year anniversary of the vows I made to Hermes (dubbed the Hermaversary, and I wish I could take credit for that, but it was Sannion who made it up). Every year I have celebrated this as a personal holiday, and its always been one of the most powerful, meaningful days in my religious life.

Though things did not get off to the very best start, my chronic sleep problems were acting up badly the week and a half previous and an accident forced me to postpone the ritual until the day after its actual date. Which is of course frustrating, but its important not to let the frustrations weigh you down, important to do something anyway even if everything does not go perfectly as planned. This is a lesson I need to relearn from time to time.

A short time before I had begun serious work on the spiritual problems I was having, the way I’ve been sabotaging myself for a long time now, an area I’ve had many false starts on before but which I think I am making progress with now. Finally I had found the right person to talk to, that said the things I needed to hear, things that didn’t occur to me however obvious it might seem to me now, things that Hermes himself couldn’t have said because I wouldn’t have been able to listen.

That was the theme for this year’s Hermaversary celebration. Our status to one another had changed but our relationship was not clearly redefined in light of that change. And I got more caught up in the experiences of others, using them not as a guide and perhaps an inspiration but as a basis upon which to build my own expectations. And that is never the way to do things, if you take nothing else from my writings take that: your relationships with the gods, whatever those relationships may be, are defined between you and the god, not by anybody else; you set yourself up for nothing but frustration, not to mention setting yourself back, giving more weight to the opinions of others than the needs of yourself and the god.

I had that pounded into my head by a friend, and again by Hermes as I spent the greater part of the day sitting in seclusion by his shrine, praying, meditating and communing with him (as is traditional for me this day). We hammered out those details that need to be hammered out, and I was finally ready to hear what was and was not a good idea for me (and for him, he is an individual being after all) and not take it as a failing on my part.

Finally he granted a request I’ve had for over a year and gave me a vision of what I’m preparing for, what Work in part I will do for him. Its not relevant now because I’m not there yet, but it is good to know what I’m moving toward, to have a solid if partial image of what that place will be. I think it says something about the overall improvement of my mental state that my request was fulfilled.

I’ve missed hearing his voice. I’ve missed the sure knowledge that it was his voice I was hearing. I need him to be in my life and I’m glad that he’s back – or that I was able to let him back in as he hasn’t gone anywhere, it was my ability to trust that that abandoned me.

I want to say this will keep moving in a positive direction, but I have had many false starts and so don’t want to say anything too early. But that I understand a few things now that I did not before, that there are some guidelines in place that weren’t there before, gives me some hope. Its a foundation to begin working from, a foundation built on what is between us in the here and now, not what was there years ago before things changed, not what I feel should be there because of what other people have or don’t have.

I spent about six hours attending him privately at his shrine in our temple room; it was intended to be an all day affair (as it has been in years past) but after that he ordered me to go out, a combination of sleep difficulties and bad weather has kept me in the house far too much lately and I needed the fresh air. The girlfriend and I walked down to the one park in the city where I can feel a sense of presence, bought him a coffee I poured out on the ground and continued communing with him and going over everything I had been told in the hours before.

Three years and I regret nothing, would make those same vows all over again if asked to do so. He continues to make my life better and richer just merely by being there with me, and I hope I provide some benefit to him as well (I must, because he lingers, not something he tends to do). I feel as strongly for him as I ever have and, however hard it has been, I still want to be right where I am.

Hail Hermes! May this next year be easier and more productive on us both.

Why I Serve

A friend of mine  answered this question on her own blog not long ago now, and,  Since I am now celebrating the one year anniversary of my second set of vows to him, vows which initiated a very difficult spiritual period for me, this may be the time to answer that question again.

I can not say that I was someone who always wanted to devote my life to religion and to a deity, indeed if people who knew me even ten years ago saw me now I bet they would be very surprised. Where I grew up the unspoken rule was that religion was something very private and not talked about with other people, my family members were either atheist or the sort of Catholic that went to church on Sunday and that was about it; with no one discussing it or seeming excited about it, it was hard for my child self to see what was so important about religion. I knew early on that Catholicism was not for me, that Christianity in general was not for me, and that monotheism didn’t feel right to me, and that was as far as it went for a long time.

I was exposed to Greek mythology first when I was nine, and I absolutely fell in love with those deities in a way that, in hindsight, probably was the start of a religious devotion. It was also then that I became what I like to call an intellectual polytheist (in that, if deity does in fact exist, polytheism makes more sense than monotheism). Had my childhood been quieter and more peaceful, I may very well have pursued that budding interest further and perhaps wound up on this path much sooner.

The notion of service as well was a completely foreign thing to me when I was younger. I am a lone wolf by nature and learned early on that the only person you can really depend on is yourself; I did not bond with my family (and though I get along with them now that I am no longer living them, the distance has made it even more clear that I am, for whatever reason, more of a close family friend than an actual member of the family) and many of the other people I knew at the time didn’t understand me, didn’t like me and were very often cruel to me. I could not have imagined then loving something so much, trusting something enough to want to serve it so completely.

But that was all before I met Hermes.

To say that I owe him my life is no exaggeration. What I was living before was nothing resembling a life and without his intervention I would probably still be there now; that is assuming I was still living at all and I do firmly believe I was rapidly heading down that path. He came to me when I had been beaten down, broken, written off as a lost cause and left to rot wherever I fell; bit by bit he rebuilt my spirit, rebuilt my life, made me feel for the first time that there was something worthwhile there after all, maybe I had something to live for after all.

My life does not look the same as it did even just a couple years ago, and I am noticeably not the same person either. He moved me out of my old life and into a new one that, after an understandably rocky start, turned out to be perfect. I have a home of my own, a wonderful girlfriend, a trio of pets, several friends (even if they are mostly online) and I’m content and I’m happy; as someone who didn’t have many life skills, worse interpersonal skills and never had a word of encouragement from anyone, that’s a lot more than I could have ever hoped to have.

Though it may not be what I started out wanting to do, I can not imagine ever doing anything else, couldn’t imagine not having him in my life. And yet still there are times when I really need to be reminded of that, of why I’m here and how much this really does mean to me.

To say this past year was difficult is an understatement, and the difficulty started with those vows made. It was not a minor step I made there, it was something I knew would fundamentally change our relationship dynamic, and as such it was going to drag a lot of issues to the surface (especially when dealing with an area where I already know I have baggage to spare) and force me to deal with them. I can’t say that I handled that part gracefully, but probably in a typical and understandable way, and probably exactly as he expected me to. My relationship suffered during this last year and I spent long stretches of time feeling cut off from him, cut off from the purpose he gave to me, and that only made it worse. And though I knew, both from moments when he forcibly punched through my walls and messages he sent me through other people, that he still loves me and he’s still here and not going anywhere, it didn’t make things easier or at least never for very long.

I spent a lot of time this last year questioning my path; if this is where I want to be, if this is something I can even do. I don’t know about the second part, but I do know that I want to try, that I’m not ready to give up just yet. After all that Hermes has done for me, all he has given me and everything he has come to mean to me, I owe him my absolute best effort and I know I haven’t given that yet. But even beyond the gratitude, I don’t want this relationship to be over, I don’t want to end it.

Hermes has given me a list of tasks to perform, items to acquire, things to learn; I have a basic daily routine I am supposed to adhere to, and regular times I am supposed to spend with him. This is how I will begin to get my spiritual life, my relationship with him, back on track; this is the first step I have to take before I can progress further. Hermes is not, in my experience, the sort of deity to grab someone by the short hairs and drag them kicking and screaming down the road – trick you into doing what he wants you to do yes, arrange circumstances that forces the issues he wants you to deal with to the surface yes, physically force you no. Especially not in our relationship, in these circumstances this is a decision I need to make on my own; I know what I need to do and he’s waiting for me to make my move all on my own, waiting for me to decide this relationship means enough to me that I’m willing to do the work and deal with the road blocks.

However hard this last year has been, and however much harder its going to get crawling out of this hole and training myself in what I need to be trained in, I still have both reason and desire to continue serving. This is still the path I should and want to be on, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes.

Hail Hermes! Happy anniversary and thanks for this reminder, I needed it.

Dark Night of the Soul brings about needed changes

Yes, indeed I am still alive.  Though considering I haven’t touched this blog since November who knows if anyone is even still reading.

There are a few reasons why I have not been around. The one most immediate in my mind is my spiritual life remains in a state of upheaval.  I am having more than a little bit of a hard time adjusting myself to my new place in life, to my new relationship with my god and some of the expectations placed on my shoulders.  Rather than coming onto my blog and unleashing a stream of self loathing, I dealt with it quietly on my own. Almost every time I think I have made some headway another wave of it comes on.  I don’t feel sometimes as though I am cut out to walk the path I see being stretched out before me and I wonder if Hermes has made a mistake in choosing me as a mortal tool and companion.

That was the main reason I have been quiet here. But for the last few weeks, as I contemplated making a post here and shut the site down every time, I realize that there is a second, underlying problem keeping me away from this.

I somewhat regret now that I put my name on this blog when I began it, especially now as I have no real way of knowing who may be reading it, who may have found it. I lived for several years in the Recon community, which was a perfectly fine thing while it lasted but it is something I have outgrown. Its a community I feel more and more distant from, because the way my spiritual life is setting itself up for the foreseeable future it is something very different from what I used to be, very off from that community’s general standards.  Its something that could (and has for other people) been cause for hostility.

And it makes me feel reluctant to talk. Because I don’t know how many of my Recon community acquaintances are reading this, and I don’t know how they may react to the things I would have to say now. I have no wish to bring endless drama on to myself, not from those people who have found me offensive in the past and used that as a excuse for harassment, and not from those people who were friendly and may decide that I’m just not who they thought I was anymore.

Am I maybe taking things a little too far? Very likely. So far I’ve had very good luck in discussing my recent spiritual developments even with people not in a similar paradigm themselves, but I also know that’s not going to last.  I feel a need to be honest about the reality of things, because honest is what I am and this afraid to speak thing is extremely unnatural and unpleasant for me. I want to break out of this, and I need to break out of this;  I get this feeling anyway, if I won’t do it on my own my hand may be forced sooner or later.  But I just don’t know how to go about it.

I considered just starting over. Starting a new blog, don’t use my name, and let those attracted to my ideas come and those who aren’t need not be exposed, won’t wander over by accident because they knew me in a previous life.  And I may very well still do that. Were it not for the fact that I really like the blog name I made for myself here, and can’t think of anything else as meaningful to me, I probably would have done so already.

If I do keep this one, some massive changes are going to have to be made. I want to be able to speak in peace, to be as honest (or not) as I choose to be.

Today is my second anniversary of being formally dedicated to Hermes. And it is the one year anniversary of him asking me to take up my current vocation. I am more than a little worried what might come up this time around. After this date has passed, I will work on making my decision and do whatever needs to be done.

Post Dedication

My dedication to Hermes happened on the 31st. Everything went smoothly despite going into it with no real plans (not to say I didn’t try to come up with plans, but none of them ever felt right to me).

Instead of walking in knowing what I was going to say and do, I had to come up with it right off the top of my head, to speak from the heart. Not something I’m typically very good at. But it was appropriate here. Vows were made, gifts exchanged and it ended on a round of applause (yes, literally, as I finished my dedication from somewhere outside people a crowd started applauding and hooting very loudly at what I’m not sure; this, for those who have never experienced it, is the Hermes Effect).

I left with some instructions for the immediate future, things I need to begin working on right away. I was given a few interesting clues of what is to come. I was also given a new name relating to a function I’ve thought for a while now that I may have though I can’t say what it means.

I have spent the last two days recovering from the ritual and the celebration afterward, which included wandering the city on Halloween and encountering much random weirdness and going dancing at a goth club. The information is still soaking into my brain. Over the the coming week I will post on what I can discuss, what I know how to discuss. For now, I need some more time to rest and process.