Saturday, June 18, 2016

You Ain't a Priest/Priestess Just Because the Gods Spoke to You

Well, I've been dealing with some wankers and wandered over to their web pages and found that they were proclaiming their priesthood for all to see.  Seriously?  Seriously?  It's one thing to think you've heard the gods through dreams and meditations, and another thing entirely to call yourself a godhi/gythia because of said visions.

So, if you're one of those, I'm going to bade you to stop reading right fucking now.  Take a breath and have some chamomile tea.  Block my posts on Facebook, so you never have to read them again.  And bask in the knowledge that I haven't upset your apple cart.

Now for the rest of you who won't screw themselves into the ceiling over this post, please feel free to continue...


Mighty Presumptuous, Ain't It?

You have to wonder what the mindset is of someone who has become a heathen or even joined up with Asatru and started calling themselves a godhi/gythia. What kind of person has that big of an ego, (or that much delusion?), to call themselves that without agreement from some kind of community?  It's one thing, I suppose, if you went through training, seen visions without LSD or peyote, and were generally acknowledged as a godhi/gythia by the people of your kindred.  It's another thing to slap that label on your mug because you swore the raven that cawed to you said "I am Odin."

Talking with a God/Goddess Isn't Enough

Look, I'm not doubting that you could've had that experience. Hels bells, I've had those type of
experiences, and the best I could come up with as a title is The Rational Heathen.  Not exactly god-inspired, if you think about it.  I had to fight the atheists for that name on my blog.  (Which brings me back to last week's post.) My point is that there's enough of us who have had those types of nudges from the gods and goddesses to the point where we could all be considered godhi/gythia in some way if you were using "the gods spoke to me" as your qualification for priest/priestess-hood. I'm sorry, but as unique as your experience might be to you, it isn't that unique. There are enough people I know in the pagan/heathen community who have spoken with our pantheon on more than one occasion.  And some, I hate to say, may simply be undiagnosed schizophrenia.

Did a God Talk to You, or is it Schizophrenia?

TL;DR Point: Schizophrenia causes people to hallucinate, and while it affects only 1% of the population, it still could be the reason some people believe they talk to gods. If you are so certain you know what the gods want, be sure you don't have this disease...

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, schizophrenia hits about 1 percent of the population, or somewhere between 7 to 8 people out of 1000. I am NOT saying that those of us with dreams, insights, connections with the gods, etc are schizophrenic, but I have to point out that this could account for SOME people. When there are 320 million people in the United States alone, that means there are about 3.2 million people in the US that have schizophrenia.

Now, I'm not saying you are schizophrenic.  I'm not saying I am schizophrenic. But the numbers, statistically speaking, do point to a fairly large number that in this country alone could encompass most -- if not all -- of our worldwide believers.  But thankfully, we have to account for the affected Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, and whatnot, so I suspect the percentage among the Heathens is around the 1 percent as well.  Maybe it's a bit higher because our religion isn't "the norm." Maybe it's lower.  Regardless, if we point to all of Heathenry, we can probably say a small portion are schizophrenic.

I bring schizophrenia up only because it does have a tendency to cause people hearing voices or having delusions.  Whether it's the belief a god or gods talked to you, or whether you think your dishwasher has secret conversations with the refrigerator, this disease can account for much.  And not surprisingly, many schizophrenics aren't even diagnosed.

If you are so certain you know what the gods and goddesses want, be sure you don't have this disease.

I'm Okay;  You're Okay if You've Liked My Page

TL;DR: Don't be an asshole and claim you're a godhi/gythia to bully people whom don't necessarily agree with you.

I'm under the opinion that most folk who have claimed to have had dreams or gods/goddesses inspired UPGs while meditating or in a trance/dream state are okay and (mostly) rational people.  Many I call my friends. I've talked about Lokeans in previous blogs, and many of them are cool people.  I would not put them under the "crazy" label.

I honestly don't care if you've had visions from the gods or not. What I care about is if you're an asshole about it. Part of that asshole behavior is presuming you're a godhi or gythia because of it and using those conversations as your Norse pantheon god-given right to bully the rest of us what to believe. Sweetie, it doesn't work that way.  For one thing, you aren't the only one who has heard from the gods.

Studying Eddas and doing research doesn't make a godhi/gythia.  If it did, there would be a lot of scholars who are godhi/gythias who don't believe in our gods. In fact, I'd probably qualify as a gythia with just that criteria because I did a fair amount of study in myths, legends, and dead languages. I even have a higher level degree that encompasses anthropology, legends, and languages.

Part of being a godhi or gythia is being recognized as such in the community. It has to do with knowing the lore and the runes, as well as a dedicated willingness to serve the community.  As a non-gythia person, I've talked to a few people whom I respect whom I would call godhi or gythia. Very few. Like count them on one hand. What struck me about them was their willingness to share their knowledge and their overall kindness in helping me in my quest to be closer to our gods.

The people who are abusive, mean, and bullying, despite having someone think of them as a godhi/gythia are clearly NOT. Why do I say this?  Think of the purpose of a godhi/gythia.  They're intended to help people in spiritual matters.  They have a willingness to serve the community. 

No, I'm NOT a Gythia

You'll be relieved to hear that I don't consider myself a gythia in any way.  I don't have a kindred, per se, and I don't take myself that seriously. (You shouldn't either, unless I'm being dead serious, which I can be, from time to time.)  I don't have much respect in the community and I don't fancy myself a religious leader. While I do a fair amount of reading and studying, most of my waking hours are spent trying to make a living, not spending time reading Eddas and books on the subject.  When I'm feeling cocky, I write this blog. Occasionally, people ask me for advice. I warn them up front that I'm pretty ignorant, but I am happy to at least give them my honest take on what they ask.  Beyond that, I'm pretty much what you deal with: a low bullshit writer.

The Gods Have Given Me a Title!

No, seriously, they have.  From now on, you will address me only as The Rational Heathen, Supreme Cynical Rabble-rouser. I am feeling quite pleased with myself, which means I'm probably going to do some more shit-stirring and poking-the-crazy than normal.  I asked Loki for the title Supreme Shit-Stirrer, but he refused to give up that title.  I then asked for Pokes-The-Crazy, but Odin wouldn't give up that title either.  So, I'm stuck with Supreme Cynical Rabble-rouser.  It does have a ring to it, I'll admit.