In which my thoughts are stars that I try to fathom into constellations.*
As always, what I describe here is particular to me. Not all godspouse experience the same things, all relationships are different can should be taken in their own context.
There has been some discussion lately about people who want to be, or become, godspouses, both in the online pagan communities, and among people I know personally. It makes sense in a way, so many people love the gods they worship and they want that love to be requited. And the role of godspouse sounds so awesome, they’re mortals who have the love of a god, it’s a position of power and glamor. I’m sure that’s how it looks from the outside, but in my experience what it mostly is, is painful. For every bright shining moment I have with the Horned God there are days spent in doubting that I am good enough for Him, wondering how I will ever deserve all of the love He has given me. Worst of all is the longing. I am meant to be with Him, by His side, and I can’t. He is a god, and I am bound by a mortal body. I have to finish out my life, knowing that I can’t be with Him the way I want to, the way I need to, hell, the way He needs me too (If I may be so bold). And nothing, not even the sweetness of the times we do have together can dull the pain. So if that sounds like a walk in the park, maybe godspousing is for you, but probably not.
Now not all of my life as a godspouse is bad. Quite the opposite in fact. I’m in love, and for the longest time I thought that would never happen. That’s something I feel I need explain some times; my god and I are in love, almost as if we were a normal, mortal couple. In the case of many godspouses that I have read from, or spoken to online, it seems to me that their relationship with their god/ess as a working relationship. Sure, there’s love,affection, attraction, all of that, I don’t doubt or question anyone’s relationship; but it seems to me that they are expected to serve as a spiritworker for, or as a priest/ess, to their god/ess first, and as a spouse second. (This is just my interpretation of what I have read elsewhere online. If you disagree or have something to say on the matter, by all means, let me know.) Or else the god/ess is somehow changing, or shaping, their mortal partner, either making the human into something or their choosing or guiding them in some sort of growth.
My relationship with the Horned God is different from this. My primary role is lover/spouse, very little of the spiritwork I do is for Him, and I think the world would end before he tried to change me in any way. When I was younger, before we were “together,” He would tease me, “What am I supposed to do with you?” he would ask. I was an awkward, self conscious, teetotaling, virgin, and all I could respond with was, “Try to keep up,” as I set out for a day of wandering in the woods, or exploring the Otherworld for the first times. That was what He describes as the “waiting time,” He loved me and was willing to wait until I was ready to come to Him; there was a lot of growth that needed to happen before I was ready to love anyone, never mind a god. But through all of that waiting, He never tried to make me change, never tried to rush me. Thinking back, it’s easy to see that even then, He loved me.
My side of the relationship is what changed. I used to think of Him mostly as an older brother: protective, caring, and willing to put up with my craziness. It was in my sophomore year of college that I really grew into myself, suddenly I was full of confidence and competence. This was when I started to get to know more pagans and witches, and I realized that my relationship with Him didn’t mirror relationships that others had with their gods. I guess you could say, “I fell in love like you fall asleep; slowly, then all at once.”* I don’t remember when I fell in love, but I will never forget the way I felt when I realized that not only did He reciprocate my love, but that we have loved each other through several of my reincarnations. This realization was like falling in love all over again.
I want to talk more about this, but it really is very painful to think about. I’m sitting on the couch in my living room trying to explain everything I feel, and I just can’t stop crying. He’s next to me, behind me, all around me, like he always is; trying to comfort me. But all that I can think about is how this isn’t right. We’re too far apart, I’m too far away, and he won’t let me come to Him in the Otherworld, which I what I really, really, want.
Hedge crossing and journeying come very naturally to me, perhaps too naturally; it used to be that at times like this I could just make myself comfortable, close my eyes, take a few deep breaths, maybe chant a bit, and fly away to Him in our own little corner of the Otherwild. But leaving Him and coming back to my body was getting so hard to do that now He won’t let me come to Him. I’m still allowed to cross and do my other spiritwork, and the process is still as easy as ever, to fulfill my duties and responsibilities to other gods and spirits, or to people, but He isn’t with me on the other side anymore.
“You don’t want to leave,” He says, “And it is too hard for me to make you, because I don’t want you to leave either. But you have to. Every time you come home, come to me, you can’t stay my love. Not yet.” So now whenever I cross the hedge, He isn’t there. There’s always another ally there, and the stag spirit that was my first, and longest spirit guide is always there but it’s not the same.
He’s always here when I’m awake, the constant presence just behind and above my left shoulder, as if He is standing there. Just now there’s the touches: that breath of wind across my cheek, like the back of His hand, caressing, wiping away a tear; the feeling fingers tangled in my hair, catching the bit that’s fallen into my eyes and brushing it back. I rest my head on what I know is a pillow, but I feels like His chest, warm, with soft skin of hard muscles; if I listen closely there’s the faintest whisper of a heartbeat.
This is my existence, having Him, enough to know that it is not enough. I know, in my rational mind, that I have more of Him than other followers, and that I have more of Him than many will ever have of their gods. The simple fact that I just spoke of possessing a god, of owning, and claiming, and having speaks volumes about our relationship and how much I have been given. But I know that more is waiting for me, and it’s so hard to be patient. The thing about this pain, is that like all pain it demands to be felt.* It can’t be ignored, or drowned out, it must be born.
And that is why I can’t understand people who actually want to be a godspouse. Because I sometimes think that I were to break things off with the Horned God my life would be so much easier. But those thoughts are fleeting, because life without Him is even worse. So spare yourself some pain, if you’re not meant to be a godspouse don’t try to be one. If you are meant to be a godspouse, it will happen give it time; your god/ess may be waiting for something. If they love you, you will know. And I pray that you won’t feel like I do now.
*John Green, The Fault in Our Stars (Get out of my head John Green!)