I’ve seen and hear countless description sod what having a patron or matron or a deity you serve as a priest is like, ranging from the secret and mysterious to intimate and sensual to fearsome and dominating. I’ve even read more recently, discourses on the differences between different, linguistically determined, gods/goddesses you can potentially have a relationship with; e.g. patron/matron vs. fulltruí vs. tutelary deity. In all likelihood this is an area as diverse and richly varied, subtly textured, as the human experience itself. Not to make mention of the sheer number of deities and there experiences. One of the many heated discussions that seems to be ongoing is the ‘choose vs. chosen vs. none is also ok’ ménage à trios regarding deities and their taking an interest in humanity on an individual level. Arguments for all three of the house three range from terrible to convincing to genuinely thought provoking and while none seems to ever have much sway over the others at any given point, it is definitely stimulating to observe.
I am prepared to admit that I let myself become preoccupied with the idea of ‘having a god’ in the sense of the above, mostly because I trick myself into thinking that the existence of one deity or many within my own personal Praxis is what will finally graduate me from ‘wishfully thinking, youth’ to ‘real and mature, adult’ in terms of faith, spirituality and or religion. Ironically I think that this kind of thinking only hinders my overall aim, but on the other hand the fact that I can express it is itself a sign of progress. Realistically speaking this sentiment of mine comes from a well nourished preconception that there ‘is a correct way to do it and no other way will do’, often causing me to forget that once upon a time these things were the ‘correct way’ because at that time, that is what worked and was successful. The scope and detail involved as well as a phenomenal number of post-scripts and caveats, is simply too great to go in to however. Suffice it to say that: there are correct and incorrect ways to something, the latter number being far greater than the former. Even then there is a massive grey area – some methods will do certain parts better, achieve the same result but not as ‘X’ as another way, take longer or seemingly be less effective because ‘Y’ focus emphasised ‘Z’. There are still, undeniably, correct and incorrect ways its just there there is distinctly more than one of each and a vast chasm of grey between them. I haven’t yet been able to contemplate a better rationale for why there are so many different ways of ‘doing magic’ that accounts for the number of similarities AND differences.
Despite the amount of thought I have put into the subject however, I still impale myself on the ‘theres only one way’ premise. There was something I came away with from my recent foray into the idea of priesthood however, which might be another sign of progress; the idea of empowered agency.
Agency on its own is, across the many areas the word can be used, the concept that ‘You’ has the ability to do something, the capacity, whether that be through the skill, knowledge, physicality etc to do it. Very broadly speaking agency can be likened to the Will of any given thing; that which animates it. An ability to Act according to that Will. In literary terms, having Agency makes you not-an-Object (a simplification to be sure). Sometimes though, that agency is cages, nulled or otherwise made impotent – your ability to act can be hampered by the rain or a coma, a wall or traffic, distance or ignorance. Empowered agency, again in a literary frame of language, can be likened to meta-agency; agency which goes beyond your normal agency and imbues it in some way which allows for the undoing of your own agency”s impotence. The tidiest way of exemplifying this is Magic; it empowers your agency and makes it transcendent it so the previous impotence of agency is no longer an issue. A different way of exemplifying is to use Bremos; he wades into protests as a Priest of The Morrigan, carrying some measure of The Morrigan with him. He may do nothing more than he otherwise would have (i.e. nothing mystical/magical) but his agency is empowered and made immanent; rooted in that continuing moment, knitted into the very fabric of that instant.
It is the reclamation of my agency that I long for, that causes me to always be yearning for something I’m still inadequately shaped for. That ability to be able to act when the moment calls for it or to be able to do what cannot be so well, or at all, under everyday conditions. Having the capacity to slake my hunger for the myriad that exists beyond what we have become.