Posted by: aediculaantinoi | October 11, 2013

Why the Lobsters?

Lobster-Dog

Though the above is not a photo of any of our actual dogs, my sister did buy the lobster costume for one of our dogs a few years ago, and we get it out on occasion. I got ours out today, and all of the dogs got to try it on in turn; only one of them (the one for whom it was intended) really likes it or “gets” it, whereas the other ones just want to attack it, like they do with all stuffed animals.

Anyway…

Some of you might wonder why there were all of the lobster-related posts earlier this week.

Well, it’s kind of complex and weird, like so many things in life.

When I did this post last week, I was feeling at the end of my rope. Things have not been good for me recently, and they kind of came to a bit of a head last week. Not only are matters in my own daily life not exactly peachy, but I was getting really sick of a lot of things I’ve been seeing and hearing in the wider pagan community lately. So, having at-times-suicidal depression (and I’m not exaggerating in the least there), and then big questions on whether or not I should be doing anything pagan or even polytheist-related at all in a public or organized fashion because things were making me so upset, I decided I needed a break from it all for a few days, at least.

In all honesty, I was this close to deciding that I’d give up all of my blogs, groups, and public functions as a polytheist, discontinuing the availability of all of my books, and completely retreating from all but a few close associates, and only doing devotional things on my own from here on out. I wasn’t sure if that would be a permanent solution or not, but at the time, that seemed the most prudent way to proceed, and there was a finality to it in my mind at the time. Obviously, I chose not to do that–and my reasoning for doing so isn’t at all clear to me now, and thus probably isn’t very good. I’m not at all sure about it, and may in fact have to seriously reconsider it in the near future–but nonetheless, here I am for the moment.

But in the meantime, I did definitely need a break. I thought I’d do it for a week, and not comment on any blogs, nor respond to comments on my own, and not make any posts at all. (I still have a bunch of comments I’d like to post elsewhere, which I hope to get to later today.)

As you’ll see with several of the comments on that post, I’m still feeling pretty brittle and edgy, and while I’m doing better overall, nonetheless the underlying reasons for my depression are still as present as ever, and what help the gods are giving (if any at all–and yes, I’ve asked in prayer several times) isn’t really doing a great deal which is visibly useful at this point. Sometimes, in devotion, we have to be honest about what our gods are doing, as well as what they aren’t doing, and while I don’t “blame” them at present for not helping, at the same time, I can’t really offer genuine praise to them for help they’re also not giving. (They get praise and thanks for other things always, but not for what is going on now.)

I plan to do a post later that outlines, without naming any names, some of the things that have been getting me down–or more accurately, get me pissed off–about paganism over the last week or two, or longer in some cases…but, I wanted to do some “positive” posts first.

One of the comments on that post I linked to above was one that was unexpected…and, from my perspective, odd. It notified me that I had been given a Liebster Blog Award from the Fieldstones blog. While I appreciate this, at the same time, the award itself is kind of a glorified chain letter of sorts. So, I thank Fieldstones for the recognition, and will answer the questions, but I am not going to nominate others–not because I don’t feel there are blogs out there that deserve recognition, but instead because I don’t really feel that this particular distinction does them the honors that they deserve from me in terms of appreciation and recognition. I don’t begrudge anyone from handing out Liebster Blog Awards themselves, and I thank Fieldstones for this flattering mention and for being as non-pressuring about it as possible.

I don’t really do this blog to get awards; in fact, what I appreciate far more is discussion in the comments. That’s the best reward I can ever get. The whole thing is intended as a devotional activity more than anything else, and that is its own reward, I tell myself over and over.

My dyslexic brain, however, decided to read it as “Lobster Blieg” rather than as “Liebster Blog” for a while…and in my depression, some flash of absurdity that leads to humor is often the minuscule lifeline that can keep me going for another few hours or days. Google Translate informs me that “blieg” is apparently a Maltese word, but it gave me no translation. I imagine it’s a kind of contracted form of the German word “blitzkrieg,” with the “-itzkr-” taken out, which then means that a Lobster Blieg is a fast-attack by lobsters that is so fast there isn’t even enough time for another two-syllable word. ;) And thus, all of the lobster posts.

In the meantime, here are my answers to the questions which Fieldstones posed of all those nominated with the Lobster Blieg Award.

1. Favorite book (fiction).
and
2. Favorite book (non-fiction).

Can’t answer either of these, because choosing a singular “favorite” is as against my own aesthetics as a person in addition to as a polytheist. (But wait! Didn’t Hadrian, about as ardent a polytheist as there ever was, have a “favorite” in Antinous? Not necessarily, as that’s an English translation of the Greek paidika and the Latin delicia, none of which mean “favorite” in the same way that it does for English speakers.)

But also, the line between “fiction” and “non-fiction” is pretty arbitrary when it comes to the things I most enjoy reading about. Is a book that is a commentary on Lukian’s Philopseudes fiction or non-fiction, for example?

But, I should probably give “an answer,” so I’ll direct you to this. Have at it! ;)

3. Best way to spend a day when you have nothing else to do.

Sleep, as much as possible. It’s cheap, it can be its own entertainment and its own pleasure (as long as it arrives quickly and easily and stays for a while!).

4. Night owl, early bird or in between, and is this a good or a bad thing?

Insomniac, so I can end up being any one of them without my consent or prior notice, depending on the situation. I prefer to be nocturnal; if I don’t have to have any appointments before 5 PM, I’m happiest. Unfortunately, most of the business world doesn’t work that way, and while I’m not a part of that world any more than I have to be, for many of the things that I need I have to deal with that world on its own terms, so…

5. Fate or free will or somewhere in between?

On the whole, I’m less deterministic than most people, probably; and yet, I also know there are things that we have absolutely no control over, and “free will” has nothing to do with how they come out. We still have free will about how to feel about certain things, for example, that we otherwise have no control over. This is why I think complaining is a good thing: it’s about the only option many of us have for catharsis over things to which we are subjected but cannot do anything about. (Which is why Stoics would hate to be around me, which would in itself question their stoicism…!?!)

6. Choose a superpower!

Polytheist–so, I’m not going to choose just one. (If we’re going to be in the realm of complete and total fiction, as we are when we’re talking about superpowers, then why the fuck should we limit ourselves?) Shapeshifting, flight, and breathing underwater are all pretty high on my list, so I’d take at least those three.

7. Are you more likely to listen to your heart or your head?

My heart and my head are both intelligent and compassionate enough that they listen to each other more often than not, so there’s not really much of a difference–as long as I’m listening to myself, I don’t do either one injustice.

8. What is the hardest thing to get yourself to do that you know you need to do?

Pretty much anything that involves bettering myself or doing better for myself. As I said in this post, I think of myself as “A person of no importance, with no name that is of any significance, who will only be in this world for a short time, and will not be missed when gone.” Thus, doing anything “for me” that ultimately doesn’t end up being for someone else’s benefit (and the gods are included in that) seems like a waste of time, energy, and effort a lot of the time. For someone with this kind of approach, devotional spirituality can be more of a danger than a help, and while it is nice to do things that I enjoy and have those be things that others can enjoy and benefit from (gods and humans alike), doing anything “just for me” (up to and including looking after some matters of bodily health) just doesn’t seem worth the time generally for me.

9. Do you follow news and current events? How pertinent do you feel the World is to your daily life?

I need the World–it’s where I keep all of my stuff. ;)

I get sick of the news, especially recently. Watching the Senate talk for five more minutes as the CNN Government Shut-Down clock ticks away isn’t going to inform you of anything, or do anything to help fix the situation, I was telling some of the folks I live with recently…and now that’s almost more true than ever, I fear. I don’t generally seek out the news, but I’ll look at and pay attention to stories as they pass by me on the internet and such. I have no contempt for the World, but I have very little love for some of the nonsense that gets deemed news-worthy in it a great deal of the time, and even less for how those news-worthy matters get handled and discussed by the media.

10. Favorite season.

I enjoy Spring and Autumn the most, probably, although both are problematic for my allergies. However, these days, I’d have to give a slight edge to Spring, because that’s when new swimwear for the season comes out, and so that’s at least something to look forward to looking at. ;) Autumn is good, though, because that’s when pretty much all of the most important holy days of our liturgical year take place, and those going well and right makes the rest of the year worth it.


Responses

  1. Was hoping you’d explain the lobster reference, because it also made me think of something incredibly silly (and somehow spirit-lifting), the “Lobster Magnet.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hzBh0J1YFU

    Rest, regroup, and know that there are plenty of people out here who wish you well no matter what you’re doing online.

    • That was…interesting. ;) Is it true, I’m wondering, now? Hmm…

      Thank you for your words of encouragement.

  2. I’m glad you didn’t retreat. . .it would have been a devastating loss to us all. I hope your condition improves. Thank you for sticking around.

    • Thank you for the work you’re doing, and for your kind words. :)

  3. Well, on my GD blog (on Blogger) I occasionally take a vacation by posting days and days worth of cat pictures.

  4. It sounds like things are pretty rough for you these days and I hope they get better real soon. The suicidal thing worries me. I would say get help, like so many would say, but in my own experience “help” has not always been that helpful. I hope you don’t give up.

    • Thank you.

      I wish there were “more helpful” things than what I’ve been told, i.e. get on antidepressants (which are out of my price range, and furthermore not good in terms of their side effects of CREATING SUICIDAL IDEATIONS, and also not taking away the underlying reasons for the depression, i.e. economic instability, bad health, etc.), or “go to therapy,” which might be somewhat useful, but is–again–out of my price range at the moment.

      • I’ve done antidepressants (did not go well for me), and I’ve done therapy (more helpful, but expensive). All I can say is that in my personal experience, I think reading Buddhist writings (especially Pema Chodron) was more helpful in the long run than anything else. Helped me to step back from my emotional turmoil and not be consumed by it. But of course, different things are going to work for different people. I do hope you find some peace.

      • And again, thank you!

        While I have admired and adhered to some Buddhist teachings, one of the problems of people of my sort (and I’m using an Enneagram-based model here–while it may not be very old or very true, it’s at least of Western derivation) is that we put too much distance between ourselves and our emotions a lot of the time. While I know I don’t have to identify with them, and I’m much more than them, at the same time, acting as if I didn’t have emotions or was not impacted by them has been the M.O. of a huge part of my life growing up, and it lead to a great deal of internal sickness and negativity, even independent of my actual bodily illnesses. A big part of my own learning curve with discernment has been to make sure that I don’t make any major decisions when under emotional stress or turmoil (and that is a direct Jesuit teaching, actually!), and that is a reason why I’ve not removed my blogs, and also have not removed other things (e.g. my ability to breathe or circulate blood, etc.!), because I know life-altering (or life-ending) decisions should not be made when in a state of emotional distress. So, I think I at least got that right this time…

        I have not read any of Pema Chodron yet, but she comes so highly recommended, I’ll have to look into her at some point, I think.

  5. I am glad you did not entirely retreat from the online community, but I can totally understand why you would consider it. I have been much happier since I stopped investing anything emotionally or otherwise in the goings-on of the pagan/polytheist communities, and instead just focused on my personal practice. What was lost in human interaction is made up for by lack of constant aggravation and disappointment.

    • Thank you!

      Unfortunately, despite being a major introvert (despite what people might think otherwise), I have that bizarre constellation of Hermetic and Dionysian traits that makes it something of a requirement for me, in many things that I do, to communicate and to perform, and not just for the gods. Apart from my direct divine interactions, it’s one of the things that I get the most out of in spiritual activities, and it feeds me immeasurably to have positive interactions with people in person with these matters. Online, not so much a good deal of the time, but I’ve decided it is a kind of “lesser necessary evil” (even though evil is never necessary and evil is bad in greater or lesser amounts!) in absence of regular community and individuals to interact with on a regular basis. As it is, PantheaCon and a few things in Seattle maybe four times a year at most are about all I get of in-real-life communal interaction; the rest of my devotions are solitary and rather understated due to my living conditions.


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