Posted by: aediculaantinoi | January 14, 2014

Pray More…

This is the second day of the second week of Winter quarter at the college where I teach. Though I’m teaching the same number of classes here this quarter as I did last quarter, both of them are in-person this time (as opposed to one online and one in-seat), and they’re on the two different day-cycles of the week: so, one class on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons, and one class on Tuesday and Friday mornings. (I do actually prefer to teach in-person as opposed to online, so I’m not complaining on that score.) No matter what, I have to be here pretty much all day, though, with the availability of rides and bus schedules, etc. And, as of later today, I’ll also be starting the (shorter) term at another college where I teach about one class annually, which will last for eight weeks. That class meets once a week, but it’s for five hours, from 5 to 10 PM. That means that on a day like today, I’ll be at work for over fourteen hours (but only half of which is actually teaching, and is the only part of it that I’m paid for), and then add about two hours of commuting to that as well…

I wish that teachers were paid as well as babysitters. (You know that figure they give there about teachers making an average of $50,000 a year? Yeah, well cut that to 25% of that, and take away a alsight bit more, and that’s what I make annually, if it’s a good year. Yes, us over-privileged, rich, whiny teachers, huh?)

I have found that in the last week, and this week, I’ve ended up praying even more than I usually do. When I arrive in to my office first thing in the morning, and when I leave at the end of the day, I pray at my makeshift office shrine, which mainly represents Antinous (but also Hanuman and the Tetrad++). My everyday practice at my home shrine doesn’t include a lot of vocal prayer, but these practices I’m doing in my office this quarter have a lot more of that than I expected.

Yesterday, I got some rather upsetting news, that a job I had applied for, and that looked likely and which auspices and divination and so forth indicated looked like a strong possibility, and which would have literally fixed almost all of my current problems (which stem from not-enough-money for the amount of work that I do, and its consequent problems with medical bills not covered by the meager insurance I have, etc.), did not come through, and I didn’t even get an interview. This is about the thousandth time that has happened (probably not the thousandth, but likely close to the hundredth at this stage), and while I’m very upset and devastated about this to an extent, at the same time, I’ve experienced this kind of disappointment so frequently that I’ve almost come to expect it rather than not…that doesn’t keep me from applying for new opportunities when they come along, but at the same time…

And what can I do in a situation like this? What else other than pray more, even if my prayers are telling the gods how upset I am at these things, and how I think I deserve better and have earned better at this point (not because of my devotions to the gods, but because of what I’ve accomplished in my “career,” such as it is); even though I know that our gods are not all-powerful and cannot always do much to influence events in the world, and thus it isn’t their “fault” that this situation didn’t work out as it could have, nonetheless just as I might express my discontent over this situation to my friends, I will likewise express that discontent to the gods because even if they are not my “friends” in the same way that those I can call up or visit or have coffee with some of my human friends, nonetheless they know me and I’ve come to know them in ways that have that kind of familiarity as characteristic of our relationship. My own successes will be to their benefit, most certainly, and they definitely know this, so if they have a stake in the situation in that fashion, I would have to guess that there is some “gain” to them to have these things not be working out at present…and that’s where what my Thracian colleague calls “faith” comes in (and also, in a slightly different way, here), I think.

I’m not sharing my struggles with these issues here in this quasi-public forum to get sympathy for my difficulties (though that is appreciated); and I’m certainly not sharing them here to get advice from anyone on my life, my religious practice, or how you think you might have come up with something I’ve not thought about in terms of dealing with my practical economical situation–I am relatively intelligent, I’ve very likely thought about everything you can suggest, and have tried most of those things, and they haven’t worked and/or don’t apply to my situation. (I’ve been listening to unsolicited “career advice” from people for the last eight years…believe me, none of it is relevant or has been useful.) So, if your potential comment on this post is anything of that sort, do us both a favor and don’t post it.

Divination (by someone other than me–I’m too close to the situation to do this usefully) will be happening later this week to find out what the fuck is going on; but meanwhile, I have a lot of work to do, both practically and devotionally, and I hope to get some of it done soon.

But, what I would definitely like to hear about, if you have experiences or thoughts in this regard, is what you do or have done when you’ve run into situations of this sort personally. What if divination and oracles and the like from the gods on everyday-world matters say one thing, but then it turns out drastically (and sometimes disastrously) different–what do you do? How have you reacted? What in your spiritual practice gets you through it? And, have you found that doing what you’ve suggested does actually help?

Misery loves company, huh? So, let us share our miseries, with the gods and with each other.


Responses

  1. I’m so sorry. My own experience was that it turned out I simply had to be in that place, at that time. I have moved many times, and currently travel for work. There have been many jobs I very much wanted, and jobs I did not want but which I took for logistics sake. Each time, it turned out that I needed to be there either to learn from someone, to help someone, or simply to experience something. You are a teacher. Who knows what effect you are having on your students as they pass through? It would be nice if they came back and told you, but… Last fall I got to thinking about the two philosophy/history professors I had in college over twenty years ago. They were the only ones who noticed and cared when I started sinking in to depression and missing classes. They tried talking to me, but I was too miserable to hear them. The sad part was, their classes were my favorites. I ended up dropping out, but those two professors are the only two names I still remember. I almost wrote and thanked them last fall, but I didn’t (one is retired, the other still at the same college). Maybe I should.

    • You know, last week I did actually have a student from a few quarters back come and say that my class was his favorite, that I am his favorite prof of all time, and that our class got him through a difficult time with his marriage breaking up and so forth (and it hasn’t, though there’s still problems). It did become a moment that made it all seem “worth it,” despite the hardships and trouble and frustrations…and, I do live for those sorts of moments.

      So, I’d say: absolutely do write to your professors! It does mean the world to us, and is why we do what we do, ultimately, I think (or, at least most of us that still have souls, anyway…some, alas, do not).

  2. Oh – sorry if you think that fell under career advice. :-) feel free to delete it. I have had some divination turn out opposite, but was then informed that I had done something to alter the course of events (and/or piss of said god).

    • No, ’tis all right…will respond to the other one in a moment…

  3. Your type of experience is the kind that ultimately gave my religious belief a bullet to the shinbones. It’s still recovering. It will always limp. I’m still not sure what prayer does, if anything, but I still thank my ancestors and Santa Muerte every night, and have a new practice now of visiting the saguaro cactus in my back yard.

    • It’s hard not to feel that way, I think…

      These sorts of things are what all-too-often people refer to as “dark night experiences,” but those are entirely different; “having troubles in my life and no apparent help from my spiritual contacts” is not the same as a “dark night” (and I’ve had the latter many times as well, and it’s entirely different than this…).

      In any case, you know this well, I’m quite certain. ;)

  4. My practice and relationship with the gods is different from yours, so do with this what you will. For me, the task that I find the gods repeatedly putting before me is one of recognizing the need to participate and act and exercise my own will, which then paradoxically aligns me with a deeper connection to their will. So my practice is often one of self-examination and self-scrutiny.

    I pray more, but I also look at myself hard and question deeply what might have interfered with the desired result. Perhaps the gods got me really close but I failed to prepare myself well for the interview, or my will was too narrow. Perhaps it is a lesson in how I am looking in the wrong direction for what I want, or maybe this particular field is not right for me. (Speaking for myself, definitely not making this assumption about you — I once got shut out of no less than 10 grad schools and that helped me to come to grips with the reality that I really didn’t want that degree after all.)

    Another piece is, this might not be the last word on this situation. For my last job, I did not get hired after the first interview, but two or three weeks later they called and hired me. For the job I am at now, I turned down the first offer (heart-rendingly!) in spite of favorable divinations because the location was too far of a commute, and then a week later I was called and offered the job at the location I wanted.

    • Interesting, and thanks for sharing your own stories.

      The job in question doesn’t have any of the characteristics you mentioned, so the likelihood that anything at all will come from it is not entirely zero, but close enough to be nearly the same as zero.

      • After I left that post I realized that the practice I was meaning to get to with that last paragraph was the effort to hold the possibility that there is a huge chess game going on in which I can only see from the perspective of one of the pieces. Maybe the gods led me to take this action and told me it would get a particular result so that I would follow through, but the actual result was to set up my piece for a larger strategy. At any rate, I am sorry to hear you did not get the opportunity you wanted, and I hope you are blessed soon with the prosperity and recognition you deserve.

      • Thanks very much!

        Indeed, what chess the gods, ancestors, and others play with us is entirely unknown…or for that matter, what knucklebones, checkers, Snakes & Ladders, strip poker, Candyland, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time they play with us is entirely unknown, too! (But, hopefully more strip poker, and with attractive other contestants–!?!)

  5. “What if divination and oracles and the like from the gods on everyday-world matters say one thing, but then it turns out drastically (and sometimes disastrously) different–what do you do? How have you reacted? What in your spiritual practice gets you through it? And, have you found that doing what you’ve suggested does actually help?”

    I am late to the party again ;-) , aediculaantinoi, but I wanted to answer you because, yes, I have had divination seemingly not jive with reality. I started learning various divination methods at age ten, so I’ve had quite a few years to learn some of the quirks of divination. I’m not saying I’m an authority or anything. But I can share my experience on what gets me through. :-)

    Without knowing exactly what kind of divination you were doing or whether or not you asked the spirit of the divination itself or addressed a God or other spirit to give you an answer, it would be impossible to troubleshoot what happened this time. But I can tell you what I think happens in situations like yours, if I understand you correctly.

    Firstly, for me, it has become very important to know exactly who and what I am asking. So for example, one might “ask the runes” directly, or ask a particular God or Ancestor to answer a question via the divination method. In my experience, it makes a big difference who and how you ask. Even how the question was phrased can make a big difference.

    When the answer seems at variance with what actually happens, any number of things can be the cause. Sometimes, the divination is correct, but may not happen in the way it seems or when you expect. Sometimes the God or ancestor could not answer accurately within the limits of the divination. Sometimes my own anxiety skewed the answer or made me misunderstand the answer.

    About things like jobs and relationships, I never do divination about a specific job or person. That just makes me crazy! ;-) And my divination on such subjects are almost never reliable. My belief is that my own anxious energy affects the divination to make it inaccurate. Also, I find the “Wyrd,” for lack of a better word, is so very flexible that the outcome may not be accurately foreseen in a way we would like.

    (I know that answer flies in the face of the myth of Oedipus Rex. But maybe by thinking (in today’s culture) that we can actually “create our own destiny,” our consciousness now interfaces with reality in a different way than that of the ancients who often seemed like fatalists. I don’t know. Just a thought. ;-) )

    What works better for me is to ask the divination method what I need to do to get what I want or need — or even what the outcome will be if I do this or that.

    But the biggest thing I’ve learned is that often the divination is spot on, but I just cannot see it. Let’s say, for example, I ask if I will be able to go to this year’s Pantheacon. And I get a “yes” answer. Now, in my mind, what I really mean is “will I get some extra money to register, to stay at the Doubletree, and shop a the market for three days.” Then, let’s say I get no extra money at all. And then I get annoyed that the divination was wrong and just not go. However, upon reflection, the divination was literally true. I was ABLE to go. I had enough money drive to the hotel for one day, go to the market but not buy anything, see my friends, visit one of the hospitality suites and attend informal workshops, then drive back home the next day.

    So really it would have been better if I had asked a more detailed question. Do you see what I am getting at?

    Now, once I did a divination regarding a kind of relationship I thought I needed. Because I got an affirmative answer, I thought it would happen fairly soon, in a month or two. I did all the right things to meet someone. And I got the relationship, alright, but seven years later — I literally met the guy the very day after gave up on finding someone and announced I was moving to another city! The divination was entirely accurate. Things just took a really long time to happen!

    And I know one person who did a divination for a job like you did and, got a yes answer, then was shocked that he did not get the job! But then he did! A year later the position opened up again, and they called him first!

    My own personal belief is that time does not move the same way for the Gods and non-corporeal spirits as it does for us. Nor do those entities experience our reality in the same way. Perhaps that was a reason the Oracles at Delphi always seemed to give obscure and often incomprehensible answers.

    Sorry for the long answer. I hope this helps. I am sorry you did not get the job you hoped for. And perhaps this is not much consolation: but, for myself, I have learned that if I did not get a certain thing I asked the Gods for it is because they had something far better for me in mind. I have learned not to think inside the box I create for myself but to try to be open to other possibilities. Yep, a lot easier said than done. I’m not so good at it, either, but I try! ;-) And I am not trying to preach to you. Because I know exactly how hard it can be to not be making much money and really REALLY need a better situation. I will keep you in my prayers and ask for something wonderful for you to happen as soon as possible! :-)

    • Thank you for your thoughts! I don’t mind long comments like this…unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time to respond at the moment, but I may come back to some of what you’ve written in the next few days, depending on how things turn out. ;)


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