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Author Topic: Using a Story as a Template?  (Read 1714 times)

Snowdrop

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Using a Story as a Template?
« on: March 05, 2018, 09:54:08 pm »
Hi, TC!  Long time, no see!

I have a question(s) I need to ask that I'm struggling to put into words -- so I'm trying to be really clear here, and I hopefully it works.   :P

Short version:
1.  If my understanding of a Goddess has been mostly shaped by a story I came up with, is what I'm trying to interact with really that Goddess?  Or just some part of my own psyche? 
2.  The story I came up with seems to be making recommendations to me about what spiritual path I should pursue.  Is this an impulse I should listen to, or no? 

--

(Very) long version:

When I was 12, I had a mental breakdown (of unknown causes), and even after it became less acute, I suffered from almost a dissociative problem.  I did have memories of my life before my breakdown, but it was like the memories had happened to someone else.  The memories I was dissociated from weren't traumatic memories; they were happy memories. 

Periodically I would try to reconnect with my pre-breakdown life -- say, by rereading books I'd loved as a child, etc.  This almost always went badly.  This is really hard to explain, but when I'd try to "reconnect" there would be a palpable feeling of decay.  All the things I'd once loved became horrible and powerfully dead when I tried to relive them.  Often I would have nightmares about whatever it was I was trying to reconnect with. 

About five years ago, I was at probably the worst point in my life.  I kept trying to "reconnect," and kept having disturbing experiences.  I had the worst nightmares I've ever had and when I was awake, I felt extremely empty.  During that time, I started writing a long fanfic based on one of my childhood fandoms.  It was originally meant just for entertainment, but as the story grew and grew, it started to have more personal meaning for me. 

On one level, the story became a psychodrama that helped me work through my personal issues.  My life began to improve tremendously, and about two years after I started writing it, I woke up one morning and found that the dissociative symptoms I'd had since I was 12 had vanished.  This is hard to describe because it's a completely subjective experience, but there was a deep level change in my experience of the world.  This was about 3 years ago, and I haven't had a recurrence of my old symptoms since. 

But on another level, the story went beyond psychology and began to acquire what I would consider to be a religious dimension.  This story has become the thing I always come back to when I need comfort, or strength, or guidance.  I've developed honestly a kind of reverence towards the things that remind me of it. 

About a month before I started writing, I became interested in Kore.  I researched Her a little -- but it wasn't really anything serious.  After a couple of months of writing the story, I started to notice that a character ("P") was becoming unintentionally Kore-like.  I also started to have these "images" of P. in contexts that had nothing to do with the text of the story and which seemed like divine iconography.  For instance I "saw" her with rams' horns, standing in a forest surrounded by wild animals.*  ("Saw" in quotation marks because this wasn't a literal vision, just a persistent image that I couldn't get out of my head.)  A sense of this intense and terrible beauty and longing began to attach to this character. 

Since I noticed that connection, I became more interested in Kore as a Goddess.  But here's where I'm flummoxed.  The character of P. is what really led me to Kore.  But is it respectful or disrespectful to approach Her from that angle?  If I use imagery that originates with P., not with the historical Kore, in my approach to Her, am I engaging in a kind of deflected narcissism where I worship my own creation?  Is there actually anything here to do with the real Kore at all, or am I just putting some weird part of my own psyche in iconographic wrapping and calling it a Goddess?  On the other hand, if I try to approach Her without reference to anything to do with P., am I dishonestly ignoring my true motives?  I have been struggling with this question for several years, and I'm still none the wiser. 

And then there's another issue.  There's also a character in the story ("T") who I eventually realized represents me.  T's character goes through a lot of weird transformations that I didn't intend, and one is that he ends up becoming a witch.  He specializes in a type of magic that I know very little about. (Mirror magic.)  Before this story, I'd occasionally ponder religious witchcraft, but my interest was never serious. 

Now I keep feeling like in a sense I'm being called to pursue it.  But even saying that also makes me feel like I'm losing my mind a little.  Is it reasonable to pursue something because my avatar in my story does?  Or is that a bad idea?  I've been feeling drawn to investigate witchcraft more for some time because of this, but I'm also paralyzed by the fact that I feel like my motivation is really weird. 

Basically, I'm torn between an intuitive sense that I should trust my story, since it's come through for me before, and pursue these things -- and a more skeptical sense that all of this is kind of deluded. 



* Maybe not a lot of connection between this image and Eleusinian Kore, but I do see a similarity to Arcadian Kore. 

Darkhawk

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Re: Using a Story as a Template?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2018, 10:47:41 pm »
1.  If my understanding of a Goddess has been mostly shaped by a story I came up with, is what I'm trying to interact with really that Goddess?  Or just some part of my own psyche? 

Yes.  No.  It doesn't actually matter.

Quote
2.  The story I came up with seems to be making recommendations to me about what spiritual path I should pursue.  Is this an impulse I should listen to, or no? 

I'd suggest you stop shoulding on yourself, it's probably not good for you. ;)

Here's a thing:  human beings are creatures of narrative.  "Story" is the elemental experience of the spirit, the quintessence of being.  Our entire process of making sense of the world is through the stories we tell ourselves, it not only defines how we experience our subjective experience, but what facts we are willing to listen to.  (There's science on this somewhere.)

Do the gods tell us stories?

How else would we get to know them?

Tell the stories of your gods; sing, o Muse, isn't that how things begin?  Tell the old stories, yes, but tell the new ones, too.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Failivrin

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Re: Using a Story as a Template?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2019, 05:02:04 pm »

Is it reasonable to pursue something because my avatar in my story does?  Or is that a bad idea?  I've been feeling drawn to investigate witchcraft more for some time because of this, but I'm also paralyzed by the fact that I feel like my motivation is really weird.
My Pagan journey really began when I started researching tarot for a character I was writing. I discovered that none of the nonsense and stigmas attached to it were true: I loved reading tarot, and I went on to pursue greater knowledge.
Recently, I wrote a new mythology for the Goddess Asherah in my book, Gods of the Flesh. It was based on a combination of biblical archaeology, Pagan scholarship, and a heavy dose of my own intuition. It's not worth questioning whether art like this is authentic: Myth-making in the ancient world was an ever-evolving process. In the modern day, many myths have been destroyed or damaged beyond recognition, and it falls to us to create anew. Given the seriousness of the emotions you expressed, I don't doubt that Kore is guiding your story. Keep up your good work, and let her keep it with you.

EclecticWheel

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Re: Using a Story as a Template?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2019, 12:42:34 am »
Hi, TC!  Long time, no see!

I have a question(s) I need to ask that I'm struggling to put into words -- so I'm trying to be really clear here, and I hopefully it works.   :P

Short version:
1.  If my understanding of a Goddess has been mostly shaped by a story I came up with, is what I'm trying to interact with really that Goddess?  Or just some part of my own psyche

I am also struggling with what words to use to convey my insight, but I'll give it a try.

Within the framework that deities have a numinous character, as I believe in some sense they do, what you are interacting with is both your psyche and the goddess.

Take a relationship with another human as an example.  When you interact with that human you interact with an external source.  But you also interact with your own mind in that very same exchange.

Internal experience is never objective.  When you interact with and experience another person you are necessarily interacting with your narratives of who that person is and what they mean to you.

That person becomes a part of your narratives and subjective experience.  They become a part of your own mind -- a part of you!  This is especially apparent in close relationships.  The boundary between self and other becomes porous.

The same reasoning may apply to deities.  By that reasoning you are experiencing a goddess via your mind, narratives, and subjective experience.  This subjective element and the goddess herself are inextricably intertwined in your experience.

The two are "not two."

Go with it.
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

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