Of all the Gods I’ve tried to re-connect with, I feel like I am getting the cold shoulder from Athena. The feeling I get trying to reconnect with Her is much like the one I got trying to rebuild my relationship with my now-ex. I tried for years to make my dead relationship with him work, ignoring the obvious fact that whatever we had once had was long gone. Now, I get that same feeling, but from Athena. I’m recognizing it earlier now, and it’s not un-like a break-up. But this is far worse than the dissolution of a mortal relationship.
This is especially painful, as the relationship I used to have with Her was certainly the deepest, and the longest-running one, of any I had with my Gods. It’s true that I have changed a lot in the past few years, so much so that in many ways I am not the same person at all. I have been completely deconstructed and put back together in a different arrangement of pieces. But somehow I had hoped that Athena and I would pick up where we left off. But maybe that’s not possible, if I’ve been completely gutted of all the things that made me Hers. I used to be an idealist, and I’m quite cynical now. She is primarily a city-Goddess, and I no longer have any interest in staying in a city, although for the moment that is what I am forced to do, I am preparing to run away to the Missouri woods. She is a Goddess of the establishment, and I’ve spent the last few years on the fringes of society. This has mostly not by own choice, but homelessness, like mental illness, will shake the foundations of your world, throw everything you thought was true into doubt, and change you to your core. There is nothing to be done about that. I can’t be the person I was before.
I’m not ready to give up just yet. Maybe She’s offended that I basically abandoned Her? But then, I feel abandoned too. Maybe She just wasn’t meant to be my lifetime patroness. She was the one Who reached out to me from the pages of a mythology book when I was just seven years old, and Who eventually led me to Hellenic Paganism, so this line of thinking is very painful. I’ll continue to try to win Her favor back, with libations and prayers, but I can’t help feeling like it’s futile. My life is changing, I’M changing, and I’m getting the sense She doesn’t want anything to do with it.
What worries me more is that it’s because of certain things I did to survive when I was homeless, choices I made, which Hermes specifically recently told me were okay, ethical, and not something to worry about. Hermes has been the most powerful Presence in life lately, and it’s hard to not go with the One that is making Himself known, Who is making an effort to respond to my prayers and offerings. But being a polytheist, this is one of those times when certain activities that may not only be okay to one God, and even sacred to Them, is anathema to another. So by choosing to venture down this path with Hermes, I may very well be distancing myself further from Athena. In most cases I don’t think this is usually what happens in polytheist structures; the Gods are not all jealous creatures in the vein of Yahweh and the worship of one does not need to take away from another – in fact it usually doesn’t. But my intuition is telling me that it may very well be the case here. And that’s a hard thing to come to terms with.
It’s even harder when there is no one IRL that I can discuss this with, and try to muddle through it with. My brother tries to be understanding, but while being accepting of Paganism and even seeing the beauty of the myths, he doesn’t believe the Gods are real, literal Beings and so this conversation would make absolutely no sense to him.
And I just now realized that I’m writing this on Valentine’s Day. How’s that for fucking irony?