I’ve done a few posts talking about my practices that I have started forming. Now some of you may feel that now that I’ve changed your life, and so you want to know about the revolutionary new Tegoslougos making waves in the Gaulish Polytheist world. Its mastermind: a trailblazer, a genius, a maverick. Okay… So no one has ever said anything like that about me. However, this being a blog, and I, the author, I would think that it’s pertinent to give some background on myself.
For starters, I came from a secular family in Ohio. Like many Americans, somewhat disconnected from their heritage, and given into the culture of individualism that was instilled in us from birth. To speak of the vices or virtues of that is beyond the scope of my interest here. (Though there are certainly both.) My foray into Paganism, like many others started with digestible Llewellyn books leading me into thinking I was Wiccan. I wasn’t. By anyone’s definition, no matter how encompassing.
Then came my finding of Polytheism. Trying to find my way was, and is still at times, rather difficult. After all, it is much more than religion that is involved. It is also the embrace of a culture, in some form or another. That both are involved has, since I’ve become committed to Polytheism, given me a heavy weight. A great fear of getting things wrong. This has followed me in every decision I have made in regards to it.
From Brythonic Polytheism, to Gaulish Polytheism, Anglo-Saxon Heathenship, to feeling utterly lost, and to find my way back. However, the struggle of individualism and collectivism is a part of that, along with the heavy weights of of trying to understand culture with no real bearing. In these cases, it made sense to listen to better, more capable minds on these matters. I am fully aware that there are much better and brighter minds than my own. Tempered with years more in both experience in Polytheism, and life.
However, when I looked at many of them, they too went through similar things. I had been charged with needlessly “reinventing myself”, or in other cases “flying by night”. I had received advice to “stay in my lane”, and basically what I should practice, and they all came from people smarter than me. So, I figured that they must be right. Sometimes I still wonder if they are.
If all of this sounds heavier than I usually get, it is because these stories aren’t always pretty. It isn’t to be a “downer” or to be self deprecating. It is to convey the point that sometimes these transformations come out of things other than great inspiration. Sometimes they come from a place of fear, anxiety, insecurity, and vulnerability. To be honest, that had always been the case for me.
It was those things that had made decisions for me. Especially in regards to practice. Those changes often came at times I felt the most vulnerable, least secure. Never have such changes been comfortable or easy for me. My online presence took a more organized form once I had adopted Heathenship, I do not regret my time spent in it because I met some really good people. So, doubtlessly some reading this remember that I was Heathen.
The fear and vulnerability with which I went into it is not a reflection of Heathendom itself in any way. After a stressful marriage, and the realization that divorce was the only option left me searching for structure that I hadn’t found before. It wasn’t that Gaulish Polytheism didn’t have it, or that great works weren’t being done, but that I wasn’t capable of looking for it. I went from a very experiential approach to a far stricter one. People who told me that the Gods didn’t have interest in people. Save for large groups of them. Their groups, of course. Always.
I remembered going into trances and feeling in some way the presence of Taranis to trying to fit the ball into a square peg of a smaller size. Foolishly I thought that as I was better off in a religion that prized English, that the Gods should have Old English names. It wasn’t meant to be an act of hubris, but of a transition that I was told that I basically should make. That maybe Taranis was Thunor, and that it wasn’t up to me anyway. That I was wrong to see this God of Thunder as Gaulish, because at that time, I’d never be able to afford the materials to learn the Gaulish language. So, I’d never be a “good” Gaulish Polytheist.
Not that it mattered, I figured, if the Gods don’t care, then they don’t care what I call them. They weren’t listening anyway, and my experiences were just my imagination. So, I learned how to be Heathen, and I learned much that I still carry with me. However, I seemed to have lost touch with how to commune with the Gods. Learning better ritual formats helped a lot, and there is much truth in proper worship methodology being of utmost importance. Again, it isn’t that both communities didn’t already have that, just what I was able to find. Or what appeared when I was receptive to that lesson. I already knew how to do rituals, but I hadn’t yet understood why proper ritual was important.
Of course, things changed, and influences in Heathendom changed. Better voices asserted themselves, and I underwent the process of unlearning. That the Gods were and are, in fact, reachable even to one lowly person. That experiences are okay, and that proper ritual helped build a rapport and guide one closer to the Gods and to piety.
However, with that knowledge, and the unlearning of other knowledge, I had begun to question whether or not I made the right choice after all. I had been involved im some small projects, yet folks didn’t seem to think that I fit in with those projects. At first, it saddened me, but I thought that maybe there was a reason I didn’t quite seem to belong. Though no one ever tried to make me feel unwelcome (in fact, they were awesome), I still felt like I didn’t fit in. I thought that by embracing obvious ties in my own culture and ancestry (a standard that I never held anyone but myself to, as you do not have to have ancestral ties to practice properly), as well as the language thereof, that I’d feel at home.
Yet time and time again, I wondered at my choices. I fell out completely. I slumped into a depression, my practice went into a stasis. I wondered if I was really a Polytheist, or could ever be a good Pagan. So many voices told people what they needed to do, who was worthy, and who was right and wrong.
At this nadir, I looked back to my days as a Gaulish Polytheist. Though I wasn’t that good at it, I felt more complete then. I had started to learn much of how to be a Polytheist, and I wondered if perhaps I gave up too soon. After all, the community was and is, like many other Pagan stripes, uplifting and supportive when one is earnest. That it had not failed me, but I failed it.
In my search for answers, a friend taught me fire scrying. I had long given up divination, and outside of structured rites had no communion with the Gods. A part of life that I had so dearly missed. I thought at that point that I had nothing to lose, so I tried it. That familiar presence was felt again, the first time in so long. I couldn’t hide any longer, was the implication. The presence was disappointed in me, but not unwilling to give me a chance. That presence was the same that spoke His name so very clearly. Taranis.
Around that time, I happened across the Toutâ Galation, I also looked at Dun Brython, because Brythonic influence always rounded out my Gaulish practice, and both were present for a long time. Though Gaulish practice dominated in the end both last time, and this time. I went through the Toutâ Galation program. Everything came back like it never left me. I earned the Cobrûnos rank, and I took a new name. I came home. I ripped up my old blog, and this is the result.
My household took a new name as well. The old and new merged, and I have emerged more complete. With both the love of my life, and a slowly re-emerging relationship with the Dêwoi as They truly are to me, I can only hope that this is a story that continues to unfold for a long long time to come.