So, apparently Star Foster is saying complete twitish things again. Feeling oddly compelled to maybe give her the benefit of the doubt, I read her actual piece –cos as much as I dislike that woman, there are others who not only dislike her, but seem to go out of their way to twist and misinterpret what she actually says, and as Andre Gide said “It is better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you are not.” I’m not going to find fault with her based solely on what some-one else had said, but only on the things that she herself says –after all, it is my way, and she says plenty enough on her own, I don’t need to reinforce the wrong-headed ideas of others.
You know, the sad thing is, there is an extent to which I would be inclined to agree with Foster, but it’s about as far as I can throw that idea —and even as a “mental athlete”, the idea that worshipping Aphrodite (or other gods) will bring nothing but headache, while worshipping Hestia will breed contentedness is an impeccably heavy notion to put in my hands. I think it’s a fine idea to tell nubs, “hey, you probably want to think very carefully before getting on the path of the Maenead; even if you believe with your soul that’s what Dionysos wants, you can still tell Him ‘no’, if you’d rather not deal with that kind of life,” or “we all give Aphrodite Her due share, but there are likely to be consequences to devoting your life to Her.” The thread of that in Foster’s post isn’t at all a bad thing, because it’s true: There are certain devotional paths that may have consequences one doesn’t always anticipate, and that can honestly be said of any deity. That said, that very notion in her piece is little more than a thread of a good idea alone in a tapestry of bullshit.
The examples she uses demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding the gods she speaks of. Sure, Zeus may seem “tame” when compared to Eris (there are very few deities Who don’t seem tame, when compared to Eris; and yes, I firmly believe that Eros is one of those few), but as a storm God, a god of politics, and possibly the loosest fly in the narrative mythos, Zeus is not a boring, square deity —I have a minimal relationship with Zeus; I offer watered wine in His due time of the month1, I give to His household aspect, I praise Him after a much-needed rain, and if I’ve got nothing better to do, I might recite one of His hymns for Him on a Thursday, but even I understand that the notion of Zeus as “tame” is pretty laughable. As the goddess who assigned the labours to Herakles, and the only one who can become so consumed by emotional turmoil it can make Her pregnant, Hera herself is not necessarily the domestic house-frau that Foster alludes to in her post, but a truly powerful, like so powerful there are literally times she’s scared a little piss out of me, Queen of the Gods, Whose sacred animal is the totally not-flamboyant peacock –no, not peafowl in general, she has no use for the peahen, but the hundreds of iridescent blue discs on the tail of the male of the species that are Her all-seeing eyes.
And for some-one who has decided to go all “rah rah! Hellenismos!” after she split from
Alexandrian Ravenwood Wicca (I gotta admit, I have wondered exactly what the details of that were; I’ve known so few people who split from Traditional Wicca within weeks of First Degree Initiation and deleting the real first post she made about that initiation, that it seems a tad anomalous), she’s making no distinction between the worship of deep devotion from people who’ve dedicated a part of, or even their entire lives to the service of a single or small collective of deities, and the worship that gives each deity Their due —the latter being kind of a major thing in traditional Hellenism. Hell, even I’m not as good about the latter as I’d like to be, and one could argue that such is the price of being a devotee, but I at least understand the concept well enough to recognise that, yeah, I could do better, and I’m sure I talk about it just enough. Hell if I know —it’s you three or four people who’re reading this shit, not me, you can use the search function if you don’t know this blog better than I do.
Then we get to what her other critic addresses: The tendency for her post to read as victim-blaming.
Here’s a news flash: Sometimes, the path of a devotee brings with it unintended consequences that we might not be happy about; and that’s true of worshipping any deity. A woman may choose to devote herself to Hestia for a short term, hoping it could bring her some stability, and before she knows it, she’s married to a stable man she likes a lot but doesn’t exactly love, and she’s got two kids she never intended to have, and her life is so formulaic and dull it is making her crazy. Seriously, don’t just blame the crazy gods for making people crazy –those are the real victims here. 😉
In all gravity: Sure, sometimes your crazy life might be linked to the unanticipated consequences of devoting oneself to a particular deity. But sometimes, it’s related to something else you did, and keep doing (like how Star Foster seems to be the sole common denominator in all her drama, and an overwhelming majority of it seems directly related to things she says and does, no matter how much she insists she “never wanted this”). And then there are other times where it’s out of your control: Someone dealing with PTSD from a war they fought in, OK, depending on the country they were fighting for, you might be able to say “well, if you didn’t enlist…” and maybe they enlisted out of devotion to Ares, and you’d be a complete jackass, but you’d still be using some kind of logic behind it (cos seriously, Tumblrgers, logic isn’t necessarily nice, it’s what makes sense when put together); but some-one who has PTSD from child abuse didn’t do anything but pop out of their mother (not all of us came out of our mum’s vag — caesarian births, unite!) and into the wrong family (even adopted kids get abused, yo). Hundreds of women walk down the streets in tight-fitting or skimpy clothing, even all by themselves, each and every day, and maybe only dozens get raped —out of the hundreds of women who are raped every day, many of whom were wearing baggy jeans and bulky sweaters. Clearly what one does can’t guarantee what may happen to them and that’s just as true of devoting a part of, or all of one’s life to a specific deity as it’s true of whatever mental problems one is dealing with or whether or not one was able to walk down the streets, or go on a date, safely.
Sometimes what happens to us can be anticipated, but other times, no, it can’t, and when those unanticipated things happen, there may be just as many times where it wasn’t your fault. Furthermore, in devotion, the consequences don’t always make themselves apparent until one is already knees-deep in it. I’ve totally been there, and I don’t know a single devotee of any deity who can say that they anticipated every consequence right away, but that the consequences made themselves apparent over time, and yeah, most people welcomed these consequences, and those who did not found a way out of that direction the devotion was taking them, cos it’s not for everyone, and I’d actually say that most people shouldn’t tread a deeply devotional path, because of the consequences, and would probably be happy with a more traditional (to Hellenismos) patronage, which is related to one’s stage of life or profession.
All things considered, I have to say something about something Das Heirdha said:
To me the article screams less of victim blaming (sorry Wolf) and reads more of people who cannot take responsibility for their own actions when necessary. It speaks of people who choose to cast the blame on other things instead of bucking up and taking responsibility when their actions caused the problems.
Seriously now, let’s take into consideration just WHO is telling us that our problems might be because of the gods we worship? Star Foster, whose time as a Patheos Pagan Portal editor was highlighted by the drama caauldron she could stir as much as it was (if not moreso) by the fact that her biggest contribution was some savvy social networking more than insightful blogging. I and others have noted for quite some time now (internally linked to a page full of external links for the sake of brevity) that this woman is a well-established drama queen and attention whore, who has a long-established history of seeming to thrive on the turmoil she herself can cause, and establishing a pattern of throwing up her hands, after the shit hits the fan, and making some grandiose claim about how she “never wanted [x]”, only to pull the same shit a few months, weeks, or even days later? In all seriousness, folks, consider the source: A mooch who has milked the community for a new computer, moving expenses, and then an attempt at a full-time salary, an unrepentant drama-monger and gratuitous attention-seeker who has proven, time and time again, that she can’t accept responsibility for the fact that she’s the one bringing all this supposedly “unwanted” drama into her life, a former-Trad Wiccan who just mysteriously left her coven and casually stopped calling herself a Wiccan within about eight weeks of the first-degree initiation that she apparently trained well over two years for, and not to mention a misappropriative twit who’d rather aim for “truthiness” in her writing than data-bound and/or empirical facts. This is not some one who deserves to be taken seriously, at all, let alone about what may or may not be the source of all the turmoil in your life! She’s clearly caused plenty of turmoil in her own life, and still apparently refuses to acknowledge the part she’s played in it; I’d be willing to give her the benefit of the doubt if she hadn’t spent literally YEARS on Patheos and elsewhere in the pagan blogosphere establishing a pattern of bad behaviour that has a sole source in herself.
Yeah, sometimes the shit that happens to you isn’t your fault, and it’s not the fault of your gods, either (the Moirai, on the other hand…). And then there are times when YOU are the problem —this truism seems especially so when your name is Star Foster.
A thread of a good idea doesn’t outweigh the tapestry of bullshit it’s been woven into. There are certainly better ways to put across that one good idea than Star Foster did.
1: Am I the only one who giggles at the notion that, in Hellenismos, yes, male deities have a “time of the month”? 😀