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On Trials and Transformations

I was talking to a friend about his current trial he’s going through with Coyote and he suggested other totems (such as mine, Crow) may be gentler. I said, "All totems can be complete and utter dicks if they don’t like what you’re doing. I’m pretty sure even rabbit can be a dick. It’s more a shamanic trial/rite thing verses an individual totem thing.  What they take from you will differ, however, and what they want you to learn will differ. The point is to communicate in a way you understand and if it appears you don’t understand, they’ll hit you harder and harder until either:
a) You change
b) They get bored and wander off
c) They kill you"

And then I thought, whoa! That’s some godslave kind of talk. I suppose, first off, the (c) part should be caveated with, if you don’t do something with perhaps other deities to stop your would-be assassins.

I've talked about god-slavehood before but I think I was mistaken for having no self esteem because I think the gods don't care enough about me specifically to make dramatic forceful efforts into my life. What I was trying to convey was that I am realistic about my place in the universe. I may or may not write some books. I go to work. I love a lot of people. I try to be a good person. I don’t really feel I have an earthshattering impact on this world. I also think like 90% of the populous is like that too.  I’m not really downing myself, I just don’t think many of us are all that special though I love you just the same.

My gods could totes kill me but . . .why? I mean, if I’m not picking up what they’re putting down and/or resisting, killing me is going to do . . .what? It’s not like I’m a demon or doing evil. I’m pretty sure if I had a DESTINY I’d know by now and so far, not so much. Killing a worker bee to prove a point seems pretty silly . . .and not a trait I’d want a god I’m in a worship/parental/love/devotee/whatever relationship to have in my own personal practice.

So, I’ve been thinking about those conflicting ideas and what all that means. Part of it is about faith and part of it is about proof, imo. I’m not going to lie, when Crow gave me my last trial that I now lovingly call, It’s Time to Grow Up, No Crying, my first thought wasn’t omg! This is a trial! This is what’s happening! It took a few weeks to sink in. But as Heather Nova sings, Security is the whore in me/ she never lets me fly, that was my theme song for most of my twenties.  Needless to say when Crow essentially stated through (apparent to me) action, “I’ma going to take away everything that’s made you feel secure, what?” I knew how this would work.

I mean, my ex-husband (who was a big source of my security, we had spent our whole “grown up” life together) walked out on me with no real warning.   He left me to flounder for food and rent as he overdrew our bank account by a ridiculous amount, my healthcare was going to get cut off, my car died and then by the time it got broken into (with Christmas presents stolen), I was like oh shit. I know what’s happening.

And I was mad, man! I was super mad! I didn’t want all my stuff taken away from me! I didn’t want to have to borrow money from the Bank of M&M (mom and my sis), I didn’t want to be a zombie for several months, I didn’t want to feel like my heart had been broken in a million pieces. I really didn’t want to be completely self sufficient to be honest because I hadn’t been my whole adult life. I was mad enough that I wouldn’t speak to Crow for a couple months.

While I was not speaking to Crow, I also knew from experience with other transitions in my life that were deity based that the best thing to do is go limp like a toddler and  stop struggling.  I did what I was told and started working on being a grown up hardcore because I didn’t want to see what the next party trick was. This is where faith comes in. I had to believe that becoming an actual grown up was in my best interest, that’s why my deities took shit away from me, just like parents take away naughty teenagers' car keys and iPhones.

And it was in my best interest, in about six months my life got much better and years later I'm such a different person I don't even recognize my old self anymore when going through old blog entries. I’m self sufficient, started my own business, I'm in charge of my own health care, a homeowner, married to someone who treats me as an equal partner, I pay my own bills, I have a stronger spirituality, stronger relationships all around, have had things published, and just finished writing my first book. I am got a decent sense of self, learned to love my body and stop being mean to it as well as cultivating a feeling of gratefulness and thankfulness for what I have. I've worked on fixing some things that weren’t good about me.

But bad things stopped happening to me when I stopped saying LALALALALALALALALA!!!!!!! I’M GOING TO KEEP DOING STUPID STUFF!!!! When I stopped doing stupid stuff, there were cookies. I guess at the end of the day, that’s what defines a non-godslave relationship to me. If your parents are mad at you for flunking algebra and take your car keys and iPhone so you get your act together and get an A and their reply is to smack you in the mouth, that’s abuse. Because, wtf? That reaction makes no sense, you did what they asked, not failing algebra was in your best interest according to your parents and you want to go to college and all so why would you get punched in the mouth for that? And no, your parents aren’t always going to buy you a car for a good job, sometimes it’s just a pat on the head and a good job, sport but it shouldn’t be a smack in the mouth either.

Quid quo pro, Clarice. If I am doing what you asked of me, I expect something to get better, especially if I’m trying with all my heart. As we say in my grove, I have a bottom feeder relationship with my gods. I don’t expect things to be good all the time, but if I’m working my hardest and praying my hardest, I need something whether it’s surprise pizza dinner party or a change in perspective. I can’t get crapped on forever and just take it. It may not happen tomorrow, or next week or next month, but if you're going through a trial, it should be something that you can see progressing or you need to get out. 

It’s not an equal relationship in most cases. Many of your relationships with other humans aren't equal either.  We generally need help from S/someone(s) more powerful than us to get anywhere in life.  Sometimes, that requires making uncomfortable changes to get anywhere.  At the same time, don’t let Them make you Their bitch.  Like most relationships, if it's not working and it's not a rough patch but something unfixable, then you need to end things. 

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Deborah Castellano is featured in the 2015 Llewellyn Herbal Almanac. She is a frequent contributor to Occult/Pagan sources such as Witchvox, PaganSquare and Witches&Pagans magazine.

Deborah's book, The Arte of Glamour is available for purchase on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid and The Crow (www.mermaidandcrow.com) specializes in Hand-spun hand-dyed yarn in luxe fibers, euphorically scented mason jar beeswax candles, tempting small batch ritual oils, Dream Ambassadors (tiny sheep to help you sleep!), lofty unique nuno felted scarves, airy hand painted silk chiffon scarves and more.

Her Craft shop, The Glamoury Apothecary (www.etsy.com/shop/glamouryapothecary) specializes in handcrafted Occult and Magical items such as gods and goddesses vigil candles, loose incense and hand rolled chime candles.

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