In my other blog, I detailed the story of how I came to be a godspouse but that’s kind of the tip of the iceberg to pretty much the entirety of my spiritual path. In this blog post, I hope to take the definition a step further and relay the meaning of godspousery in today’s wider pagan community and why it matters moving forward.
In the past
Godspousery is not a new phenomenon. It is several centuries old, in fact. Freyr was noted to take mortal wives. In Voudon tradition, the Iwa are known to be married to humans.
It even takes the more notable form like St. Teresa de Avila who speaks of her divine ecstasy in her many poems. She established waves in Christian mysticism during which she established meditative practices. Her prayers were often very intimate in nature sounding something like:
“I saw in (the angel’s) hands a long golden spear, and at the point of the iron there seemed to be a little fire. This I thought that he thrust several times into my heart, and that it penetrated to my entrails. When he drew out the spear he seemed to be drawing them with it, leaving me all on fire with a wondrous love for God. The pain was so great that it caused me to utter several moans; and yet so exceeding sweet is this greatest of pains that it is impossible to desire to be rid of it, or for the soul to be content with less than God.”
This happens to be a perfectly apt description of the emotions entailed of being within and without the Divine in such a way which is both pleasure and sorrow.
One of my heroes who I learned about during my time as a music performance major was Hildegard of Bingen who wrote what my professor (who also wrote her dissertation on as I excitedly found out later) lovingly referred to as “sexy nun music” during which the nuns would sing double entendres about their love for Jesus and put on passion plays about Christ. My main woman Hildy was also known for her prophetic visions and her connectedness to her God in such a way she made such strong waves in the Catholic Church of the time (I’m talking around the 1000s here) that she was shut down! Imagine that! A nun with such a connection to her divinity that she would then threaten the patriarchal rulership in such a way that she would have her nunnery shut down!
You can see why I am so in love with this iconic figure in Christian theological and musical history.
In the Present
Godspousery is widely contested amongst the pagan community for those who are aware of its existence. Most notably, Loki spouses get a bad wrap because of the whole Marvel phenomenon and due to a couple bad apples in the past decade or so, it gave Godspousery a bad name.
I imagine some Spouse or pagan walked into the nightmare that was the 2012 Tumblr fangirl blogosphere and started sharing about how they’ve married Loki and then boom! Suddenly everyone is married to Loki because that’s just how 2012 Tumblr was and we really must let that go.
Though I have little room for judgement to people, I think that reputation has followed us around despite the fact that those people who have claimed to be his spouse at that time have mostly fallen by the wayside and are now onto other things. There are, of course, people who are in it to exacerbate their ego or one-up their friends. I’d like to make it a general rule that these are kids but even I have met other pagans under the age of 20 who have a more mature view of relationships and Spousery than those people. So really, it all is clambered into the fighting egos which will last perhaps a year if I’m being generous and then the deity in question that that person claims to be married to, or perhaps even that person who claims to be married will collapse in some way, shape, or form. When the sock puppet or imposter spirit gets bored or irritated, that’s usually when it ends.
However, I don’t need to defend godspousery to people who are already set in their judgements, my main purpose here is to educate.
For me, personally, it was sold to me by Loki as a way of also being his priestess. It was under my understanding that this isn’t all that uncommon for priests and priestesses to also be married to the deity they serve and are also so intimately involved and knowledgeable of that deity, it’s essentially within their core being.
I have found this to be entirely true for me but it isn’t always the case. Others I know have made no attempts to approach the devotional work arena and are perfectly content just being a partner to a deity. The deity wants what the deity wants.
Though I do not entirely know the motives of the gods and would never claim to, my interpretations of what has occurred in my own life and in the lives of others wind down to pondering why we even have relationships with gods in the first place?
Companionship is great and all, and of course I am forever grateful to have Loki at my side in all the ways He intends to be, but even human relationships have deeper meaning than simple companionship.
It is of my belief that, similar to humans and our need for community and belonging, the gods need us as much as we need them. Though I think They carried on their existence in the drought of worship between pre christian times and the recent resurgence of polytheism and didn’t altogether disappear, I think our belief has made them that much more powerful in the world.
They needed the doers, per se, the people who structured polytheism back from the dead and now that we’re here, now what?
To the Future
Which brings me to my next point.
Who are the doers?
They are the authors, the clergy, the storytellers, the artists, the foundations of today’s polytheistic practices that paved the way to create what we have now. But that isn’t the end of the story.
Just as nuns are historically involved with activism, just as priests have historically been married or devoted to their god in some way, shape or form, godspouses have an intimate connection to their divine partner that few tend to have (and I don’t mean just us, of course, I do mean the sons and daughters and parents of divinity, as well). It is through our familial ties that we are capable of bringing them here through our worship and our personal activism, whether it be through blogging, leading ritual, counseling, healing, what have you.
The intimacy of the divine and Their human partner is foundational for creating Them and Their purposes here in Midgard.
So, what am I saying?
I’m going to start with what I’m not saying because I feel as though I will get a resurgence of feedback from people who may feel not included or perhaps this doesn’t resonate with another’s experience of their marriage.
I am not saying that this has to be everyone’s experience. Of course there will be laity, people who are casually part of the faith, and if a god has never spoken to you, even if you’re wed to Them, about being anything more than just a Spouse, then that’s not my place to judge and certainly not my place to speak. That’s Their place.
However, there is a lot to be done in the pagan community to keep it moving forward rather than stuck on what little evidence we have from the past and godspousing is just another facet to the bigger picture of how mystics transform a religion.
It is certainly us crazy-looking people who speak about our conversations with our Divine partners, who risk sanity to travel to meet them, who cut time out of our lives to make it to community functions and to help people who meander and empower them to also be a functioning human being and member of the community who want to be here, building the foundations.
It isn’t supposed to be fun
For me, it’s about love. And it’s not just any kind of love, but an aching passionate, all-consuming love that leaves me feeling barren whenever it parts. It keeps me awake at night worrying about where this love will take me because my life is no longer mine anymore.
No one wants to talk about the lack of fun it is to love something you cannot touch or see or be around constantly. You can even see in Greek tragedies, the love between divinity and their mortals and how it is, indeed, tragic. I know I will likely never be able to engage with the divine in the way my human desires need to and it’s almost like I constantly do things in order to bring Him here, also fully knowing it’ll never be exactly what I think it is. The ache is the only thing that keeps me moving forward, knowing it’ll never be quelled.
No one wants to talk about how devastating it is, not just for myself but for the God on the other side who wants the same sort of connection. Or what about the weeks where it’s a never-ending game of phone tag and you’re prone to giving up? What about when you shut down completely because your mental illness makes you think and feel things that holds no basis in the reality of the cause?
Or how about the shreds or normalcy that seem to fall by the wayside the moment you answer the call? You’re lucky if you find a community who knows how to support you answering it let alone one that even know what it means to be called.
Of course, then you have your outside (muggle) friends who don’t really get why certain days of the week are blocked off for practice. Or maybe, you don’t really know what to talk about with them anymore outside of television shows and pop culture that you have little spoons for anything but your full time job and this Work and of course I can set aside the Work for a certain amount of time, but it always creeps back in, caring not for the time or place.
I march on, regardless, because like many of my peers who are on similar paths, I am stubborn and willing to do whatever it takes once I find something I love. The balance is difficult and necessary. But I think it’s incredibly, intimately, and terribly important that I keep on keeping on.
It’s a lonely, winding path, my friends.
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