Here’s a little thing I didn’t plan to do, but I think it’s very important we support the work of other folks who do the work of the Gods. So I’m already putting aside my “no linking to others” to do a little ebook review. (Though this will probably be more of a “personal tangent” than a review….) (Did I do this instead of completing the prayer I was supposed to finish? Oops.)
Poseidon of the Ponds caught my attention since I’m also working on a “liturgical calendar” for myself and my Gods. This small eBook is the second part of a series where the author, Jolene Dawe, a 20-year dedicant of Poseidon talks about the development process of her personal celebrations. As she explains, this isn’t a “how-to manual”, but is rather more a memoir that gives a glimpse into her personal practice and is origins.
With polytheists, it seems, no two practices are identical. I would argue it’s because most(?) of us are trying to develop a “relationship” with the Gods. There is a lot of tailoring that needs to be done for individual daily devotion, because while the basic methods are generally the same (“functional polytheism”?) the specific words, acts, and “aesthetic” are often unique. Even if someone is using words that another person wrote, those words are selected for a personal reason – because they are the best for representing symbolically what the ritual means to the devotee.
One excellent point Dawe brings up, which is something near and dear to me, is the act of being seen. I have a weird struggle with being observed in relation to Pagan/Polytheist matters, a lingering fear of being seen as “crazy” or “stupid”. This would come as a surprise to folks who know me IRL, because I’m not someone who generally gives a Damn for other people’s blockhead opinions (to the extent I’m pretty oblivious to them even looking). The solution to this fear is always get out there and do it anyway, and to do it like you mean it, but I bet it’s a struggle a lot of us have. Personally, some this is linked to group-dynamic, and the implication that because we are a minority religion we are not “valid”. You don’t look crazy if everybody else is doing it too. Just something to think about.
Another personal tidbit I enjoyed is that the Poseidon of the Ponds ritual looks an awful lot like the basic animistic rituals I used to do “on-the-fly” when I lived in the woods instead of the city. At the time I was frustrated with the sort of “aimlessness” of my practice, but on the flip side, I felt so much healthier and more connected to the vaettir and the land. I lost a lot of this when I moved to a place I could no longer just open my door into nature, and it’s hurt me in ways I never thought would be so deep. The ebook talks about the author’s sense of disconnect from Poseidon when she moved to an area where there was less water and summer drought. How do you feel the presence of a water god when there is no water? It’s definitely something I relate to – and Dawe’s resulting ritual reveals a wonderful truth concerning location and our Gods.
(Without going into detail, I’m actually working on making major life-changes right now, because this is such an important aspect of who I am. I hope to say Goodbye City, Hello Forest sometime soon. Eventually.)
I too struggled to follow another tradition’s calendar, though I do follow the general Wheel of the Year. There are always Gods I don’t have connection with, and always Gods that are conspicuously absent. I do try to align some of my festivals/rituals with historical dates or those of modern traditions, because I feel having a “community” aspect is important. (I’ll get more into this once I finish and post about the actual calendar.)
However, Poseidon of the Ponds really reminded me of the beauty that comes from insight, the natural organic process of interpreting the Mysteries of the land. Like, of course there would be a ritual recognizing of the necessity of water during a parched drought period! How utterly logical and natural. I don’t work with Poseidon-by-name, but Dawe’s ritual is an excellent inspiration to develop poignant celebrations to any God of Waters, including my own. Ponds makes it clear that if we’re limiting ourselves to the obvious (Poseidon=ocean, no ocean=no Poseidon) then we’re completely missing the point.
It’s also a great reminder to stop drowning myself in intellectual “research” in hopes of finding “true” answers! The answers are with the Gods. The answers are in the practice, and are revealed through the exposure of the link between us and Them. One of the purposes of ritual, for me, is to recognize the link between ourselves, the Gods, and the natural world, in concert with each other, not separate, intrinsically bound. I think Poseidon of the Ponds is a great example of this healthy and clear mindview.
I’m looking forward to supporting more of Dawe’s work, once I have more than 98 cents in my Paypal account…..
You can purchase Poseidon of the Ponds on the author’s Esty or on Amazon. Her blog post about it is here on Strip Me Back to the Bone, and there is also a bog specifically for The Poseidon Liturgical Year Project.
Standard Disclaimer: When I link something from this blog, it does not mean I automatically agree with or endorse everything in that link or everything the author says or thinks.
Review Disclaimer: I purchased this ebook and reviewed it on my own. I do not receive compensation for the review or links.