"Possession" by god-desse-s

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sylvanica
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"Possession" by god-desse-s

Postby sylvanica » 10 Apr 2014, 19:39

Hello, all!

I was looking through some blogs on druidry (I am a newbie!), and I found

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbecket ... heist.html

who linked to

http://walkingthehedge.net/blog/2013/08 ... cane-pt-2/

as an example of why not to piss off gods and goddesses. This scared me at first; I do believe in some sort of a "spiritual" force in the world, but more in line with pantheism with gods and goddesses being aspects of that force that we can connect with. At any rate, I don't see gods and goddesses as actual beings, but these two posts got me a bit scared. What if I'm wrong and now I'm going to aneurysm (or something!). I like the idea of ritual, and I want to communicate with the spiritual, but...

Are they making it up? I don't want to discount other peoples' religious experiences, but being possessed by Frig and being force-fed plums is a bit ridiculous to me.

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Re: "Possession" by god-desse-s

Postby Aphritha » 10 Apr 2014, 20:05

I can see why you thought the second article was intimidating, or possibly full of BS, but the first seemed pretty heartfelt; and just a way that individual has experienced Divinity.
The thing with all of it is: nobody really knows for sure. Everyone has to make their best guess based on the evidence they've seen. You can argue about it all day, but ultimately it comes down to the fact that most things involving the divine can't be proven or disproven...
At least that's my interpretation on it.


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Re: "Possession" by god-desse-s

Postby xidia » 10 Apr 2014, 20:11

There's a large amount of information on Raven Kaldera's site - I haven't met him personally, but his name does keep coming up for me at the moment. I'd suggest cross-checking if you can. Anyway, this page:
http://www.northernshamanism.org/shaman ... horse.html contains this paragraph.
"It might also be useful to have a long discussion with your patron Goddess or God to negotiate what is and is not acceptable use of your body. This doesn’t of course, mean that the Gods will necessarily adhere to it, but it can help to have such a “contract” in place and if the God that owns the horse agrees, terms of the contract will generally be honored. This can be important, because unlike the Afro-Caribbean religions, where the Orisha and Loa have had structure and boundaries negotiated for generations, the Gods of the North don’t have a similar set of rules worked out with Their followers. For instance, in Afro-Caribbean religions the orisha will not have sex while in the horses’ bodies. This doesn’t necessarily hold true for the Northern Gods, who may wish to do just that. Gods may also imbibe substances that the horse is terribly allergic to, or large quantities of alcohol. It’s best to negotiate that They take the effects of such substances with them when They leave! This latter point is something that most Deities will comply with. The horse is, after all, providing a necessary service. I do not believe that the Gods willingly injure Their horses. Problems arise because the act of having the tiniest drop of divine consciousness contained in human flesh is incredibly stressful simply by its very nature."

More links from here: http://www.northernshamanism.org/shaman ... ssion.html most of which, basically, boil down to "It's not for everyone, and the gods/goddesses tend to choose who they want" which implies to me that out-of-the-blue possession is unlikely. BUT!! I haven't researched this. I came across this section of Kaldera's writings while looking for something else entirely.

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Re: "Possession" by god-desse-s

Postby sylvanica » 10 Apr 2014, 20:44

The whole 'horse' / 'riding' thing grates on my ears. And also the idea that it's even possible to be possessed. Religious feelings of connection, yes, but out-of-control possession where you have to negotiate limits with deities? :wow:

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Re: "Possession" by god-desse-s

Postby sylvanica » 10 Apr 2014, 21:39

I can see why you thought the second article was intimidating, or possibly full of BS, but the first seemed pretty heartfelt; and just a way that individual has experienced Divinity.
The thing with all of it is: nobody really knows for sure. Everyone has to make their best guess based on the evidence they've seen. You can argue about it all day, but ultimately it comes down to the fact that most things involving the divine can't be proven or disproven...
At least that's my interpretation on it.
Yes, the first one was great in my mind. In the comments, though, he links the second one, which is the one that really threw me for a loop! :huh:

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Re: "Possession" by god-desse-s

Postby DJ Droood » 10 Apr 2014, 22:30

Are they making it up? I don't want to discount other peoples' religious experiences, but being possessed by Frig and being force-fed plums is a bit ridiculous to me.
Yes...they are making it up...attention seeking, posturing within their peer group, creative writing, legitimately mentally troubled......hard to say....(without actually reading it)

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Re: "Possession" by god-desse-s

Postby Snægl » 11 Apr 2014, 18:25

As a good friend of mine is fond of saying, "Just because it doesn't have a body doesn't mean you have to do what it says." It's a pretty good rule of thumb for all our "invisible friends," from ancestors, to wights, to gods. If you wouldn't put up with something from a real live person, don't put up with it from a "spirit"!
Forþan bið andgit æghwær selest ferðes foreþanc. :zen:
Therefore, in every respect understanding is best, and deliberation of spirit.
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Re: "Possession" by god-desse-s

Postby Al Hakim » 12 Apr 2014, 20:53

Well, most general Gods are a projection of your own wishes or fears. This is to push aside own responsibility for actions: The God said so, rewards and punishes according to your own standard of values.
I think it is easier to consider a God as an overall organising force. There is something that keeps the universe together, there are some rules that make us not kill and eat each other.That higher force does not wish to protect or eradicate the individual but just works to coordinate or relay your wishes in order to make them match the universal structure.

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Re: "Possession" by god-desse-s

Postby elementalheart » 13 Apr 2014, 08:32

Like so many things druids have as many experiences and beliefs as there are stars in the sky. It's the way we are and you don't have to believe what any one or group says is the truth, but they do deserve recognition that it is their experience and they're entitled to have it, to share it and to be respected rather than ridiculed. And it still doesn't have to be true for you, right now or indeed ever.

In the past 40+ years I have believed in a single deity, a pantheon of deities, deities as myth or multiple expressions of a creative force, deity as a psychological expression, no deity at all, and considered other things in between, they've all been my truth at the time and I've learned from and through those experiences I've chosen or had. I wouldn't thank anyone, be they Christian fundamentalist or sceptical atheist druid, for telling me I was simply wrong or deluded, I think I and you and anyone incarnated, is worth better than that.

My own explorations of spirituality have led me among other things into trying, open minded, possession ritual within the Voudoun and Salish traditions, which are intended as a direct invitation to possess and take over for a short period, for the purpose of healing, not for some ungodly selfish deity to embarrass, humiliate or damage the person or group. The Salish ritual I was too resistant to go with the urge that arose, my ego held it back, but nonetheless it was a unique experience and not a threatening one in any way.

The Voudoun ritual I have done more often, and every time it "worked", and yet most times it wasn't a full possession because in all but one case I retained some awareness, an observer that was able to recall at least parts of what I did. I was told that wasn't "proper" but it was my mind refusing to let go control, and yet it was partial, the invitation, the receiving, the experience that far, but it had to be what it was for me, an experience incomplete in the sense of those that practice complete possession and surrender. For me it was enough. The times I "lost" myself almost completely in the process brought me what I needed, not what the tradition said I should have, but it is not my tradition so I wouldn't expect to be the same as anyone for whom it is.

Interestingly the most lost I got was the last time I did the ritual, about 18 months ago and I had very little recall of anything bar a partial physical memory that "felt" like I had been scuttling sideways like a crab but then nothing much. The group (it is always a group ritual) humiliated me unintentionally afterward and the next morning by delighting in telling me what I'd "done" as if I had been some drunk student dancing on tables that had come on to all the guys. They were laughing but I couldn't laugh with them, so I moved away from it as the experience itself had been healing, but the reactions were not. I still got exactly what I needed, strangely. It turned out what they saw was me possessed by a power or spirit animal that actually is my most powerful protector in the shamanic tradition, and it was scary for them to see me really let go in that power so they mocked it to make themselves feel safe. I got verification of the ritual, of the impact in terms of healing on some of those present, and knew who was scared and what I needed to do for my own healing, which was move on. It was a clear direction which pushed me into both a period of deep self reflection and also deeper by far into my druidic practice, letting all the shamanic teaching and practice go for a period that has as yet not ended. Without that experience of complete surrender and what followed, I would probably be still living that life, doing those things, and not where and who I am.

So if it doesn't suit you or it scares you, don't go there, let those that do have their experience, good or bad it is what they need, not necessarily what they want, but the possession rituals are about surrender rather than control so folk should be careful what they ask for and then perhaps look at what they got and work out why it was a healing, even if it felt like the lancing of a painful abscess it will almost certainly have had a healing intention and purpose.

I may never undertake that ritual again, but if I do it would be with greater faith and trust in myself and the power that I surrender to, and with greater care over who I experience it with but knowing some just aren't ready, some go to make a big ego show of "letting go" which is more showing off disinhibited behaviour for general appreciation and admiration than genuine possession by a healing force, be it Lua or deity of another tradition or power animal or disincarnated soul.

Just go your own path and let live. There are no two identical paths in the forest, I find, what is true for me is not what anyone else tells me is right or wrong, just what I choose to engage with and how I experience and then interpret that experience. Deity or my own psyche, it works for me best if I don't try and define for so long that I lose the heart of it all in exercising the brain ;)
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Re: "Possession" by god-desse-s

Postby DJ Droood » 13 Apr 2014, 14:55

Like so many things druids have as many experiences and beliefs as there are stars in the sky. It's the way we are and you don't have to believe what any one or group says is the truth, but they do deserve recognition that it is their experience and they're entitled to have it, to share it and to be respected rather than ridiculed. And it still doesn't have to be true for you, right now or indeed ever.
I suppose to be fair to the blogger, they didn't post their experience in "The Skeptical Druids" to be analyzed...but someone did! The OP asked for opinions, and as it says right in the forum rules/description "Sturgeon's Law: Ninety percent of everything is crap." An opinion that someone's "goddess possession" story is crap (or possible poetic creative writing, to be charitable) is a legit expression here. On the flip side, I guess there is no forum rules saying you can't claim that you believe and respect every goofy thing someone puts up on a blog post.

(I think the DHP would be a happier experience for 90% of the posters if they just cut The Skeptical Druid forum...make it a critical-thinking free zone...it has raised so many clouds of fairy dust over the years...)

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Re: "Possession" by god-desse-s

Postby elementalheart » 14 Apr 2014, 09:43

I read recent posts rather than particular boards, and reply where I am interested enough to do so. I tend to avoid the fluffy posts except occasionally for entertainment purposes, and don't reply to those I consider demand only agreement, unless I am determined to disagree regardless, that happens occasionally despite my best intentions ;)

Indeed I've no problem with scepticism as I embrace a large chunk of it myself - haven't even bothered to read the original experience linked to as I expect if I read the original I'd be laughing or crying or both, but that's my assumption and not why I responded to this thread. My reply was to the poster that seemed to be responding with anxiety about one aspect of spirituality that they found offputting within the druid community as a whole.

I just don't equate scepticism with lack of respect for the fact that some folk believe very different things from me and much as I find it ridiculous or incredible, that's my response but doesn't necessarily get shared. Sometimes it does but I do try and be relatively respectful and polite even where completely and obviously disagreeing fundamentally. Scepticism to me is looking critically in the intellectual sense but not just to say it's all cr@p and you're wrong.

I was attempting to express that within the druid landscape are many many different views and to be put off by one relatively small minority, or even a reasonably large majority, isn't necessary for remaining/becoming/practising as, a druid.. that's all :shrug: And I shared my personal experiences in the belief that not many on a druid path might have tried it and of those perhaps my perspective/interpretation might be as useful as any to dispel a few assumptions that might have existed and/or been encouraged by the sources linked.

Suppose I should go back and read the accounts at some point to ensure I'm not dismissing them out of hand but I admit I tend to think most folk that try possession rituals are often not entirely clear why, nor what they got from them afterward. A bit like voudoun generally, or shamanism in some quarters, and probably druidry in others, the realities are lost in the myths created by Hollywood to horrify and entertain the public for profit.

That or I am still possessed by a demonic deity that wants to cause chaos and mayhem and have crazed sex and do all kinds of mischief in the world.. how would I tell the difference and what would I want to do if I realised it were true? :wink:
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Re: "Possession" by god-desse-s

Postby sylvanica » 14 Apr 2014, 14:33

First of all, I appreciate everyone's contribution to this topic. I should probably note that I'm new to any sort of Paganism, so there are things that I should know but I don't. I am sorry for my ignorance, and I am sorry that I treated others' beliefs with criticism. Coming from Christianity/atheism, it's hard to get in a frame of mind that isn't orthodoxy. My thought process is basically: someone does this thing I don't like and I find troublesome -> everyone in Paganism must be okay with this and/or practice it -> I'm not a good Pagan. That was exactly the same process I had with Christianity: most Christians believe in eternal hell -> everyone in Christianity must be okay with or believe this -> I'm not a good Christian. Or atheists think religion is a disease -> every atheist must think this way -> I'm not a good atheist.

This post has actually been very useful for my introspection. What do I find objectionable? For me, it's the idea that people would use religious experiences for their own gain, for their own glorification. Many of these 'horses' talk about it like they are holy sufferers, merely instruments for the gods, in an attempt to gain favor or admiration from other people, I think. I can't know. But if so, I find it objectionable. I don't want to discount another person's experience, far from it.

Mostly what I need to learn is to go my own path, not try to emulate others or feel I'm "less than" because of how I see my spiritual path (without god possessions :wink: ).

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Re: "Possession" by god-desse-s

Postby Aphritha » 14 Apr 2014, 18:46

Stop being sorry. :) You're not ignorant, you're learning! You have questions, and you're hoping for answers. There's nothing wrong with this. :D I don't think you came across as critical, either. Having an opinion doesn't make a person critical.
If you run into a group, Christian, Pagan, or a weekend social program that makes you feel 'less than', leave. This group has its own issues, and you don't need to make yourself a part of it. If you're not comfortable with god/dess possession, and you feel like you need to be a part in order to be accepted, this isn't the right place for you. Keep searching.
What do I find objectionable? For me, it's the idea that people would use religious experiences for their own gain, for their own glorification. Many of these 'horses' talk about it like they are holy sufferers, merely instruments for the gods, in an attempt to gain favor or admiration from other people, I think.
I find that objectionable, too. I find most insincere actions to make others like you objectionable, really. But, its hard to know why a person's doing it, and I wouldn't say all people that participate in this activity are out for attention. Some are. Some may be doing it to show devotion to the deity they're invoking, a way to further take this deity's qualities into themselves maybe. Its hard to say for sure unless you know the person on an individual basis.


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Re: "Possession" by god-desse-s

Postby Al Hakim » 14 Apr 2014, 19:32

Hi Sylvanica,

don't be bothered by what other people think and say. If you have an idea you may follow that but not the rest of the world - nd what the rest of the world is doing should not bother you. If all people jump from a bridge, would you jump, too? That is the big mistake of the major monotheistic religions. If you don't follw their logics you are an heretic. In that sort of druidry I experienced it was different. Nobody controlled me. I wish you the same luck.


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