Posted by: nicanthiel | April 1, 2009

Godaþegn

As some readers will have noticed, I classify myself unusually. Most spiritworkers use that title, some go on to shaman or shamanist, or (more common in Northern Tradition Paganism [NTP]) God-slave. It’s this last one that is most relevant to the topic of the post.

In Dark Moon Rising: Pagan BDSM and the Ordeal Path by Raven Kaldera, Galina Krasskova talks about god-slavery as an ecstatic, M/s type of relationship*, and uses the Anglo-Saxon term godatheow, literally “god-slave” or “slave to/of the god.” As such, there has been a lot of talk in spiritworker circles, especially those connected to Cauldron Farm, of god-slavery as the default spiritworker paradigm; the assumption seems to be, either you are completely en-thralled by your Boss(es), or you’re not really a spiritworker.

I challenge that assumption, because not everyone is suited for slavery, and indeed, not every God wants a slave, Frey being the most obvious example. Are people called by such Gods, or lack the nature required for full slavery to be denied the right to serve their Gods? Even Odin doesn’t always want slaves; sometimes, all He wants is just a warrior, or just a magician, or just a tool.

In Anglo-Saxon society, the þegn (thane) was a servant of a lord or king, usually of the higher class as well. From Wikipedia:

The term thegn (or thane in Shakespearean English), from OE þegn, ðegn “servant, attendant, retainer”, is commonly employed by historians to describe either an aristocratic retainer of a king or nobleman in Anglo-Saxon England, or as a class term, the majority of the aristocracy below the ranks of ealdormen and high-reeves. It is also the term for an early medieval Scandinavian class of retainers.

The precursor of the thegn was the gesith, the companion of the king or great lord, a member of his comitatus, and the word thegn began to be used to describe a military gesith.

It is only used once in the laws before the time of Aethelstan (c. 895-940), but more frequently in the charters. H. M. Chadwick (Studies on Anglo-Saxon Institutions, 1905) says that “the sense of subordination must have been inherent in the word from the earliest time,” but it has no connection with the German dienen, to serve. In the course of time it extended its meaning and was more generally used. The thegn became a member of a territorial nobility, and the dignity of thegnhood was attainable by those who fulfilled certain conditions. The nobility of pre-Conquest England was ranked according to the heriot they paid in the following descending order: earl, king’s thegn, median thegn. In Anglo-Saxon hierarchic society, a king’s thegn attended in person upon the king, bringing with him his men and resources. A “median” thegn did not hold his land directly from the king but through an intermediary lord.

The thegn was inferior to the ætheling, the member of a kingly family, but he was superior to the ceorl, and, says Chadwick, “from the time of Aethelstan the distinction between thegn and ceorl was the broad line of demarcation between the classes of society.” His status is shown by his wergild. Over a large part of England this was fixed at 1200 shillings, or six times that of the ceorl. He was the twelfhynde man of the laws, sharply divided from the twyhynde man or ceorl.

The increase in the number of thegns produced in time a subdivision of the order. There arose a class of king’s thegns, corresponding to the earlier thegns, and a larger class of inferior thegns, some of them the thegns of bishops or of other thegns. A king’s thegn was a person of great importance, the contemporary idea being shown by the Latin translation of the words as comes (compare “count”). He had certain special privileges. No one save the king had the right of jurisdiction over him

Thusly, a þegn is a noble servant of a higher noble. Such was the nature of þegnscip (thaneship) that when the Anglo-Saxons converted to Christianity, the bishops gained the appellation Godþegn, because, theoretically, they served the same purpose to God as a þegn did to his king. Note too, the privileges granted a þegn, in that he answered only to the king; likewise, the bishops answered only to God (through the Papacy).

But what does that mean for us today? It is obvious that not everyone called to Divine Service forms a slavery-based relationship. Many simply honor the Gods as they can, living life in normal society. If one drew out the comparison, along with the godatheowas, one could classify such people as godaceorlas – “god-carls,” or freemen not directly in service. But what of those “in-between” so to speak?

I feel that reclaiming godathegn as an appropriate title for those in the middle is both desirable and necessary in this age of Labels. While, certainly, labels are often over-used and detrimental, it can be a great help to be able to succinctly state something about yourself without having to go into long and laborious detail.

So, yes. I am a god-thegn. Erðanþegn, to be exact.

—–

  • There’s a whole section in the book about non-vanilla relationships with Deity, which I would encourage anyone dealing intimately with darker or harsher Gods and Goddesses to look at.
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Responses

  1. Awesome post. Just… made of win (and Wynn).

    There’s not much I can say without inadvertently sounding snarky at some people, so let me phrase this briefly:

    I’ve said elsewhere that there seems to be two prevailing attitudes with God-touched people, that being “I am prosperous, ergo my Gods like me better” vs. “I HATE MY JOB SO HARD OOGA BOOGA I AM SO HARDCORE”.

    *sighs*

    It is possible to be a very devout religious person without ever having had the major woo, and living a “normal” life. I recommend it. However I’m guessing most of your readers and mine get at least “peeps” now and again, if not more, and I would think there is a spectrum between having the charmed “prosperity gospel” life (to borrow Christian terminolgy) and feeling you are the bootscrape of the Gods. I would daresay all of us get a choice, even if the choice at the end is sucktastic; there are worse things than physically dying.

    I tried to make the Gods go away and be a “normal” Heathen, when that stopped working, I didn’t have many options in front of me, and one of my goals now is to provide some kind of sane (lol) voice in the middle between swallowing one’s woo or shaping it around the norm, or being told by virtue of being claimed by the Gods you are Their slave. As a direct example of this, I’ve had people try to use my relationship with Frey to manipulate me, but I know Frey “frees all fetters” and He doesn’t want me to be His slave. If Frey has something He wants me to do, He can damn well tell me Himself. And He does, trust me ^^

    And you would think that anyone who comes into this from a BDSM perspective would realize Safe, Sane, and Consensual. Quite frankly any God that is going to force someone into non-consensual service is against mainstream BDSM thought (not that I would know anything about that…), is a bully and an abuser and not worthy of my worship. However I am also quite sure that even the more “darker” Deities don’t do that, and it’s our perception of lack of choice or inability to negotiate with Them that causes problems.

    Just my $.02… I’m sure some people would disagree with me. But I’m not the only one who feels this way, and has been hurt by the assumption that we must all be God-slaves or completely free men/women/both/neither/other/whatever.

    -Siggy

    • What I feel may be happening (I know Raven feels this way, cause he’s talked about it in various places) is that there is an air of RACK (Risk-Aware Consensual Kink) going on in those God-relationships that tend to gravitate toward CF.

      However, what I don’t think they realise is that not Everyone, nor indeed necessarily all of them, are suited for RACK. There’s a reason SSC is the majority opinion in the wider BDSM community.

      But yes. There needs to be a shift in perception. Maybe it’s because our society doesn’t allow for people to aggressively decide things for themselves or haggle to a mutual agreement, especially regarding work and pay, that they feel there is no choice, which is only exacerbated when they then add a layer of M/s that is all about sacrificing anything independent (you actually see a lot of the same attitudes, though obviously in different terminology, in fundamentalist Christian circles, i.e. Independent Thought = BAD.)

      • Well even if Raven himself feels that way I do know people in that “scene” who feel they get no say, not even to question “what they get Told”. I am not going to name names, and this isn’t about who’s right and who’s wrong, but I would say that if that is what Raven is saying, there aren’t enough people who even feel their relationship with Deity is consensual, or that certain elements are. And as a person who is an abuse survivor, I obviously have a problem with this mentality, and you and I have already discussed this elsewhere.

        This does not mean life with Teh Spooky Foo is going to be a bowl of cherries and fun fun fun. I’ve had plenty of people tell me “I have it so easy” because I am oathed to Frey and He likes to mix business with pleasure. It’s real easy for someone to judge if they’ve known me for two seconds, and this is one of the factors into why I keep most of my private spiritual practices just that… private. We do get asked to do some things, sometimes, that are not always going to be agreeable to us. What I do ask from Frey when He does this, is to give me an explanation as to why, if only “for the greater good”.

        Much ado has been made about “signal clarity” and getting things confirmed by others. Sometimes life works out so you don’t get that option. When I moved 3000 miles from New England to California I didn’t have the option of having someone do a reading for me to confirm what was going on. I just knew to GO. In fact, I’ve had people screw me over with “signal clarity” readings and try to use my relationship with Frey to manipulate me into their agenda. Or people who have told me stuff that Frey is capable of telling me Himself. He’s not shy if He thinks I’m doing something not-good.

        And that’s getting way off on a tangent, but I’ll just say that anyone who is in a service relationship with a Deity will, from time to time, be asked to do things that are not going to be fun, whether that’s an introverted misanthropist who is told to start a group and/or join an organization, or a busy person told to write books, or someone who is asked to give an extensive reading to another they really don’t care for. These are just a few of the more common things people like us get told. There is the option to say “no”. I don’t like disappointing Frey, though, so I will ask “why” first.

        And anyway, what you said: most people are not suited for RACK, anyway, yet that is generally promoted as being *the* paradigm when a God claims a person. For some who say “well only a few are meant to be God-slaves”, I know very few spirit-workers who don’t identify as God-slaves, and yeah, it kind of has made me distance myself from that whole movement. I realize I am coming off like a judgmental intolerant prick, but if I’m intolerant, I am intolerant of spiritual abuse and I see some of that and the potential for some of that with this movement.

        But like I said – I really like your term Godþegn… especially for those of us on a priesthood path. You think good stuff 😉

        -Siggy

  2. Wow, you SO just hit the nail right on the head. Frankly I think the dichotomy of “slave=woo” and “not-slave=no woo/poseur” is a false one. Dualistic thinking is something that is endemic to modern Western thought, but I believe it to be harmful and unproductive–not to mention *gasp* un-heathen. When people talk about changing their worldview, too often they just symbol-switch rather than really work at unraveling the underlying framework. And I would say you’re doing the latter admirably.

  3. If you read the book in detail, or take the time to speak with either me or Raven, you’d see that nowhere do either Raven or I beleive that every single spiritworker is a godslave. There is no one single paradigm that is going to fit everyone, even when we’re dealing with the same Deity. That book, however, was in part written for those of us who ARE owned outright by our Gods.

    And if you dont’ think that Gods can claim one non-consensually then you may want to take a good look at some of your colleagues, Svartesol, as well as reading the anthropolgical literature on Shamanism. Not only can They, They often do. I don’t have a problem with that–it is important for me to be of use to Odin–but many do and they struggle terribly with the non-consensual aspect of things. That may not be the way it works for everyone, but there are Deities (like Odin) who won’t hesitate a moment to force Their will on those who are lawful prey to Them. Can one back out? Sure. But the price is often much greater and much worse than one is willing to pay.

    I say I’m a godslave because I’m owned and to Him and Him alone do I place myself in thrall, but Odin gave me a chance to run away from it years ago. I chose not to take it. So how much of the bondage is my own personal agency and consent, and His will? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that so long as I”m not stupid enough to render myself useless to Him, that bond is now irreversible.

    I’ll emphasize again just for good measure: nowhere do we say this is the ONLY way that one can be a spiritworker. It is however a common paradigm and one that begs exploration if only for the sake of those who find themselves being claimed relatively non-consensually and who have no clue how to cope with it. To say that every spirit worker must be a slave to their Gods is like saying every devotee must be a spiritworker. Neither sentiment is something any of us, to my knowlege have said.

    Dark Moon Rising is a very helpful book for those called to the ordeal path, but more than that, it put the fact that sometimes it IS non consensual. Sometimes with Deity there is no SSC on the books, so to speak. Becuase as much as y’all might want to deny it: some Gods move some of Their folk well beyond RACK too. And you know what? That’s ok.

    • If I may interject here, I do feel that god-slavery is a valid paradigm, if that wasn’t clear. This post wasn’t meant to disregard that. I merely wanted to open up more options to people’s awareness, because as you yourself have said, there is more than one way. However, when virtually all of the widely available literature focuses on one or (possibly) two paths in a reality that shows three, or five, or a dozen, the lesser-known ways need to be brought to light, for at least thought and perusal if nothing more.

      My comment about Raven was that through his work, for him and his relationships with the spirits, the actuality is closer to RACK than SSC.

      I think the issue here, and in the grander scheme of things, is really assumptions. Side A has assumptions about Side B, who have their own assumptions about both side A and side C, etc.

    • I did not say that you and Raven said this. Whether or not the god-slave paradigm exists or does not is not something I care to debate here. I have read anthropological material on shamanism, including Neil Price’s books about the concept in our own tradition.

      However, I still stand by my statement that I have talked with A LOT of spiritworkers and very, very few of them DO NOT identify as god-slaves. Do I care to name names? No. It’s not my job to out other people. But if you say the phenomenon is rare, I say it should be rare, but there are some people who are hearing from wherever, even if it’s only misinterpreting info that has been put out there by others, that they MUST be God-slaves, and a few of them have been seriously hurt by it. Whether or not that was their Gods’ will is not what I am debating here, it is the fact that people have been hurt even if they are only misinterpreting information presented by others. Quite frankly from what I’ve seen of the spirit-worker “community” with my “colleagues” I seriously doubt it’s all that big of a misinterpretation and I think you would rather me be honest with you than just nod silently for the sake of agreement.

      That is what I am taking into objection here. Even if you and Raven have said the God-slave phenomenon is rare, it is not coming off that way in the spirit-worker demographic/subculture/movement/whatever. I am not telling you to stop writing about your experiences, but I am saying there needs to be information from those of us who are somewhere in the middle, for other people to see. Does that make sense?

  4. I’ve said in the community, though perhaps not in writing, that I believe the God or Goddess in question should define the terms of the relationship. It’s up to Them and there are thousands of variations. But when Raven’s book was written, there was nothing out there that discussed the potential non-consensuality of being a spiritworker. now it might, a few years later, seem like the dominant paradigm, but that has largely happened in the spiritual communities only in the past couple of years (and granted, probably A) due to how much he and i publish lol and B) the controversy our works create in our respective communities.

    There is slowly starting to be more discussion about the various manifestations of the Deity/servant relationship. Silence maestas put out a book…and i’m blanking on the title but Asphodel Press carries it and it’s her only work …that discusses at least half a dozen, if not more variations. It may be that for some of us the godatheow pattern is the most common…but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one. Even within my own relationship with Odin, it’s not *just* that, we relate on a plethora of levels (though at the bottom, deepest level, it is Master/slave).

    I also stand against preconceptions and assumptions. As I said: it’s not up to us to decide how we are going to serve a Deity. It is up to the Deity to decide and what an individual Deity needs may vary greatly from one person to another. There’s a wonderful quote by Rumi that ‘there are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

  5. I don’t think the phenomenon is rare. I think it’s one of THE most typical types of Deity/servant relationships. In fact, i can’t think of a spiritworker that i know personally (and you know i’m pretty entrenched in the community) who isn’t owned. The ownership might be expressed in a thousand different ways, but it’s there.

    however, I”m also aware that not everyone falls into that category. I don’t know many spiritworkers who don’t, but that doesn’t mean that every single person is going to fall into that trope.

    in fact, thinking about it, I know two spirtworkers who aren’t owned by Deities at all but by their ancestors, and their primary obligations are to their dead (not something i’d personally want..give me a God any day!). So there ARE variations…..I’ll admit that i think the variations are rarer than outright ownership but *shrugs* they happen.

    I never said it was rare. What i said, is that not everyone needs to be a godslave to serve. The Gods will determine how we best serve Their needs. It’ s not up to me or you, or raven or anyone else to determine that.

    I think that the emphasis on godatheow in the community stems from the prevalence of that pattern. That’s what we’re seeing. That’s where the biggest difficulties are cropping up with our clients.

    • OK.

      I am not trying to hijack Nicanthiel’s blog with a debate, and I think this is probably a matter of communication. It is not up to me to decide for the Gods how They want someone to serve, buuuut I have seen a few people fall and I think it was highly preventable. My protector hackles go way, way up in that case, and I’m sure you can understand that.

      Communication is key, especially for people who are very, very new to the Gods coming around and wondering what the Hel they’re supposed to do. I tried to make the Gods go away, that didn’t work so well. I didn’t exactly enter this thing consensually but I have had a few options as far as what to do with it. I made bargains and negotiations with my Gods as far as being taken care of on my end so I can do what They ask of me. Some people don’t even know to do that, or think they have no say in the matter. That’s the biggest thing I object to, actually, is if a person is sick or starving and needs some kind of care on their end. The Gods can’t work through a person if they’re dead or non-functional. Mixed messages have caused a few people to fall, in my opinion. So, I do consider myself owned and have been given specific Tasks to fulfill, but I am not a slave. I serve Frey because… well… you try to disappoint Him, you see how that works. His face crumples up and it’s not happymaking to see.

      The main thing I am trying to address with all of this is there should be (or at least it would be very nice to see) more writing from those who are on a “middle way” path, because there are some of us who are put on specific journeys and missions by our Deities but still get a good deal of personal autonomy. Talking about personal spirituality is very, very hard. I can barely put two articulate sentences together about Frey. That is the hardest thing for me to talk about and yet is my primary work. I obviously am not inside Odin’s head and cannot make decisions for Him or any other God, but sometimes when people get badly hurt I wonder how much of it is the Gods’ doing and how much of it is a person who is desperately seeking for answers and isn’t getting the right ones for them or is misinterpreting the information somehow. There should be more information from all flavors of God-touched people, given as offerings to the Gods and to the people.

      -Siggy

  6. yes, people have fallen. Both in anthropological accounts and today in the community there is a very high attrition rate. I suspect, though have no proof, that it was always so. I do not necessarily think that’s a bad thing: better they fall in their training than when they must stand and hold the line for their Gods. That is how I feel as one of Odin’s, as a valkyrie. As a human being, my heart bleeds when I see someone stumbling possibly fatally in the work. sometimes what the Gods ask of us can seem well nigh impossible. (and it may be that the Gods have a much more long term view of success and failure than we do, still, it’s not easy).

    I will say this, and here perhaps we shall have to disagree; when I have seen people fall, it has been because they fought their Gods wrongly. It has been because they held their own selves, their own morality, their own sentimentalities greater than the Gods to whom they had given themselves in service. It has been due to fear, ego, hubris, pride. All of us suffer these things and do these things at one point or another. I do not know why some get over it and through it and others don’t. I hate to see people fall by the wayside, go mad, die, etc. I hate it. But i accept that sometimes there is nothing to be done. I have seen hands extended to would be spirit workers in aid and i have seen that aid brushed away because to accept it would mean to expand one’s view of the way things work.

    I also think that our post-enlightenment, post modern world view creates an added difficulty for would be spiritworkers. We want all the answers now, we want it laid out for us and sometimes it doesn’t work that way–hell, usually it doesn’t work that way. Few know how to just have faith and *do the work*. I have seen spirit workers who fill me with awe: who are in agony, who are suffering, seeking, hurting and yet, and yet, somehow they still manage to serve. they still do the work. I take my hat off to them.

    As to the ones who fall….the Gods do what They must and we do the best we can. I don’t think there’s anyway around the attrition rate. Service is not something our culture values overmuch.

    • I also think that our post-enlightenment, post modern world view creates an added difficulty for would be spiritworkers. We want all the answers now, we want it laid out for us and sometimes it doesn’t work that way–hell, usually it doesn’t work that way. Few know how to just have faith and *do the work*.

      *nods* It does.

      We live in a culture where if you admit you talk to the invisible non-corporeal beings you’re regarded as suspect even by co-religionists, never mind if the invisible non-corporeal beings are telling you to do things that may not make any sense to everyone else.

      The old religions were dormant for about 1000 years and over the last 100 years have started to resurface in a time of escalating environmental, political, and societal crisis. I don’t think this is a coincidence. I do think we may return to an earlier and more “primitive” way of life when all this is said and done… when there will be tribes in the real sense of the word, who need shamans and priests. My Gods have been telling me to get ready for some time now, to learn survival skills, self-defense, garden, etc. I don’t live in complete paranoia but I know our way of life in the modern world is only going to last for another generation or so.

      One of the problems I do see with Paganism-as-a-whole is the belief that because we don’t have YHWH/Satan, all the Gods are good and nice. Not all the Gods are always nice and even Gods who have a reputation as brighter – like Frey and Freya as an example – can be downright mean if provoked. The Gods are asking some folks to do thankless tasks.

      I know that anyone who is in the service of invisible non-corporeal beings is, whether a slave, owned, or not, coming up on a 30% chance of fatality whether through mental re-wiring or the physical taxation of doing the work.

      I do wish people would value themselves more, even if they are in a service position, and be able to see the Gods can’t work through them if dead or non-functional, like I said before. To learn how to negotiate, to compromise if need be. And a lot of that does start with acceptance. I think service is very undervalued and underrated and as a result of societal conditioning some people think if they’re called into a service position they don’t get the right to negotiate the terms or say “hey wait a minute” if something’s going wrong. That doesn’t mean the relationship will end, it does mean things may need to change.

      I’ve seen people get hurt mostly by this… not feeling they can even negotiate, and not even asking other people in the know if there is an option to do so.

  7. I should add that my view on things is strongly colored by the fact that it’s Odin who owns me. Someone belonging to another Deity may feel completely differently!

    • LOL. I couldn’t tell… ;P

      My views on this are colored by belonging to Frey who “frees all fetters”.

      • I think that prevailing idea that A) the Gods are all good and nice and B) that they’d never force us to do anything are two of the most damaging ideas within Paganism. This is why, at least I think, that so many would be spiritworkers fail. Even if we do everything right and don’t fight the process, as you point out: the sheer amount of mental, emotional, physical, energetic rewiring alone might kill us, or put us out of commission. There is nothing safe about this work. Nor is there anything safe about the sacred. I think our ancestors understood that far, far better than people do now.

        i would like to see people understand that if we’re owned by the Gods, then we have even MORE reason to keep ourselves healthy and in good working order. A broken tool can’t function. There’s enough that we HAVE to face and do that has the potential to break us, we oughtn’t to be adding to that by our own personal neglect…and that’s a hard lesson to learn: to value ourselves the way the Gods obviously do. I’m still struggling w/ that one myself!

  8. you know, i don’t think i know of anyone who is owned by Frey as a slave……interesting.

    • I want to make a perverted comment, and I’ll refrain. La la la…

  9. This is, in some ways, a topic for which I find it hard to articulate a reply. This may be because I come from a part of the world in which everyone I know is, to borrow Nicanthiel’s terminology, either ‘godaceorl’ or ‘godathegn’. ‘Godatheow’ is, to my knowledge, an unknown quantity in the population here. To draw a distinction, god-ownership is known/mentioned, god-slavery is not (mentioned, at least).

    From this outside vantage point, I must agree that for many who are new and confused, the Asphodel Press (& assoc.) books are usually the widest and most immediate (if not only) comprehensive available source on the internet (or at all). Personally, I believe that is excellent, because they are (to my knowledge so far) well-written and well-thought-out, and present important information to people for whom it really does make an amazing difference.

    However, it has always been my impression (assumption, if you will) that those books (Raven Kaldera’s in particular) were written by a certain niche of people, for a certain niche of people, and if others outside of that niche found them of use, then more power to them, but no responsibility was taken, etc..

    The more time I spent exploring spirit-work &c., the more I realised that while many of the tools mentioned by those books could be useful to me, the application thereof did not sit “just so” with me *or* my close-Gods – same computer, different operating system, you might say. Siggy was the only one I could find doing significant, ongoing work on the “lighter” side of Heathen* spiritwork, but while her “OS” might have been similar, I am not Vanic, and therefore run different “software”.

    Whatever the differences in perception, definition, and assumption between the ‘godaceorl’, ‘godathegn’, and ‘godatheow’ camps, it appears that there IS a weighting in the volume of information available, and it is skewed toward the god-slaves. I say this is no fault of theirs – how can you fault someone for a job well done? There is no fault here, only a void of information that could benefit from being filled.

    That now said, given the differences in approach/tools/methods/God-preferences/lifestyles between the groups, I believe there is a need for more clear, accessible, middle-ground material in the Heathen community. I believe it, and apparently my gods do too, as I am being pushed to “network”.

    Beyond that, I’d like to thank everyone here for their thoughts so far, and to thank Nicanthiel for bringing the issue to light in the first place.

    (*Let’s not play the labels/disclaimers game – let’s suspend our disbelief and press on.) 🙂

  10. More food for the mind here!
    I could say that I never feel myself like a God-slave, I feel closer to the description given by Nicanthiel here. But I don’t want to put a label on my head now because I’m just “in training”. I have my duties to my God/Goddesses, and They give me clear orders about what to do and what not (at least, since October and even more since Yule), but I could give my oppinion about them and I could negociate somethings with Them (well, with One of Them who told me that He could take part between me and the Others, because He wants me in some points “free of thought and action” to make what He wants me to do).

  11. In the past, I have been guilty of assuming that all god-touched people are god-slaves. But that was mostly due to not knowing that many other people who weren’t bound in that way to their deities. I have met a lot more people in the years since then whose relationships with the spirits are nothing like slavery, in the sense that the term “god-slave” was originally coined.

    I am Hela’s bondswoman, having sold myself into Her service before this lifetime. She owns the work of my hands, and so I am Her servant. I am Loki’s property, being His priestess, consort and lover, but that isn’t slavery as Raven and others have used it — in fact it’s much more akin to the “slavery” practiced in BDSM circles. Is a slave still a slave if she is a happy, willing one? I think so, so while I’m aware of the negative connotations of the term, I tend to use “god-slave” in a somewhat different way than other god-touched people do.

    This doesn’t often convey well over the Internet or in regular conversation, though 😛 If you ever read my nun blog, you’ll see that I don’t use “god-slave” a lot there.

    • I have noticed that. Of course, nuns aren’t usually thought of as slaves anyway 😛 Though, certainly, aspects of monasticism are similar to the paradigms of BDSM slavery.

      In the past, I have been guilty of assuming that all god-touched people are god-slaves. But that was mostly due to not knowing that many other people who weren’t bound in that way to their deities.

      -nod- That’s one of the reasons I’ve been trying to put godathegn out there, so that, if nothing more, people new to this can see that there’s more than one way of coming at god-work, especially if that option is one that might not fit what their reality is. I’ve said it elsewhere, but I don’t have an issue with the concept of god-slavery itself; while I may personally think some people take it too far, that’s a subjective opinion, and doesn’t change the fact that the concept is a valid one, especially for certain Deities (such as Hela, Who we’re all slaves to in the end anyway).


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