As you may or may not know, I am a lurker. Especially on Beth and Jo’s blogs. I have been since I started my WordPress and used to be more active in the Pagan community, and as I’m trying to blog more, I decided to write a bit about my spirituality and stop posting so many angsty poems.
As those who have followed my blog since the tender age of 18 (I’m now 23), you may remember my Pagan phase, which despite my protestations, I never quite left (Sorry for dragging you to full moon rituals on Imbolc, D and L). In fact, I have been Pagan since I was 7 and read D’aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths. I was smitten with Athena, and would pray to her for help on homework, then crushed on Hermes majorly. I read the end of D’aulaire’s, the part where the gods are dead, and cried, like, a lot. I then decided I would single-handedly revive the old faiths and thought I was the only Pagan in the world for a good five years until I discovered Pagans online. I went through an Egyptian phase and dressed up as Sekhmet for a school event, devoured all the mythology books I could find at the library, and while the gods were great, there was another piece of the puzzle I was figuring out.
Enter angels and demons.
My first memory, at two, is of Samael, coming to my cradle in a night terror with red eyes, ringing me with mangled ghost children, singing me a lullabye in a voice like Tom Waits and saying “I LOVE YOU ALLIE.” I woke up clutching my pacifier right before he hugged me. Come four and I would dream my father was ripped to pieces by a hellhound, one I would see many times afterward, with red eyes, black fur, and a wolfish mien. I later learned through experience, after many years, it was one of Samael’s forms, besides the stupid black serpent and dragon. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Throughout my childhood, from year zero to today, I have struggled with horrible nightmares, sleep paralysis, and vivid dreams of angels, gods, and demons. I have always been drawn to the otherworldly and my imaginary friend was an angel of the Morning Star, destruction, death, lions and serpents. I was about eight. He was my first OC that I wrote about at 11, and I described him in that spectacularly crappy space opera as “a Grim Reaper with attitude.” Metatron was also in there as a tea-drinking angel. It was weird.
Before I even read Madeliene L’Engel, I gravitated to stories about angels. I forced my parents to buy me a children’s Bible in kindergarten because it had angels on the cover. Demons scared the crap out of me, but angels felt like home. I saw sparks of light flying around churches, priests, and children, in particular a cobalt blue spark that was always by my side who I later learned was Michael. Raphael is green. Samael is red. When I look up to the sky, to this day, I see millions of sparks of light flying through the sky.
In first grade I built a tin foil hat because I thought aliens were contacting me through energy. Later I learned I was feeling the presence of spirits, but when you’re young and feel like your chakras are being plugged into an electric socket, you worry. I would sing to my morning star angel and pray and feel the energy, be moved by music, pray to the gods, there it was. So from a young age, I felt and saw spirits, but didn’t understand what was going on.
My first vision came when I was 12, December 21, on a cold winter’s night. I was lying in bed, my eyes shut closed, and I had an out-of-body experience. I was thrust from my preteen child’s form into the sky above heaven, and below me, angels in armor with brilliant scintillating wings were battling demonic black shadows, guts spilling onto the ground, blood, blood everywhere. I screamed for someone to save me and fell to the ground, but no one could see me. A demon was about to plunge its talons through me to get to an angel when a force like the whole weight of the world pulled my spirit back, zooming through ranks of angels to their stronghold. There in a clearing stood a tall, imposing angel in golden armor, with a flaming sword, saffron hair and eyes that could pull souls out of their bodies. He saved me, frowned, then thrust my spirit back into my body, bellowing a name in Hebrew he continues to call me to this day. His voice was like thunder as my body rocketed up in bed. I was wracked with shivers and sobs, wondering who the general of Heaven’s forces was and what my experience could possibly mean. Much later on, I learned his name was Michael.
A few weeks later in seventh grade, inspired by Twilight, I invented the name Samael as a punk version of Samuel and wrote a story about a middle school over a hellmouth. A few weeks later, I googled Samael and learned that despite being the name of a crappy metal band, he was also the Jewish angel of death and Satan. Cue screaming and not touching that story for a month. My computer started acting weird, shutting down randomly and claiming I’d edited the Wikipedia page of Lucifer. I cried. I cried a lot at that time. Three nights after my discovery of Samael actually being a Jewish angel/demon/annoying snake, I had my first dream of him. He was very snarky and offered me an apple, then told me I read too much. He still continues to be an asshole and terrible, terrible cook.
That first dream opened up the door for endless dreams of demons, tricksters, and archangels. I developed an especial fondness for Raphael and wrote two stories about Freyr without realizing who he was. Aym popped into my dreams, Beelzebub grumped around, and Michael continued to step in when Samael decided it was okay to let the minor drink. Loki and Samael were the broiest of bros, Manannan, Coyote, Tezcatlipoca, and Odin all made appearances, and I continued to write stories based on my dreams. Enter high school and I believed in the gods but was still pretty skeptical of the whole angel/demon thing, as I hated the patriarchy and thought it was sexist that priests and the Messiah couldn’t be women. I was also terrified of Hell, even though Pandemonium is basically an endless party and the only one who really seems to work are Rofocale and Beelzebub. Lilith terrified me and I still hate her. She’s a bitch.
I’m agnostic as fuck, so being godbothered and having all these dreams of angels, demons, and deities was confusing. I went to the top science and tech high school in the world for godsake then was a bio major in college. 12-19 was me barely keeping my head above water as I challenged myself in academics, burned the candle at both hands, and dealed with shamanic death-rebirth crap and Sam being a right arse. I finally figured out that Freyr was the character I kept writing about after googling “blond god of the north and nature” and other such things. Michael kept stepping in when Sam was too drunk to function. I made rounds with the archangels and chilled with Asmodeus at his atrociously gaudy casino bar. Then I had to wake up each morning and try to ignore the fact that Samael got drunk off holy water the night before.
There was so much shadow work. Too much. When Samael basically raises you your dreams are full of the Adversary, Hell, war, and purifying fires. He always told me to “Grow a spine, worm.” and “Stop being a doormat. Stand up for yourself. Don’t kneel, don’t bow, stand strong.” He also likes to go off on tangents about decomposition, the Apocalypse, alcohol, alchemy, and the dreaded metaphysics, all of which I ignore.
The shadowork didn’t scare me so much as when Samael cried. Seeing the Grim Reaper cry kind of makes you doubt your existence. We fight a lot, and he has no respect for boundaries, and sometimes I don’t know why the universe made me his babysitter. I’m on much better terms with the Archangel Michael, who I consider my guardian angel, and Freyr, my patron god. Beelzebub is actually, despite being anal and cold, a sweetheart, and Deus is just dumb. All Aym does is do drugs and hang out with prostitutes. There are a lot of succubi in Hell.
So I probably sound crazy, but I’ve met about 25 people with the same exact experiences and same UPG about Samael, down to his weird fascination with squirrels. I’ve actually made several of my best friends because Samael brought us together. So thanks, I guess, Bonebutt.
My polytheism is this weird mess of Paganism and Christianity. My polytheism is constantly evolving. I believe in God, which angels and demons are manifestations of, this abstract Source that sends out servants who all embody its characteristics, hence names like “Gall of God,” “Strength of God,” or “Image of God.” I hold the kind of strange view that Michael is Jesus, or maybe I’m totally wrong, but when you see the tenderness with which Michael gardens souls and answers prayers, and how his love and suffering and sacrifice hold all Heaven together, it seems as Christlike as Christ can get. I think Sophia/the Shekinah manifest in personal heroes like Eve and Mary Magdalene, and the Divine Feminine is manifest in Mother Mary. I don’t believe in Hell as a place of suffering, but a place of purification where difficult souls go to recover and then move on. I believe demons and angels aren’t at war, per se, more in a Cold War of sorts, and I believe demons are servants of the harsher parts of God, for what is God but everything?
As for the god gods, I view them as individual pieces of the Source, in charge of different things. Freyr is my Green Man, Manannan and Njord are my sea, Loki is my fire, Coyote is my whimsy. And Thunderbird, glorious Thunderbird, is the majestic storm. All I know is that Thor gives great hugs and that Freyr is an aficionado of Mexican food.
My spirituality is organic, based on lore and experience. I would never ascribe to a strict form of worship. I go on what I have personally experienced in dreams and then do a shitton of research, finding out that Beelzebub is in fact the General of Hell as in that one dream or that book I read in Samael’s library that he threw in my head actually exists. My spirituality is odd, based on community, and I could give a rat’s ass about who others worship. I believe gods are adapting, communicating with us through means like pop culture or, in my case, memes. I’m trash, I know.
So yeah, my polytheism is this strange mix of everything I have experienced as someone drawn to the mystic path, a clairsentient, raging environmentalist treehugger, and avid, avid poet and writer. I write stories based on my experiences with the gods and spirits and continually draw on them for inspiration.
Sometimes I wonder if they just want their stories told.