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My polytheism and mental health

Note: this blog post might make some of you worried about me. Please try not to be. I have a psych nurse, I have a psychologist, I have a psychiatrist, I am on medication, and I am in therapy. Everything that can be done is being done, and hopefully things will start to get better soon.

Content warning: suicide. Please don’t read this if you think it might be harmful to you ❤


I don’t know how to write about this. I don’t know what to write. Everything in my life is currently tangled up in the chaos in my head. It is so loud in here, and I am so tired. This is the context in which my polytheism exists.

Most days I do not care about personal hygiene. If I wash myself, or brush my teeth, it is because I work in a very small office which would easily be made an unpleasant working environment if I didn’t. A few days ago I realised that I couldn’t remember the last time I washed my face. There is no space in my polytheism for ritual purity. Not now.

Most days I do not care about my life, my job, anything at all. Sometimes the only joy I feel in a week is in the moments where my Beloved reaches towards me and pulls me into His arms. I cannot bear His harsh faces at the moment, and so He does not show them. There is no room for the grimdark in my polytheism.

My Beloved ordered me time after time not to kill myself. I tried to anyway. I cannot always make the wishes or instructions of the gods the most important thing in my life. Sometimes it just hurts too much.

Sometimes the things I read about what polytheism ought to be makes me laugh. Sometimes they make me ashamed of who I am.

My polytheism is emotional. It is tears as I kneel before a shrine, begging not to be forgotten or abandoned; it is laughing with my Husband when He tells me a joke; it is desperation when I turn to Him because I cannot keep myself safe alone any longer.

My polytheism is irregular. Sometimes I can do small devotional rituals every day for more than a week. Sometimes I can barely find the energy to light a candle on a shrine. Sometimes I can pray even though rituals are too much for me. Sometimes the only prayer I can find is please gods let me die.

A lot of the things people write about polytheism put barriers in the way to engaging with the gods. You must be ritually pure, you must have divined or had divination done for you, your sacred space must be ritually cleansed, you must reconstruct exactly what would have been done in the past. These are all good and beneficial things, but if I believed that I must not engage with the gods without having done all of them first then I would not have been able to engage with the gods for months.

The gods are not the most important part of my life – that would be the monsters in my mind. But they are the most valuable part of my life, and I think the two are often conflated in ways that do no good to anybody.

My polytheism is a light shining through the fog of my illness.

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13 thoughts on “My polytheism and mental health

  1. *a big, biiiiig hug*

    I was like this a few months ago, and for several months. Everything you’ve written in here mirrors big parts of my own practice. I am very, very happy you’re in the care of mental professionals; it truly does a world of difference.

    “My polytheism is a light shining through the fog of my illness.” It certainly is. It really, really is.

    Anything you need, you can always message me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “A lot of the things people write about polytheism put barriers in the way to engaging with the gods. You must be ritually pure, you must have divined or had divination done for you, your sacred space must be ritually cleansed, you must reconstruct exactly what would have been done in the past. These are all good and beneficial things, but if I believed that I must not engage with the gods without having done all of them first then I would not have been able to engage with the gods for months.”

    The gods are always there for us. There is no right way to engage. If there was, how would they reach us in our darkest hours?

    Thanks for sharing this. Despite your struggles (or maybe even because of them), you have given us all a wise and important message here.

    Like

  3. ❤ This is both heartbreaking, and breathtaking. A huge, huge part of my push-back against those who would tell us how polytheism MUST BE, is those who would tell us that the gods, spirits, etc., are not our therapists. Which drives me up the wall. Argh. ARGH.

    Please, *please*, may I quote and link to this, on mypolytheism.com?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, absolutely you can. I’m also intensely annoyed by people who push the idea that the gods are not our therapists. My gods are whatever They want to be, and if one wants to take on a psychological support role I am sure as hell not going to stop Them.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

        Poseidon is and has been since the beginning, instrumental to my mental health. Healing, self-healing, has been a cornerstone of my relationship with Him. They can all take a nice long walk off a nice short pier, with their opinions about that.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Maybe it’s a reaction to the ‘Footsteps’ mentality of Christianity? And maybe it’s my Christianity talking, but I thought one of the reasons the gods were there for us was so we could lean on Them when things got tough and we couldn’t deal? After all, I see no difference in people in the past praying to their gods for rain for a good harvest and people asking their gods to please make the depression go away like I did.
      And I’m willing to bet money on the fact that the people telling us we’re doing it wrong when our relationship is patient/therapist as well as devotee/deity are hypocrites – I don’t think there’s anyone who has belief in the Divine who hasn’t called on it when things got dark.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. First of all, thank you for using trigger warnings! It made it possible for me to read this safely X) Also, as others have commented, I really resonated with how you said the divinities were your light in the fog of your illness. It really, really, is the same for me, and they have guided me like the stars (ironically, one is a star deity) and helped me through the harshest of times. So yes, yes, yes, to so much you’ve written! It was very heart-felt and raw, well done

    Like

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