The shitstorm in December really bothered my spouse when he found out about it last month. December was such a bad month for me that I wasn’t keeping up with more than a couple of blogs and I wasn’t reading the comments. The comments section of someone whom I’ve liked for years was astonishingly (truly - I was astonished) nasty.
It’s put me in an awkward position; I own several things they made, but ultimately I am someone that they would aggressively hate, given opportunity to know how I feel and how I do things. They were meant to be ritual wear items for Shannon. I bought them after the shitstorm, but before I had been told to look at the comments. The post itself wasn’t horrible, though it had ableist assumptions and a lack of understanding of how severe poverty (I live below the poverty line. most people who talk about being poor are not that poor: a fact for which I am truly infinitely grateful. but it does mean that many people assume things about poverty based on their own experiences and not people who are in significantly worse situations) affects people, which was pretty common across the board of shitstormy posts.
I have not been well enough to try to collate my thoughts into a post, but as I’ve been reading a lot about offerings and daily rites and thinking about what I can and cannot literally do, it seems to be coming together, despite the brain fog and the desperate wish of my fingers to avoid typing because it hurts.
Being a family on food stamps, which the government dramatically cut in two slices between November and the beginning of the year (over $100/mo per person cut – I used to get around $200 for food each month), I never offer any food that I’m not actually eating. I invite them, the land spirits, ancestors, various others, etc, to share it with me.
We typically offer water, candlelight, and incense a few times a week. Incense gets offered the most, because I prefer to only sit at the shrine if I’m relatively clean and since I am disabled and suffer severe chronic pain, I cannot shower every day or even every other day. I like to do the candles and the water when I can sit down and pray for a while.
I’ve never been told that what I do is not enough or not good enough, except by other pagans.
There is so much bullshit elitism and ‘ur doin it wrong’ that goes on that really is nothing but shit. They are not gods. They have no idea what the gods want from other people. They only know what they want from other people. They have a notion of what a “good x” is (themselves, their friends) and anyone who falls short of it is a “bad x.”
There is often no understanding, acceptance, or realistic advice for people who are disabled, or who have severe food shortage issues. Angry assertions that it is wrong to eat the food one gives to the gods (regardless of historical precedent) do not take into account any of the following:
- it may be perfectly valid and correct in your religion.
- your religion may come from a time or place where the 'waste’ of food was appalling and wrong.
- historically, in your religion, offerings were what fed the priests after they fed the gods the same food, and food was always consumed by a person.
- you may really and truly need every bite you can get from the food you can buy or get from a food pantry.
- you might have an eating disorder and having a 'valid’ excuse to not eat the food you prepare is extremely bad for you.
- your gods may have told you to eat/share offerings (this explicitly happened to Shannon, for example. he is not allowed to not share things except in rare circumstances, such as certain holidays, on which he feeds the landspirits a bottle of mead that he’s already had a small amount from (Freyr’s portion)).
- you may be incapable of disposing of offerings outside, due to where you live, the people you live with, or by being too disabled to do so.
There is so much ableism involved in the holier-than-thou bullshit.
Guess what? I’ve spent the last two months being too sick and in too much pain to regularly eat anything except instant mashed potatoes and tuna with mayo, till my gout flared, then it was solidly mashed potatoes. I shared my mashed potatoes, but,
There’s always this insistence that anyone and everyone can cook lavishly for their gods, and it is heavily implied that if you were a real devotee, or if you actually loved your gods, you would find the time and ensure that you had the money by going without some things because the gods deserve things far more than you do.
I’ve heard (hela give me strength) that you should “skip your daily Starbucks” in order to have this money. I think the last time I had something from Starbucks was… close to three years ago (V.’s parents wanted Starbucks when they were driving me home and asked if I wanted something), and before that, it was… pre-2007.
Also “stop eating out/eating fast food.”
I usually go to a restaurant for my anniversary, which coincides with V’s and my birthdays (they’re three days in a row), and have one dinner for everything. I refuse to stop celebrating my birthday, the continued existence of my spouse, and the years we have spent together. This is wildly selfish and dickish of me, I know.
My favourite, though, is “if you’re that poor, why do you have internet access?” I’ll tell you.
Since I can’t go to the store very often and anything non-food has to be bought with cash, anyway, I order things like toilet paper in bulk from Amazon, and I order cat food and cat litter. I also order things like incense for the shrine, and herbs and tea blends that make me a little less sick.
Since I cannot go to the library (it is much too far for me to walk in my current condition), I cannot “just go there” to do my online ordering. Also, I either buy books online or read things online if they’re available. I also read the blogs of well-educated pagans who are further along their paths than I am, or whose insights I find invaluable.
I have Zero friends that I can see face to face.
Cancelling our internet access would give us $45 extra dollars each month, but if we still had a car, we would spend it in gas going places for what we need, and without a car, I just can’t get this shit done any other way.
Having a severe disability, I am already incredibly isolated. I never see anyone except my landlords, V.’s family (who can be extremely terrible people and who abused him extensively), and, obviously, the people I live with.
I don’t see anything good at all about not having internet access at home.
When I spend money on things that aren’t bills, or related to household needs, such as soap and toilet paper, or health things (I had to buy crutch pads for V., a heating pad, and a reusable ice pack last month, and we also drink herbal tea for health (if you have a chronic illness that causes fatigue and general malaise, look into Holy Basil, or tulsi. You can get it in bags and food stamp-covered from a Whole Foods, but we ultimately decided to start buying bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs)), it is to buy a book related to my religion, or something for the shrine, or I donate $5 or $10 to a charity related to one of my gods’ spheres. What more can I do?
Yet everything I do is unworthy of my gods and I do not really love them.
Before you presume to speak for my gods, live a month on my social security cheque ($830), with all my illnesses and severity of disability, my bills, and everything else.
While you’re at it, enlighten me about how you manage to even go to the store without a car, with two bad knees, and no bus. I’d love to know. I have to bum rides off V’s family, deal with being in a car with an abuser when I have severe PTSD (on top of a lot of other shit that caused my PTSD, I was raped by someone who drove me far away from home), and it has to coincide with a time that I feel physically well enough and someone is willing to drive me. This occurs rarely.
Then we can talk about what I’m doing wrong.