A for Amateratsu

So, I’d like to kick off my Pagan Alphabet Soup posts by talking about the Shinto Goddess Amateratsu. Lady Amateratsu is the Goddess of the Sun and the Day, and She is the highest respected Goddess in the Shinto pantheon (according to my research and experience). She has two Brothers: Tsukiyomi, the God of the Moon and the Night, and Susano, the God of the Seas and Storms/a Beloved of mine. Her shrine, Ise Jingu, is in the Ise area in Japan and is the most important shrine in all of Japan. (I’ve not yet been able to go to Her shrine, as it’s a 5 hour bus ride from where I live currently, but it’s on my Japan bucket list, for sure.)

Her relationship to me is that of “Onee-chan” (pronounced “oh-nay chan), a.k.a. Big Sister. Since I am Her youngest Brother’s bride, She decided to take me under Her wing as Her little sister, because “I’ve never had a sister.” Despite this, however, She and I don’t always get along. She’s arrogant, dramatic, and sometimes overbearing, but mostly She’s easy to anger. I’ve gotten horrendous sunburns despite having practically bathed in sunscreen because I have pissed Her off for some reason or another. We aren’t all the time antagonistic towards each other, but I would definitely characterize our relationship as that of oldest and youngest siblings. Otherwise, O/our interactions have been brief.

One thing that I do to honor Her is I leave a glass of water on the windowsill that gets the most sunlight. I also often leave Her chocolate on occasion, usually a Snickers bar. Otherwise, She doesn’t really ask much of me, and I don’t ask much of Her in return, except that She doesn’t burn me with Her intense UV rays (see above on how well that usually works for me).

Since O/our interactions are usually brief, there really isn’t much else I can write about Her. Rest assured that, should I learn about about Her and/or O/our relationship changes, I will definitely write about it. But, yeah, this is about it. I hope that you enjoyed learning a little bit more about Lady Amateratsu. šŸ™‚

Quiet on the Homefront

Things have been really hectic as of late. I started a new job that a absolutely love, and I have been busy trying to get to know my students as well as becoming accustomed to the new schedule, which is different every day. Exhausting, to be sure, but rewarding.

Now that I am living in a quieter environment and have more time to reflect, I am getting better reception on my Godphone, which is a huge relief. I have felt such a disconnect with my Beloveds and the other Deities in my Pantheon. I have been able to spend some quality time with my Gods that had not been possible until recently. This was not due to neglect on my part, I am Told, but rather I had a person come into my life that helped me learn many things about myself. This person (henceforth called Canadian) helped me in diminishing the effects of the trauma that I had sustained throughout my childhood, as well as helping me become aware of the world around me. In order to become a good Khaleesi, this was something I needed to do.

All in all, everything has been going quite well. My mind has never felt clearer. I hope to continue this upward trend so that I can become the best person I can be, for myself and my Gods.Ā 

Reverberation

It has been two months since I have moved to Japan. Two months. This time has moved both so slowly that time seemed to stop at times and so fast that I can hardly comprehend where the time has gone. My life still hardly makes sense anymore. I have been cut off from almost everything I knew before from my old life, and I have been even been cut off from my Husbands/Gods. It was almost like a rebirth for me, into the new person I am supposed to become… However, this is not exactly what has happened. The events that happened during the last few weeks of my stay in America have been reverberating through my life even now, months later.

I am almost ashamed to say that I just can’t seem to let go of the fact that my Gods, the Ones I trusted most, shackled me. It feels, still, like a betrayal of my faith and trust, even though I know that it was meant to build my trust with Them. It didn’t do this, however. Not at all. I have been through the emotional wringer about this particular set of events, even to the point that I can still feel the cuffs on my wrists and ankles. I know that this is just my mind making things up (at least I hope so), but it puts me back into that mindset. It kills me that this just won’t stay in the past, but it has seriously impacted my already very ridiculously little ability to trust and have faith. I mean this very seriously. These were things I struggled with before, for various reason, but I struggle with them more now.

My faith has gone to such lows as to think about giving up my faith completely, to worship no Gods. To ask to be released from my vows. I seriously have thought about what it would be like to try to shut off my Godphone and just live in the silence once again. My mind has wondered into that desolate place where I had been before I came to know the Gods as I know Them now. I have seriously considered what it would be like to move back into that spiritual dead space.

These thoughts shame me, which adds to my already wrecked mindset. Why could I not stick it out? Why did I fail, like everything else? Where did I go wrong? Why was I not good enough? The questions just keep going and going and going, and sometimes there is no real way to stop them. I am seriously wondering whether I was cut out to be what They want me to be, considering I am unable to move past this mental/emotional block of mine. The only thing that is saving me, I think, is the fact that I do not really want to give up on this. I want to try to overcome myself in order to be what my Gods need/want me to be, but… I don’t know how to even begin to do this, except for not giving up. For now, I think, this may be all I have the energy for.

Starting in October, my other Deities will start to be filtered back into my awareness, at Susano’s discretion. I don’t know how I feel about this. Afraid, to be sure, that I will not be able to move past our last meetings with E/each O/other. Hesitant, because I am not sure I want this (I don’t do so well with so many different Deities clamoring for my attention). Nervous, because I am shy and “adorable” like that (according to Susano) about meeting with my Husbands again (the phrase ‘like a virgin on her wedding night’ comes to mind). Anxious, because I have been enjoying the quiet that the Kami provide, and with so many Deities that ask for my attention, the contrast is going to be jarring…

So many feels!

I wish there was another person I could go to for guidance, but there is none. Being a solitary practitioner as well as being in a foreign country has done nothing to help that part out.

I just want my faith back. I want the ability to trust. I want to be unshakable in both. As to how to get there, I am not sure. All I have gotten from the Kami on the matter is to “just do it”, in short. Easier said than done, I’m afraid. If I could, this would not be a dilemma, would it? I am hoping, with all of my heart, that one day I can have both of these things, rather than the crippling self-doubt about everything. Maybe this hope is where to start?

(Forgive me for this probably ridiculously long, rambling post. When the feels dictate the words and their order, well, it doesn’t always make the most sense.)

Spiritual Ecstasy

On Saturday, I had one of the most spiritually amazing experiences I have ever had in my life. There was a small typhoon that hit my part of Japan, and I was caught in it (I was out shopping at the dollar store) when it hit. I knew it was coming, but I was unaware of when it would hit.

As I walked home, the thunder crashed and lightning tore through the sky. I could feel the ground vibrate with every clap of thunder. Rain poured from the sky heavier than I have ever seen before, and I was caught right in the middle of it. Susano, the God of Storms and the Sea, was showing me His might, and I opened myself fully to Him. I became one with Him like I have never done with any of the other Deities in my life. It was breathtaking, feeling His power as he wielded it, merged with me. The barest whisper of “more” or “harder” made the rain pound harder and the thunder and lightning clash around me. It was one of the most primal experiences of my life.

Looking back on it now, it was a very sexual experience, despite me not wanting it to be. But, it was on a spiritual level, a variety of sexuality that I have never experienced before, most likely because I have never completely opened myself to my Husbands the way that I opened myself to Susano that day. His gentleness astonishes me, even now. No matter His ferocity, He was tender, but intense. I can barely even accurately describe it. No matter what, though, I felt completely and utterly safe in His care.

During this crisis of faith I have been having, feeling this spiritual ecstasy was the perfect thing to help start the mendingĀ process for me. It is a starting point, and I hope I can continueĀ healing from my damages. I also hope for more experiences like it in the future.

[Edit: Rereading this has made me realize that what I am describing may sound adulterous, but I can assure you that what happened was consensual and within the limits placed upon me by my Husbands, based on the Work that I do. So, no judgement. There were no rules broken here.]

Conundrum

As part of my job here in Japan, I am supposed to be helping be a cultural ambassador for my home country and to help internationalize my students/peers. This is, of course, probably the easiest parts of my job. I mean, all I need to do is be myself and represent my country in a positive light. However, there are two facets of myself that I am not sure how to handle: my sexuality and my religion. Neither of these things have I ever really been “out” about, but now that I am here in Japan, I feel like I have a lot more freedom to “become myself”, so to speak. There are some obstacles in my way, though, about “coming out” in this country.

Japan is, for the most part, a secular country, and most of the religious practices here are mostly just continuing the traditions of their ancestors. Also, because there is only a 1% Christian population here, on either parts of my conundrum, I am not likely to be threatened with hell fire and damnation. However, there are cultural things that give me pause about being out and proud of being who and what I am. Of course, this is amplified by the feeling of wanting to be open about who I am, and the truly odd feeling that is accompanying this new want of mine.

As I mentioned before, Japan is a secular country, but the people here, generally, have very strict gender roles. Of course, historically, homosexual relationships between men were tolerated because it was seen that this type of relationship between an older man and a younger one was the passing of knowledge from the older to the younger. However, this social acceptance of homosexual behaviors did not apply to women. I will not go into further detail here about the particulars of this double standard, but it needs to be said that it is still something that is a social “rule” even today, at least with regards to strict gender roles (though I am not sure that the formerly accepted homosexuality is still something that is socially acceptable in present times). Another Japan-specific set of beliefs is that they do not share personal information with anyone outside of their inner circle of friends and family. This means that most information, like that of religion and sexual preference, is something kept to oneself. Altogether this means that this is not something that would ever really be asked of me to answer, but because I am to be a cultural ambassador, I face the unique problem of playing the balancing act of conforming to Japanese societal standards and conforming to that of my home country, which pretty much is a free for all, being a free country and all that.

With this is mind, how should I proceed from here? Am I to conform or am I to be myself? In all honesty, there will probably be very few times in which I will have to share these things with my Japanese colleagues, but if I were to keep quiet in the times I do have the chance to share, would I not then be in breach of one of my purposes in being here? I have already been very honest and open about being bisexual and pagan to the other ALTs, but this is not something that really was ever an issue. Being from other English-speaking countries, this is something they are (I assume) accustomed to anyways. But, I still have no idea how to go from here. I suppose I will have to come up with the answer on my own sometime, and I can only hope that what I choose will be the right answer for me.

In Japan

I am blessed with the ability to have internet for the few days that I will be in Tokyo, so I thought I would write a little bit about my general mindset, while also trying not to fall asleep and making my jet lag worse. So, if incoherence happens, I apologize now. As Shamaness said, on a scale of one to TOAST!, I am now to the TOAST! level of tiredness. Mental acuity is not at its highest in Casa Baronessa.

These past day or so (I have no idea how long it has actually been), my emotions have been all over the place. I’ve lost a lot personally since Thursday, and I am still reeling from it all. I’ve lost all of my family, whom I’ve discovered I do still love very much. I’ve lost my long-time girlfriend to the distance. I’ve lost all that is comforting and familiar in one fell swoop. It’s not easy to rip away lifelong ties, and as much as I knew that I needed this, it still hurt me so much. I can’t even really tell you how many tears I have cried since Friday.

But, yeah. I have been surrounded by love of my Gods and in the hands of Susano, Whom I am learning to trust, just a little. I am looking forward to seeing how things go from here.

My new life starts now. šŸ™‚

It’s Not Sacrifice if there is No Pain

I was having a good talk to my mother the other night, and I realized, much to my endless chagrin, that I was going to miss my mother after I left for Japan. Obviously, this was very upsetting to me, seeing as there are only 26ish more days before I leave and sacrifice everything for my own sake, and I was already pretty upset from having to go to her to talk about an argument I was having with Shamaness (I’m not even going to touch that again). I honestly didn’t think I was going to miss her, not with all that she had done to me. I didn’t think I was going to endure the pain of leaving her behind, not like I was going to have with my nephew, my brother, and Shamaness. However, laying on the bed next to her as she spoke to me made me realize that it was going to be much harder than I thought.

Baron came to me later that night to comfort me, and He said to me gently, “It’s not sacrifice if there is no pain.” This statement rocked my world enough that I was glad He had me wrapped safely in His arms. Loki may be the usual One to drop uneasy truths on people, and Odin may be the One to remind me of the pain there is in life, but it was Baron that had to give me this one, to help me swallow this bitter pill of a truth. Even now, several days, I’m still reeling. This is much more complex than I realized.

I realize that it may sound callous to most to say that I would never miss my mother, and it probably also does not paint me in a good light either, but before I am judged by anyone, I will have it known that my mother/family has been the single most toxic thing in my life up until the present. I have dealt with abuse of all varieties from all of them at some point in my life, and I’ve known for a long time that all I can ever do to get them away from me is make my circumstances improve for myself and only myself. I’m not going to go into really any detail at all here in such a public domain, but I can say this much: I do not want any of my future children knowing my family. The best thing I can do for myself, as well as my future children, Ā is to leave the entirety of my family behind and make my own family later, when I’m ready. This sounds easy enough, but now that I am so close to actually having to do it, I’m kinda scared.

I know that my Deities will not let me go back on my word on this, but in this last month, I have no doubt that They are going to ensure that I know exactly who/what I am leaving behind. They are going to make me mourn my losses and be fully knowledgeable of what I am doing so that I cannot cry foul later. I’m still unsure (obviously) of what exactly this means at this point, but I am still so anxious about all of this. As if I didn’t have enough on my plate as it is.

So, now I am left to contemplate the added difficulties I will face once I am settled into (what will most likely be) the Japanese countryside. My only hope will be that I will survive this World-Breaking intact. I guess only time will tell.