Did I tell you about the time Nyx pinched a nerve when I went to the Krishna House for free food and chanting?

Fry: Bender, why did you do it? We were all so happy!
Leela: And we were in love!
Bender: Phhff! That wasn’t love!
Fry: What!? How can you say that?
Bender: Because Bender knows love. And love doesn’t share itself with the world! Love is suspicious. Love is needy. Love is fearful. Love is greedy. My friends, THERE IS NO GREAT LOVE WITHOUT GREAT JEALOUSY!!!
Bender hugs Fry and Leela by the necks, choking them
Bender: I love you meatbags!

I have nothing but respect for John Beckett, and his experiences closely resemble those of many other polytheists I know and respect, as well. That said, I’ve noticed that a lot of pagans and polytheists fall into the trap of solipsism (Def1.1), and the assumption that one’s experiences are universal.

On my own path, at least at this time, it’s certainly expected of me to recognise the existence of other gods, but worship, even in the most seemingly-benign sense as taking part in the chanting and Baghavad Gita discussion after otherwise-mooching some free food at the Hare Krishna house, when my foodstamps were all but cut off, back in November 2014, is not something I’m allowed to do, at least not at this time.

I was actually having a “good day”, that evening, with regards to my back pain, but when handed a tambourine after the meal, and starting with the chanting, a nerve pinched mid-back, where I don’t typically experience pain, and don’t recall ever experiencing it in that area before, or since. This did not end until I took what I decided was the polite amount of time, suffering through it, and left the house for my shift at WCBN. It’s hard not to read that as a warning against messing ariound with Gods to Whom I don’t belong.

I can’t deny that other people have paths that allow them to officiate for, or even make some sense of contact with other gods — and that’s great, and I respect their path in that. It would also be wrong for me to deny my experiences, though, which are all telling me that this is how I’m supposed to worship, at this stage in my life; maybe this could change, in the future, and I’m certainly allowed to respect Krishna, and the homes of those who are His, but beyond that, I’ve been reigned in, and I’m good with that.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

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