This blog has been very quiet lately, in part due to the inevitable religious fallout of Hell Month (as well as a larger ‘dark night’ experience which I plan to write about elsewhere). While time to privately reflect is vital to any religious practice, this silence has also meant that I have not kept people updated with shifts in the Otherfaith. Important shifts, such as how to be involved with the Four Gods, their relationship to humanity, and who can be involved in what.
The People are much more open than we were before, because the Four Gods asked for us to be (and were eager to begin interacting with more people) and because I recognized that the way we were going about our community structure wasn’t working. As with most things in the Otherfaith, it was a cooperative move on the part of the People and the gods. (Considering that the Four are said to extend their hands to ours, and devotion from us is our extending back, this is not all that strange an operating system.)
However, that doesn’t mean the Four Gods and the Otherfaith are a free-for-all, or that you can pick gods and spirits and toss them into whatever religion you are currently practicing. The gods, as I’ve said before, do have a religious culture, one that the Otherfaith is attempting to bring to this world. And the People themselves do have rules and restrictions.
One of these is incredibly simple.
Don’t abuse people.
Most people, upon hearing that this is a restriction to being part of our religious community and worshiping our gods, find this sensible. A stable community of people requires that abuse not be tolerated or given a pass. Letting a new religion become a fertile ground for abusers is not only a death knell to the faith – it is an utter failing of the people it is meant to help in their worship of the gods. Rather than opening them to the gods and spirits, it opens them to being victimized and traumatized.
The Four Gods themselves are rather clear when it comes to abuse. the Clarene and Dierne are both supreme gods of consent. the Ophelene holds a shield to protect victims, and she also equips a sword to strike down predators. Those that prey on the vulnerable and abuse others are not welcome by the gods. the Dierne, in her various stories, stabs, shoots, drowns, or bludgeons her abuser (Mircea) to death. These gods do not trifle in this.
This has been established from the beginning. This is not part of the faith that can waver or change. The holy otherworld where our gods live is one with boundaries. Those that steal from the gods are tossed out, made examples of. Those that abuse in the name of the gods are cut off. There is simply no other option for the People considering our gods – and considering our value of human life and integrity.
Trespassing in this does not make one transformative. The gods do not support abuse. The People do not support abuse.
This is basic.
The enabling or acceptance of abuse, claiming that the gods should be able to tolerate a human victimizing another because the abuser needs the gods, is nothing short of disgusting. There is nothing sacred in supporting abusers. There is nothing holy or spiritual.
It is not transformative or challenging to a faith. Such acts or speech simply show the failings of those promoting them. They challenge nothing. They insist that the status quo of silent victims continue. It is a coward’s act, speaking up for other cowards who cannot accept the most basic of things –
Our gods don’t want the worship of a predator.
12/20/2014: Due to the lack of structure and applied practices in the faith, it is acceptable to put the Four Gods into your current practice if you and your gods/spirits wish to.
12/20/2014: While the Four Gods do have a religious culture within their own world, bringing that forth into our own requires work. Footnote 1 amends previous statement of not putting our gods into another practice; it is acceptable to use your own practices as we develop the faith’s religious structure.
Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.