We had another G+ Hangout last Saturday – it was incredibly fun and we discussed a lot. Most of it was not directly related to the Otherfaith. We discussed everything from anime (CLAMP, Madoka, and Neon Genesis Evangelion) to activism and self care. We also touched on the ideas brought up last week. For those who want to write posts or discuss this further, I broke the post into simple questions. Elliot already wrote a response to the Monday post!
- What does it mean to perform religion?
- What is acting religiously?
- How does performance factor in?
- Is thought a religious act?
- How do we stay active?
- What are our social obligations (from religion)?
- How do we change today?
- How do we encourage devotion in each other and ourselves?
- What words should we use?
- What words should we avoid?
- What does devotion look like in your life?
We’ll be holding another hangout this upcoming Saturday. If you cannot make our usual one, let me know what time works for you. Any additional hangouts will be starting in April if necessary. I’ll also be organizing a text-chat where we watch movies or shows together and then discuss our ideas, as well as how what we’ve watched can relate to the Otherfaith. This may begin in April or June, depending on scheduling on my part. If you’re interested in organizing this, let me know, but I understand that all of us are busy in our own ways!
I’m current rewriting The Red Room myth, as part of my acknowledging the murder of William. Originally, I had wanted the myth to be a dragging, horrific story, but I cut down my intended word count and went with the story that flowed easier. Of course, this means we don’t have any context for why Aletheia 003 leads his lover to death. Until that is done, I probably won’t be writing a lot about them.
For this week, I think one thing we should focus on is the upcoming celebration of Epiphany. Sage wrote about Epiphany last Friday. I myself have a small ceremony written for her. My religious practice has always been very plain. Candles, incense, water, maybe bread. I’ve a dislike for writing prayers and poetry, having always tended toward prose, so even the ‘prayers’ that I wrote were just statements, talking at the spirit known as Epiphany. I’ll be giving Epiphany incense and a white candle, and on the shrine for her I’ll be putting up images that represent Epiphany to me. I’ll also be putting a book on the shrine (A History of Reading – it was hard to resist a book that describes reading as ‘seduction…rebellion, and…obsession’). Maybe she’ll lend her spark to the stories I’m working on!
Epiphany is a spirit of connections, to me. She’s what inspired me to knowing of the Dierne as Pallis, as the beautiful star boy-god that he is. She inspired many of my understandings of the gods. Which is not to say that they are perfect or capital-c Correct, but that they were definitely inspired. So some things to consider this week as we think about Epiphany involve connections, unexpected connections. What leaps of faith or logic have you made in your life? What friendships or relationships in your life were unexpected but beneficial?
Another thing to contemplate is how your mind works. Epiphany, and other Book Keepers, have different ways of thinking. How do you think, what is your process? Related to this is what sort of environment is helpful to you, whether it is beneficial to your creativity or thought or just general emotional state. Are you, for example, sensitive to certain textures? Dislike or prefer certain smells? How does the external world affect your internal one?
I figured there could be some connections between Epiphany and our seventh god the Darren, so I asked Sage for some ideas. They brought up the good point that both the spirit and god are connected to flame – Epiphany with her immolation and the Darren with his molten core. Are these fires of inspiration? Or are they another sort of fire? What does the different type of fire mean? What does lava mean metaphorically and mythically compared to immolation?
Another connection Sage brought up dealt with struggles of shame and confidence. Epiphany has to navigate herself once she’s become herself; the Darren faces this as well. Both fall between two worlds, having to balance both. How do we balance sides of ourselves? Do we fall in-between spaces, and where do we? What sides of ourselves tug apart from each other, trying to tear us apart? And what do we hide from ourselves, what do we keep away, ashamed and afraid to look at it? Why are we afraid of it?
Confidence is not something inherent. Confident people are not always confident. Confidence involves both skill, repetition, and performance. Acting confident can help us become confident. Confidence is not something that can be simply scooped up or faked into reality, however. As we said during our hangout, changing and acting is a process. We have to work at it every day, and we also need safe spaces where we can fail or take breaks.
The idea of becoming someone else, becoming something new, is a concept that can be applied to the Darren and Epiphany both. And we can try to find who we were before – we may even be able to grasp that person – but eventually that will fade and we will be left with ourselves, as we are now, in this moment, before we fade again into who we are becoming. Guiding that process of becoming is hard, but if we are not conscious of it we can wake up one day and find ourselves not knowing anything of what person we are. The mirror becomes a stranger, and then we have all the work of becoming and unbecoming to do.
We can lose ourselves in other ways, of course. But even then, we have to work to know ourselves.
If you would like, join us next week for our hangout. It is video, voice, and text chat, whichever you are more comfortable using!
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.