Different pantheon, different thoughts.

I had a very long sleep after bathing that led to a strange, vivid, astonishingly insightful dream. It still haunts me, and I record it here before I can forget.

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I am visiting a house as it’s being pulled up by the roots, both figuratively and literally: the house is being torn apart for renovations, while the family that occupies it is fracturing. I am an aspiring dancer, and all I want from my stay is to be left alone. I want to practice my arabesques and eat very little and behave in a manner aloof, yet fragile, to lure people to me rather than interacting with them ordinarily.

Of course, almost from the start I do not get my wish. There are men desirous of my attention who both intrigue and repulse me, while the man I desire treats my companionship as an option that pleases him to ignore. Throughout the day and night, I suffer a parade of motherly women who carry trays of food to me and hover indiscreetly in hopes of waiting out my self-imposed starvation. Each time I attempt to dance, my faltering leg – for some reason my right side has weakened, and I cannot coordinate it well – reveals deficiency and makes witnesses cackle. The whole situation feels like a hunting game, in which I run from everyone who seeks me out, and it strikes me as tiresome and even pointless.

Then I am lying on a bed, exhausted, and with my aching head trying to will sounds of construction to silence, when I hear hammering that doesn’t resound with the rest. I look over, and I see a forge, glowing and beautiful.

Dream-me (DM): Hēphaistos.
[Hēphaistos (H) smiles to be recognised, then pauses with His hammer mid-air, suddenly serious.]
H: Are you weary?
[I think about everything, all of it. Finally, I admit:]
DM: Yes.
H: Good.
[He sets down the hammer but stays where He stands, still in profile.]
H: What does it mean to be ‘ugly’?
[I consider those who turned Him away, and who also opposed others like Dionysos. I remember those who refused to see me for myself, believing me only a foolish girl ignorant of longing, or of a lumbering fool lacking the delicate mettle that dance demands. I think for a long time, remembering misgendering and mockery and misery, and how I have seen so many who were foolishly nearsighted, not comprehending any concerns outside of their own. I realise, then, how this judgment is made.]
DM: Ugly means outcast. Not fitting in. On the edges. Not in accord with those who decide what sort of conformity is valued. They want symmetry, suppleness, harmony. But we are not all made for that.
[He nods. I believe that my answer satisfies, because he continues.]
H: What, then, is ‘lame’?
DM: It means…unable to keep up with the frenzied activity that many want life to be. It means lagging back with those who are left behind. It means–
H: –justice.
DM: Yes.
H: You know this. You understand it. When you forget what you want, remember. If you want to know your “dharma”…
[At this he smiles. It seems to be an unfamiliar word, but he uses it in the knowledge that it speaks to me.]
H: …then know that justice needs those who stand with the ones left behind. Your hands, your compassion. To forge armour from witness and will. To carry them forward instead of leaving them forgotten…
[He returns to His work. The hammer sings; the forge shines.]

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Choices.

This post will serve as both a farewell and an offering, and it’s an essay I’ve needed to write for some time. The time of my parting from Indra’s worship has come, a difficult decision, and one that has not been taken lightly or one-sidedly.

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Constant storm.

There’s a place on Earth that receives about 1.2 million lightning strikes per year, at the mouth of the Catatumbo River in Venezuela. Near-constant lightning, lasting up to ten hours, illuminates the nights; these strikes have been observed for thousands of years.

A 16th century verse by Spanish poet Félix Arturo Lope de Vega y Carpio described the phenomenon beautifully as “flames, which the wings of night cover.”

More information, along with some astonishing photographs, may be found here.

Oṃ krīṃ indrāya namaḥ.

En-lightning-ment.

I’ve across something amusingly and tangentially Indra-related, provided by (of all sources) the auto-fill in Google Translate. It seems that, in French, the word éclair means “lightning,” éclairé means “illuminated,” and éclairée, “informed.”

I don’t know enough linguistic particulars to state with certainty that the three are related, but nonetheless feel the sequence of words to be an “enlightening” procession.

In other news, I’m back from vacation and catching up on comments and requests. My responses should be sent in the next few days, but if I haven’t replied to you by the weekend, please give me a small nudge in the comments.

“The Cloud.”

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30 Days, day 30: Advice.

Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?
I’m no authority, and this project has taught me my own ignorance more than anything.

But I believe that there are two basic ways to learn about Him: the austere path of disciplined study, and the innocent loving path of the devotee. I suck at the former, so the only suggestion I can give concerns the latter, and it’s this:

A child has a sort of surrender to the experience of living – as yet uninured to existence, treating each moment as an eternity, sensing every small detail in full. To learn of Him, beyond books or hymns, become a child, for fearless delight pleases Him as much as any physical offering. I feel that all He teaches leads back to a perfect state of Soma, and that one of the devotee’s hardest tasks is not to acquire layers of learning, but peel away layers of burdensome memory, of judgment and sorrow, and become soft, open, and wondering. This is an act of tremendous courage and trust, to know that pain will doubtless await and to choose this path anyway. This is His strength, which He proves again and again in his falls.

Be ridiculous, foolish, and gentle. Invite Him to walk with you and share in the experiences you cherish, no matter how insignificant they seem. Leave guilt, fear, and ideas of unworthiness behind, and let Him show you what He will.

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© Arjunī and ridiculously reverent. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Arjunī and ridiculously reverent with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

30 Days, day 29: UPG.

Any interesting or unusual UPG to share?

First, here’s a bit of reading on the subject of UPG – because asking if I have any of this random stuff to share is useless to anybody who’s not familiar with the “random stuff” concept – so here’s a quick explanation of UPG. I’ve tried to keep ego out of this one and post only what might be useful.

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30 Days, day 28: Indra, unknown.

When I was eighteen, I had a pending university degree with no practical application, feared becoming unemployed and directionless, and had a strong faith in ideas of honour and service, so it seemed an excellent notion, to explore the Air Force and seriously consider a military career. After finishing a semester of ROTC classes and writing the officer’s qualifying test, I began preparing myself physically and mentally for officer training school that summer.

Then I woke up one night with some thoughts I’d not yet considered, conflicts I certainly needed to resolve before embarking upon this journey. I’d never fired a weapon before and didn’t like touching guns, even when others encouraged me to learn. I was a vegetarian who practiced yoga, a soft-spoken and shy person. Up until then, I’d thought that I simply needed more courage and resolve, that my doubts were only fears. Serving my country seemed a very noble purpose, and flying a wondrous thing; my eyesight barred me from pilot, but I could have trained for navigator. But I realised that night that, even if I didn’t work in a cockpit, the military still existed for the purpose of violence and that my job would be, essentially, to kill – to either do it myself or to support the people who would.

At that time my ideas of good and evil, life and death, were very clear-cut, direct, black-and-white, and fortunately – for everyone – I realised that the knowledge of killing would eventually, if not immediately, drive me mad. I couldn’t do it, and I didn’t.

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30 Days, day 27: Misconceptions.

Worst misconception about this deity that you have encountered.

There are three misconceptions that I consider “the worst,” for different reasons.

The most shocking and horrible is the version of Ahalyā’s story in which the affair is neither seduction nor trickery, but rape. Part of Gautama’s curse upon Indra becomes that He will bear part of the sin for every rape ever committed.

The most widespread misconception I’ve yet encountered is that Indra and Kṛṣṇa are enemies. Indra and Viṣṇu are ancient Friends; they are hymned together in Ṛgveda. Their roles are different, but both always work for world-welfare, and if that work is sometimes seen through the veil of Māyā, well, then I imagine that that is as They would wish it.

And the misconception that has affected me most adversely is the idea that other religions generally, and any non-Christian God specifically, is a trap set by the Devil to ensnare the intellectual. The concept that my Gods are really demons, and that I am evil for following a different faith, has unfortunately cost me family relationships and friendships.

But Indra remains, beautiful and terrible, and true regardless of how He is seen.

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© Arjunī and ridiculously reverent. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Arjunī and ridiculously reverent with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

30 Days, day 26: A relationship with Indra.

How has your relationship with this deity changed over time?

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30 Days, day 25: Indra “unhelpful.”

A time when this deity has refused to help.

I don’t think that Indra “refuses to help”; rather, He “refuses to put up with nonsense.” He’s got too much Time and Karma going on to bother with idle whimsy and ill-considered wishes, and especially with the assumption that His “help” equals “getting what you want, when you want it.” What I’ve received in response to my own foolishness is not an outright “no,” but a simple sense of retreat, of emptiness, and if I choose to persist in folly despite that feeling, then on my own head be it.

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30 Days, day 24: Indra’s help.

A time when this deity has helped you.
This is not the only instance of Indra’s help, nor the most extraordinary, but it’s one that I remember with fondness – especially because I – not surprisingly – behaved like a grouchy idiot.

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30 Days, day 23: Quotations.

A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with.

I love to read and have a stack of possible choices here, so I’m going to provide a quote, some poems, and a piece of writing! Again, though, I offer the caveat that I can’t speak for Indra; these are writings that remind me of Him, not pieces that perfectly express His nature.

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30 Days, day 22: Music.

Music that makes you think of this deity.

This is a really dangerous question to ask me. I love music. I have playlists for everything. And since I already had a compilation of “Indra songs” for this blog, I’m simply embedding the list here and providing relevant lyrics and/or explanations beneath the cut. Of course, if any song is particularly enchanting – or confusing! – feel free to ask me about it; I’m always happy to discuss wonderful music.

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30 Days, day 21: Art.

Art that reminds you of this deity.

As a consummate Artist Himself, Indra seems present in every piece of art ever made. But art that exposes absurdity or uncovers hypocrisy, art that makes the viewer think or see the world in a new way, new forms of art, fusions, inventions, improvisations, and unconventionalities all remind me of Him. Below the cut, I’ve included just a few strong, clear examples.

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30 Days, day 20: Indra admirably, Indra disturbingly.

What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?

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30 Days, day 19: Gender and sexuality.

How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG)

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30 Days, day 18: Indra and other Gods.

How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?

I wish I could say “they have high tea every Monday; the finger sandwiches are particularly superb” and have done with it, but this is another complex question that will take a long essay to answer, and I’ll have to rehash and expand upon points already made in other posts.

(Fortunately, today’s and tomorrow’s entries are the last questions of this type remaining, and the rest focus upon personal experiences, opinions, and other “non-scholastic” topics. I truly apologise if my posts have come to equate “devotion” with “dullness”; the questions asked by this project are good ones, but in Indra’s case, they’re resulting in a lot of overlapping answers – and rambly ones, because I lack sufficient time to clean up the writing. ARGH!)

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30 Days, day 17: “Values.”

How do you think this deity represents the values of their pantheon and cultural origins?

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30 Days, day 16: Writing.

I’m skipping ahead in this project; today’s intended topic is a complex subject and a question I’m not yet prepared to answer. But the topic for Day 23 – your own composition: a piece of writing about or for this deity – made me giggle. A piece of writing for Indra? Really? As opposed to, oh, I don’t know…this entire blog?

But in all seriousness, and reverence, I do have some unposted work lingering around my computer. Here’s one poem, an untitled, unpolished verse.

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