Here next month I will be taking vows, I am still working out how exactly what form those vows will take. Language is a very particular thing, and with something as important as vows/oaths, one should carefully consider the language that they are using in expressing those vows in a very exacting manner.
What some folks may not realize, and others who have been close friends for longer periods, is that I have been what is termed a godspouse for nearly a decade now. Now before you run for the hills all my skeptical friends, you should realize from my previous posts on the subject that I take something of a philosophical bent to it as I believe that this is a natural state that can develop of the souls love for a god that it is attracted to and with whose company the soul belongs (which Plato speaks of). In fact my understandings of my relationship with Apollon have been helped a great deal by philosophy and brought into a reasonable light. Therefore I tend to be more pragmatic about it rather than all “woo”. It is a natural spiritual state and relationship, although not one that everyone necessarily feels as part of their own relationships with one of their gods, it is still not something that necessarily is a huge deal for anyone outside of the person enjoying the relationship. The reason I don’t write much about it is because it is a very personal subject for me, but one I also have tried to speak of with great care in the past when speaking of it to keep a neutral tone (posts that I have written in the past can be found here, and here), because it is something I don’t particularly take a lot of time to talk about publically. After all it is between me and Apollon, and has nothing to do with anyone else’s relationship with him. I really can’t fathom why anyone would be particularly interested in what I have to say about my relationship to be honest. However, with some recent drama discussing godspouses, I can’t say that it hasn’t made an impact. Granted I have been probably saved from the biggest segments of drama because I stay away from tumblr as if it were the den of plague and disease. It seems to breed drama by habit, and so I prefer not to stray that way. However, there have been some commentary regarding vows that I wanted to discuss, as there appears, from what is being said, to be a rash outbreak of young girls giving, and being encouraged to give, vows to gods that they experience attraction and love for. There is a lot of worthwhile points being introduced into discussion as well that I may address later, but because I consider vows/oaths to be a matter of utmost seriousness this is where I wanted to focus first.
First of all as a disclaimer let me say that I have been enjoying this particular relationship for nearly a decade, but I never formally took vows or had any kind of ceremony (which is being rectified next month). Why? Well frankly because I was in no hurry to. I enjoyed the development and building of my relationship with Apollon leisurely. I studied and got to know him historically and philosophically (a pursuit which shall never end by the way because there is always more out there to learn), and got many years in of worship, love, devotion, and following his course. I played once with the idea many years ago of taking vows, but then shelved the idea because I found that I was unsure of exactly how I wanted to proceed with those vows, and to leap into vows without careful consideration seemed quite unwise. So instead of jumping into formal vows, I have just relaxed and enjoyed the journey.
There is really no hurry ladies and gentlemen (and I am including men here because godspouses come in many diverse varieties). The gods aren’t going anywhere, and you will likely have a full and long life. Take the time to get to understand what is going to be entailed when you make those vows, take the time to consider with the exercise of foresight of what vows exactly you want to make and if they are something that you will want to commit to for the long haul (because breaking oaths sworn to gods is not a good thing). This means you need to have realistic expectations of yourself. Developing your relationship with your deity slowly will give you the advantage of knowing how your relationship manifests (because these relationships are not cut and dry but rather differ drastically from person to person) and also about how you feel about your relationship. Please note that the following is not a conclusive list but just some suggestions.
By giving yourself time you will know 1.how you really feel and react to the presence of possible additional romantic emotional ties outside your relationship with your god (only time and practical experience really reveals this accurately regardless of any what if scenarios we might imagine); 2.whether you *really* want to be celibate for the rest of your life (note that you can be actively celibate or not by choice without making this a part of your formal vows, it is not an essential part of being a godspouse and I know happily married godspouses just as I know celibate nun/monk types); 3. what you are willing and capable of committing to in terms of devotional works (note that not everyone is meant to be a seer by gods); 4. a realistic devotional life if that works into your vows (vowing that you will do libations seven times a day and then realizing afterwards that it didn’t work out quite as you had imagined would be a bit of a kick in the arse); 5. consideration that things are ever going to be changing as your relationship grows in ways you won’t anticipate, so not to make vows that will be a hindrance to exploring new avenues with your god (for instance I have given up eating meat as a devotional act for Apollon but I am unlikely to make this a vow because who knows what can happen in the future), with time and experience under belt you will have a clear idea of just how things have changed and how often during the course of your relationship; 6. how to create vows that are meaningful to your developed relationship and come from the heart rather than trying to form elaborate vows based on what you imagine is ideal but have little to do with your relationship with your god; 7. (and perhaps the most important to my thinking) to be sure that it is love and not infatuation on your part, because you wouldn’t want to make vows and then two months or five years later decide that the god in question has lost his appeal and now you are moving on elsewhere and casting those vows aside.
There are of course many more items that could be ticked off but my brain ran out of steam. Folks who have other points are more than welcome to add them. In the end sorting out your vows and making them is a very important step and should be treated respectfully and in full awareness of the consequences of those vows. You don’t have to wait a decade like I did, but my best advice to young godspouses is to not be in a hurry. But when the time comes it will have even more meaning to you, as will whatever pomp and ceremony you decide to weave around them.
And to my other readers, don’t worry these kinds of posts won’t pop up all that frequently. I am still very much a private person.