You Are What You Eat

So Star Foster has again shown herself to excel at generating controversy.

I want to be happy. I want a decent job, a decent paycheck, a decent place to live, and a decent man in my bed. I don’t want to be marginalized, living on the fringes of society, a special snowflake. I don’t want my faith to be the most interesting or prominent thing about me. To get there I need to worship square gods. The gods of good ol’ ordinary, honest, wholesome living. Because worshiping fringe, edgy, re-invented, and quirky gods is only going to keep me marginalized and unhappy.

I think I have always known this intuitively, but it kind of coalesced for me today. If you want to exist in a sub-culture, and quirky is what you live for, then bravo. Do your thing. But if you start worshiping Jotuns, dramatically dark gods, or highly political modern inventions, then you shouldn’t be surprised if your life is in some turmoil. If you worship Eris, don’t expect to be a quiet, contented CPA in the suburbs. If you are given over to Dionysos’ madness, then don’t expect to live a sane and comfortable life.

And the internet exploded.

The idea that I am choosing “…to be marginalized, living on the fringes of society, a special snowflake…” based on worshiping the gods that called me to service makes as much sense as the idea that I don’t need medication for my Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) if I visualize having a healthy mind, or that I wouldn’t get respiratory infections if I was right with the Lord, or hundreds of other stupid statements that are meant to devalue people who have real issues.  Set did not cause my asthma, just like my sexual assault was not caused by the clothing I was wearing at the time.

Sorry, Star.  You don’t get to live in your happy bubble of “normal” life and live your everyday existence while posting such victim blaming on your blog without also being held up as an example of what not to do.   Even removing the ability for people to directly comment on your work doesn’t prevent those of us who disagree from speaking out.

Sensitive reader is sensitive.

I don’t see the jump to victim blaming. Maybe I didn’t read between the lines far deep enough. What I read was that Star was saying that if you worship gods that deal with areas of life that are more chaotic, you can expect some of this chaos to manifest in your life. If you worship gods that deal with the darker aspects of life and death, then you can expect those things to keep showing up in your life, which can bring you pain and stress.

And it needs to be stressed that this is a valid point. If you worship Eris (the modern whitewashed version of Eris, most likely, rather than the giggling-in-entrails Eris seen in the Iliad) then it is reasonable to expect that there will always be thing that are unusual, unexpected, and disastrous that intrude upon your life. Because, Divine Lulz.

If you worship Hekate, you can expect your life to involve some amount of helping other scope with death or the realm between.

If you worship Dianna as a divine representation of feminist political activism, then you can expect to experience turmoil and resistance as a result of your activism.

And that is not to say that dealing with those deities will necessarily bring havoc into your life. But if you devote yourself to a given deity, then you can expect that deity to call you into service in areas that he or she deals with. And some of that may prove uncomfortable.

And honestly, let’s not forget the possibility that a certain deity selected you because you have certain tendencies and talents. In short, it may not be you who chose Eris because you wanted a chaotic life; Eris may have chosen you because you lead a chaotic life.

But the jump to equating Star’s position with asserting that Set caused your asthma is one that Super Mario couldn’t make at full speed with that little raccoon tail.

Now, with that said, critical reader has a criticism. And it’s a good one.

The examples she uses demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding the gods she speaks of. Sure, Zeus may seem “tame” when compared to Eris (there are very few deities Who don’t seem tame, when compared to Eris; and yes, I firmly believe that Eros is one of those few), but as a storm God, a god of politics, and possibly the loosest fly in the narrative mythos, Zeus is not a boring, square deity —I have a minimal relationship with Zeus; I offer watered wine in His due time of the month1, I give to His household aspect, I praise Him after a much-needed rain, and if I’ve got nothing better to do, I might recite one of His hymns for Him on a Thursday, but even I understand that the notion of Zeus as “tame” is pretty laughable. As the goddess who assigned the labours to Herakles, and the only one who can become so consumed by emotional turmoil it can make Her pregnant, Hera herself is not necessarily the domestic house-frau that Foster alludes to in her post, but a truly powerful, like so powerful there are literally times she’s scared a little piss out of me, Queen of the Gods, Whose sacred animal is the totally not-flamboyant peacock –no, not peafowl in general, she has no use for the peahen, but the hundreds of iridescent blue discs on the tail of the male of the species that are Her all-seeing eyes.

[…]

Here’s a news flash: Sometimes, the path of a devotee brings with it unintended consequences that we might not be happy about; and that’s true of worshipping any deity. A woman may choose to devote herself to Hestia for a short term, hoping it could bring her some stability, and before she knows it, she’s married to a stable man she likes a lot but doesn’t exactly love, and she’s got two kids she never intended to have, and her life is so formulaic and dull it is making her crazy.

And this is my objection to Star’s ramble. It’s not the implication that the gods you worship will but into your life in unexpected ways, but that following some gods is somehow “safer” than others.

Star advises us to worship gods who are squares, “who guard our homes and families, who aid us in our mundane work, and build our character.” Hey Star, guess who does that in my pantheon? Mars. He is the protector of the fields and arbiter or honor and sacrifice. He’s also a god of war. War is pretty square and domestically boring, isn’t it?

And guess what? Some of those “edgy” gods, some of the chaotic gods, can help us be pretty stable. I know someone who worships Eris because her life is chaotic. Eris helps her manage that and maintain a sense of focus and stability. By helping me navigate the boundary areas of reality, Hekate has helped me to be more successful within those boundaries and become more stable in my everyday life, while still gaining wisdom from beyond them.

And of course, as mentioned above, those square gods aren’t always very square. Oh, boring Haphaestos puttering around his worship, tinkering on those little toys. Like Pandora. Yeah, that one turned out wholesome and boring, didn’t it?

I think the point here is that you should select the deities you devote yourself to with care. Even if they call you. Because it will affect your life, and it will do so in ways you didn’t expect. And if you want a boring “normal” life, it can be provided by any deity, depending on what you want, how you ask, and what kind of considerations you are willing to make to tasks the gods need you to perform outside of that normalcy.

But be cautious of expecting certain gods to be “dull” and entreating them because of that. Having the wrong idea about a god can be extremely dangerous.

After all, just look at how boring and dull and workaday Star Foster’s life is. Those square gods she follows sure love keeping her in the middle of controversy after controversy, don’t they? That’s a lot of attention for such a dull life.

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2 responses to “You Are What You Eat

  1. Hey, thanks for the link and quotation. 🙂

    I think a lot of people are sensitive to the “victim blaming’ angle because the way she promotes the worship of deities she believe “square” and “domestic” doesn’t account for the fact that there are those who *do* devote themselves to, or at least focus on deities who can certainly be seen that way, and their lives are tumultuous, anyway; maybe because of this worship, but maybe because of something else that the person in question may or may not have had any control over. She seems to sweepingly say, though in far more words, “oh, your life sucks? Guess you should’ve thought about that before worshipping Aphrodite.” I can certainly understand why it got in people’s craw, cos it looks like Star Foster’s life has sucked for a long time, and I guess she’s done blaming the Jeebusites she grew up with, and she can’t blame her homeland of Georgia, anymore, and maybe she’s surrounded herself with happy and successful Minnesotans, so she doesn’t feel justified in blaming the Twin Cities, so now I guess it’s cos she was “worshipping the wrong gods” and she’s determined to end that right now, cos it’s never going to have anything to do with everything she brings on herself that has absolutely nothing to do with the gods, I guess…. Only Foster doesn’t contextualise it that way, but instead prefers to go all preacher-in-a-pulpit style and speak to an audience; maybe it’s a conscious decision of hers to save face, but maybe at this point she’s blamed her environment for ALL her problems for so long, she doesn’t even realise that she’s doing it anymore (and maybe her old environment was causing her some genuine amount of grief, but if the gods help those who help themselves, she’ll do good to stop screaming at her wagon for a minute and figure out what she needs to do to better her own situation).

    • I can see that. She dies seem to support the notion that the life you lead is the result of the gods you worship, so if it sucks it because you picked cantankerous gods. This is certainly along the same lines of newagers that say bad things happen to people who have negative energy. It’s that kind of crap that makes me roll my eyes at anyone who likes The Secret.

      Perhaps the example I picked was too specific. It wasn’t “Star said my life is chaotic because I worship chaotic gods” but “Star is blaming my physical ailments on my choice of deities,” which struck me as ridiculous because Star didn’t seem to be taking it that far.

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