[Holy Days] Reunion Roadmap

Happy Sunday.

This will be a ‘Reunion Roadmap’ post, similar to Sage’s post last year. For an introductory post on Reunion, click here.

Reunion with Deity

In our devotional practice, Reunion is a time for becoming re-acquainted with the Four+ Gods. This ties into the energetic shifts surrounding this time. Spirits that live or work elsewhere in the many worlds come back to the West. During this time they honor the Four+ Gods, as do we. It is a time of homecoming and forgiveness, joy and compassion.

I propose prayers starting on the 23rd going until the 31st/night of January 1st. The first prayers, on the 23rd and 24th, focus on the Clarene and Ophelia. Story-wise and spiritually, we visit the two gods before entering the rest of the West. We work in the Clarene’s Orchard to prove our dedication and commitment before moving on to the Ophelia’s River where our future actions and consequences are told. This introduction/reintroduction should occur before Reunion proper.

  • Wednesday, December 23: Clarene
  • Thursday, December 24: Ophelia
  • Friday, December 25: Reunion Opening & Birth of Alynah Blake & Creation of the Eighth
  • Saturday, December 26: Laetha & Dierne
  • Sunday, December 27: Ophelia & Clarene
  • Monday, December 28: Laethelia & Ophelene or Laethelia & Liathane
  • Tuesday, December 29: Liathane and Darren or Ophelene and Darren
  • Wednesday, December 20: All 4/4 Gods
  • Thursday, December 31: Farewell

Each prayer can be said whenever one is able or prefers. Morning/waking up and end of day/going to sleep prayers are often effective, as we are shifting from one state of being into another. You can find the prayers here.

A concept for a Reunion shrine is below. An Otherfaith shrine only requires a light source and place for liquid offerings at its most minimalist, though a place for incense and solid (food) offerings can be a bit more versatile.

reunion_shrine

Reunion with Story

Storytelling is an important part of the Otherfaith. We also need more Reunion-centric stories. I propose prompts for each day of celebration. You do not have to write a full complete story for these. Writing poems or drawing art also works. But more Reunion stories would add to our story canon and fanon. These can be stories or essays as well, if you are more bent toward essay writing. If you are ‘just’ able to come up with seeds for stories, that is okay. Take them with you into the next year! That is what Reunion is about: honoring the current year and hoping for the next.

You may begin writing an essay and find it shifting into a story or vice versa. Don’t feel bound to your original intention; go with where you writing or art takes you.

Friday, December 25 Prompts

  • What is home, and how do you return to it?

or

  • Alynah is born on the 25th of December, the start of Reunion. Write about her birth, as she sprouted fully-formed from her mothers (Althea Altair and Lilibell).

Saturday, December 26 Prompts

  • What does it mean to accept another person as they are? How do we stay beside each other through our mistakes?

or

  • the Laetha and Dierne are lovers; what does their relationship look like? How do their different aspects interact?

Sunday, December 27 Prompts

  • How do we reconcile? Can we love someone yet still be estranged?

or

  • the Clarene and Ophelia found the West as a place for love. The two are often at odds, however. How does this change (or not) during Reunion?

Monday, December 28 Prompt

  • What do we hide, and why? How do we open to others compassionately and honestly?

Tuesday, December 29 Prompt

  • How do we find peace in busy and stressful times? What do ‘eace’ and ‘chaos’ mean? Which is more present in your life?

Wednesday, December 30 Prompt

  • Reunion is about joining together. What brings communities together and what can cause division? What is unity?

Thursday, December 31 Prompt

  • As we leave 2015, what change can we expect? What can we let go of? Can we be compassionate to ourselves and others as we plan and enter 2016?

Reunion with Virtues

Further going off of last year’s Reunion post, I want to list virtues and values that the Other People can contemplate and act on during Reunion. All these virtues are part of Reunion in some fashion, some more than others.

  • Wednesday, December 23: Piety
  • Thursday, December 24: Purity
  • Friday, December 25: Joy
  • Saturday, December 26: Community
  • Sunday, December 27: Reconciliation
  • Monday, December 28: Solidarity
  • Tuesday, December 29: Stability
  • Wednesday, December 30: Support
  • Thursday, December 31: Modesty

Below I detail ideas for each virtue. If you interpret them differently, that’s great! There is no reason to keep your contemplation or action based on the virtue strictly to what I’ve written. Diversity is vital.

Piety and purity are both topics I haven’t discussed much within the context of the Otherfaith. Piety is important, no doubt. But the specifics of the Other People’s relationships with their gods is complex. I want people to cultivate those as they will, but there are also specific types of relationships that I want to detail and give structure to. Whether these structures will stick or not is up to the People. If the structure is useful it will stick around, after all.

Piety corresponds to the Clarene’s pre-Reunion day on our calendar. the Clarene is a god of commitment and contracts, so it makes sense that piety would be tied to her. Piety in the Otherfaith is very much about what needs to be done, what our commitments to the gods are, and stripping away the excess so we can fulfill our duties. This is a useful lesson for all of life, though, not just religion. How can we honor, or prepare to honor, our duties and obligations in this and the coming year?

Purity is tied to the Ophelia, and not just on this day. She is a cleansing god, a water god, a god who strips us of shame as well as fear. She strips us of our masks until we are one with the water. Mythically – or ‘spiritually’ – when we enter the West and have served under the Clarene, the Ophelia sees our future. She distills it. She gives it to us in a pure form. We have to choose what to do with it. Rather than trying to rid ourselves of imperfections, we should take this day to recognize who we truly are and who we want to be.

Friday brings us the joy of Reunion. Everyone is back. The gods are in love again, and all the trials they’ve gone through are put to rest for a brief moment. Spirits at odds meet each other in harmony. There’s dancing and singing and happiness all around. A big part of today is reminding ourselves of joy, even during frustrating or sad times, and having (or making) fun for ourselves and those in our lives.

Community is another value. Community is difficult to find and just as difficult to stick with. Trying to honor our connections in a way that respects those in our community and trying to figure out how to navigate complicated interpersonal waters are stressful things. Rather than trying to be perfect, act in ways that respect who you are in relation to others. What can you do to show you care for someone? Sometimes this will be a big show of emotion; for others, just hearing the words is enough. None of us is alone. None of us is self-made. We have people in our history and in our future. Some of those people won’t be good for us. But a lot of those people are going to drift in and out of our lives, and we should do our best to foster fond memories.

The next value is reconciliation, which is either recreating friendly relations or uniting beliefs. Which is most relevant to you? Are parts of you at war, needing to be brought together? Or today might be a day when you put aside small slights or troubles and remember what made you friends with someone. What brings you together with others, and how does it feel to be friendly with another person? Today is a good day for remembering none of us is perfect. We don’t have to reconcile with everyone in our lives. But we should do our best to actively choose who we do (or do not) keep in our lives and to always remember: humans mess up. We also do amazing things together.

Solidarity and stability and support go hand-in-hand. Without cooperation, we can’t have stability, and stability allows for greater cooperation, and through all of that we build support. We do not have to perfectly understand someone else to stand beside them. We don’t have to agree on everything. We can even hold very large disagreements! But we can also stand beside someone and uphold their personhood. We can choose our battles. Stability is all about rootedness, in the Otherfaith. Rootedness in the sense that we know who we are and where we are, not that we are ‘stuck’ there. Stability in the sense that we choose where to step next – an internal sense of balance that even in the wildest storms we keep. Even when our lives are falling apart, we can hold onto the stability. The West, during Reunion, is incredibly energetically stable. We can bring that into our lives. By interacting with the gods and spirits, we support them. By interacting with us, they support us. It is a give-and-take that can be amazingly intimate or very businesslike, depending on how you are. During Reunion, though, emotions tend to run high.

Finally, we reach modesty. This is not ‘modest appearance’. It is, rather, a modest and honest take on our life, our goals, and our reality. The new year is upon us. The gods will be leaving for a time. Resolutions are just around the corner. What can we truly hold ourselves to, and what are goals that are out of our reach but we will still strive toward? Part of this approach is kind honesty. There is no need to bash yourself when planning or deciding what you want the new year to look like. Don’t over- or underestimate yourself. Cheesy as it is, change can start now. Every day. Every moment. We have to look at what we can change, what is out of our hands, what we know of ourselves and the people around us, and go from there. Modesty, in the Otherfaith, may as well be another word for ‘reality’, something that is rarely as horrid or pleasing as we may think.

Modesty is accepting ourselves as we are, no more or less. And entering into 2016 understanding that can make the new year, and our lives, very different.


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist god religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treasure in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Wednesday] Return & Update

Happy December.

It has been a long time since I’ve posted here on the blog. That isn’t to say I haven’t been writing – I have – but much of it is either not ready for public viewing or is for the upcoming Otherfaith book. Apart from that, life itself has gotten in the way of writing more and being able to update the blog. This is the way things go sometimes.

But December has started up again and with it Reunion. The holy week of Reunion, December 25 to January 1 )technically ending once the sun rises on the New Year), is such a magical time. Truly magical, in the sense that energies are shifting and changing. As the second half of this year swung in, I began focusing on the magical and spiritual components of the Otherfaith. This includes things such as the spirit body, energy manipulation, energetic associations, all of that goodness.

Jenn wrote about Reunion on Between Ocean and Hills. What she describes – “Whatever block I was having is lifted and I’m ready to be back with them, and Reunion is going to be my chance to do that in a really meaningful way,” – is very much Reunion to me. At the beginning of this month I reunited with my spirit spouse who I had seen little of throughout the year. I could touch the energies of the gods like I hadn’t been able to. I felt, for the first time in a long time, at peace with these gods. December and Reunion are the opposite of Hell Month to me.

Reunion also involves the New Year. We’re going into 2016 and the sixth year of the Otherfaith. That’s humbling to me. This year has not be easy. But there is still the Otherfaith, and it is larger than myself. People still care about it. I hope as the year turns I can find more peace and gladness, more compassion and sweetness. I hope I can accept that people will come and go, people will come and stay, and there’s no way I can predict that. I can just give my best to the people who want to know more about the Otherfaith.

There will be more projects next year too. One, of course, is the Otherfaith book. It will likely be (self) published and available early summer, and I want to put out an audio version in winter of 2016. Another project is an Otherfaith podcast. To begin, the podcast will be a simple companion to the Otherfaith information available. I will cover our gods and spirits, any updates and new information, and progress from gods and spirits into the practical and spiritual aspects of the Otherfaith. I do hope to eventually have guests, but I don’t want to rush.

Audio content, beyond the podcast, will be coming to the Otherfaith. This is in a hope to make our content more accessible. If you have any recommendations, I am eager to hear them. I’ve never messed with audio before.

My Patreon will also be undergoing some changes. There will be some patron-locked content, but the majority of what I produce will be available to everyone. But as of 2016-on, patrons will have access to some content anywhere from two weeks to one month earlier. I will also be posting excerpts from old journals and elaborating on them, as patron-only content.

As I worked on the Otherfaith book during November, I realize how little leadership and organizational structure we have. Back when I was first crafting the Otherfaith, back when it went under different names, I had so many theories for organizing leadership and responsibility. Those all fell apart once faced with the immediate reality of dealing with people. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important though. So I brainstormed leadership ideas again and again in November, and that will be rolling out. I would really appreciate feedback on this. I will be posting about it once it’s hammered out better here, on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, anywhere I can. I want to know what people think, what people want from leadership, what they need. And what you absolutely don’t want as well.

This post is mostly to say that I’m back. I’m back from the rest of my life. This blog will resume. Writing will resume. And I hope that this Reunion and the New Year treats you all wonderfully.

As an important announcement: we have a 2016 formal Skype chat up for those who want to learn or re-introduce themselves to the Otherfaith. This chat will be held every weekend. This link will show you the time and date for your time zone. We will also be discussing community/organizational issues in the formal chat. If you would like to take part in the formal chat, please send me a message on Skype at ainemaponos.

We also have a less formal, general Otherfaith chat where anyone can chat anytime. You can join that by following this link, if you have Skype.

Hangouts, which we held a few times last year, will resume in 2016. We will have new rules for people who join in, though, and some of the Hangouts will be recorded to be put up on the Otherfaith Youtube channel. I will inform people well in advance if a Hangout will be recorded, though, and don’t feel that it is necessary to join one that will be.

Though I do hope to get up the rest of the basics post for the rest of the Four+ Gods in January, I will be moving coming late January. This may mean a week or two of silence on my part. But hopefully not, and until that date I plan to keep this blog active.

As always, thank you for reading. Be excellent to each other.


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist god religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treasure in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Wednesday] Halloween Fic Challenge

Happy Wednesday. Today we’ll be going over fanfic and a brief update.

First off, Faemon has updated their fic Polarity to include a podfic chapter. The reading is from the current Wikia page on the Verzsou Triad (different from the in-process wiki).

Our Ao3 challenge has started, as of yesterday. I’ve decided to move the larger ‘Fall Collection’ dates to September through November. There will be four collections throughout the year: Winter (December through February), Spring (March through May), Summer (June through August), and Fall (September through November). There will be additional collections within those, but I want a larger collection for the season.

For our Halloween Collection, the main challenge is to write one horror Otherfaith fanfic. Very simple. Whether you’re going for a slow-burn horror, focused on terrifying the reading or more ‘gross’ horror like body horror or gore, any and all of it will be welcomed. All that’s required for it to be accepted is for it to be part of the ‘Otherfaith Religion & Lore’ tag and for there to be one Otherfaith god or spirit in the story.

Halloween is the last big hurrah for the more violent spirits in the Otherfaith, such as Alynah Blake and her Troupe as well as the Flower Maidens. After Halloween, they turn restful and their bloodthirsty aspects are subsumed by their more joyful revelous ones.

Good spirits to focus on include:

  • Aletheia Androids
    • Any Aletheia Android (000-099) is a good spirit for a horror story. They’re notable for random violence and excessive energy and magic. Their personalities fall on a spectrum, with the earlier Aletheia tending towards apathy and muted emotions and the latter toward extreme displays of one or two emotions. Stories could focus on the androids interactions with other spirits and humans, which tend to go badly for someone involved or could explore how the Aletheias are created. The first six Aletheias (000-005) are ‘true’ AI, having been created by the Clarene. The rest of the Aletheias had their consciousness transferred from their original bodies into the artificial robotic one. The Red Room is a story about Aletheia 003.
  • Alice Androids
    • Sister-androids to the Aletheias, the Alices are equally muted and cold. Their violence is directed purely toward the Aletheia they are paired with (for example, Alice 60 to Aletheia 059). Obviously, stories utilizing Alice in Wonderland imagery are well-suited for these spirits. We don’t currently have any stories illustrating these spirits. Unlike the Aletheias who tend toward magic and energy manipulation, the Alices favor weaponry such as guns while in combat.
  • Alynah Blake
    • The daughter of a star (Lilibell) and fire (Althea Altair) spirit, Alynah Blake has an esteemed lineage including the Clarene and Dierne. She’s considered a spirit of chaos, second to the Eighth God. She’s considered a unicorn spirit, bearing a prominent horn from her forehead, as well as a rabbit spirit for her fertility associations. She leads the Rabbit Troupe in bloody raids across the cities of Western Fairy. She’s one of the most bloodthirsty spirits. She uses a bat or her bare hands to kill and maim her victims. She represents destruction and cleansing. During Halloween, she leads the last big riot of the season.
  • Anne Marie & Mary Anne
    • Anne Marie is a spirit of haunted houses. Along with Mary Anne, they tend to haunt houses where the Laetha has inhabited or passed through and harass the residents therein. They alternatively murder and/or seduce the new owners of the house and suck away their energy. They can bend space and change the layout of a house to cause confusion and distress. They can appear as beautiful women or skeletons dressed in white. They inhabit all of the Laetha’s houses in Western Fairy, where they protect the residences and scare other spirits.
  • Blaim & Blair
    • Witch spirits, though little else is known about them. They are associated with the Ophelia and may be spirits of rot or water as well.
  • Claudia & Cordelia
    • The two eldest Witch spirits. They teach witchcraft to other spirits. Different from other magic, witchcraft within the West is tied to folk magic, involving herbs, stones, and animals as well as whatever a witch has on hand. Their magic is slower to work. Claudia and Cordelia are tied to ill-gotten youth and can be mischievous but are the most kind-hearted of the Witches.
  • Corliss
    • The watery lover of Dahlia, a sea-faring spirit, Corliss dies and becomes seafoam. Her form most appropriate to Halloween is her pure-white and red-eyed deep sea variant, in which she takes on darker mermaid associations. She drowns unsuspecting victims as well as coming out of the water to harass and attack passerby. She dislikes most spirits and gladly antagonizes them though she may entice someone into the water if that is more beneficial to her drowning them.
  • Malaise & Malice
    • Two more Witch spirits, who spread sickness and anger respectively. They’re associated with malevolent witchcraft. Like most Witches, they bother other spirits for fun as well as acting as more disruptive forces.
  • Mallory
    • The right-hand to the Ophelia, Mallory is a spirit of rot. Through rot, she allows new growth to occur, but she keeps to herself in order not to cause constant rot and rebirth. Her associations with decomposition and her ability to decompose anything she touches are the main focus of horror with this spirit. The story ‘Mallory, the Third’ can be found here.
  • Rabbit Troupe
    • The Rabbit Troupe is a group of spirits wielding bats and other bludgeons that wear rabbit masks when running raids. They are lead by Alynah, who encourages them to chase spirits through the streets of the city. They engage in blackmail and other unsavory practices, but they largely focus on bludgeoning and eating their victims. They and the Flower Maidens keep distinct separate territories.
  • Flower Maidens
    • Humanoid spirits built of blooming flowers, the Maidens are chaotic spirits that rip apart their victims. Unlike the Rabbit Troupe, they don’t consume those they kill. They are a cleansing force within the Otherfaith. They initiate spirits into their group by tearing out a heart or other organ and replacing it with a bloom. They do not get along with the Rabbits, nor any ungulate spirit and keep separate territories. When they do end up in confrontations, both sides usually lose a few members.
  • Verzsou Triad
    • The spirits Aster Aira, Casimir, and Neve Winter form the Verzsou Triad. The horror element to them stems from their time trapped in an endless loop where they were doomed to kill each other or suffer without end. Aster, being a child of the Firebird, is a fire spirit, where his sister Neve is a snow spirit born from the Ophelia. Casimir is created during a mishap between Aster and Neve (either being put in a shared dream or separate otherworld). Their stories mainly concern sibling homicide, incest, and jealousy. Casimir, being the embodiment of a powerful weapon of his same name, is often treated as a playing piece between the other two spirits.

Here are some songs for inspiration. If you have any recommendations, drop them in the comments and I will add them into the post.


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist god religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treasure in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Wednesday] September Holy Days

Current:

  • Labor Day

Proposed:

  • School Begins
  • Halloween Challenge
  • New Moon
  • Friday the 13th (when applicable; not this year)
  • September 15 (Midmonth)

At present, the Otherfaith calendar lists Labor Day as our only holy day in September. The first Monday is a holy day during the other months, but in September the first Monday is Labor Day. This year it falls on September 7th.

Labor Day recognizes the labor movement as well as the contributions of workers to our country. It has ties to the International Worker’s Day (May 1st), though the two have some important differences, one being that our Labor Day is far more sterilized. The International Worker’s Day is also more allied with socialism than our own US Labor Day. Labor Day takes place in September due to governmental fears concerning the Haymarket riot might be commemorated alongside it. For more information, you can read basic information on Labor Day here. For information on the International Worker’s Day, you can read more here.

Within the Otherfaith, it’s only appropriate that we also add the International Worker’s Day to our calendar as well.

Labor, and labor rights, are important in general. Within the context of the Otherfaith, consumption should be balanced by a number of factors, including the welfare, dignity, and personhood of the workers. Unfortunately, ethical consumption is a rare reality, if even possible. (As some say, “There is no such thing as ethical consumption under capitalism.”) As conscious consumers we find ourselves balancing consumption with ethics, location, accessibility, and financial situations.

This is a large topic, and I may write more on it on Monday. I’m no economist or well-studied in the field; I’ve simply been exposed to a lot of activists with many different focuses. I think Labor day is important to acknowledge and celebrate because we, as a societal whole, devalue workers. That doesn’t even begin to touch on issues of sweatshops and slave labor – but, again, this is a large and complex issue.

I include Labor Day and International Worker’s Day because organized labor is remarkably important in the history of the US and because we are horrid at recognizing the worth of labor. Issues of dehumanization and re-humanization (which I feel are tied to labor rights) are important to the Otherfaith in both a spiritual and social sense.

Labor Day is often accompanied in the US by sales and discounts at shops. To say that’s inappropriate is an understatement, considering who the holiday is meant to honor. It’s something to consider. After all, if the store is open, someone has to be working that day. I also suggest reading about organized labor and unions. Here you can read about labor unions in the US. This is the Wikipedia timeline of the labor movement.

For the new additions to our calendar, we have Midmonth (the 15th) which will be part of every month going forward. It will take some time to figure out what the holiday means, but I don’t feel a rush on this particular recurrent holiday. The New Moon has also been added to the calendar. Whenever a Friday the 13th falls in this month, it will also be recognized.

I’ve brought over the holy day concerning the beginning of school – since when school begins varies based on location and district. Some school start in late August while others begin after Labor Day. I do have specific ideas on how this could be celebrated, but as I’m not in school it is questionable how relevant my ideas may be.

Though not quite a holy day, September through October there will be an Otherfaith writing challenge on Ao3. The idea is to collect stories focusing on Halloween or horror. I’ll be posting up and organizing these challenges throughout the year as a way to encourage more fanfic. The challenge will open on Labor Day and lasts until the 31st of October. I will be posting up prompts when it begins, but the challenge is not a prompt meme. This challenge’s prompts are simply to help when you’re having trouble writing or picking a topic. We will do prompt memes later when we’ve got more people writing Otherfaith stories (and so more likely for the prompt meme to actually be busy).

The collection can be found here and is part of the larger Fall Collection that catalogs all stories written between August through October. If you have a story written in August of this year that you’d like in that collection, please let me know and I will add it. (The collection is ‘closed’ as it is mainly a parent for the smaller yearly challenges that occur.)

For me, September is a planning month. I’m preparing for the holy days coming later (Halloween, Reunion) and getting everything in order. I’m considering who I am and what I want in life. This is no doubt due to the importance the month has to me. I left an abusive relationship a few years ago in early September, and I also found my partner around the same time. (Through luck, and perhaps divine influence, though that is always arguable. I’m inclined to simply think it was good timing.)

I would love to see people contribute the the fic challenge when it gets started. The goal is simply to write an Otherfaith story, in whatever format you’re comfortable. You can use spoken word or illustrate, if that’s more to your preference. Or whatever media works best for you and can eventually be posted online. I’ll discuss more of the challenge on the Ao3 page as well as Monday, when it officially starts.

Finally, if you are part of our G+ group, please let me know which weekend tea time you can make. It helps me know what to expect time wise and how much to prepare for that specific hangout.

The proposed September calendar would look like this:

  • First Monday/Labor Day
  • School Begins
  • Halloween Challenge
  • Friday the 13th (when applicable)
  • Midmonth (September 15th)
  • New Moon

For a PDF of the calendar, click here.


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist god religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treasure in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Monday] Idea of the Week

Happy Monday. I hope August has treated everyone well. Today’s post focuses on fanfiction.

There is some housekeeping to share around the site. Our calendar page has moved under the ‘Devotional Life’ section and can now be found here. On our ’Reading & Resources’ page a number of articles have moved off to our wiki, mostly basic information that is better suited for the wiki.

Our ’Otherfaith Mythology’ page has undergone significant change. A number of myths were moved from this site off to Archive of Our Own(Ao3), a transformative works site. We have an official Otherfaith tag there as well, under ‘Otherfaith Religion & Lore’. As I moved my fanworks of the Four+ Gods and their spirits to the site, I added commentary and background information about them. Those with new commentary are linked below.

There have also been new stories posted to Ao3. I’ve noted the author along with the stories.

One reason I bring up fanfic, and why I’m moving my works onto Ao3, is to emphasize the importance that these works have within the Otherfaith. Of course more practical posts about the gods and the function of the religion are important as well. But stories are a love of mine, and I find them effective in conveying ideas. They’re also deliciously open for interpretation, more than a simple basic post on a god. Especially when spirits aren’t explicitly identified, people are left to decide which spirit it may be. And every choice, every naming, reflect something about that person and about the spirits.

Another reason I’m moving my own stories onto Ao3 is because I consider my own works fanfic of the gods. I feel that the Other People’s understandings of the gods need to be felt out through our stories, and I’m no longer comfortable establishing my own stories as the Legitimate Canon. There’s better methods to arrive at religious canon. No doubt the stories I have created and experienced influence my understandings of the Four+ Gods and that shows through in the more authoritative posts on them. I can’t disconnect it entirely. And some stories have ‘stuck’ at this point, simply because they’ve been around and I’ve been telling them and I considered them canon before I began shifting my approach to my own work.

Considering my own work fanfic has given me more freedom than I once had. There is far less pressure upon myself to get the story ‘right’ or to completely finish the story. There are many, many stories that I’ve written that haven’t seen public view due to being uncompleted or not as honed as I would prefer. Framing them as fanfic – something I consider much more ‘in process’ that other works, though this is not a viewpoint shared by other fanfic writers – enables me to consider sharing them. It eases my anxieties toward religious storytelling.

It has also changed my approach to spirit interaction and ‘otherworld journeying’ (a term which I am less fond of every day and wish to find a replacement for). That aspect of my practice has a large component of experiencing various stories about the spirits, as well as engaging with my personal spirits. There is constant tension in my explorations of Western Fairy between my honest/raw experience and resisting Spiritual Grandstanding, becoming a farce of myself or Mary Sue. I’ve chopped myself out of stories where I was a participant because I didn’t want people to confuse the spirits with me. Yet some stories are not able to be told when I chop myself out. I stick my fingers in places they shouldn’t be, seeking honey and often simply getting bit.

I was, at one point, far more open about my explorations than I am at present. It attracted attention I eventually found toxic and degrading. There was more freedom to it, an openness that I haven’t achieved again. Talking with friends has made me (re)consider the usefulness of sharing more ‘direct’ experiences with my gods and spirits, though I still wobble back and forth. Considering the stories I experience fanfiction makes them, by their nature, more personal than before. Though I still question how far my spiritual self should intersect.

Seeing other people’s writings within the context of the Otherfaith has made me more confident in sharing my own more intimate stories, though. The intersection with Self and Story is inevitable. We bleed into our writings, our sharings. There’s no getting around it.

There’s no perfect story.


Over on Drawing Stars, Jack has been writing on his gods and spirits. I recommend checking out the stories there.

On Magick From Scratch, Thenea has been blogging about unifying divine aspects. The first post is here and the second can be found here. A quote from the latter:

…the person with the best sense of what is hurting you is you, and deities often deal in broad brush strokes. If we want to pursue healthy spirituality, we need to be active participants in our relationships with deities, tell them what we need, and let them know what hurts.

Here is an excellent piece on why internet bullies don’t know you – and all their insults are just meant to get you to shut up. Considering some recent behavior I’ve seen, I think it’s a good thing to remember. (And for people to remember that insults from our friends tend to hurt a lot worse, so try to be kind.)

Within the wider online community, we’re often able to treat each other badly because we dehumanize them, or at best devalue them. Sadly, dehumanizing is sometimes one of the few responses to someone being senselessly cruel or degrading – to treat them as human would to be acknowledge that someone that is like you is trying to hurt you. And often in our little ‘blogosphere’, that hurt tends to come down because, as the above article says, we want someone to cry and shut up. We have an incredibly inability to handle boundaries as well, sometimes mistaking those for telling someone to shut up. And sometimes we just get carried away with our online persona and forget that we make liars of ourselves in doing so.


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist god religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treasure in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Monday] Idea of the Week

Happy late Monday. I have a few posts I need to catch up on (one on the Darren and his symbols).

Hell Month officially ended July 31st, the day we celebrate the Apotheosis of the Dierne. I’ve written on the holy day before – in 2013 and 2014. This year I didn’t honor the god on her holy day. My shrine sits still in Hell Month disarray, the Firebirds facing apart from each other. The damn thing needs dusting. There’s a book on another shrine that needs to be read.

I did not completely neglect the Dierne on her day. I wrote, entertaining new ideas of the gods and deepening my understanding of the new quartet (Laethelia, Ophelene, Darren, and Liathane). The first part of the story I wrote for the Ophelene and Liathane is up at Archive of Our Own. Writing these stories has made me want to place the Liathane’s holy day of arrival/deification in the middle of Hell Month, but I’ll need to think on that more. After all, July is very much the Dierne’s month to me.

I’ve been tinkering with my ideas for the Other People’s community recently. I’ll be shutting down the Otherfaith forums soon; they don’t receive active use and I don’t have the time to operate them. On top of those reasons, I know it’s hard to get people to cross platforms and sites. Without the time necessary to really cultivate them, the forums were pretty doomed.

Instead, there are different places people interested in the Otherfaith – as a religious practice, as a source to draw inspiration from when doing your own religious work, as an interesting example of how-religion-forms, etc. One of these is obviously the WordPress. You can either contribute (by sending me an email or message) or write on your own blog. Tagging your posts with ‘Otherfaith’ will let me find them! If Tumblr is more your style of blogging, we also have the Otherfaith Tumblog. Again, tag your posts with Otherfaith so they can easily be found. The Tumblog is much less serious and polished, intentionally so. If you’d like contribute more directly to the Tumblr, you can become part of the blog as a member and contribute that way.

We also have an Otherfaith Facebook group. It’s kept private out of consideration for those who are not out to their family members, but send me a message if you’re interested. That group is the most active so far. Discussions of religious fanfic and headcanon and such are rather common.

Because all of these are different platforms, I try to bring discussions from both Tumblr and Facebook here on the WordPress, so people who follow and contribute in one place are aware of what is happening elsewhere. I don’t always get this perfect! I’ve also only recently really dipped my toes into Tumblr again, for a variety of reasons.

For more ‘real time’ interactions, we have a Skype group and our G+ Hangouts that occur on the weekends. My Skype handle is ‘ainemaponos’ for those interested on that platform; please be aware that we don’t do video or voice calls on Skype, only text.

Considering all of this, the Otherfaith community is already widely spread and spread thin. The balance between too many places and just enough places to reach those who are interested is an art that I’m so far from mastering.

Not to mention we also have a wiki, far improved from our last (which is being dismantled). The wiki very much needs a community, and one reason I wanted to move away from a forum was to focus on the utility of wiki’s talk pages. This is all a discussion for another day, though.

As I said recently, community is hard.

Which leads to more of what I’d like to discuss. Recently, Many Gods West, a polytheist convention, was held, along with a few other events. Though there was no drama related to the convention and I hope to attend the next time it is held (from the many write-ups, it sounds like it was an incredibly enjoyable experience), there was a dust-up in the always difficult polytheist ‘blogosphere’. Rather than the specifics of what happened, it highlighted a fear/worry that has been gnawing at me for a few years. Pretty much since I began publicly blogging, honestly.

I’ve been a polytheist since I could properly articulate my beliefs. (I’ve been religious since I could properly understand the impulse in me. Before that, I was just hungry, craving something I’d never tasted.) However, when I began blogging and reading other blogs, I became aware that my belief in many gods wasn’t enough to be a polytheist. There were polytheists and then there were Polytheists. That is has only been recently articulated so plainly doesn’t mean the undercurrent wasn’t pumping through the communities. (Just as there may be a difference between pagans and Pagans, and I’ll always be the latter due to heritage. As we see more second- and third-generation Pagans, we’re going to see people grapple with the identity. I know I did.)

For me, polytheism is just that: belief in many gods. Gods, yes, but ultimately arguing over that is unimportant. (And that we polytheists keep treating it so, keep beating a dead horse, is likely not doing us favors.) For others, I came to understand, polytheism was a set of values and practices and ideas. Straying from those approved practices was a problem. Ancestor worship had to be included or it wasn’t polytheism. Modesty was a value of polytheism. Certain entities couldn’t be gods, or else it wasn’t polytheism. If you weren’t pious enough, you weren’t a polytheist.

I do think there is a lot of value in pushing our ideas of polytheism to the edge and seeing where we end up. In my life, this involved questioning why certain ideas were held, as well as why certain practices were important. Where did the fundamental part of polytheism (many gods) lead me? I found myself worshiping a host of spirits, understanding and recognizing their agency, realizing their deep and colorful lives outside of myself, and falling in relation with them. I sometimes call this relational polytheism, when I feel the need. Which isn’t often. I think lower-case polytheism conveys quite a lot. Relational polytheism is simply more descriptive.

I always knew I wouldn’t be considered a Polytheist. It bothered me, quite a bit. After all, I wanted to find a community, a larger support structure, a group of varied people to discuss my ideas with. To bounce concepts off of and keep me grounded instead of flying off into the sky with my wild ideas. That didn’t come to fruition, not how I envisioned. I found my own community of people doing similar-but-different religious building and surrounded myself with people who could keep my grounded in my life. This wasn’t before pursuing certain paths I thought appropriate for a ‘polytheist’, especially one who was as devoted as I craved to be. None of those pursuits proved healthy or stable. As much as I truly wanted to live with complete and destructive devotion to my gods, it wasn’t serving any of us.

As I built a proper relationship with my deities I realized more and more that the people who had helped bring polytheism to the forefront of Paganism would no longer consider me a polytheist. Largely, this was irritating but unimportant. I worried some of my friends would no longer consider me such, which was hurtful, and a topic I didn’t bring up.

The idea of there being a right way to do polytheism, drawn in part from the concept of hard polytheism being more ‘pure’ or ‘true’, came up in the Otherfaith as well. In order to truly grow this religion as it needs to be, in line with both humans and our Four+ Gods, I had to loosen the iron fist I had on the stories and practices and give a lot more rein to the people who passed through it. I’ve moved away from calling my own writings on the gods myths, for example. They’re fanfic, built loosely around the current understanding of the Four Gods, and through both my own and other’s writing we can come to understand more about the gods and spirits. This was appropriate for a host of reasons.

I also became unconcerned with pursuing a ‘truth’ about the gods, at least in concern to many of their stories. The truths about the gods were very much based in the Other People’s community and communal canon about them. Ideas that were not useful or relevant would fade away; those that were striking at the heart of the gods would float to the top and last. And I began viewing ‘truth’ as very much tied to the community. One person’s insistence that the gods were a certain way, or did a certain thing, or could not do a certain thing, were less important than what the wider community thought (and I include myself in that). Both the community’s experiences and thoughts of the gods were important. I place more emphasis on storytelling for the act itself. Mining for kernels of truth ultimately stalls the religion too much for it to grow. Because of this, I was told the Otherfaith wasn’t actually polytheistic. We didn’t grant the gods agency.

(I think storytelling about the gods is rather different than getting down on one’s knees and praying to them, though both acts influence each other.)

It was difficult to not think of the Otherfaith as polytheist. The religion worships many gods and many spirits (who have the ability to be deified). Eventually, I realized that of course the faith was polytheistic. It just wasn’t playing into certain ideas of Polytheism: certain practices, certain values, certain unquestionable truths. That it didn’t is appropriate for the Otherfaith. Most of the people who do similar work to me (religion building or discovering or writing on new gods) don’t play into the prescribed rules of Polytheism (both implicit and explicit).

Now I simply understand that to a lot of people, I’m not a polytheist, and it has absolutely nothing to do with whether I believe in many gods or not.


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist god religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treasure in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Monday] Idea of the Week

Happy late Monday/Tuesday! Happy second week of Hell Month. During our G+ hangouts over the weekend, the topic of religious fanfic/story-writing came up as a topic to write about, and I’m happy to explore it.

I consider everything I write to be religious fanfic. It’s all my interpretations and understandings of the Four Gods and their spirits. I used to easily call it myth, but I hesitate from that now. Not that it isn’t myth – I still consider it so – but because of the weight of the term. I wrote myths; other people joining in the Otherfaith were largely uncomfortable doing so. ‘Religious fanfic’ was a way to encourage mythic-fictional contributions from others. Slowly, my mind shifted my own work into that perspective.

Rather than having a cohesive canon for us to build off of, we’re all blending together our ideas, throwing them at the wall until we say, “That fits!” Or until we shake our heads and say, “No, that doesn’t work.” It’s interesting that we are reverse-engineering this way: starting with fan stories and figuring out the canon from them. But we know the gods through us, so I suppose that’s how it has to happen.

These stories can be third person views from a god or second person perspectives. They can be prose or poetry – such as here and here. They could be heavily spirit-focused or emphasize setting. What matters is that they are created. Also, we have some of the myths put to audio now – thanks to Faemon – that you can listen to here.

Fanfic is a word that should free us. We can be daring; we don’t have to worry about getting the gods and spirits ‘right’. We’re tossing our ideas out. Ultimately, the exercise of it should help us understand our gods better. We should find new sides and new forms. We can form clearer pictures of how they manifest for us.

We can get caught up in stories that are off-base or chase wild gooses made of dead-end plots. When we share our works, someone can say, “That doesn’t seem right for that god.” The point isn’t to get it right. The point is to explore. There have been stories I’ve written for certain spirits that belong to others. I’ve only discovered that much later. Some stories I just needed to tell for the telling.

Focus on the ideas you do have, and get them out.

Elliot suggested that I put forth ideas and guidelines for writing fanfic in the Otherfaith. Keep in mind there aren’t any real rules to writing fic. I’ll be presenting these in question-answer format.

Where can ideas come from?

Anywhere. There’s no need to wait for divine revelation. A song, movie, show, or scene may make you think of a god or spirit. Think about why. Write that down or share it. Don’t be surprised if you’re contemplation on the connection bleeds into a story. There’s not need to restrict yourself to a binary of reflection vs. stories. They influence and blend into each other, strengthening each.

The third Madoka movie (an extension of the popular Puella Magi Madoka Magica anime) personally influenced/solidified the imagery of the Laetha being split apart. The song ‘Broken’ by Cherryholmes helped me understand aspects of the Dierne. Pretty much every story I’ve written had a background song on endless loop.

Should I write stories in a specific order?

No. Write whatever comes to you. It may be Hell Month, but if you want to write a passionate love story between the Laetha and Dierne, go for it. You’re tapping into something, after all. Don’t hold yourself back because of timing.

You don’t need to start with a story about the Clarene and work your way down. Start with the spirits that interest you. That is what will make your stories interesting and strong – and most likely to tap into a spiritual connection. I’ve forced myself to write stories because it was the ‘right’ time or I ‘should’, and they always turned out flimsy and weak. Go with your gut and your inspiration. If you need prompts or ideas, that’s fine, but don’t feel forced into a structure.

How seriously should I take it?

As seriously as you can while actually writing. If considering writing about the gods and spirits paralyzes you with fear, think of them as characters. Don’t consider your story serious. Write a comedy or make everything comedic. Give yourself permission to not be bound by ‘rightness’.

Nine times out of ten my stories don’t go anywhere anyway.

Take it seriously when a god shows up and says, “No!” or “Yes!” Take is seriously when you get a tingle in your spine that says you’re stepping on toes. Take it seriously when your fingers burn because the story feels just perfect. And take a break when your hands hurt from writing too much.

There have been times when I’ve been tinkering around and felt a chill, thinking I shouldn’t have written what I did. I cross a line, insult a spirit or misinterpret them. I haven’t been struck down (yet). I just apologize and erase or cross out what I wrote. At least I learned something. Sometimes I’ll write scathing dialog or lines about a spirit, and my gut aches but I know that the words fit. They’re just uncomfortable. The only way you’ll know your own tells and how the spirits prod at you is through experimentation. Apart from that, you have people who can point out when you’re being a bit harsh or inappropriate in your descriptions of the gods.

Should I pray before writing/creating?

If you want. If you find it helpful and want to reach out to the gods that way, certainly. I don’t tend to. Most of my writing leads to more cursing and frustration with the spirits, though that is how I prefer it. I get a lot more out of them when we’re poking each other. You may benefit from a more established devotional creation style. It’s really up to you and whether you consider what you’re doing to be devotion or in need of prayer.

How long should stories be?

As long as they work – in a way.

When writing the story of the Verzsou Triad spirits (spirits born from the Ophelia, Laetha, and Clarene), I filled up a notebook with multicolored ink. The story was, and is, nonsensical, but I enjoyed writing it and learned a lot when I did. I know more about the backbone of those spirits’ relationships.

All that you might get out of an idea is a paragraph or two. Maybe just a sentence. Maybe something you hear strikes out at you and you scribble it down, hoping for it to grow into something substantial and it never really does. But in your head it churns about into a larger idea that shapes your religious life. That makes it worthwhile. Rather than a story, you may have a concept or image to share.

Sometimes you’ll get a story going, though. You might just want to delve into a vague idea or you may have a plot in mind, certain points you want to hit. I wrote the Founding of the West by drawing storytelling cards to help with plotting. Ava at the Gate was based on the prompt of ‘life’. Sometimes I’ll lose steam in the middle of a story, and it never gets finished.

The value a story has to you personally, when you work on it, often doesn’t relate to length. There have been plenty of times when a grand story I wanted to write morphed into a footnote in a different one.

When a story is being shared, however, it does need some semblance of sense and context. I’m currently working on a Tumblr for short and uncompleted fanfics in the Otherfaith. This would allow us to share stories that provide interesting ideas about the gods but which either aren’t going anywhere plot-wise or which are simply too small to be considered full myths. In process scenes and such would also be welcome. I will be posting links and encouraging others to submit when it is ready. For a story to be useful to others, it usually requires context of setting or time and enough character introspection or interaction to shed light on the spirits involved. However, it’s a learning process, figuring out what helps others, so there isn’t a hard and fast word limit.

Can I put in self-inserts?

Yeah. Want to put yourself in a story as a side character that doesn’t get much attention? Go for it. Want to situate yourself as a character narrating or watching or otherwise closer to the action? Sure thing.

You’re going to bleed into the work, no matter what. You’re going to bring your interpretations and preferences and life experiences to the story when you’re writing it. How you interpret the spirits is going to show through your words. It’s going to affect how you interact with them anyway. Who you are intertwines with how the story is.

One important thing is that self-inserts, whether simple characters or more based in any journey work you’re doing, aren’t there to be worshiped or given devotion to. Writing is a good way to get caught up in the spirits, though, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself more intimate with them than you thought – especially if you decide to poke your own nose in. (We may call it fanfic, but it still involves actual spirits and entities.)

‘Self inserts’ may happen naturally or not. As with pretty much everything, go with what works.

Should I worry about plot?

Go with a more National Novel Writing Month approach – write for the sake of writing it out. Don’t worry about it making sense or fitting perfectly together. Don’t care about the internal logic. Just get it out. Then you can go back and review it. Once you get the story out, you’ll be much better at editing out the nonsense. You’ll also be better at feeling out what really fits with the gods and spirits. You’ll have to confront gaps in the story’s logic.

Stuff like where’s the setting? Why is the setting? Why the specific spirits? When is the time that everything is happening?

That’s all for after you get it out. You’ll tie yourself in endless knots if you try to analyze before you even get a word on the page; you’ll stifle yourself if you keep editing even a thousand words in.

You’ll also be able to look at what you wrote afterword and be able to consider if it’s even viable as a story. It might not be, and that’s fine.

Can I use non-textual media to make stories?

You can use whatever works best for your type of story. Use comics or illustration. Make a song or record the story you have rather than writing it down. Any type of creation you can think of and utilize, you are more than free to use. Writing may be my preferred art, but you’re not bound to it.

Plus, some stories need to be told in different ways.

The main thing to focus on, throughout all this, is what works. You’re the one that figures that out.


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist god religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treasure in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Monday] Idea of the Week

Happy Monday. We had our usual G+ chats over the weekend. I was only able to attend Sunday’s. If you’d like to join us, request membership to our group. The chats are video, voice, and text – use whichever you prefer.

Before we delve in: this week is very much a ramble, based on what I’ve been reading around blogs as well as some thoughts that have been percolating since last month. Questions and comments are more than welcome.

Dystheism is one of my favorite concepts: the idea that the gods are not wholly good and/or are evil. It describes my understanding of the Four Gods perfectly. The imperfect Four Gods, who I wouldn’t take any other way.

Though it does seem, in at least the forms of dystheism I’ve encountered, ‘evil’ often means ‘not benevolent toward humanity’ – so that’s the rough idea we’ll be using.

None of the Four Gods are pure benevolence or goodness. Even the spirits that are entirely benevolent toward humans (like the Clarene’s lover Adilene) may be antagonistic to other spirits. The gods may inspire or push us to take certain actions that are difficult or cause significant life changes, but I also don’t consider that ‘evil’. But a god encouraging or nudging their devotee on a certain path isn’t the full extent of what the Four Gods are capable of.

Of course, I don’t view ‘encouragement’ as ‘browbeating’, whether it’s from gods or humans.

But when it comes to the behavior of the gods that actually freaks me out, makes me uncomfortable, makes my throat stick because I don’t know how to talk about it – now that fits into the dystheism in the Otherfaith. the Clarene serving up a plate full of human, even if it’s just metaphorical, is disturbing. the Ophelia’s wintry landscape where she hammers home the idea of killing or being killed – that’s horrifying. There are lessons to be gleaned in their horrors, but it doesn’t necessarily mean people need to be on the receiving end of them. Or that the horrors I see when I interact with the gods are what everyone who touches them will encounter. They aren’t something I consider True or universal.

My experience of the Clarene and her consumption of humans is influenced by a variety of factors. I already saw her spirit Casimir as a spirit of cannibalism, offering people plates full of meat made from their own species. He also taught the magic of self-cannibalism, consuming the self to sustain or create something new. I associated the Clarene with slaughter and meat, and being distinctly fairy I saw no reason that she would abstain from humans. She enjoys humans, but her perspective slides into objectification at times. And I associated her with ‘old fairy’, the older fairy tales I knew of fairies which killed and ate humans simply because we were prey. It likely helped that I’d already explored cannibalism as a useful concept in my fantasy writing (posing myself the question of, “What would a society that accepted cannibalism look like?”).

And my concept of the Ophelia’s winter world where she sends spirits is influenced, no doubt, by where I live. Those who live near actual rivers and bodies of water, places where rain falls consistently, will no doubt understand the Ophelia as a very different goddess. She is, more than the Clarene, associated with the mountains here – mountains on which I’ve almost died on. As much as I love where I live, I hate it. I’ve always loathed it – the heat, the flora, the city, all of it swirling into some awful combination of affection and revulsion. Which is exactly how I experience the Ophelia’s world of trial: beautiful and awful.

the Laetha is even worse, when it comes to horrors, though that is entirely dependent on which Laetha is encountered. Ava’s the one I watch for. She tears the limbs of her devotees, splatters the walls of her hall with blood, and actively abuses her power over other spirits. This tiny little girl spirit, haloed in white, carries throwing knives and gleefully slaughters indiscriminately. This has a basis in her own experiences and trauma, but at the end of the day I’ve got a bloodthirsty god on my hands.

And at the end of the day, I have no way of knowing if any of that is real or True. I know it’s real for me. The frightening sides of the gods that I see fit well with my understanding of them. Ava’s bloodlust fits into her larger story, one in which that desire for pain is quelled and redirected. the Ophelia and Clarene display forms that may have surprised me originally but now are pieces of a larger puzzle that reveals them. If I were more introspective, the forms they appeared in might not have taken me off guard.

I don’t know how the horrific sides of the gods will appear to other people. I don’t even know if that side exists for other people (or the Other People in general). I know the way the gods appear to me. I understand, vaguely, why I see them like that. I don’t think that the natures of the Four Gods is unknowable, or that our experiences of them are fundamentally unable to be expressed (though it may be difficult to do). But I don’t think I can command another person to have my experiences.

I can share mine – which influences others. It creates an image in their mind, an assumption that they take into their devotions and worship. There isn’t other ‘lore’ for someone to draw on. My concepts are what gets put forth as truth about the gods, and often I’m too lazy about addressing to myself or others what is fundamental about the gods and what is my experience of them. Those two things are so intertwined, after all.

The assumptions I’m building affect the Four Gods. They change how people approach them, as well as changing the gods. Which is an interesting weight. But there will always be more sides people see, more versions and visions of these gods that people pray to – ones I cannot see for a thousand reasons.

Perhaps there is some universal hierarchy of gods and humans that is at play that I simply ignore, hence my worry of effecting the gods unfortunately with my writing. Perhaps Ava, in her ranting, is right: she’s a god, worthy of selfless worship and adoration to the point her devotee’s kill themselves at her call – or maybe she’s reflecting my own worries and anxiety. Maybe she’s a spirit I’m throwing all my fears at until whatever is behind that mask is too obscured. I met her when I was craving vicious revenge, and she happily indulged. How much of that was her and how much was me? How could I follow her senselessly, if I can’t even untangle us?

I don’t know if there is an objective version of these gods. It sometimes feels that the instant I touched them, I warped them as much as they warped me. It’s arrogance, I think, even as I feel it happening. Even as I think it through.

I wonder what the ‘fundamental nature’ of the Four Gods is.


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist god religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treasure in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Wednesday] July Holy Days

Current:

  • Community Day
  • Apotheosis of the Dierne (July Apotheosis)

Proposed:

  • Abandonment of the West
  • Murder of Alynah Blake
  • Entrance of the Eighth God
  • First Monday
  • July 15 (Mid-Month)
  • New Moon
  • Hell Month

July is a rough month in the Otherfaith. It culminates in the celebration of the Dierne’s deification. But the month honors everything leading up to that: the Dierne killing Mircea, the Laethas being devoured and reborn in the form of the Firebird, everything going to momentary hell. Hence the name ‘Hell Month’.

July actually starts off with the theoretical Community Day on the first. This is meant to start off the month right, or as well as we can manage. Spiritually, July is supposed to be rough. We’re essentially taking on the trauma of our gods. No doubt my own experiences of the month are influenced by where I live. Summer is awful here in Arizona – hot, muggy, stormy. We get to experience thunderstorms that come in with our monsoons. Everyone’s experience of Hell Month will be influenced by their own internal landscape as well as where they live. Hopefully we’ll begin to understand July on a wider scale this year.

Apart from the monthly additions to our calendar (which can be viewed here), three important additions to July’s holy days are the Abandonment of the West, Murder of Alynah Blake and the Entrance of the Eighth God. These three events can be seen as related or not. I don’t think it’s necessary to have just one story concerning the arrival of our Eighth God. I’ve been working on a story in which the events are related, but I highly encourage people to come up with their own ideas.

The Abandonment of the West starts off along with Community Day on the first of the month. The first Four Gods – the Clarene, Ophelia, Laetha, and Dierne – are all out of commission as gods ruling over Western Fairy. Some of them journey to other worlds (such as our human one), while others wind up reliving and bound up in their own traumas. the Laethas are caught up in in-fighting and unable to work properly as a god or cohesive unit; the Clarene is out wandering the worlds; the Ophelia retreats under her River; the Dierne either wanders the worlds similar to the Clarene or is reduced to his pre-divine form. The gods are still able to be reached during this time, but their forms are more warped than during other times of the year and can be difficult to interface with. Unable to fulfill their duties, their right-hand spirits take charge and sit upon their seats. The spirits that take on the gods duties are Desiree (for the Clarene), Mallory (for the Ophelia), Althea Altair (for the Laetha), and Lilibell (for the Dierne). The latter Four Gods – the Laethelia, Ophelene, Darren, and Eighth God – remain, though far less experienced than the former Four Gods.

The spirits are left to themselves. They have to deal with the traumas and problems plaguing the West all on their own – similar to the situation that led to the Dierne’s deification. A variety of issues pop up while the interim-gods sit on their seats, only two of which I’ve identified formally.

The Murder of Alynah Blake (born at the start of Reunion, the opposite holy day to the Apotheosis of the Dierne) takes place near the beginning of the month, in the first week, and is one of the larger problems the West has to deal with. Mythically, she meets during Hell Month to spar with the Ophelene, a symbolic balancing of the force of chaos and the force of justice in the Otherfaith. For one reason or another, one of their battles ends not in the usual tie (with the rabbit spirit Alynah sprinting off into the wilds). Alynah either trips, slips, or simply doesn’t dodge as she usually does, and the Ophelene slices her in half. It’s intended as an accident, the Ophelene so used to their routine she doesn’t have time to pull back. She kills off the spirit of chaos, leaving a rather gaping hole in the energetic landscape of the West during a very vulnerable time.

Alynah’s murder is complicated. Some spirits view it as a positive act – Alynah is a bloodthirsty and violent spirit, pushy in her recruitment of new members to her Rabbit Troupe. She’s also incredibly powerful, near godly, and her birth only lends to her energetic importance. She’s the daughter of Althea Altair and Lilibell, the granddaughter of the Clarene and Adilene, and adopted by the Dierne. Practically the only thing keeping her from actual godhood is her irresponsibility and the protests of the other gods.

Unleashed at the same time of her murder is her Companion – a physically smaller but magically stronger spirit. Other Companionships are Erann with Ava and Aletheia 012 and Casimir with Neve. Being the giant half of a Companionship, any spirit Alynah entered into the relationship with would have to be more powerful energetically, which sends the interim-gods and the Ophelene into panic-mode. They eventually find Alynah’s Companion – Abel Blake – and the Ophelene takes on temporary responsibility for him until Alynah is reborn near the end of the month.

Later in the month, likely close to mid-month, the Eighth God arrives on the scene. Their arrival might be filling the chaotic role left behind in Alynah’s death, or they simply may decide that the restless and disastrous time is the best to announce themselves. Their attendant spirit Nevander announces their coming in some version of the god’s beginning. In others, the Laethelia announces the Eight God, the new god on her arm, or the Darren announces the Eighth’s arrival with little fanfare. However it happens, the Eighth’s entrance into the West is catastrophic. The interim-gods have no idea how to handle him (though Desiree calls for his murder once she sets her eyes on him, regardless of how he is announced), and the latter Four Gods are unsure how to deal with their new sibling.

The Eighth God is highly irreverent. Their spirits have little or no consideration for piety or regard for the other gods, and the Eighth themselves/himself/itself is outright hostile to the Clarene. They are a sort of anti-kingship god, lacking any throne. (Nevander, their attendant spirit, gladly appropriates the other god’s thrones for his purposes, though.) A combination of the Laetha and Dierne, the Eighth God is essentially ‘the worst’ of both gods. Many people have seen the Eighth God as very inhuman, hostile and frightening and everything scary. I see the god as more in-between, but I’m also a devotee to half of the god that creates the Eighth. My interpretation of the Eighth as a frightening, cruel god is balanced out by viewing them as also deeply important to the Otherfaith as a challenger spirit, one unafraid to confront the other gods on their bullshit.

The arrival of the Eighth God also shows us something interesting about the latter Four Gods: the combination of the lovers tends to create unpleasant deities. the Clarene and Ophelia create the Ophelene, a god of retribution who is commonly seen carrying a giant sword and shield. the Laetha and Dierne create the Eighth God, a god of chaos and terror. Meanwhile, the deities in conflict (Clarene vs Dierne, and Ophelia vs Laetha) create much most peaceful gods: the Laethelia, god of oceans and joy, and Darren, god of mediation and peace.

I don’t expect most people to like the Eighth God. In all honesty, I’m not sure they even want our worship, at least not in a way like the other gods do. But it still feels inappropriate to leave them out of my prayers. I may see them as a giant white centipede of death, ready to bite my head off, but I still feel compelled to offer them my appreciation. the Eighth is the god of outsiders and those ostracized by the Western spirits, after all. He may send shivers up my spine, but he’s become vital to my practice.

This month, and the killing of Alynah and the arrival of the Eighth, are all tied up in the Ophelene. She’s a god of duty and obligation, usually following the orders the Clarene gives her without question. That doesn’t mean she’s without guilt – she doesn’t intend to kill Alynah, for example, and is ambivalent about the praise she receives for doing it. Hell Month signals a huge change for the Ophelene. When Desiree orders her to kill Abel, for example, she refuses. Though Abel is dangerous and poses a serious threat to the West, a land the Ophelene is obligated to protect, she decides to take responsibility of the younger man and enter into temporary Companionship with him.

When the Eighth God arrives, the Ophelene is tasked with killing him. Desiree, and the Clarene once she returns to the West, view the Eighth God as fundamentally incompatible with the West and its values. And the Eighth God provides plenty of reasons to the Ophelene. He goads and insults her. He mocks her for her affection for the Laethelia. He constantly shoves in her face that she’s simply a murderer, as awful to behold as the Eighth himself. Outraged and injured, the Ophelene does try to kill the other god, bearing all her divine strength and ability down on him, slicing him to as many pieces as she can before stopping just short. Rather than following her orders, she allows him to live – acknowledging his role in the Four Gods as valid and important.

Giving these events a solid date is difficult. They all swirl together to make Hell Month what it is. There will likely be more events and stories that reveal themselves both this Hell Month and ones in the future. I have no doubt the religious calendar for this month will eventually be bursting, as the month of December hopefully will be in the future as well. I feel I’ve written more than enough on Hell Month for today, though.

Happy Wednesday, and happy July.


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist god religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treasure in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Monday] Idea of the Week

Happy (late) Monday.

Recently, Thenea on Magick from Scratch has posted about consent within polytheism. The first post is here while the second, on how to form consent-focused communities, is here. As the Otherfaith emphasizes consent, this is a topic that’s important to explore. (So, in a way, I’m glad I was late with putting up the Monday post – now we get to contemplate this!)

When I first met the Laetha, I made a commitment to her that I didn’t fully understand. I was overwhelmed by her light and fire and her divinity. I was willing to do whatever she asked, no thought of myself. This was influenced in part by my readings withing Paganism and polytheism. But it was just as much influenced by her manifestation. She was glory and flame. She was everything I wanted.

the Laetha is a complex god, however. She’s comprised of dozens of individual spirits and her behavior reflects that diversity. I didn’t know that I was giving myself to a dozen bickering spirits that day. It took me years to understand her full intricacies.

But I look back and wonder how honest my commitment and consent was that day. I didn’t know I was signing up to serve the child-god Ava, with her bloodlust and uncomfortable sensuality. I didn’t know of the Aletheia android spirits, made of divinity and malfunctioning emotions. I didn’t know this god would ask for my heart to be cut from my chest and burned at her altar.

I wouldn’t change my answer, knowing what I know. I’ve been pierced by her spears. I’ve been immolated in her fires. I would say yes again and again and again.

I could have waited and learned more about her before jumping in, but I wanted to say yes. I craved her like no other god I’d known. Imperfect as our arrangement was, it gave me something beautiful and precious.

It isn’t something I would recommend for everyone, though. Especially in the wider context of the Otherfaith, the Laetha is the one of the most difficult gods to interact with. She is a god of fire, often actually alight. Being near her for too long can cause us to catch flame too, which is what happened with me. Every god has their nature, themselves that they can’t change, and by choosing to be close to them in some way we accept that. (And I knew the Laetha was going to set me on fire on way or another; I just didn’t know what that meant.)

Even with my own experience, I knew consent had to be important to the Otherfaith. The choice of devoting ourselves to these gods, and the gods’ choice to reach out to us in turn, had to be present. It couldn’t be forced and bullied. This wasn’t just a choice I made, but one the gods encouraged. the Clarene emphasized choice in her interactions with humans. It was framed as the decision to rise each day and recommit.

This focus has drawn a lot of people in my age group to the Otherfaith, and there are obvious social justice issues tied into consent and consent-culture. I wanted to present a different way of interacting with gods through the Otherfaith, one more cooperative than I’d seen before. A lot of the ideas Thenea brings up in their second post are ones I’ve tried to incorporate into this new religion.

Interacting with the gods, I was able to discern between malevolent thoughtforms taking their appearance. It was trial and error that helped me figure out who was what. And I learned more about the gods’ natures in the process. the Laetha wasn’t a dominating, cruel force; she was just fire. the Clarene was gentle and supportive, but she had a nasty habit of chasing after whatever she wanted with an unfortunate tenacity (what she wanted usually being another spirit). the Ophelia seemed as though she would sweep me away without a care, but she was actually the most patient of the gods and waited for me to accept her. And the Dierne seemed obnoxious and arrogant, but he’d been crowned as the god of consent for a reason.

(The latter Four Gods are still a bit too new for me to describe properly.)

However, for all my focus on consent and the human interaction with these gods, I did run into problems when other people stepped into the picture. These weren’t problems of god-bothering/god-hounding. Those were rather easily solved by telling the deity in question to knock it off (that whole consent between gods and humans was instigated in part by the Four Gods, after all). Thenea goes into some ideas for handling god-hounding or negative thoughtforms of a god. What I’ve dealt with a few times has been humans insisting the gods are forcing themselves onto them, insisting the gods were abandoning what made them deities because the human in question was so desired or so pursued or so on.

I didn’t dismiss those cases out of hand. As I noted, the Clarene can be pushy, and being new gods the Four/Four can go overboard. Especially the ones farther removed from humanity. What I found myself facing was people claiming the gods were acting directly against their nature, however. Against that fundamental part of themselves. Claims that the Clarene – who, while pushy, is a god of commitment and Kingship and Really Hard Work – was just handing out any of her divine duties to random passerby humans. Claims that the Dierne was going around raping humans.

I met these claims with a very solid, “No, that’s not that god.” Eventually my relationships with the people insisting upon these various occurrences fell apart – largely because they refused to accept any other option. And I saw a nasty side to ‘deity abuse’, in the sense that people would claim it if the communities they inhabited rewarded such claims.

There is a big mess of community issues that come to bear with ‘deity abuse’. There’s the anti-consent rhetoric that dominates modern polytheism. And there’s the reaction to that which insists that deities are abusive and cruel and any claims of a person being abused by a deity must be believed without any hesitation. That Thenea is opening up discussion on this topic, the most nuanced that I’ve seen, is something I’m really grateful for.

Because back when I was dealing with deities acting against the fundamental nature of their divinity, I didn’t know what else to say except, “What the hell?” I didn’t have the ability to describe negative thoughtforms or delve into how our communities promote abuse at the hands of unseen entities. Now I do, in part due to experience, and I hope more people are able to begin considering the complexities surrounding consent and non-consent when it comes to deities.


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treasure in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Monday] Idea of the Week

Happy Monday. I look forward to seeing people at our G+ Hangouts this weekend!

For this week, I’m thinking of love, devotion, and piety. The question I’ve seen, in various forms and assumptions depending on who is asking it, is whether devotion without love (or, more widely, positive emotion) is appropriate or useful. Or, as it is phrased at times, does a duty like devotion require positive emotion (like love)?

I don’t agree or disagree with either presumption. I’m rather in the middle, seeing both sides as valuable – these sides being devotion as love and devotion as duty. No doubt this is influenced by my patron deity the Laetha and his opposite the Ophelia. Both gods are duty-bound while presiding over extreme emotional states (mania and depression). The idea that devotion without love isn’t as pure or effective sits wrong with me, as does the claim that we are all somehow inherently bound by duty to honor gods. Both arguments can be taken to greater or lesser extremes, with the more extreme claims seeming to sprout from conflict within our communities.

There are plenty of reasons while the middle ground works for me and why the various ‘ends’ of this spectrum work for other people. Our community is varied and diverse and it’s our obligation to continue making it so and promoting it further. Demanding or insisting that everyone follow a certain style of devotion is a good way to kill community. It’s also a good way to seriously injure other people’s religious lives, which any leader, clergyperson, or general co-religionist should want to avoid.

I find great use of the spectrum of devotional styles. My emotions and ideas and selfhood are definitely brought into my relationship with my gods. With the spirits I work with more intimately, it’s practically overwhelming how my biases, assumptions, wounds, and desires swirl together with the spirits’. I couldn’t do the work I do if I ignored or subdued my emotions. At the same time, I don’t always want to pray, or write for the gods, or do anything religious. It sucks sometimes, it’s hard, the gods don’t talk back or when they do it’s difficult to understand, and I just want to do other things. Aren’t video games better? They sure are easier.

But that doesn’t really matter. If I approach my shrine and feel like crud, am tired and a bit hateful, that’s okay. If I am resentful, my offerings still matter. Like any relationship, I still have to try even when I don’t feel like it. I can’t turn to my fiance and say, “I’m not feeling good today, so I’m going to ignore you.” At the very least, I need to tell him, “I’m not feeling good, so I need some alone time.” And my going to my shrine and giving offerings, or engaging in purification, or cleaning devotionally are ways of doing that. Deciding I’m going to write a little bit on a spirit or a god is a way of doing that. Working on the wiki is a way of doing that. Praying is a way of doing that. And I don’t have any problem with telling a god, “This is it for today, I can’t give you more.”

This works for me. It doesn’t need to work for anyone else. Other people are going to focus more on duty, because that is what works for them and their relationship with their gods. Others are going to focus more on their emotions and their emotional entanglement with their gods, because it works.

I think both ends of the spectrum are useful and valuable. When they take on extremes and began assuming a rightness or truth, though, we run into problems. These are largely community problems. We give each other bad advice on the assumption that our devotion is the correct kind. We assume all gods act the same and want the same thing. We might tell another person that they are going to be punished for not acting like we do. We might assume that a god wants to relate to another person exactly like they relate to us.

At its worst, we end up severely damaging another persons’ religious life.

We can do this on accident, and for most of us that result is accidental. We don’t realize that we aren’t privy to some Universal Truth, or we don’t realize how our words affect another person. We don’t realize how our words have been taken. We can’t predict what someone will focus on, after all. Communication is tricky.

But when we do cause injury, especially serious injury, to another person’s religious life by giving bad advice, we should apologize. Even if that apology is, “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize…” Especially when we’re in positions of power over or of authority – it doesn’t matter whether we put ourselves there or not. If we are insisting upon one true way of devotion, we do hurt people and we cause toxic communities. We have to act responsibly and realize how we’re influencing the spaces we’re in.

This is one reason I find claims that we not look for ‘external validation’ lacking. When we go poking our nose’s into other people’s lives – such as stating that one is not doing devotion properly, or that one is taking it too seriously, or whatever variation of such insults there might be – we are the ones looking for validation. We’re looking for someone to bow to our ideas or to agree with us. Someone standing up and saying, “That doesn’t seem right,” or, “That’s hurtful,” isn’t looking for your validation. Don’t step on someone’s foot and then blame them for pointing that out.

This is really one of the basics of community: accepting responsibility for our actions. If we don’t care about community, we can ignore how we effect other people. But if that’s the case, we should ask whether those contributions are worthwhile.


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treasure in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Monday] Idea of the Week

Happy (late) Monday. Over the past weekend we had our usual hangouts. If you’re interested in participating, submit a membership request to our G+ group. If you’re part of the Otherfaith, interested in it or our gods, feel an awkward fit in the pagan and/or polytheist communities, or just want to chat about religion, you’re welcome to join us. This weekend we’ll be having text-only chat, by request.

Currently, I’m reading Francesca de Grandis’ Be A Goddess and Goddess Initiation, which I’ve begun simply calling the Goddess books. The former shaped the Otherfaith in ways, at least in the beginning of this religious tradition. Rereading the books, I’m stuck by how far I’ve moved from what I once believed. Or not even believed, but accepted. I’ll be chronicalling my more in-depth thoughts on Tumblr, which I will also be getting more active on.

One reason why this week’s posts have been late is because I’ve been working on a new wiki project for the Otherfaith. While Wikia is a very common wiki platform and is, so far, the easiest to format, it unfortunately has some incredibly awful drawbacks (one of which is their approach toward content). Part of going to a new wiki (one that using the Mediawiki software) means learning how to format and understand coding, at least on a basic level. That will be slow going, but to have a wiki that functions how I want it (and has talk pages) it’s worth the effort. I also think a wiki is beneficial to the Otherfaith as it allows for more collaborative contributions. As that project advances I’ll post updates, both here and on our social media extensions.

For our idea of the week, I want to talk about purification.

Cleansing and purification is a topic I’ve touched on briefly before, but it’s been over a year since I’ve addressed it in any meaningful way. Cleansing is tied with shame in the Otherfaith, though before we do that we have to address why the shame exists in the first place. (We don’t want to cast out shame because we’re guilty of hurting another person, for example.) However, it isn’t limited to that. There are also connections to more mundane cleansing, like cleaning our homes and shrines and making them comfortable to live in. Being a twenty-something with too many books, that is a lot easier said than done. Keeping the house organized? Especially when it comes to laundry, we’re typically messy.

It was actually religious reasons that got me cleaning as a teenager. I’m nowhere near as dedicated to it as I should be, but that’s an exercise in habit. Just like when it comes to prayers and offerings, another practice that I’m iffy at keeping up (at best!). Cleansing and purification have definitely fallen to the wayside in a lot of ways for me – not in the sense that I don’t think of them, but they’re very far from active parts of my practice. If anything, the most active part of my practice is writing and tinkering with ideas.

But purification is an important part of the practices in Be a Goddess, and there is something relaxing and wonderful about simply letting go of ourselves. Whether that be our drama, internal or external, our assumptions and expectations, our wounds, or whatever – sometimes we simply have to reach in and pull it out. I tend to give my spiritual and emotional muck to my gods, though I’m unsure where that practice originated. Maybe it was just easier. It is, for me, a way of opening up to my gods and being honest with them. I can let go of my desire for perfection and my impatience and simply be, unfortunate wounds and all, with the gods I love.

My purification practice revolves mostly around the Ophelia. the Ophelia is the opposite god to the Laetha, their challenger and protector both, and I suspect my relationship with her is influenced by the Laetha’s patronage to me. the Laetha and Ophelia were the first two gods I met, as well. the Ophelia, in her towering, veiled form, cold to the touch and carrying her heavy, suffocating air about her, was frightening and enticing both. I came to her in desperation, in longing, in sorrow. Even when she was at her most horrifying, the pain belonged to her.

Even before I had a name for the ‘faith, I dreamt of her. Her and the Laethelia, our sea god, haunted me. Nightmares are no stranger to me, but I could always tell when a frightful dream meant a bit more. And I dreamt, in terror, of bright blue seas, the endless depths of the ocean, and water that pulled me under. the Ophelia is whom I speak of when I grasp at lucid dreams, the god who most often swirls in those incoherent images. I dreamt of an apocalypse where everything was washed away, where the Ophelia had sunk the world to the bottom of her waters.

When I had given her a name, or she had given me hers, the dreams ebbed, only flowing in on occasion. She had a name, and a face, and a human form – she wasn’t a destructive river trying to wipe me out. If I approached her close enough I could feel that danger still, but her human face shifted from an untouchable beauty to someone far more comforting. Even when she reached in and yanked out mud and mold from my heart, she had morphed from a dreadful presence to one of dark sanctuary.

I meet her mostly in the shower, nowadays. Turning up my hands and praying to her – and then talking, just speaking out to her of what fills my stomach like stones. She doesn’t much need to rip into me anymore. Those days have passed. Her presence, even when overwhelming and cold, is comforting. Unlike my patron and his mother the Clarene, I can be open. I can just speak with the Ophelia. Shame, fear, sorrow, despair, and hope all swirl together in her.

I open with a prayer to all the gods, murmuring their names in a litany before moving on to ask the Ophelia to help. And I speak with her before scrubbing off my body and praying that certain things be washed away.

The other two gods associated with purification, in a more direct way, are the Laethelia and Ophelene. the Ophelia as purifier is more focused on washing away and getting rid of, in a somewhat gentle fashion. She invites us to reflect honestly upon ourselves. the Ophelene, by contrast, is about cutting off and destruction. She is less concerned with our comfort and more focused on slicing away that which doesn’t serve (whether that be her community or an individual). She doesn’t wait, she acts. And the Laethelia is associated with the healing, far more gentle than the other two gods. This shows in her association with seafoam and bubbles, though she does have connections to the deep ocean.

These gods purification and cleansing associations can be understood as the Ophelia being tied to darkness, the Laethelia to light, and the Ophelene to blood (or blood-letting). They can also be understood cyclically, as the Ophelene cutting open what needs cleansing, the Ophelia actually cleansing the wound, and then the Laethelia healing us.

All of these gods also have a water connection – the Ophelia being a river god and giving some form of water association to her syncretic daughters the Laethelia and Ophelene. This ties in or explains why water is important to cleansing and purification in the Otherfaith.

I’ll be posting specific practices and ideas for purification over on our Tumblr, so check there for updates. And don’t forget that you don’t have to be on Tumblr to submit questions or content to our Tumblog!


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treasure in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Wednesday] June Holy Days

Current:

  • Marriage of Othani

Proposed:

  • Birth of Corliss
  • Birth of Rio
  • Commemoration of Centries
  • Commemoration of Rio
  • Communique of Casimir
  • New Moon
  • Marriage Month

For June, our only holy day is the Marriage of Othani. His myth can be found here. Othani is a flora spirit, seen as green and many-armed. He is associated with blooming and flowers, as well as bees and the reproductive organs of plants. His partner, Aletheia 009, is also associated with growing plants and creating life. Between them, they create the half-flora half-deer spirit Thiam.

Othani’s marriage is the end of June, a good ending to joyful, hot month. His marriage to one of the Aletheia spirits, known for their violence and despair, marks the integration of the calmer, more grounded Othani (and the wider West) with the wild fires of the Laethic spirits. This is a time of transmutation.

For us, their marriage sends a blessing over the whole month, similar to Althea Altair and Lilibell’s marriage in May.

For new holidays, we mostly have births of spirits. The birth of Corliss and the birth of Rio are tied to this time because of heat. Corliss is a spirit tied to the sea and islands, and though she herself fades into the deep waters she is very much tied to hot, sticky days on the water. Rio is a fire spirit known for his sharp tongue and fierce temper. Rio is also one of the Centries, a group of protective spirits that take on centaur forms.

June has the Commemoration of Centries, acknowledging the creation of this group of spirits. Though the Centries take on centaur form, they are associated with order, structure, obedience, and power. They are tasked with keeping the West safe and can take on either supportive or offensive aspects depending on a variety of factors. They are created by the Clarene and listen almost exclusively to her, though they occasionally follow the Ophelene as well.

Another commemoration is the Commemoration of Rio. We can honor him for becoming one of the Centries and becoming a defender of the abused, said to aid them with a flaming sword and fiery hooves.

The Communique of Casimir also occurs during this hot month. Rather than being born as many spirits are, he is created from a variety of energies and strings. He is announced rather than born into the West, and he brings with him heat and heaviness. He is a giant and guardian spirit and especially protective of humanity, and compared to the more stiff Centries represents a softer, warmer side of defense. He is a refuge and sanctuary.

Finally, we again add in the new moon to our holy days. The new moon for the Other People is when the moon is dark, not the first sliver of silver.

I will begin working on the Otherfaith Wiki and updating our spirit information so that everyone has better access to our various spirits as well as what various terms in the Otherfaith mean. I will post updates on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter once the Wiki has gotten up to speed again. In the meantime, please be patient!


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treausre in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Monday] Idea of the Week

Happy Monday! We had another two Otherfaith Hangouts this weekend; I wasn’t able to attend do to being at Phoenix Comic Con. I’m thankfully back and exhausted from the convention, though it was a great time.

Obviously, I can’t comment on the Hangouts, but for those present – please comment on any interesting ideas and topics that were brought up. I’d love to hear them.

June starts today. June, like May, is another ‘Marriage Month’ in the Otherfaith. I tie it especially to Othani and Aletheia 009, who marry at the end of this month. June is our wind-up month to the rough Hell Month of July. We celebrate marriage and light and joy before being shot sharply into the mythic cycle of despair surrounding the deification of the Dierne. Staying in the moment is tough but important, however. I’m easily tempted into running off into July contemplations before the month even hits.

My own practice has been swinging back and forth from the personal to the mythic, the two bleeding into each other constantly. This is simply the way I interact with these grand spirits. Attempts at striking some clear, definitive lines are always for naught. At time the mess of personal and mythic is irritating, but it is always illuminating. It is always useful in the long run.

It’s because of my relationships with these gods and spirits that everything gets muddled. My own impressions and biases muddle the pictures. Impatience and eagerness causes problems. With a religion that brings to bear a lot of modern concepts of relation and interaction, my small interactions with small spirits can shape my whole understanding of my huge gods.

The Otherfaith, and the polytheism I practice, is relational. A lot of polytheism is as well, but I wouldn’t say all of it is. Some people practice a polytheism that makes no sense to me. The way they talk about their gods confuses me and is foreign in an uncomfortable, itchy way. And because I’m human, like everyone else, it’s easy to say that other’s relationships with their gods are ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’. I’ve written briefly about this topic before.

Before we get in farther, I want to point out all of this is anecdotal. Actual scholars and researchers can gather actual data; I’m just musing about my experiences here! It’s possible and likely that what I delve into below might be off-base for your experiences.

One reason I think we can have strong negative responses when we see people doing something differently is that we fall into traps. We think that people who identify like us should do the exact same thing we do. Slowly, as we grow up in our lives, we move away from this idea and are able to accept more diversity. However, we are still attached to our labels and identities (for good reason), and when someone who identifies as we do does something outside of our understanding that can be very threatening. I’m not talking about people who act abusively or advocate spiritual abuse; I’m talking about people who have different relationships with their spirits or with their practice.

This is tough. Not everyone in the Otherfaith is a writer or interested in creating stories. And while I know that is okay, I have to go beyond mere acceptance. I have to think of how to advocate other ways of interacting with the gods beyond what I do. Beyond what works for me. And that can be tough when we’re stuck in our way of practicing. I’m lucky in that I’m challenged all the time by the people I surround myself with. The Otherfaith is tiny enough I can’t bubble myself effectively even when I really want to. (At the same time, small numbers are a drawback.)

Bubbles can form without meaning to. We might form a bubble because we practice something different than the ‘mainstream’ culture we’re part of. As we build up our community, we begin forming expectations and assumptions and biases. If we form enough connections and grow big enough, we become a new norm. Similar to in geek and nerd culture, though, we can retain our concept of being the ‘underdog’ even when it no longer applies. We hold tight to the identities we formed with those who practiced and grew alongside us, ignoring or unaware that as we grew we began to grow similar and cut off diversity. And then when someone comes along practicing differently or having different relationships with their spirits, ones that are not the new norm, we have a choice on how to react. Groups seem to react with hostility or, at best, with dismissal.

(And then those people, kicked out of a group or identity they technically belong in, tend to form their own smaller groups which grow until they repeat the same process.)

Simply: we form cliques and suck at realizing it.

The solution, in my opinion, is not to avoid groups or structure. It is instead to admit that it is there. We shouldn’t ignore that some people have more power or influence than others. We should look honestly at our groups, at our communities, and our friends and figure out how we’re interacting within and without the group. The problem is not groups. The problem is our assumptions that our groups are correct or normative or Right. Within the group, maybe those practices and beliefs function fine. But we’re often a tiny piece of a much larger community.

Of course, there’s a difference between asking for recognition and demanding adherence to your specific practices. Those lines can get blurred, especially if we start from a position of having to negotiate and demand recognition. We don’t always realize when we’ve gone from underdog to top dog. We don’t always want to realize that. Acknowledging I have power over others (due to my position in the Otherfaith) sucks because it’s scary and uncomfortable, but I have to make sure I actually deal with it. That’s better than not admitting I have any influence.

Influence is scary. Often we go from not having any or much at all to having a lot, depending on our audience and our topics. We can hold a lot of sway over people’s lives in ways we’re not comfortable with. Boundaries are important because of this. Remember our humanity is important. Forgiving ourselves and others is important. And acknowledging our power is important. I’ve done the most harm and had the most harm done to me when that has been ignored or denied.

For me, a lot of community problems I see concern harm. Someone speaks up in response to something and says, “Ow.” They might not say it directly or explicitly, but that is often what happens. Someone says, “Ow that hurts” and we respond by telling them not to be hurt, or we can’t hurt them, or that they need to stop looking outside of themselves because that’s why they were hurt. We make up excuses for why we don’t need to take responsibility for our actions or our words. After all, we still see ourselves as the underdog most of the time.

So for this idea of the week, I’m pondering how our communities hurt us and why they hurt us. And how we can build them better without recreating the same toxic behaviors.

Happy Monday everyone.


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at ‘Drawing Stars’ and Leithin Cluan at ‘from Stone onto Sand’. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Tuesday] Idea of the Week

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone’s Memorial Day yesterday went well.

Over the weekend, we had two Otherfaith Hangouts. Our Saturday one occurs weekly, and our Sunday Hangout was just started this past weekend. We have them occurring at different times in the hopes of making it more accessible to people. Though I will be out of town this upcoming weekend, the Hangouts will still be up for people to participate in. You don’t have to make both, but we’d love to see people interested in the Otherfaith or in modern religion! This past weekend we discussed a wide variety of topics related to religion and religious practice.

From now on, we’ll be opening our chats (about ten to fifteen minutes past the starting time) with a prayer. This will likely be a general prayer to the Four/Four Gods. Hopefully that will set us off on the right foot. It is completely okay for discussion to flow where it will, but the chats are intended for religious talk (Otherfaith or not). Always check in that people are on board with what is being discussed, so we can keep having awesome Hangouts!

This past week, I was finishing up the cosplay my partner and I are doing for Phoenix Comic Con. In between busily putting on the finishing touches for our costumes, I rearranged the shrines for the Otherfaith gods. It was no small task, but I’m glad I did it. Having some beautiful storage boxes that fit on the shrine really helped, of course. I’m working on a variation of an ‘ancestor’ shrine as well, thanks to some ideas from friends.

One thing that popped up while rearranging was some of the intuitive rules to putting up the sacred spaces. I need to say or do certain things before properly establishing them (meaning some of them are going to have to wait til we get back home). There are some items I didn’t mind getting rid of or not putting up – others felt distinctly uncomfortable to leave or ignore. There’s so much that goes into creating these spaces. It’s difficult and creative and fun and devotional. I try not to assume superiority compared to other people’s spaces. Partially because the pictures of other’s spaces are beautiful, partially because I can’t know how they use and utilize the space for their spirits! (Or themselves, but that’s a larger discussion.)

A consistent part of my Otherfaith practice has been my offering space. It hasn’t really changed over the years, except for an improve incense holder. The candle has been replaced with an LED. But the layout and function remains the same. There are three cups for different offerings on top of a larger plate, a glass cup for water and a small pitcher which to pour from. A very simple, useful space. It sits atop my ritual and religious supplies, largely incense, cigarettes, and mini bottles of alcohol.

Less consistent has been the pop cultural and geek influences on my practice. Something from the media I consume is always influencing me (lately it’s been the excellent ‘Steven Universe’), but it’s a lot harder to pin down where. How much influence does a show have on how I interpret a symbol? Do I have to consider the creator’s intent and meaning? I’m a big fan of ‘the author is dead’ type of analysis, but is that appropriate when incorporating elements of a story into my religious life? How far can I stretch a symbol before it loses meaning?

That last question applies to more general religious life, at least in my experience. How far can I tug the compass rose symbol in the Otherfaith before it becomes meaningless? Is it useful as a catchall symbol for the Other People? It’s also tied to the Clarene, though, and the compass rose has connotations with seafaring, stars, and orientation. And when other members of this faith use that symbol, what does it mean to them – and should my interpretation of the symbol matter?

This idea of conflicting interpretations and ideas is one that pops up a lot. It usually pops up in the Pagan, polytheist, and witchcraft spheres in relation to ‘unverified personal gnosis’ (UPG). How do we handle when someone uses information radically different than we intended? How do we handle when other people tell different stories than we like? Or maybe even tell stories we hate, using the same symbols we also use?

We can decide to ignore them. If we’re in local proximity this can be awkward, of course, but the intricacies of interaction do leave wiggle room for some ignoring and avoiding. Online this is significantly easier. We can just not read what they right. We can block them if they really annoy us. We can go do something else.

We can decide to dialog with them. We might possibly find similarities or just solidify deep differences. We might find ourselves getting more irritated with the person telling a different story, who is experiencing something different than us. We can decide to live and let live or keep picking at the ideas until we find something new.

We can promote our own ideas and practices – which is great!

We can decide the person with different stories is lying. Maybe we decide they aren’t actually experiencing the gods they say they are, or maybe they aren’t as educated as we are. Positioning ourselves as Right and other people as Wrong is a pretty human trait. We like our divisions and that is an easy one. And challenging our own ideas is tough work that we’re always going to fail at. We can only improve day by day. When we see someone who is similar to us, superficially, doing something completely foreign or different we can get defensive. It’s not hard to go from that to insisting what we do is correct or superior.

Some of my spirits are really insistent about their offerings, for example. And if someone came up to me and said that they wanted an offering they’d expressed disdain for before, I’d be doubtful. And I’d be defensive of my own practice.

And I’d have to get past that if I ever wanted to function in a communal setting.

We shouldn’t pursue everyone having the same story or relationship. And the Otherfaith and our polytheism is definitely about relationship. If I aimed for us all to have the same exact relationship with all the gods and spirits, I would just keep the whole dang thing to myself. But being open and confronted with new ideas serves me better in the long run. It keeps me whole, keeps me challenged, keeps me critical.

So the symbols I may pull from pop culture might be divorced in some ways from how the creator’s used and intended them, but it’s foolish to assume my interpretation is the last word. Even when it comes to this religion-from-scratch, my ideas probably weren’t even in the first.


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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.