Despite the fact that I was confused that Poseidon was interested in me, over the years I have found the relationship to be incredibly fruitful. My perfectionist streak initially made me nervous about disappointing this powerful deity, but in time I swore an oath to honor and serve him. (If you don’t personally feel comfortable with the idea of patron deities in Hellenismos, you may officially refer to me as “oathbound” to Poseidon, and pay no further mind to how I got there.) Eager to embrace orthopraxy, I poured libations to him weekly and, in time, every day.
“Stormy Petrel,”a painting by John James Audobon.
My habit of not talking so much about Poseidon stems in part from the fact that he doesn’t talk to me. Not really. Two years ago I probably would have said not ever, not how, but that would not have been accurate. While I did not think I was getting much in the way of divine feedback from this patron of mine, he was indeed talking to me. I, however, was too blind to hear.
“Blind” is a good descriptor, because it better evokes missing something which is obvious, or would be if one isn’t so distracted by the world as to miss it. I don’t need a “god phone” to hear what he’s saying, but some quiet attentiveness definitely helps. This storm kestrel, for example, was surely placed in my image search to make a point.
Last summer my wife and I took a trip to Maine, and got to see some amazing oceanic wildlife. Earlier today I was trying, with my wife’s help, to recall the name of a particular globetrotting bird we had seen, but to no avail. So when I began to write this post I searched for free-to-use images of the stormy ocean, and was given a clear reminder that the bird in question was a Wilson’s storm petrel, a bird that goes are far south as Antarctica and much more rarely into the waters around Maine. The image here is the one that reminded of the bird’s species, and the fact that it popped up is sure sign to me that this particular storm petrel has some significance to me.
Another way that he communicates to me is through bathtub assignments. Showers clean my body, but the bath cleanses my soul. I add a three grains of salt, grab some inspirational reading, and sometimes I am struck with such a powerful thought that I have to lay the book down and just digest it. A couple of times I’ve actually had to get out hurriedly and jot down a couple of thoughts so that I wouldn’t lose it. This has been going on for awhile, but it never occurred to me that my little simulated ocean might be the ideal place for me to listen.
Listening is something I have learned, by and large, through the time I have spent with the Quakers. It wasn’t until I stopped forcing the issue, and started to practice expectant listening, that I started receiving . . . understandings, I’ll call them. I still won’t say that Poseidon actually, literally speaks to me. He did that only once, and once was enough. I’m mortal, and a mortal looking upon a god can destroy him; I don’t see that prolonged listening to one would leave me any better off.
So I don’t talk so much about Poseidon, because he works on my life with the patience of an ocean wave and the relentless pressure of a tectonic plate. I often don’t even notice that he is there, so I don’t speak much of him. But I should.