or, how I found the Otherfaith
It’s been almost a year since I decided to follow the Four Gods and my thoughts are turning back towards how I came to this decision, and, inevitably, how I discovered the Otherfaith.
I initially encountered Aine, the founder of the Otherfaith, on tumblr, and followed her blog. I don’t remember specifically when this was–sometime during 2012, I think? A marvelous year for tumblr drama, by the way. Regardless, it was before the Otherfaith was, well, the Otherfaith. She talked about the Four Gods–and I always liked these posts, I thought they were really interesting. Then she started posting their stories on another blog (this blog, and the myths are nicely organized here) and I read them with a casual sort of interest.
I will admit that part of the attraction was the names of the gods. Their epithets. They were cool and new. The stories were wonderful and heartbreaking, but for 2012 and most of 2013, I stayed at that level of casual interest.
Well, I say casual, but it was a bit more than that. I kept a list of basically all the posts Aine wrote about the gods and their religion and the West; I read everything. Literally. The myths, the blog posts, the informative posts, the prayers–all of it. I was an unnofficial expert on all of the pubic Otherfaith information.
And I was kind of proud of that. I had watched it develop from just Aine’s personal blog to an informative blog about the gods, to a hub for the small group of people who were drawn to the gods. Which would later include me, but not yet.
Because I have this–thing. This issue. And I’m not sure specifically why I have this issue, but I do.
I don’t like people to think I’m copying them.
I was scared that if I got involved with the Otherfaith, people would just think I was trying to copy Aine. Because make no mistake–copycat behavior is pretty common on tumblr when people have a unique practice or relationship with spirits. Make a big enough splash and people will start to imitate you, and I’ve seen it happen again and again in various tumblr dramas.
The Otherfaith is certainly very unique. It’s new. The gods are (relatively) young. It’s not a revival of an old religion–it’s completely based on new information. This is the perfect type of thing for people to rip off on the internet so they can feel special, or whatever, and I didn’t want to be one of those people.
So I stayed on the sidelines for most of 2013, when a lot of information was put on the web about the Otherfaith. I read all of it. You may think I’m joking–I’m really not. But I didn’t engage in the religion. I just…waited, and I read.
Until November of 2013.
There was nothing special about the particular date. Nothing big happening in my life. But one day, quite close to Thanksgiving, I was sitting in my room and I had the realization that I wanted to worship the Four Gods. Not just read about them. Actively, seriously worship, and fuck whatever anyone else said.
So I said the introductory prayer. I called out softly to the Four Gods, told them who I was, and that I wanted to worship them.
So I did.
Daily prayers were…hard. Especially in the morning. But eventually, the words came pretty soon after waking up and when I lay down to sleep. I re-read old myths & kept reading the new ones. In December I celebrated Reunion in a small way, but I still observed it. Fighting is taboo during Reunion, arguments and other confrontations, and that was hard and I slipped up a couple of times because I kind of like to pick arguments with people.
I prayed to the gods, morning and evening, at school, outside, in my car. It’s difficult for me to do food offerings, so I give other things to the gods when I can. I got involved in our little community. I was filled with inspiration, so I wrote poems and prayers and took pictures and was generally really happy with my level of devotion. March & April of this year were wonderful.
But I haven’t really talked about what happened in May before the hell that was May 28 – June 12 (which were horrible; I was incredibly busy, and sick, and on my period; I had jury duty, finals week, projects to finish, dance shows, other personal issues–it sucked. I was exhausted and stopped all devotional stuff and didn’t really pick it up again until July), and my personal hell weeks were oddly timed with some issues within the Otherfaith.
Before all of that, during the first few weeks of May…I was having doubts. I was really, seriously considering leaving the Otherfaith. I did a bunch of tarot readings, journalled about it, and spent a lot of time considering why I’m in this religion–but never really had the chance to make a decision because, again, HELL WEEKS occurred and I was too busy to do anything else. And once that was done, I kind of forgot that I had been having a small crisis of faith and it was summer and I was trying to find my way back into the old devotional groove.
I can’t really say why I was doubting. It’s weird, because I had about six months of solid, good devotion to the Four Gods and I was happy about all of that. Something in me just…faltered. I don’t know. I was freaking out because I didn’t want to leave the Otherfaith, but then I felt like I had to, and it was so painful to have those thoughts because I love these gods.
I guess, in the end, that’s why I’m still here. After dropping my devotion because of all that stress I could have easily ended my involvement. Or I could have been lame and used the excuse of drama to leave–but I didn’t. I took a couple of weeks for myself, and then realized that I wanted to be here.
I want to worship the Four Gods. I choose to worship them.
And maybe I won’t worship them for the rest of my life, but that’s okay. I don’t have to promise the rest of my life. As long as I keep choosing the Four Gods, I’ll keep practicing the Otherfaith. If a day comes again where I feel that I have to stop–then I’ll stop. I’ll be sad if that day comes, but I’ll have to follow my life where it takes me. But who knows? Maybe I’ll be a wonderful old crone of the Otherfaith, teaching grandchildren and great-grandchildren about the Four Gods, chatting with Aine when we’re both in our nineties and thinking back to these early days of the faith…
But that’s a long time away. For now I’m happy to worship the Four Gods.