hound of the cailleach

hearth fires and death pyres


May 2016

Why We Need Advocacy for Polytheist Survivors, Too

We need more support services for polytheist survivors of domestic violence.  I’m just going to put that out there.

A friend recently asked me to serve as a priestess for a teenage kid who had been through some terrible traumas, including sexual violence from partners, and wanted some kind of cleansing ritual.  It took some time to tease out the reason behind it, but eventually the kid described an experience that would be familiar to many within the polytheist and magical communities involving another entity.  Anyone outside of those communities, however, most likely would have dismissed it as a creative imagination or an indication of mental illness.  While the kid obviously does have some mental illness, likely caused by prolonged and repeated trauma from his not-too-distant past, what ultimately matters isn’t what the rest of us thinks should be real but the fact that this experience was very real  for him and affected him deeply.  Unfortunately, the manifestation of this kid’s trauma response and the way he chose to address it would be seen by many as the actual problem, not a symptom of something deeper.

Continue reading “Why We Need Advocacy for Polytheist Survivors, Too”


Renewed Shall Be Blade that Was Broken


…aka How I Incorporate My Polytheism into Dealing with My PTSD from Intimate Partner Violence: A Preliminary Report.

Faith shows up in a lot of therapy already.  One of the first steps of the famous 12-step substance abuse program involves believing in a power higher than yourself, and there are multiple survivor advocacy organizations coming from the perspective of one religion or another.  The only two groups for polytheists I could find for domestic violence (DV) and intimate partner violence (IPV), however, appear to be all but dead, and one seems more focused on issues like addiction.  Polytheists can be just as devout, religious, and/or spiritual as those of any other religion, and while advocacy and counseling groups are absolutely essential and effective, it’s more difficult for those of us for whom our healing is closely entwined with our religious practice.

This is why I have a group dedicated to polytheist-oriented DV support in the works in its own small corner of the Internet.  But I feel weird proposing such a thing that will, by its nature, involve people sharing experiences not just of trauma but their religious beliefs without being willing to do the same myself, so I wrote this article, the process of which has made me uncomfortable, depressed, and angry by turns.  It starts with some background, but you can skip it because the general outline isn’t unlike the stories of many other survivors.  There should still be enough context to understand the last part, which is about how my PTSD and polytheistic practice intersect, so if you’d like to take a pass on the TMI, jump down to “Enter the Gods, Stage Right.”

My sincere hope is that this provides something constructive, even if it’s just for one person.  Let’s hope I don’t fuck it up, if only because sharing this level of detail feels a little like pulling fingernails and leaving the raw beds exposed to the air.

Hush, this is my article, I’m allowed to be dramatic.

Continue reading “Renewed Shall Be Blade that Was Broken”

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