Polytheism with a Brain Injury

Having a traumatic brain injury (TBI) complicates my life in a myriad of ways. For instance, I lost my sense of time. How do I know what day it is or when to plan something? I developed a system of using a calendar, a timer, and a day-planner. I write everything on the wall calendar and in my day-planner. Then I work out the day in my planner, and use my timer. Another part of my system is to anchor my days with regular activity and weeks in the same way. Monday is ironing, Tuesday banking, etc.

How does this work for the Gods of the Month and regular festivals in general? I put the festivals on the calendar and work out the Gods for each. Then I have the God of the Day list in my planner for my daily prayers. I have daily devotions that entail a schedule of regular “Gods of the Week” such as Neptune is always Thursday. This helps me to remember the changing Gods of the Day.

Doing meditation and other things is trickier. I have times when I go into an involuntary fugue state (a form of an absence seizure). When that happens, I need someone to help orient me back to the present world. In that state, I do sometimes have encounters with Gods that I have to piece together. I usually look for daily signs that the particular God did contact me. Once The Morrigan spoke to me in my fugue state. When I brushed the incident off as my imagination, She threw me out of bed. (I landed on my rear.)

Because of my traumatic brain injury (TBI), various forms of meditation are interdicted for me. For example, to meditate by watching a candle flame causes seizures from the flickering. Also, imaging myself a tree reaching to the sky and the earth removes me from reality. The result is that I cannot find my way back. The meditations that are encouraged for people with TBIs involve physical activity that uses both hemispheres of the brain. These types of meditations encourage a healthy brain while being rooted in reality.

What I do daily is cursive handwriting. According to Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Waldorf Schools, writing in cursive can be both meditative and character changing. Writing a page of Lacy Ls does calm down a racing brain. The repetitive movement across paper by the hand is soothing and serene. It frees the brain while keeping it tethered to reality.

I meditate using activities that anchor my mind to my body. Walking is ideal since it calms me down and promotes better brain health. From my walks around my neighborhood, I learned how to be a nature mystic. Watching squirrels in the trees, as I walk, becomes a meditation on Ratatoskr of the World Tree. Walking keeps me grounded and yet allows for contact from the Gods.

During my weekly walk up and down a long, steep hill, I pondered the houses nearby and their lawn ornaments. As I did, I kept getting messages from my House Lars (Family and Home Spirits) that They wanted a kitchen altar for Their devotions and offerings. The House Lars wanted me to recognize Their efforts to keep my family and home protected.

To ensure that I was not imaging Their Voices, I looked for signs in nature. I kept seeing chipmunks gathering nuts, which I associated with the Lars and Penates (the Keepers of the Pantry). When I got home, I set up altars to both Groups. The one for the Penates is on top of my refrigerator, and the one for the Lars is next to the stove. (I also have one to Venus Cloacina under my kitchen sink. She is the Goddess of Sewers and Purification.)

©Virigina Carper 2019