He [the Madman) showed me a vision involving pottery, in order to explain this [his hatred of gods breaking people, especially for the “greater good] better.
“There’s a difference,” he said to me, “between taking a pot and adding more clay, to fill in the cracks, and a bit of glaze, so it blends in and is smoothed out….” He gently set the first pot aside.
He suddenly grabbed the second pot and hurled it down on the floor, and the sound of the clay shattering made me jump.
“And taking something so you can break it,“ he said, “fill the cracks in with gold, and claim that you made it better, because look there, those golden scars are yours.”
–Varian’s journal log, July 16, 2017
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching, especially with the progress that I’m making in therapy. Some of that soul-searching involves going over the toxic ideas that I once had about devotion, and that’s especially true about the idea of being “broken” by the gods.
The Madman despises that idea–I did an entire month of devotional writing with him, and one theme kept coming up over, and over, and over again. That theme being of how he does not want to break me.
“He would leave before he ever broke me,” I wrote in a poem, “I know this the way I know he loves roses.”
I’ve mentioned before, that the Madman and the Dreamer are each other’s reflection; they work together so incredibly well because they’re complete opposites, not in spite of it. Their relationship is complicated; they’re best friends, lovers, and sometimes enemies as well. I joke that their relationship is what would happen if the hero and villain of the story fell in love, but that’s more the truth than it is a joke.
The Madman sometimes uses the term “villain” to describe himself, it’s a shorthand way of explaining a more complex idea. I knew about the role itself, he’d explained it to me through serious conversations, sarcastic comments, and that some of the music he requested on his playlist had a consistent villain/antagonist theme to it.
Lately–when I’ve seen him, which isn’t often right now–I’ve been seeing him in more of a Sacred Villain/Divine Antagonist role. I knew he played this role with the Dreamer, and it folds into them both as [High Power Deities] but it took a few very blunt questions from him, to realize he was putting that Hat on with me as well.
“Where did it come from,” he asked me one day, “the idea that the love of a god is a savage, dark thing?”
Slowly, he’s been helping me pick apart my old ideas about devotion, taking my internalized toxic ideas and breaking them down piece by piece. Where did they come from? What purpose did they serve? Did they help me at all, or only cause pain?
I’ve found that this is not only helping me with figuring out what devotion means to me, but it’s also helping my mental health as well. In learning about, and working my way through, toxic ideas of what devotion to (and Love for) a deity means, I’ve found that not only is my practice beginning to stabilize, but that my anxiety has gone down as well.
Thank you, Beloved, for all your help, support, and Love. ❤