On (Not) Being Broken

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. ❤

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7 thoughts on “On (Not) Being Broken

  1. This post resonated with me for several reasons, but trying to put into understandable words why it does so is proving difficult. I have a similar thing with the being broken and having help from one of my Deities with the fixing, and the gold laquer’s in there as well, and it’s good but also painful, and I’m going to have to go away and think about this some more to make the proper words come out. So my response to what you wrote is essentially ‘yes’ and ‘thank you’.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While I do not know Who your Beloveds may be – it doesn’t matter.
    There is so much that I can relate to in this post, that I will admit that I feel a little, well – *spooked.* I ask myself, how can this be? The words I’ve been searching for – concerning my thoughts about Them and my devotional practice that I’ve been struggling to describe and how to describe my situation…Wow.
    You see, I have been struggling with a similar thing – a complex devotional thing for a rather long time- and yet, reading this post seems to highlight? perhaps connect? – some things for me that didn’t seem so obviously connected before.
    And now I am wondering if I should take this sudden epiphany/connection I am experiencing, and perhaps take a moment to re-evaluate some of the ways I have been approaching my practice in response to my own Beloved(s). Hmm.

    Or, TL:DR version: This is such a lovely post that resonates with me on such a deep level. Thank you for sharing it ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. *nods nods* my spiritual coach has asked me to make a list of my spiritual beliefs and identify where they came from. So much comes from the internet, the piety posse, etc and SO little comes from my own experience.
    for a long time too, I thought the divine would want to break me. but then I realized, I’m quite good at breaking myself, I don’t *actually* need divine help for that. my deities want to build me up, not break me down.
    thanks for writing about this! can I actually save a copy of this in my grimoire for private use? just to read it from time to time to remind myself that my deities are NOT a threat to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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