Excerpt from a friend’s letter to me:
“I am obese (Lipodema), wet my pants (incontinence), tend to fall (polyneuropathy), and now I seem to be growing forgetful, too. Oh, and there’s also the menopause – sweating excessively and all.
… It is so exhausting to conceal and hide all this from other people”.
I think I know what she is talking about. For many years, I have also tried to conceal and hide certain things from other people. A very exhausting exercise, indeed. – But do we really have to conceal our weakness and wear the mask of the able, capable, flawless woman or man?
On one hand, the Paradise Myth relates that humans, from the very beginning, have used a form of clothing to hide and conceal things they were “ashamed” of. This is typically human. No other mammal would use clothes or make-up to cover up “deficits” of any kind.
Some animals, though, conceal and hide weakness or suffering. They would be afraid to be left behind. The pack would move on – and the weak ones would be left behind to die. This is why some mammals pretend to be “fit and healthy”, even when they are tired or aching.
So, there may be a feeling of being “ashamed” which leads to the necessity to conceal and hide. But, humans being gregarious animals – there may also be something deeper – fear of death – the necessity to hide and conceal weakness in order to not be left behind.
On the other hand, it may well be our contemporary idea of the Divine that causes the feeling of shame – the feeling of being “not right” when being overweight, having varicose veins, or suffering from any other illness or disability and or “so-called physical unattractiveness”.
Our contemporary “one and only God” does not grow old, obese, or get wrinkles, he will never suffer from incontinence – because he hasn’t got a body made of flesh. He is not in-carnated. He is a spirit, and claims to never change. He was and is “Perfect” Forever!
The Old Gods were more “anthropomorphous”. They showed us that the Divine would come in any human form. It would even come as a crippled person. In the old traditions, there always seems to be an aching, hurting or crippled god.
So, here, to name just a few are some Gods with physical disabilities:
Seth – Lost his testicles.
Horus – Lost his eye, was healed later.
Hephaestus -Crippled and “ugly”
Sleeping Lady – Obese
Wotan – One-eyed
Weyland – was lame
Gods with Psychological Problems:
Persephone – Depressed, severely traumatized
Ares -Uncontrollably aggressive, destructive and severely traumatized
Hephaestus – Suppressed anger, like a volcano and severely traumatized
In fact, they all had each their specific problems, none of them was perfect – and they were still Divine and perfectly alright.
Keeping the old gods in mind, it might be easier for us to let go of a lot of fear. To even let go of the fear of “death”. To release the fear to be shunned because of having problems and to be left behind by the “tribe”. Keeping an eye on the old gods, we might have less to conceal and hide from others. It might be easier for us to show them a bit more of our true, authentic, problematic, weird, crippled, powerful, beautiful, imperfect, divine self.
Written by Ysolda Dee
edited by JTAL
Image by Pedro Lastra (unsplash)
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