Allow Yourself to Celebrate the Triumph of Love

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public”

Cornel West

Love triumphed in the States today.

This morning, same sex marriage became legal nationwide. Those few states who were holding out for a right-wing hero are screwed — gay marriage is now federally recognized, federally legal.

This is a victory. This is a victory for love, for queer rights, for justice, for the progress of us as a species.

And yes, there is much more work to be done. Things still pretty much suck across the board for the majority of QUILTBAG people, especially trans* folk. We should not forget that, ever.

A rainbow-striped heart on a transparent background.

By JorgenCarlberg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

But we should take some time to celebrate.

Today I saw people say, in the same breath, “Hooray! BUT LET’S GET BACK TO WORK GUYS” — allowing themselves a millisecond, at most, to feel good about this victory before throwing themselves back into the fray.

This is the fastest way to burn yourself out and make yourself useless to activism. Trust me — I’ve been there. Multiple times. I now have such a short burn-out fuse that I can barely accomplish anything, and am only able to focus on one or two small issues to fight for. I destroyed myself in the pursuit of justice, because I did not care for myself.

In the long, grand scheme of things, same-sex marriage may be a small victory — but it is still a victory, and dear Aphrodite does it feel like a big one. And it’s one so many people have been working towards for so long. Achieving it should be a celebration.

Aphrodite isn’t just the goddess of romantic love, or sexual love. She is love — which means She is justice, and She is self-care. Never forget self-care when you’re in the pursuit of justice.

Refusing to take any time to celebrate, to breathe — even for small victories! — will guarantee you burn yourself out quicker. It will make all the losses hit you harder. It is absolutely essential to taking care of ourselves as activists to allow ourselves time to celebrate.

So take three days. Three days where you just bask in the triumph of love — because love did triumph. And then on Monday we can all get back to work, more refreshed, more eager to take on the fight.

We’re only human. We are not tireless machines.

Love yourself, as Aphrodite loves you.




Naamah (Photo credit: B.Morbid)

So I’ve been thinking about syncretism a lot lately. I don’t know why; it’s just been on my mind. And then I read this post over at Adventures in Vanaheim and I got a bit of a lightbulb; that is, that the Aphrodite I know is syncretized with Naamah.

Cue chorus of spluttering “But but that’s ~*~pop culture paganism~*~! It’s wrong and dirty and evil, I tell you!”

If that’s your opinion, you may want to leave all my blogs well enough alone. Just as a heads up.

Naamah is just as real to me as Aphrodite or the Morrigan or Brighid or Manannan or any of the other gods I honor, worship, and work with. As are the other gods in the Kushielverse.

I haven’t, as of yet, done much work with Them, and I think it’s because I’ve felt a bit overloaded with the gods already in my life. But this thought of syncretism keeps coming back to me and I wonder…have I avoided working with Them because I felt I already was? Do I see Kushiel as connected to the Morrigan, because of my godslave, D/s relationship with Zir?

I don’t actually have answers to the questions of the rest of the Companions — but I can tell you I have a very strong feeling that I’m not just worshipping Aphrodite, but Naamah as well, and that I’m enough of a medium-scrambled polytheist that I can accept that Aphrodite is Aphrodite and Naamah is Naamah and sometimes They’re also each other and both at the same time.

So I think, when I’m able to set up a physical shrine to Her/Them again, it will be to both Aphrodite and Naamah. And I’ll see where it goes from there.

(No, I don’t know how this fits with my feelings of Aphrodite/The Lady of the Stars. Maybe the Lady of the Stars is Naamah too. Maybe not. I don’t have all the answers.)

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Worshipping at the Temple

Statue of Aphrodite, known as the Venus of Arl...

Statue of Aphrodite, known as the Venus of Arles. Hymettus marble, Roman artwork, imperial period (end of the 1 st century BC), might be a copy of the Aphrodite of Thespiae by Praxiteles. The apple and the mirror were added during the 17 th century. Found in the antic theatre of Arles, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Devotees of Aphrodite (and, to a lesser extent, Pan) are lucky if they go to pagan events, because at pagan events there is often, if not always, a Temple or Shrine devoted to Aphrodite and sometimes one for Pan. These are generally places set aside so adults can enjoy consensual sexual activities with each other, but sometimes they are used for non-sexual activities, either solo or with a partner (or many partners!), or solo sexual activities.

My first real pagan event was Witchcamp, 2007, and the Temple to Aphrodite had non-sexual activities like cuddle and story time, when a bunch of adults snuggled up together and read fairy tales aloud from a book, changing the more Christian elements to pagan imagery. It was a lot of fun, and my first time feeling completely comfortable with other adults in such a vulnerable sort of environment.

At Pirates and Fairies this year there was a Temple to Aphrodite and a separate cuddle tent, which is good, because the Temple is usually very busy with folks engaging in sexual activities.

My fiancé and I were lucky enough to snag an hour in the Temple this year, and we worshipped heartily.

Sex in the Temple is definitely the best sex I’ve ever had. It helps that we’re ridiculously in love, of course, so our sex is like, always amazing, but doing it in the presence of She Who Heals All Wounds…it’s an extra level of holy gods, amazing. In the Temple I feel completely safe asking my partner for what I want in sex, which is not something I find easy to do, generally. But in the Temple, all acts of love and pleasure are Her rituals, and I can not feel wrong asking him to do things that might make me feel embarrassed otherwise. Or things that may make me feel unsafe — I’ve had a rocky history with D/s, to the point where I crave it and fear it at the same time. I trust him implicitly, and feel more comfortable with him taking those sorts of roles with me — namely because he’s not actually into D/s himself, but he is into getting me off. I don’t have to deal with bullshit Domly Domness Domism with him; I can submit without fear.

Even though I know that, sometimes it’s hard to remind myself of it in the mundane world. In the Temple, it’s just obvious that She’s watching over us, and it makes me feel even more safe and protected.

And I have Her to thank for his being in my life at all.

This time, he was even tolerant of my taking a few moments to pray to Her before we had sex; this is big, considering he’s pretty atheist.  I think our time in the Temple no doubt contributed to this Pirates and Fairies being one of the best yet, for me.  It deepened my love, my faith, and my hope.