Echoes of Faith

I read Sat’s post Loss of Faith: Polytheism Edition [link] in the cross-post on tumblr, thought ‘Mood’, and reblogged it over there under #shadow work. And then, it wormed its way into the mental category of ‘do not ignore’.

Because, well, some of what I wrote about The Burning and all of the [multiple, overlapping] Leaving(s) sound like it didn’t really have much of an effect on me. Some of it started somewhere in 2015, some of it didn’t kick into high gear until 2016 (Senior year/Graduation), and it wasn’t until the past few years that some components of the Leaving actually sunk in emotionally.

I suspect it might’ve been easier to talk about if I had gotten angry – a proper swearing and venting entry in a Gdoc that I could pour out of my system, even if no one else saw it – but I didn’t. I went numb, I shuffled the updates into a mental queue and left them there, and I was hit with a nostalgic sadness sometimes, way after midnight. I was incredibly embarrassed, and it was an anger-tinged shame more so than a good anger to clean out the emotional system. (Who exactly wants to admit to feeling gullible once the trick is revealed in the end?)

It was the diversity of intensity of interaction and different types of devotional relationships that kept me from feeling like I “qualified” to talk about feeling abandoned. Person 1 had been around casually for years, while Person 2 had just barely dropped by and been put into lockdown so I never built a relationship, f’ex. Neither really felt like They were ‘here’ enough to have actually abandoned me, but the sheer collective weight of all these less intense examples were a noticeable loss.

What did I do? Threw some content into some of Their tags over on tumblr, transferred sideblog content before officially deleting them, completely abandoned some tags, scheduled out final posts for Some, felt awkwardly alone struggling to interact with the devotees of Others (who appeared far happier and much closer with Them), felt stifled by a few of Their gag orders (until a recent anonymous spectrosexuality survey allowed a brief loosening, which led to sadness, regret, shame, and crying). I mostly just ignored certain feelings until enough time passed that I probably wasn’t going to ‘act irrationally’ while interacting with anyone else.

This isn’t exactly new news, but there’s a bit of a bias towards introductions and 101 material on some parts of pagan/polytheist tumblr. New people come in with – to borrow from polyam phrasing – NRE, or new relationship energy. Some people (as they’re allowed to do on their own blogs) focus on the happy parts: I think So-and-so helped me with this, here’s a picture of my altar and/or shrine for when I did my Oathing to Whoever, a heartfelt prayer overflowing with gratitude, and so much love whether spirit consorts, godspouses, etc or not. (It’s just so overwhelmingly positive.)

It felt like I was somehow doing something wrong because I needed to say goodbye to People instead of hello. It felt uncomfortable (like I was a killjoy) to interact with devotees who expressed a deep sense of loving-care with some of the People Who had hurt me. It felt like I had somehow fucked up the basics of interacting with a Deity when so many were Leaving. It felt a bit lonely when I was being given instructions to dismantle shrines, rehome objects, get rid of prayers, etc. when other people were trying to set them up.

I had heard vague rumors about some people experiencing abusive behavior from a Deity, but I was honestly blindsided by the boundary-crossing I experienced. (It didn’t look like an Earth-to-Astral crossover that was easily recognizable, and it manifested in ways that I wasn’t prepared for due to my lack of a ‘godradio’). If I hadn’t had other People Who were willing to step in, enforce changed wards, and do the heavy lifting of keeping the People involved away initially, I might’ve been SOL entirely on my own.

That this was in the midst of The Burning and Leaving didn’t exactly help because I lost some of the more intensive, closer devotional relationships I had been hoping would survive all the Leaving. But, once you feel like you can’t trust Someone or the divination They’re using to communicate with, it’s also surprisingly easy to let go. (And yet, we circle back around to Their other [current] devotees, and there’s not an easy way to handle the weird post-relationship feelings. Because Deities aren’t like human exes and ending a devotional relationship isn’t quite like a breakup.)

While importing sideblogs to WP before the 2018 Tumblr Purge went into effect, I made a note in one of my ‘personal venting docs’ in Dec 2018 while going through old sideblogs and old WP content:

In trying to find a silver lining: Rather than rushing to post about something, I did learn to wait and make sure it was still applicable, even if it does mean there were gaps in activity [on WP] and information that I don’t know what to do with after Someone had Left. I feel foolish for letting outside influence bleed into what I was doing, but I’ve learned how to double check that something actually applies to me with better accuracy.

Condensed venting: The thing that almost hurts is that I got a lot out of what now looks murky in hindsight – either Someone struggled with correcting my perception of Their Face, or for Reasons, They wanted to encourage me along a certain path for a while but had no intentions of delivering on that path in this lifetime.

It’s one thing for a pantheon to not be interested, or for me to not have the devotional clearance to interact with Someone, but it’s another thing to feel like I uselessly poured my time, attention, and devotion (some may say, love) into interaction and a relationship.

Honestly, I don’t have a nice and tidy conclusion for this. Instead of ‘once bitten, twice shy’, I feel like I’m several times bitten and now commitment avoidant. At one point in time, I very much wanted to feel like there was something coming from my People (affection, love, something more than bare tolerance???), but I’m a bit afraid I’ve lost the ability to recognize that.

Like, They wanted a Tool with few emotional connections, and now They’ve made one. What a coincidence that this aligns with some of Them wanting me to not rely on ‘the fickleness of love’ for being the initiation for offerings, service, devotion, what have you. Duty, honor, and a sense of wanting to keep your word have all made appearances while trying to interpret divination about this. (Since there are multiple People still around, it’s not an across the board thing. Some aren’t quite in the ‘love is fickle, let’s nix that’ camp.)

I don’t particularly have a grand solution for the community and ‘I can’t avoid interacting with fellow human devotees’ aspect either. I was always much more of an observer, who occasionally liked posts, than an active member of any online space. The main thing was that I just felt more of a drive to share original content and actually talk about myself, I guess. I suppose I can ease back into that, as a starting point.

Good Enough.

I had a very distinct moment of starting to reblog the cross-post on tumblr before I realized it’d be more appropriate over here. (Granted, I haven’t intersected with the Kemetic community in well over three years, but the basic idea fits with my recent lack of activity in the vaguely Norse flavored something-or-other where I am.)

Mystical Bewilderment

Alternative Title: The Kemetic Community needs to up its content game.

This past week, I attended a leadership conference through my job. This is the second year that I’ve gone and as a result, there will be a few posts based on things I learned about at the conference. As always, as I listened to the various leaders from various countries and background present, I took studious notes, not necessarily for myself, but because I wanted to take what I was learning and use that to help the wider community.

TTR is right – the community does need to do better. And if that means I can impart, perhaps, some form of wisdom to one person at the very right time because I spent two days wearing uncomfortable clothes watching people talk about leadership? Then, I’m fine with that. I’ll go next year and the year after until I finally…

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Loki’s Virtual Temple – August

While I am aware that this post is several years old by the time I’m reblogging it, it’s easier to listen to Someone’s prodding.

The Road, the Walker, and What Comes Next

Filming Loki’s temple video was delayed a bit while I prepped for Many Gods West. I’ve returned and resumed filming. I brought back many very valuable ideas from Yeshe Rabbit’s session on building temples and will soon be integrating these ideas into Loki’s Virtual Temple and probably into the Virtual Temple Project as a whole.

In the meantime, please enjoy this month’s visit to Loki’s virtual temple.


Financial report for August:

Flowers: $6

Incense: $5

Beverage offering (tea) $2

Donations $0

Thank you for continuing to view these temple videos; I sincerely hope that they provide spiritual comfort and connection with Loki, and an opportunity for reflection, prayer, and contemplation. As always, if you would like your name or a concern added to the monthly prayer roll, simple email virtualtempleproject at gmail dot com. This is a free service offered to the community. If you find this project valuable, a…

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Loki’s Virtual Temple – July video

While I am aware that this post is several years old by the time I’m reblogging it, it’s easier to listen to Someone’s prodding.

The Road, the Walker, and What Comes Next

It took me an extra couple weeks to get around to filming Loki’s temple video for July but it’s finished and available. If you’ve enjoyed using these videos for contemplation, prayer, spellwork, ritual, or simply relaxation please share them with others. You can also create your own virtual temple videos and share them online as part of the Virtual Temple Project.

Video financial record for July:

  • Costs
    Incense: $10
    Flowers: $5
    Tea $3
  • Income
    Donations: none

If you would like to sponsor offerings of candles, incense, or flowers these are just $10 and you receive a portion of that month’s offerings for your own devotional work. The money covers the price of the item and the cost of shipping goods to you (US shipping is currently only available). You can also make one-time or recurring donations to make this project possible; just use the Paypal donation button on the right…

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Loki’s temple; June 2016 (Virtual Temple Project)

While I am aware that this post is several years old by the time I’m reblogging it, it’s easier to listen to Someone’s prodding.

The Road, the Walker, and What Comes Next

The June video of Loki’s temple space has been uploaded to YouTube and can now be viewed, shared, and embedded. Please enjoy this as a tool for worship, meditation, spell work, and contemplation. Feel inspired to participate in the Virtual Temple Project by creating your own polytheist worship spaces and sharing them online.

As this is a project offered to the community, transparency should be exercised. Here’s the financial record for this month’s video.

  • Costs
    Incense: $5
    Candles: $3
    Flowers: $5
    Pomegranate juice $4
  • Income
    Donations: none

Thank you everyone for the kind support you’ve shown this project. If you would like to sponsor offerings of candles, incense, or flowers these are just $10 and you receive a portion of that month’s offerings for your own devotional work. The money covers the price of the item and the cost of shipping goods to you (US shipping is currently only available)…

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Haircut as Platonic Service

A half-assed post about the pros and cons of approaching giving a partner a haircut as a platonic example of body service with a bit about approaching from a Dominant and submissive pov. I wrote it more as a personal thought piece and reminder after getting a haircut in March (local Great Clips had a sale), but the sccwriting club found it, reblogged it, and people responded (most favorably).

Titled on tumblr: This post brought to you by a local sale on haircuts.

Consider: Cutting someone’s hair as platonic service.

I have no idea if I’d want to do it all the time, but I’m just curious enough to want to let a Dominant cut my hair once. Right now, I don’t feel comfortable with letting someone else decide what my hair should look like, though.

While I have zero current knowledge of hair cutting, I’m awfully tempted to learn just enough to be able to do something for a sub. Obviously, it’s not something I’d try to force, and I don’t feel like I should be the one deciding on what the haircut should be, but I have this feeling that this could be a really nice intimate activity in the right situation.

Potential Pros:

  • Like playing with someone’s hair, but with a purpose.
  • Hair washing optional, but also really nice.
  • Clear task with immediate results. There’s no multitasking, complicated decision making, do x and maybe see y weeks later progress.
  • A practical task that serves a purpose beyond “I said so” or “I think it’s sexy”. Might help your partner save money.
  • Can be intimate in a close setting outside of a noisy business or salon.

Potential Cons:

  • Knowledge.
    • Some elements aren’t terribly difficult, or a determined toddler with a pair of scissors wouldn’t give out ‘haircuts’, but it’s not quite that easy, especially if you’re doing something you’ve never done to your own hair before to hair that isn’t like yours.
  • Nerves.
    • I can totally understand why some people would want to stick with easier body service like brushing or washing hair. There’s a difference between trimming hair and breaking out the clippers and dye for a wild mohawk.
  • Tools.
    • I mean, it kind of depends on what exactly you’ve learned how to do and what you’re expecting you’ll do. I’m not trying to get anyone to do full cosmetology training and spend a lot of money on everything you might need when you might just be trimming the back of someone’s neck or something.
  • Other service is easier and/or within your partner’s limits. It’s possible I may not run into someone who’d trust me enough to cut their hair, but they might trust me to help style it, for example.

Disclaimer: I don’t have a cultural or historically weighted racial association with someone else touching my hair. I do have some personal hangups with how social gendering of hair has intersected with my family’s thick hair in females, but that’s a little more complicated than this warrants (rain check on that post).

Broceanic Honoring

Alright, so Poseidon has a particular Face that comes and goes (Brocean) and wants to be acknowledged about once a month (Monthly Brocean). What exactly can I do for Him when He’s in such a particular upg, not quite traditional guise? I try to keep the following in mind (Brocean & Night-Blooming Cereus):

I am the ocean and the gentle lap of the waves against the sand. I am the give and take of the tide, knowing when to compromise and when to hold firm. I move around rather than trying to force my way through. I don’t have to be immovable, stoic, and emotionless. I feel, express emotions, am gentle. The ocean isn’t always calm, but that doesn’t mean I can only feel anger or a particular slice of the actual emotional spectrum. I can be the cool water and the warm sun.

A bit ironically, my Sleipnir tag also applies to this post because there’s an element of shadow work to acknowledging emotions and working on emotional expression. The fact that an emotion is there doesn’t automatically mean it’s bad or you’re a bad person. It’s like having a ‘check ___’ light come on in a car, which can be helpful to make sure you’re still in driving condition, and it’s trying to continue to drive while ignoring that light (and the possible outcome of running out of whatever) that backfires. (Source for the analogy.)

Ignoring an emotion, bottling it all away,  or trying to only limit yourself to certain emotions isn’t healthy. It’s not healthy to try to swallow down all of your anger, sadness, and emotions that don’t fit the “light, love, positivity” group, but it’s also not healthy to only let yourself feel anger, sadness, etc. I say this as someone who’s had apathy and depression smother my emotional range into numbness, who’s had certain emotions break through the apathy a little too intensely, who may or may not be battling compassion fatigue, and who has had to prod at how socialization affects emotional expression. (Just quick examples: Don’t get angry, cry, or talk back, or it’ll just be “that time of the month”. Don’t cry; “man up”.)

I’m certainly not a poster child for healthy and safe emotional expression, and I still have to work on coping mechanisms that aren’t self-injurious, but that’s not the end of the world. There are certainly other humans in very similar boats. My freeform writing about water and emotions (above) focuses on gentleness because that’s the direction I currently need. I’d also guess that I don’t currently need this lesson from a Goddess because water and emotions are not inherently feminine, but it may just be that I already had an existing connection to Njord (hence this Face of Poseidon).

In the Norse pantheon, there’s Ran and Her nine daughters with Aegir in terms of Oceanic Goddesses, but I’ve never been cleared for interaction with any of Them because They come across as “remember I am Wild and can kill you” and I already learned the lesson of how dangerous water can be when I almost drowned as a kid. This doesn’t mean someone else might not get a tough love approach from one of Them, but this is an area where I don’t see myself doing well with that. Some people get thrown into the deep end of the pool and figure out how to swim, and other people go through the same experience and drown.

I don’t need the wild and stormy tempest to learn how to feel my anger. I don’t need rough handling and sharp edges because I can accomplish that on my own. I’ve punished myself in order to feel and tried to hurt myself into not-feeling what I was feeling, and the idea of gentleness towards my body and emotions (self-care) is the scarier option. The only way some of this emotional expression works is that I let myself do something that will not be seen by anyone else to reduce self-censorship (not even here), but I can share a tactic that works for me (no guarantee it’ll work for anyone else).

Because I’m a bottler and I have a history of not letting myself cry (stys suck), I sometimes need to go out of my way to get the tears flowing because it’s literally unhealthy on a physical level to never cry, not to mention the emotional regulation from hormones, neurochemicals, and all that. I’m not sure if it’s generational, a by-product of growing up with Fandom and self-identifying with certain characters, or simply a ‘safe’ fictional space, but I think through Angst plots for fanfiction or original fiction in order to help myself cry. I know, #emo. I don’t really write these AUs or outright new plots down compared to other plots because it’s not about being in Writer Mode, it’s just about relaxing into the emotional waves and not fighting the tears.

Someone filled my prompt (!)

Collection: trans_positivity_fiction

Prompt: Trans Witch, Wizard, or Wix

Fandom: Harry Potter – J. K. Rowling

Tags: Marauders’ Era, During Canon, First War with Voldemort, Post-First War with Voldemort, Not Epilogue Compliant, Queer Friendly

Summary: Posting for my own accountability to finish a plotbunny. Open to any relationship type (M/M, F/F, Multi, etc.). I haven’t specified characters, but I would like to see minor or background characters, especially someone other than the Trio if the character is a student at Hogwarts.

I haven’t specified Gen as a category, but for those erring towards Mature and Explicit, please avoid cross-generational ships, Teacher/student, and incest. I would ideally like to see something that isn’t torture porn or abusive, and canon can certainly be tweaked to avoid character death, especially if dealing with the Second War.

—–

Fulfilled by:

From the earth to the fire by  ichor (sbzpruiosnejre)

  • Gen | No Archive Warnings Apply | Complete
  • Ships: Padma Patil & Parvati Patil, Lavender Brown & Parvati Patil
  • Characters: Parvati Patil, Padma Patil, Lavender Brown
  • Tags: Trans Female Character, Minor Canonical Character(s)
  • Summary: A piece exploring Parvati Patil as she begins a new life: at Hogwarts, as a Gryffindor, as a girl.

It’s a really nice oneshot from Parvati’s POV that alternates between the summer before her First Year and just after getting Sorted. It feels nicely low stakes compared to going up against societal limitations or life-or-death stakes. Yes, there’s concern over getting a place in the girls dormitory and an instance of deadnaming, but it feels realistic for a First Year’s perspective. The details with the Patil family, the references to Parvati’s relationship to femininity, the equal weight to her twin bond altering from split Sorting. As I left in my comment, “I can’t leave enough kudos on this fic.”

@ichor responded, “I wanted to bring something that touches on those small moments you get when everybody is trying to be supportive, but ultimately are unable to help the odd slip-up. I didn’t want everything to be alright but I didn’t want Parvati to be weighed down and feeling alone. That kind of loneliness of being the only one who knows how it feels is a whole other thing.”

—–

Why share here?

1) A story with a trans headcanon + no angst / suffering / death = Scratches a nice itch.

[ETA (Aug 2019): I have a different story that’s going to fill this prompt (featuring genderfluid!Tonks), but I’m leaving this info here.]

2) I, uh, should get back to my fic that prompted this. #Rat Fic on tumblr (under Writing Projects >> Other Writing Projects >> Rats here on WP).

3) Admittedly, my fic has a lot going on other than the trans HC, and the main POV isn’t even the trans character (I suspect some don’t want to read Snape POV, even if it’s a Fix-It). So, I’m debating how best to pull out the trans specific portions into their own fic (Ch 1?) and tweak to Charity’s POV (Ch 2?).

4) The whole process of Charity wanting Snape to help figure out a partial Transmogrification Potion that affects certain areas instead of doing the full kit’n’kaboodle is a direct parallel to how some trans people don’t want the typical MtF/FtM transition arc covered by the media. It’s pure wish fulfillment to just handwave all dysphoria relieving and transition topics away because Magic, so I have some thoughts for realistically not-simple and not-instantaneous but still possible magic.

I just have a lot of Feelings about how fictional magical worlds can include trans people without it being “unrealistic”.

Thoughts on Financial Control

[A part of my brain is aware that it sounds kinda crazy, but the idea of a Dominant telling me that I can’t buy something, especially if it’s because ‘I haven’t earned it’, does set off a lowkey terrified fight-or-flight response. I don’t know if it’s particularly strong because a lot of people responding to @sccwriting prompts are women submissives with dominant men, but I’m pretty sure that gut level, kneejerk reaction can be currently classified as a hard limit.

Unlike other switchy pieces, I didn’t try to approach it from a Dominant pov because it would have to be something a sub would have to initiate entirely on their own, no pressure from our dynamic. I can look at my sorta craziness and see that I have Issues to work out, and even in the hypothetical future, they just might have better luck with budgeting apps.]

No # post: Financial Control

#1 Is financial control a part of your relationship?

Not to be horrifically morbid on main, but I’d rather die. Did my family and our exact living situation not give me the best tools for all aspects of financial literacy? Yeah. Did I get an unhelpful finances unit in the ‘we’re funneling you off to college but not preparing you for life post-graduation’ class in my high school? We had one (1) person who wanted to become a lawyer and two (2) people who wanted to become doctors, so the teacher told all of us that we’d be so rich we wouldn’t need to worry about doing our own finances. Joke’s on you, Mrs. S, it turns out you don’t have to do taxes if you don’t earn enough. But really, I would rather google embarrassing questions and try to ungracefully figure out what the fuck I’m doing with my own finances than ever let someone else have financial control over me.

“What if your partner is better with money?” If I can’t phrase my question correctly enough to get an answer while googling, I’ll try asking them. “But –” My account, my money, my decisions. No one’s coming in and going all ‘skip the latte’, ‘do you really need to spend $__ on [something I don’t think you should buy]’, and deigning to give me an allowance if I’ve ‘earned’ it. “I sense Issues.” My father stole my mother’s identity and fucked up her finances for a while when I was young. My grandmother spent part of her life not being able to make certain financial decisions separately from a man as a cosigner, was taught that the specifics were the man’s domain especially once she was married, and after ~57 years of marriage, is struggling with figuring out her finances after my grandfather died in Sept 2018.

I have zero desire to experience poor shaming from a partner, especially if we have different backgrounds and approaches to finances [The Latte Factor, Poor Shaming, and Economic Compassion]. I may objectively understand that there’s a difference between negotiating finances as an area of control in a power dynamic and financial abuse, but I also know that vanilla partners can wander into questionable ‘is this financial controlling’ territory, finances are typically in the top five things couples argue about, and financial abuse is a common non-violent method of domestic abuse [When Money is the Weapon: Understanding Intimate Partner Financial Abuse].

While kinky people have to spend more time working on communication, there’s always renegotiation, and somewhere out there, there is a dynamic that has managed to negotiate financial control without any issues, I’m lowkey terrified by the idea. Someone deciding that I shouldn’t buy something inspires the same level of panic as someone deciding they can order for me at a restaurant. “N-e-g-o-t-i-a-t-io-n.” The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions.

#2 Is the topic of money ever a source of stress for you or your partner?

Honestly, it may not be the worst thing that I don’t have a partner right now because I clearly have Issues. Come back to me in like five years for a less neurotic answer. It’s entirely possible I’ll change, but I still feel like financial control isn’t something I’ll be interested in soon because it’s something I would definitely need to have an incredibly established dynamic to consider.

#3 Is it hard to maintain the D/s dynamic if the submissive partner is better with money?

In theory, it shouldn’t be. Offering up financial skills could be a means of assisting your Dominant.

Wolf Mode (secular explanation)

On some of my other blogs, I have a tag called #Wolf mode, and after running across a comment from someone wondering why Dominant leaning people tend to do the wolf thing, I thought I’d write a bit on how I’m approaching this.

I’ve tried to rephrase this opening to not sound Like That, but really, I can’t avoid the werewolf lit in my younger years. When I hadn’t realized I was trans yet, the physical strength of the women characters (on par with or stronger than the men) and capacity for the women to ‘outrank’ men was appealing. These weren’t women who were fragile damsels in distress who needed a strong man to rescue them, you know? Though problematic in some areas about how the roles were still gendered, the Alpha/subordinate dynamic did make some allowances for w/w and m/m ships, and the fledgling queer that I was, I needed some place to look for that.

Lunar transformation as metaphor for menstruation also provided a way to alter how I viewed my relationship to being a menstruator. These were often big women (not dainty) and often hairier than the smooth, practically prepubescent images of conventional media and porn. As someone trying to deal with social messages about what was appropriately ‘womanly’ (and hated shaving), I found a little relief in a character who didn’t have to get rid of their body hair. Add in lycanthropy as metaphor for HIV (most well known example is Remus Lupin), and I was pretty solidly in the werewolf camp. Being turned and experiencing a second puberty of sorts that seemed awfully similar in some ways to transitioning? Cherry on top.

(But wait, a reader may be thinking, you’ve also got vampire shit in #Wolf mode? That’s not being in the werewolf camp?) Despite what some franchises would like you think, you don’t have to split yourself solely among vampires or werewolves. Especially when you start browsing romance or erotica, they’re often shelved in close proximity to each other, in a manner of speaking. I view the animalistic, feral, and more Predator aligned aspects with both groups, but depending on what you’re trying to read, some stories focus on that more in the vampire category.

True, it depends on where you’re getting your romance and erotica stories from, but some writers can split kink distribution differently between the two categories. I attribute blood, knives, scratching, biting, leaving bruises, Marking, Claiming, and quite frankly a lot of sadism with either, but for example, a fair number of people default to vampires for biting and blood. (Maybe I’ve gotten a little jaded from a segment of fanfiction, but you don’t have to turn the character into a vampire in order to have blood play. Really.)

(So you’ve got a thing for sadism. How is this any different from other dominants connecting to their inner Predator in this way?) Keeping in mind that I’m not a wolf expert, I’d say pack dynamics and how they are commonly portrayed in werewolf and wolf-shifter stories. Ah yes, the Alpha route that takes inspiration from outdated wolf pack dynamics (notably, Alpha Men™ looking for their submissive mate, who is commonly a woman). Now, it does work for some people in terms of Dominant/submissive and top/bottom, or I imagine it wouldn’t still linger in storytelling and irl roleplay. There can be something satisfying about clearly defined hierarchies and group dynamics, but sometimes, the determination of who falls where leaves something to be desired. (At the person opening with “looking for bitches / females to breed”: Yikes.)

(Not everyone does Alpha/beta like that. You just have to look past the posturing.) My gateway was wolf related fiction (and research for fic), not preexisting D/s or top/bottom roleplay. Packs where humans don’t throw random wolves together in captivity are mostly family units, which means the alpha pair are typically the main breeding pair (mother and father, if you will). In the smaller, one family packs with only one breeding pair, the ‘betas’ and ‘omegas’ are different generations of siblings. Alpha starts to seem like a moot descriptor, since “calling a wolf an alpha is usually no more appropriate than referring to a human parent or a doe deer as an alpha. Any parent is dominant to its young offspring, so alpha adds no information” (source). And honestly, after exposure to A/B/O aka Omegaverse in fanfic, bringing out ‘beta’ and ‘omega’ doesn’t have a wolf / pack dynamic aspect to me.

(I think you might be overcomplicating this. I just want to be a Dom referred to as an Alpha, and I want to call my sub a beta.) You do you. When someone starts bringing in wolf stuff, I have to cycle through what they don’t mean: Wolf/human, Tamer/wolf, Alpha/Alpha (top/bottom/switch factoring, but not necessarily involving D/s), and wolf/wolf (related to puppy play, more or less, with both participants being pack members). One person’s pack is a D/s couple, but another person’s pack can be an Alpha/Alpha pair with each Alpha having at least a sub, cub, pup, etc. Den Mother/Father may not be involved if Cg/l isn’t combined with puppy play, it’s entirely possible to have non-sexual puppy play, the submissives don’t have to be “shared” by the Alphas, etc.

And that’s why the ‘you’re just another ~Alpha Wolf~ dom’ thing feels like we’re on different pages. I’m not necessarily an Alpha looking for a beta, and inhabiting Wolf mode doesn’t always mean I’m a Dominant looking for a submissive. Sometimes I need to let my inner sadist and Predator out to play, but other times I have a strong caretaking urge to be Den Leader taking care of a cub.