Coincidentally the name of the plamen [Fire Jotun] that I, at least, interact with as the Overseer of Cigarettes (and smoking them, obviously). Kaditi currently prefers she / her pronouns, and She’s technically been around for awhile (only now getting a name).
She’s been a mediator with my dead (particularly bio dead) on this because it’s been a definite issue with them. My dead have opted to lift their taboo on smoking rather than coming down on a side of encouraging / discouraging it. She comes down on the side of encouraging smoking, but She can’t require it either.
My dead had this taboo in place because smoking cigarettes was a vice for several of them and was a contributing factor in my one ancestor dying from lung cancer (I mean, he also worked his entire life in a coal mine, so the cigs weren’t the only reason for lung cancer). I have no interest in lung cancer or any other health problem that’s been tied to smoking, so I haven’t really ever tried to change their minds on this issue.
Why the lifting of said taboo? Kaditi reminded them of the benefits they experienced while alive and the benefits that others can experience (even if they didn’t directly experience them). I’m not saying that these benefits outweigh the risks and dangers, and I am not encouraging people to go and smoke for these reasons. However, looking at these perceived benefits can help with brainstorming alternative routes.
1) Calming in a sensory / tactile way, in addition to the focus on breathing,
2) Calming due to nicotine, if a need for that’s built up,
3) It’s a treat yo’self expense that has sometimes been cheaper than other ‘healthier’ methods, depending on the time period / income, and
4) It’s a way to socialize with others, particularly co-workers in some professions [definitely include theatre in this section].
Having something that my hands can fiddle with and that I can may be use to remind myself to breathe may handle the first bit. There are other ways to treat yo’self, and there are other ways to ground yourself in your body through the senses. I’ve already made the decision to accept whatever consequences of secondhand smoke I may encounter to talk with friends and socialize.
I’m used to walking pass strangers smoking on the streets and joining friends, co-workers, and fellow theatre people in talking over breaks. Once you step foot on a college campus (in some places), you’re going to run into someone who smokes. As long as I’m not in the direct line of exhaled smoke, I made the decision to deal with possible secondhand smoke consequences way back in Freshman year. It took a relatively short amount of time to go noseblind to the smell of cigarette smoke on others, and for now, that’s the extent to this.
My dead are okay with this stance. They’ve sort of been trying to parent from beyond the grave in some areas, and this is one of them. ‘Even though we totally did the thing, you shouldn’t do the thing’. They’ve stepped back to leave the matter up to me, and the ones who did smoke are certainly not going to judge me if I happen to do so. The fact that they don’t directly interact with everyone and that it’s harder for them to help other descendants leads some of them to go a bit overboard with me at times.
In terms of how Others feel about this, They primarily boil down to liking the not-smoking stance but not being judgmental about actually smoking. Peaches (a Spirit Who I haven’t talked about before) takes this stance on smoking cigarettes, but She’s like NO to basically everything else – chew, cigars, marijuana, and smoking other stuff.
Mani would prefer that I not smoke, but He can see how cigarettes are a coping mechanism and won’t judge for that. Sigyn would very much prefer that I not smoke, but She wants to see how I handle the taboo being lifted + stress before transferring the taboo to Her guidelines.
For the most part, many Others in the Norse pantheon pretty much fall in this category. Most of the Infernal Powers are neutral on the matter and won’t encourage one way or the other, except for Belial [the Devil]. He’s not going to force / require this, but y’know, He can’t really claim neutrality. Everyone else pretty much just seems neutral / please don’t but We can’t force you not to right now.
And we bring this back around to Kaditi. While She does view there being benefits to smoking and takes an encouraging stance from this, She doesn’t force or require smoking. There’s also protocol around smoking to show respect to the Tobacco Spirit Guardian (*) and other spirits from the Family of Fire.
- I must make the decision to smoke a cigarette on my own. No Spirit, Deity, Power, human, or otherwise can force me to do so.
- There are certain brands that I’m more compatible with and less compatible with.
- I am limited to cigarettes in terms of tobacco usage.
- No chew, snuff, dip, other smokeless tobacco products, cigars, no smoking other substances, and such.
- To stick with the compatible brands, I am highly encouraged to stick to buying my own packs, however I am not restricted from bumming a cig from someone.
- I’m not restricted from sharing if someone asks for a cig, however I will not interfere with quitting attempts.
(*) Totems and spirit animals are specific to certain Native American cultures, as far as I’m aware. A fair amount of people still use the terms even if they avoid the rituals, meanings, and other areas that are clearly only for those involved in the specific Native American cultures, but I’m pretty sure the terms themselves are only to be used by the applicable closed cultures.
A lot of people, spirit workers or otherwise, talk about how other cultures also interacted with the spirits of animals, plants, etc., so the idea of a spirit being a guardian or representative of a species isn’t limited to a particular culture. Rather than using totems and spirit animals for these situations, I mentally use “Guardian Spirit” and “spirit ally”. The Guardian Spirit is an Overseer of a particular species, and if you develop a relationship with a Spirit, They can be a spirit ally.