For context, I ran into TTR’s tumblr post back in March:
i find it interesting that i’ve so far seen heathens attributing covid-19 to Loki and hellenic pagans attributing it to Apollo, both with the reasoning “it’s just like them to force us to acknowledge the flaws in our system”
kemetics, which god do you volunteer as the rightful sender of this virus?
I feel somewhat uncomfortable with rhetoric attributing 50,000 deaths (and counting) worldwide to divine justice, it reminds me of that “everything happens for a reason”/“God will never put you through something you can’t handle” shit. I don’t think a god sent the virus so much as that I’m counting on my gods to use this disaster to bring attention to the already unconscionable and increasingly precarious state of the world we live in; the assumptions we make about how it works, how it must work, how it will always work.
[…] I don’t think things will ever go back to normal, and I know following Set for seven years before a disaster happened helped prepare me for it -even if we were to assume the gods weren’t real, the act itself has helped me cope both practically and mentally with the rapid changes needed to my expectations, point of view, and lifestyle. That’s how I see the Dread Initiator in this instance; not as the source of the virus, but as the possibility of learning and changing, hopefully as a group, through the difficult and confusing days to come.
I agree with smarm’s sentiment. We should not be attributing any of this to any of our gods for the reasons they listed.
That said, in the FB groups I’m in, I’ve seen an uptick in people trying to appease Sekhmet. She was the ancient Egyptian deity that was the giver and healer of plagues, so the people, in their fear, turn to her to stop it.
I don’t agree with what they’re doing but I’m also not going to shit all over people who are terrified. They’re turning to their religion (just as everyone else has done in the past or is currently doing) in a time of crisis.
To me, this virus is a thing that exists in the natural world, not sent by anyone, it just /is/.
If I had to attribute it to anything in our pantheon, I’d attribute it to isfet. Particularly our response to it.
Since illnesses were often attributed to Sekhmet, I get why people are invoking her. I would, if only to ask her to help to heal people, not because I think she needs pacification to take it back. The Egyptians may have believed that illness came at the hands of the gods, but we know better now and should act accordingly.
I’ve met my fair share of Christians who seem to think this is god’s way of teaching us a lesson. I’d like for the polytheist community to not give into that abusive and destructive line of thinking, tbh.
I also ran into a related sequel from TTR:
this is your unfriendly reminder that climate change is gonna make it easier and more likely for us to have more pandemics in the future.
instead of saying its gods and whatnot bringing this down on us, let’s blame the actual source: climate change brought on by unsustainable capitalistic structures.
While I definitely feel like Dad’s coming through in terms of ‘less static’ when communicating and a resonant vibe for these times, I don’t feel like He’s involved in the sense of being the one to blame as the origin point. I don’t want to knock anyone turning to their deities as a coping mechanism because that’s a human thing to do, but I’m uninvested in the idea – or the hope – of divine intervention. Personally, it just edges a little too close to certain Protestant Xtians calling one natural disaster after another a sign from their deity that the world needs to repent, turn away from its ‘sinful’ ways, and the disaster could be diverted. I can understand that it’s terrifying to be met with the prospect of living right by your deity being irrelevant right now, but I like TTR’s phrasing that the coronavirus simply is.
Or to put this another way for the Heathens, Asatruar, and related Pagans who don’t like associating with certain deities they think may (or will) influence the end times: I don’t think Fenrir set the coronavirus loose as a means of bringing about Ragnarok. I don’t think Jormundgand, Loki, Hela, or really, any particular deity did. Is it possible that you’re upset that one of your deities didn’t warn you, or you think Someone is spinning the pandemic to Their advantage? I don’t get all up in Otherworldly politics, I don’t do the oracle thing, and I don’t think it makes a difference if someone expected divine protection because of whatever personal reason they had. The pandemic is here, and we humans have to figure some of this shit out on our own.
After writing all that, I can’t deny that I sometimes get a ping of feeling like something is rather Fenrir-esque. The societal paralysis and the lockdown in March and April reminded me of the sword and anchor point. While the telling of Fenrir’s Binding focuses on Gleipnir itself, there’s also the little detail of a sword being plunged through His tongue and anchoring His jaw to a stone. Y’know, to really make sure He doesn’t move. (I don’t view quarantine measures as being equivalent to Him being Bound, but that’s more because I view Fenrir’s state as being similar to solitary confinement in prison, which is not the same as sheltering in place.) The [US] government (in)action, the economic effects (I’m not sure if it’s an official recession), and the societal unrest as Destruction (or the ending of an old system that doesn’t work) feel like some sort of Fenrir vibe.
Aside: Literal destruction also seems up His alley, too. My gut impression says that Loki fits with planned destruction and having some sort of strategy, while Fenrir fits with destruction as a means of releasing rage and pent-up emotions. However, that’s definitely an unverified personal hunch on my part.
I don’t really have a definite ending, and I suspect that my interpretation of some of these associations may change as the pandemic progresses, a vaccine rolls out, and we leave this fake ‘back to normal’ stage of denying the pandemic is still ongoing. That seems a bit of a downer to end on though, so here’s a throwback:
May you never howl alone.