I had a blog post in the works before the end of last year that continued the exploration of modern forms of invidia-apotropaic, and meant to post the form of the thing as unique to the Otherfaith on the occasion that celebrates the defeat of Jealousy* for all time.
Whenever I hear somebody accusing anybody else of being “just jealous” I flinch away and shake my head. Doesn’t the speaker know how immature that accusation comes off as? It broadcasts an insecurity so personal that even the accuser can’t know that they’re voicing it, and wraps it up in a humblebrag that makes sympathy impossible. So, I’ve got to make clear that invidia-apotropaics are an intellectual interest. I personally have nothing to envy.
But it’s a lie, that nobody needs an envy-apotropaic except to disguise self-aggrandization with fear. While my unenviability might be true now, I look back on my life and find all these damaging ways to cope with the company of people who I didn’t want to believe were vindictive or jealous. I really wanted to believe they were just unpleasant because they were hurt, and that they were honest about what I could do (was supposed to do) about that. The temptation to dismiss bad behavior as jealousy would never overpower the sheer embarrassment of how immature that accusation would sound. But what became a commitment to self-sabotage didn’t always stop me from blurting out pretentious and even hurtful words, it wasn’t a path to awareness of my privileges and intuiting what would be the best and right thing to do with them, and it still didn’t transform mean people into nicer people. It cost my family far more than what I tried to rescue them from. I’d say it was all based on a dynamic of unhealthy boundaries (not jealousy itself so much as how expressions of hrmmgrumblemumblejealousy reacted with my own lack of fortitude,) not that I’ve entirely figured out by now what a dynamic of healthy boundaries would even be like.
But a message that I think would have really helped back then, shines pretty demonstrably in Otherfaith mythology: You’re not supposed to pretend that you’re less awesome than you are. Nobody is supposed to aspire to dim or snuff out the joy in someone else’s heart, take them down a peg or several, decide what their place is and put them there.
Sometimes I consider the myth of the Sundering in terms of what fanfiction writers call “Fix-It Fic”: If only Pallis had found it in her to tell Mircea, “I’m sorry that I knocked you off your path, but I don’t owe you this because of it, this is me and mine,” and meant it. If only Arabella could have caught Mircea mid-tantrum and woken up to the fact that he should be happy that she has a chance at not dying, if he really loved her, but he didn’t. If only the Clarene could have gotten through that the only cause for someone like Mircea to compare himself to anybody else is when he’s making sure that someone else has enough of what they need. (I can’t think of what the Ophelia could have done or said.)
But that all makes it out like the real problem was something or somebody other than Mircea himself. The Sundering displayed the worst consequences of keeping that sort of thing around, and resolved by Mircea ceasing to exist. That was for the best, in my opinion.
(Two dissenting seeds of an opinion at the back of my mind: First, that perhaps the feeling of jealousy calls attention to some imbalance and therefore some injustice, perhaps the feeling is misdirected admiration, aspiration, and ambition…but at the moment it’s considered as such, jealousy held inside transforms into something else, something that could be constructively communicated or could even be a creative force. Perhaps to receive jealousy means to draw attention to the privileges of the target that are not being traded on as allies to the underprivileged. At some point, though, this reframes active harm as justified or even complimentary. This might be a bad seed or it depends on how I water it. Second, a distinctive shift from understanding these gods and spirits as incorporeal people, through how I’ve been told…repeatedly, by various different corporeal people in my offline life…that it’s wrong to blame as in identify a person as the problem instead of envisioning solutions to a systemic/dynamic impersonal problem. Well, fine then, Mircea alone remains figurative, even if I encounter or get possessed by him or encounter someone somehow possessed by him—gods forbid it all! By complete coincidence, I can’t exactly regret the unpersoning I’ve done, even as it’s caused almost as many problems as it threatened to cause and evident repercussions can always worsen. Getting a lot more breathing room right away could remain an option if the real trouble with blame is really the noisy confrontation, rather than the act of identifying the problem as a person.)
Above pictured is a simple tarot spread based on the Reunion of the Laetha and the Dierne. This spread’s position follows:
1. Lefthand side (Laetha’s message)
2. Low point (Mircea’s mess…erm, more like what’s meant to be left behind)
3. Righthand side (Dierne’s message)
4. High point (what to look forward to in the coming year)
What signifies the Laetha and the Dierne here, respectively the Hierophant and the Chariot cards, comes off to me as somewhat in opposition to the nature of who these signify. The Hierophant gives me the sense of the Luddite, whereas the Laetha is a god of technology; and even this Chariot with the wonderfully flowy art suggests a stagnancy (as a lot of Chariot tarot cards give off to me) that I find ill-suited to the Dierne as the dancer.
I usually associate the Dierne herself with the Star card, but it’s also appropriate to Mircea.
I swear, I shuffled all 78 cards together. I even have more difficulty interpreting major-only tarot card draws, because the suits and pips are the ones with applicable specifics.
The interpretations I speak, the interactions I seek, with the stories and gods and spirits and people of the Otherfaith, I’ve hoped to have kept personal. I wouldn’t want to speak for (or over) anyone else, which has happened when I’ve been as excited. Despite that, or a point entirely apart from that, all these majors come off to me as a reminder that the Otherfaith is bigger than myself, and the High Priestess (in the position of what to look forward to in the next year) an invitation to contemplate that.