The following textwalls were my extemporaneous intro to a Pop Culture Devotional Pagan group. May contain triggering material.
Peter Pan [is] my main canon. Rather canon-divergent Peter Pan, I think my experience would fit better classified as soulbond than pop culture polytheist…and as my “Peter Pantheon” are pirates, structure and hierarchical devotion would sort of go against everything that the crew stands for? [Mutiny is always an option, if not Plan A.] Still, it’s the closest I’ve got or probably will ever get to devotional polytheism.
I highly recommend the novel version by J.M. Barrie, if you can abide the Edwardian-era classism/sexism/racism. As well as being otherwise (ahem) humane, Barrie captured fairy lore well in Neverland, so technically Me Hearties are fairy pirates.
I don’t know whether you have ever seen a map of a person’s mind. Doctors sometimes draw maps of other parts of you, and your own map can become intensely interesting, but catch them trying to draw a map of a child’s mind, which is not only confused, but keeps going round all the time. There are zigzag lines on it, just like your temperature on a card, and these are probably roads in the island, for the Neverland is always more or less an island, with astonishing splashes of colour here and there, and coral reefs and rakish-looking craft in the offing, and savages and lonely lairs, and gnomes who are mostly tailors, and caves through which a river runs, and princes with six elder brothers, and a hut fast going to decay, and one very small old lady with a hooked nose.
It would be an easy map if that were all, but there is also first day at school, religion, fathers, the round pond, needle-work, murderers, hangings, verbs that take the dative, chocolate-pudding day, getting into braces, say ninety-nine threepence for pulling out your tooth yourself, and so on, and either these are part of the island or they are another map showing through, and it is all rather confusing, especially as nothing will stand still.
On these magic shores children at play are forever beaching their coracles. We too have been there; we can still hear the sound of the surf, though we shall land no more.
Of all delectable islands the Neverland is the snuggest and most compact, not large and sprawly, you know, with tedious distances between one adventure and another, but nicely crammed. When you play at it by day with the chairs and table-cloth, it is not in the least alarming, but in the two minutes before you go to sleep it becomes very real. That is why there are night-lights.
While (Mrs. Darling) slept she had a dream. She dreamt that the Neverland had come too near and that a strange boy had broken through from it. He did not alarm her, for she thought she had seen him before. But in her dream (Peter Pan) had rent the film that obscures the Neverland, and she saw…
Obviously I’m also a faelatrist, but [more in line with] W.B. Yeats’ depiction of faelatry “belief in and/or devotion to the fae” which follows, paraphrased: Believe in the fae? I’m downright annoyed with them!
I also call myself a changeling, and have soulbonded with an original character from original Fairyland in an original fiction of mine who…turned out to be my parent from some metaphysical otherworld, but…I wouldn’t consider myself alterhuman? Alterhumans have my support (as I read a whole lot of alterhuman hate that’s [overwhelmingly most cases] just like…nobody really hurt you, hater, so why just why?) But I myself haven’t been all there, with a-ha moments of alterhumanism explains so much about my struggles with humanning, or yay I have found my mothership kinfeels community or purpose in the cosmos. It’s wonderful when that happens but in myself it’s been more, “huh. eh,” and just…yeah…
Hrmm…Me Hearties began with Captain Hook appearing in my meditations and coming off so vital and autonomous.
This was almost 7 years after I read Peter Pan and decided that Barrie had the best grasp of the otherworld as I understood it by intuition. But I didn’t tend to believe that characters were much more than set pieces or heroes. It was really the cosmology and metaphysics of a source material that capture me…characters, I figure(d) were/are just living their lives and were unlucky enough to make the news report in the wrong parallel dimension for it to be an actual news report—or something—but, yeah, celebrity’s lives are their own private business really, though audiences and fans like me (emphatically, because I am very well aware that not all devotees are like me) can relate to or aspire to…what do we call, character, or somebody else’s persona, or projection screen even…
But, when someone appears so inextricable from the aesthetics, I figure, okay, Captain Hook ought to have a crew. The book names every member. So I deliberately constructed sort of “spaces of expectation” for the crew to come in in the otherworld, at the same time I was relaxing into fanfiction about it For Entertainment Purposes Only here.
I made up a pirate queen character to serve as an affable antagonist to Captain Hook for the fanfiction, not, I repeat NOT for Otherworld spiritworking stuff.
Guess who was the FIRST person to appear in my semi-meditations AFTER Captain Hook?? :p Pirate Queen Villain Sue, natch.
So it’s certainly very canon divergent by now. My version of Captain Hook is in a romantic relationship with Ed Teyente, who is a steampunk robot with a soul and has one older brother and two sisters on the mainland. (It’s not all that romantic to ME but it’s the closest word for what they have.) Noodler is a little old lady. Charles Turley [canon-divergent by another name, appears as well as] retains some mannerisms that I understand as Chinese, but being a fairy pirate of course means that I haven’t checked eir passport for citizenship.
Someone in the crew is a werewolf, I keep forgetting who. Skylights is a giant chrysalis hanging in one of the cabins in the ship.
None of the above is in the book, the stageplay, the Disney animated film, any of the other films or TV series…but they don’t seem to want “correction” in how they’re represented, or even really for anyone else to know about it and make prayers or offerings. It’s not closed, it’s certainly not personal and secret to me, but I’m really not going to systematize it either because…I don’t even believe that any of them dropped in for the purpose of helping me as much as they have, they just sail wherever and bother whoever they happen to pass that they feel like messing around with.
Swordfighting lessons in the otherworld, I really feel helped me to not be as stressed by a zealous mainstream-religious family member [in this world] who would put me in a conversational corner and talk at me for three hours about why I should change my religion (and then get angry at me for looking at the clock so often. I looked 5 times in 3 hours!) It’s difficult to describe the feeling of that noise finally, to me, becoming just a noise. Before then, it would really hurt me because I was living with this zealous person in part to get away from my big sis (my only sibling; single mother passed away, big sis started drinking and getting violent and gaslighting me about it to our mutual friends who were her friends first because I had no people skills.) And [that this person] didn’t want to understand anything about my own spiritual experience except to change me, which simply wasn’t possible with all I have been through in both spiritwork and life—though the pressure to do so was really very painful emotionally.
The pirate queen has appeared to me more like a stern conscience. She confronts me with things I have done wrong and prefer to ignore or forget, but also pushes for me to do things that I feel are wrong but are really just pragmatic and not very nice. [Grr how I hate pragmatism, it eats my soul.] She’s big on duty and honor (a personal honor, not something granted or revoked by society.) She’s not a “real” pirate, actually, she has lands and titles and doesn’t need to go pirating. Captain Hook hates that, but also I think admires her for refusing to get too comfortable with being nobility. From what I have gathered, she goes pirating because she has this idea that…the life of privilege and prestige is not a sure thing, so might as well know your way around the wild lands. She has one daughter, who doesn’t approve of what their mother is doing (especially when getting roped into the latest misadventure) and would rather be a full-on fairy princess as their birthright goes…but I personally don’t believe Pirate Princess can just sit pretty even if they tried, so that’s their (plural they) personal/family issue.
Cookson reminds me to be kind, only because he can’t stand being around so many aggressive people and doesn’t want us to get to know each other if I’m just going to be another aggressive pirate. He and Noodler run the kitchens of the ship. Cookson’s lovingly married to Murphy, who is in charge of the cannons and the guns, so they must have worked something out. Murphy only shoots people and wrecks things with explosions when he has to, because he’s really good at it, it’s not really an aggressive thing (hahahaha, but yeah really Murphy’s the chillest guy.)
I don’t really know the rest very well, yet. They’re certainly very personable…Unlike, say, the Crystal Gems, who I only have this idea that I am working with them because I have watched the show and form a headcanon and something in there matches with who I meet with. So a fellow Steven Universe pagan [might] go, “Heh, of course Pearl thwaps you with the very important mission of sorting your laundry!” But it’s not the same way that the Pirate Queen would nag me to do the same? The Pirate Queen comes off more embodied to me, for lack of a better term, and expressive—I can relate to her more similarly as to another human person.
With Pearl…and Lapis Lazuli…I feel as though there’s some stillness and effervescence about them, like potential omnipresence, that makes them more “goddy”? Pearl tells me to sort my laundry as though it’s the most noble and solemn task any human can undertake.
Of course if someone else relates to the Gems like I describe how I relate to Me Hearties, or sense more canon-keepto with Peter Pan characters except for a sheen of holy solemnity…It’s certainly not wrong, it’s just a different experience that I think [hope!] is interesting to put out there.