baby heathen’s first post

(excluding posts about Loki which don’t count because Loki is the recruiter)

I was talking to @hyacinth-halcyon‘s heartfriend about how I can be a good friend to zir despite my brain actively trying to get me to act like a prick all the time (the first few minutes consisted of her threatening me repeatedly if I ever even considered hurting zir, which I assume means my Mom Friend is in good hands. It was especially sweet because when I went ‘whoa wtf calm down why would i hurt zir’ Angrboda seemed sort of puzzled and explained that she knew I was worried about my own behavior, so she was trying to give me a self-serving reason not to hurt my friend, and then said something about humans being weird and confusing) which led to me getting the old “don’t resist your nature” talk that gods are always giving, and then she threw me at Fenrir.

First impression? Another scary monster god doing their Bond Villain shtick. They always do that, usually right after I say something about being a Christian and/or wanting to be a good person. The main difference is that until meeting Angrboda and Fenrir, all the gods I’ve met have had a sort of…I don’t know, familiar quality. Even the netjeru, who are often depicted as half-human and half-animal and who often have a very primal undercurrent to them, haven’t seemed so absolutely foreign in the way that these two deities, especially Fenrir, do. The whole time I was talking to him (read: trying to ignore him), my brain couldn’t decide if I was supposed to be scared or fascinated. The strangest thing is that with most deities who try to grab me, I reflexively screech and squirm and scratch and bite and say, loudly and repeatedly, that no no no I am not ‘yours’ I am not property I am not up for grabs– but with the Wolf, that reflex just…wasn’t there, despite the predatory vibes I was getting from Fenrir. I kept expecting to want to run, but I didn’t.

Anyways, we clicked really, weirdly quickly and the other day I had this weird urge to pick up my book of Lovecraft stories which I haven’t read any of in a while because I always get distracted. I was halfway through ‘The Dunwich Horror’ when I got to this passage, which in the story was from the journal of “a child of three and a half who looked like a lad of twelve or thirteen”:

“”They from the air told me at Sabbat that it will be years before I can clear off the earth, and I guess grandfather will be dead then, so I shall have to learn all the angles of the planes and all the formulas between the Yr and the Nggngr. They from outside will help, but they cannot take body without human blood…I wonder how I shall look when the earth is cleared and there are no earth beings on it. He that came with the Aklo Sabaoth and said I may be transfigured, there is much of outside to work on.”

Creepy, huh? Sure enough, it gave me Wolf pings. I wrote in my journal: ‘I guess what gets to me is how matter-of-fact and even innocent his tone is as this eldritch monster-child wonders how he’ll be transfigured (spoiler alert: he becomes a giant, unholy beast that devours entire herds of cattle and crushes houses like eggshells) in order to clear the Earth of Earth beings. There’s no malice in it, no passion, none of our human motivations to destroy and kill: the Dunwich horror is simply, fundamentally, an unholy terror.’

And only then did it click in my head: that’s why it’s so hard for me to relate to the Wolf in “human mode”. He’s not necessarily ‘mean’ or ‘hateful’ or any of that, at least, not on a fundamental level -that’s not why it’s hard for us to express ourselves to one another. It’s hard for Fenrir to communicate with me the same way it was hard for me to express to this scared goat at the fundraiser the other day (scared because the rednecks had just released the goat and chased it down for fun; I helped but then when they tied up the goat and walked off I wondered how scared it must have been, a prey animal surrounded by huge loud Apex predators it had never met before, suddenly all chasing it, teeth bared with laughter) that I wasn’t going to hurt it. I know how to use body language to tell dogs and cats that I want to be their friend, because they’re domesticated; I’m used to them and they’re used to me.

But a goat? How the hell do I be nice to a goat?

I ended up just crouching down and moving slowly, speaking softly, letting the goat smell my offered hand before I tried to pet it. After a few moments the goat calmed down and bleated at me, then tried to eat my backpack. When I said “Hey!” it bleated at me again, sounding like it was laughing. It was adorable.

My takeaway from all this is that when dealing with scary monster entities with little to nothing in common with me, it’s helpful to imagine that they’re the Dunwich horror trying to help a human with their problems, or a Smarmy trying to make friends with an animal I wouldn’t shed any tears over if I had to kill it for food. That said: when the fundraiser ended and one of the rednecks led the goat away by the rope, I saw the guy repeatedly lifting the goat up by the neck and holding it there, for no discernible reason. I wondered if maybe it was some kind of goat-raising thing I didn’t know anything about, until I heard the goat’s scared, miserable bleating. I shouted at the redneck to cut it out but he didn’t listen. I feel bad for that goat. If you have to live under the roof of your natural predator, it’s better to live with one that will only harm you to kill you, not sadistically treat you like its own personal plaything and cause you harm for no real reason, just because it can.