So, there’s this term — Godslave — for what I am. And a lot of people have problems with that term, and even the concept behind that term, to the point where they use rather hurtful language to describe their problems with that term.
For the record, that hurtful language does actually hurt real people. Like me, and many other Godslaves (though I don’t intend to speak for any one else but myself in this post).
A big part of the squick surrounding the concept of Godslave is because of vast ignorance — which is understandable, seeing as there’s very little info out there on this topic. Many of us involved in Sacred Kink would like to be able to talk about this, but there are problems with that — for one, it’s not always easy to talk about this stuff, and for another, we get a lot of bad, trigger-y reactions from people who are not involved in Sacred Kink and who have never heard the term “Your kink is not my kink and that’s OK”.
It’s fine to be squicked by things, but it’s also nice if you actually know what you’re being squicked by, based on the words of the people who practice it and not assumptions based on ignorance.
This post (and others that will come in the future) is an attempt to show the internet what godslavery is not, what godslavery can be, and what my own personal godslavery is, in the hopes of dispelling some of the ignorance around the topic and opening some minds. So without further ado:
What Godslavery is not:
- a breaking of will, spirit, or mind.
- an inability to do anything without the permission of one’s Deity.
- having every waking second taken up with thoughts of one’s Deity, or ways to please one’s Deity.
- complete and utter submission to the point of having no thoughts of one’s own, no free will, or no independence (see first point).
- actions done out of fear of punishment or hope for reward.
- born out of being forced, coerced, or threatened.
- have anything to do with the American slave trade, which was aberrant in its behaviour and is not the only yardstick in existence for the word slave. (Slavery has a long and complicated history; associating it only with one chapter in the history of humanity is extremely narrow-minded.)
What Godslavery can be:
- Godslavery can be sexual.
- It can also be non-sexual.
- It can be a marriage (God-spouse — though it is important to note that not all god-spouse relationships are godslave relationships, or even have any d/s elements present in them).
- It can be for life.
- It can be a temporary contract (though I’ve never heard of this, I’m not ruling it out, because it’s totally within the realm of possibility).
- It can be consensual. (This is actually a complicated bit of godslavery, which I’ll get into in a moment. In my experience, consent is not a strong enough word to describe the choice of becoming a godslave.)
- It can be extremely difficult, painful, dangerous, and crazy-making.
- It can be extremely joyous, wonderful, ecstatic, and bliss-inducing.
- It can influence one’s romantic or sex life.
- It can have absolutely no effect on one’s romantic or sex life.
- It can grow organically — and probably does most of the time.
- It can be dynamic.
- It can have compromises, or sacrifices — things you give up — just like every other relationship.
- It can be active (certain tasks one must fulfill on a regular basis).
- It can be passive (an aspect of the relationship that just is, without conditions to be met).
- It can switch between active and passive.
- It can include ordeal work.
- It can include knock-down, drag-em-out fights with one’s Deity.
- It can be mystic.
- It can include an exclusive relationship with one deity.
- It can be polytheistic.
There are a lot of other things that Godslavery can be, but I think this list should give you a pretty good idea of the diversity behind this word and the people who use it.
What my Godslavery is to me:
Not as epic as many people make godslavery sound (usually when they don’t know much about it). I live my life the way I want to live it. It helps that the way I want to live my life is generally aligned to the way my Ladies want me to live it. So, even if I weren’t technically a godslave, my whole life would be dedicated to my Ladies — being a godslave just means I’m held to a higher standard of behaviour than if I weren’t.
My relationship with Morrigan is dynamic. When I first posted about this stuff, I talked about wearing a collar at all times for Morrigan. Well, that’s changed: the collar is now used to suspend a candle holder from the ceiling. She’s okay with this. An understanding has been reached that I don’t need to wear a collar at all times because I’m already Hers, and the mark is superfluous. (Mind you, I do plan on getting a permanent mark for Her at some point — whether it’s a scar or a tattoo, I’m not sure, and I don’t know where or when, but it will most likely happen.)
My relationship with Brighid I don’t actually call godslavery, but it is related to it and to my relationship with Morrigan. The best way I’ve found of putting it is this: I am Morrigan’s weapon, Her tool, and Brighid is the One who forges me and makes me strong.
Sometimes, in the line of duty, I get broken — this is not the “slave breaking” that some people talk about with great relish in the BDSM community, nor a breaking of my spirit. Morrigan isn’t interested in breaking my spirit, because a tool with a broken spirit is useless. No, when I say I get broken, I mean I’m not functional for a while. The work that Morrigan has me do is hard work — it pushes all my buttons, trips all my triggers. When I’m damaged like that, Brighid takes me and fixes me, heals me, so I can get back into the fight.
There is a reason She is Smith along with Healer. (Bard is connected to Healing in a different, but just as important, way.)
Most importantly, my godslavery is a choice. It’s a choice I make every day. Consent is, as I said, not a strong enough word here — yes, I gave my consent, I wanted to belong to Morrigan. That’s not in question. Where it gets complicated is the fact that I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that not consenting would break my heart.
People may call that coercion, but it’s really not — it didn’t involve Morrigan telling me that if I didn’t consent I’d regret it. More — it’s knowing that the choice you are making will be incredibly hard and will require many sacrifices on your part, but that it will also fill out your life in a way that nothing else will, and not making the choice may deprive you of incredible joy and love. There are actually a lot of choices that are like that, but people don’t bring up the issue of consent when talking about them.
There is an incredible freedom in giving myself completely to Morrigan. I know She’s always going to be there. It’s a two-way street. Most relationships are. By consenting to be Her slave, I am entering into a contract. This contract states that She must take care of me — and She does. She and Brighid work closely together, and I know that I wouldn’t have been able to accept the contract with Morrigan had not Brighid claimed me a few months prior. While I’m not a slave to Brighid, I am devoted to Her as Her priestess, and my relationship with Her is not separate from my relationship with Morrigan; they intertwine, different aspects playing into one another.
Another aspect of the freedom my relationship with Morrigan gives me is that it makes me courageous in my romantic relationships. I know She’s never going to leave, and I’ve already committed myself completely to Her — so taking the step of, say, engagement or marriage with my partner is not so daunting or terrifying.
That, I think, is a fairly good overview on what my godslavery is, and a good start for a 101 post. When I get into the 201 posts, I’ll talk a bit more in depth about my relationship with Morrigan and what it entails.
A final note: on the kneejerk reaction to the word “slave” caused by instant association with the American slave trade
I understand that a lot of North Americans will have an instant reaction to the term godslave because of the American slave trade. This is fine, and valid, and I don’t mean to discount your reaction if, indeed, that is the one you have.
However. It is a kneejerk reaction, and it can lead to some very ugly statements. So I would like to clarify some things regarding the American slave trade and the word slave itself.
- Slavery is a very, very, very old concept, and the word slave is not a simple one — it has many different connotations and denotations, different roots, and a large family of related words attached to it.
- Use of the word slave to describe relationships within a sacred BDSM context or a non-sacred BDSM context does not “belittle” the experiences of slaves in the American slave trade or other slave trades: if it did, then so would the use of the word slave to refer to a printer, the word ciao, the word robot, the word maiden, the word concierge, and a whole host of other words that have their roots in the various words for slave.
Obviously, I can’t hope to eradicate the squick people might feel when reading about godslavery. I wouldn’t want to, either — people are entitled to their squicks. However, I am hoping that my posts help to dispel some of the ignorance around the topic, so that people know what is squicking them. Please remember that I only speak to my own experience as a godslave, and that other godslaves will have different things to say. Most of us (but not all) will agree, however, that our wills and spirits are not broken, we are not mindless automatons, and that we still have free will (as nebulous a concept as that is).
If you have questions about this post and/or godslavery, I encourage you to respectfully ask them in the comments section of this post.