A Month of Written Devotion for Melek Ta’us, the Peacock Angel
It’s only quite recently that I’ve forgiven Melek Ta’us.
At first, I’d thought he wasn’t really listening to me, and that felt bad, but not unusual. Then, he took me, gently but still forcefully, so he could physically interact with someone else. That one burned.
The reasons for that go back quite a ways, and they mostly don’t actually have to do with the Angel himself.
When I was a baby Witch, back at the end of the 1980s–if you’ll pardon the “When I was your age” story–there weren’t many out witches in eastern Iowa, and no general Pagan community to speak of, so we got what we needed from the few books the local New Age bookstore would stock, and the very young internet.
Let me assure you, even though it was very young, it was already quite good at spreading bullshit.
At any rate, I kept hearing from folks claiming to be experienced Pagans and Wiccans, some of whom were helpful to newbs, others less so. There was a whole lot of “You’re doing it all wrong, but I’m oath-bound so I can’t tell you how to do it right.”
Yes, it sounded just as smug as you’d imagine.
What it left me with was a two-headed fixation: resentment of anyone who seemed to have The Real Thing but wouldn’t share it, and certainty that there was some secret world of adepts and initiates where I, too, could have The Real Thing if only I knew the secret handshake.
Where this came into play with Melek Ta’us is that I was certain these things (in this case, deep connection with a deity), could be done, but that I was missing some key element or talent. Somewhere out there was a community of people who had the Real Connection, and I could be one of them if I just figured it out. So, of course, if the gods themselves weren’t helping me find that magic key, it must be personal. Right?
Yeah, it sounded just as self-pitying as you’d imagine.
There’s no dramatic turning point here. A few years back, I decided to focus my religious practice entirely on polytheistic devotions. Since then, I took up working on my spirit-work skills with help from Freya and Ember. And, in that same time, I decided that Melek Ta’us was going on my altar full time.
Somewhere in there, it clicked. Some combination of exclusively dealing with gods as persons, accepting that I still owed a debt to even those who had benefited me without my asking for it, accepting that the gods aren’t all powerful or all knowing, and working consciously on trance, came together to create a moment. It came to me why Melek Ta’us hadn’t gone full-on blackout possession on me. He was showing me what it looks like when this works, showing me what I had to re-create to do it myself.
So I forgave the Peacock Angel for using me. I let go of the bitterness, and focused on fixing that relationship. I didn’t do it for him–he woudl have gone on forever without my forgiveness–but I had to do it for me, or I’d have carried the burden of hating a god forever.
That shit is heavy. It’s much easier to not carry that grudge.
Ember’s doing it, too: MWD-Forgiveness