The theme of Nature versus Nurture comes up a lot in my writings lately. Not all of my dreams involving conflict between established traditions (Nurture) and personal abilities (Nature) are mere flights of fantasy. My immediate relatives reject me based on lack of a shared culture that was intentionally denied me (Nurture), but my ancestral chain going from Great Aunt Mabel™ and up are reaching out and seizing me anyway (Nature).
There is a lot to be said for initiatory traditions, sincere initiations, and formal education in paths, histories, and workflows that keep a (sub)culture alive. But a good number of those avenues are closed off to me, either by malicious intent or lack of disposable income. There is no “nurturing” to be had. I’m on my own.
But I have my blood, which sings a berserker’s song. And I have The Ancestors, who have been with me from the beginning, but I am only now able to see and recognize. I have specific spirits, some recognizably related from life, some not so much, that have cleaved or been cleaved to me. And I have my own bastard nature, twice dead, all aflame, that is being encouraged to burn ever brighter and hotter.
It feels like I’m at war with myself. And on some levels, I am. The internalization of other people’s hate is a hard root to dig out. The different spiritual beliefs I have lived and bled under continues to clash on grounds where I have not found answers that could take seed.
Some of you have challenged why I follow you, when you very clearly represent the same peoples who would set me on fire to purge the family name. I have told you privately, and now I tell you publicly, you are not those people. Though I will never be able to enter your community or be accepted at your inner tables, I can still learn from you. I have no false hope of ever being seen as anything by you. But the crumbs that fall from the table still have sustenance for those willing to snatch them.
Some of you have challenged why I continue to write about certain entities using names I know them by. Because they are in my life. Period. Because it took a Death God to keep me from killing myself. I use different names for some entities because they asked me to, for others because I don’t have rights to use the names they are commonly known by, and for a select few who have no common names at all but I still need a label to wrap my tongue around.
I do not follow folks in the hopes that they’ll notice me and life me out of the morose salted field that serves as my spiritual garden. I follow folks because there is something to learn, something to experience, or something that makes me smile even when the stench of other people’s salt burns my nose.
My (mundane) dreams like to polarize an issue into extremes. Nature versus Nurture. Tradition versus Experience. Knowledge versus Blood. I know the division is nowhere near that neat. But until the soul-wounds represented by those allegories have begun to heal, my dreams will be controversial to the reader and insulting to those who make assumptions based on them.
To those then, I offer this too-repeated lesson: Ignorance is not cured by Indignation.