Wiktionary defines compersion as:
- The feeling of joy one has experiencing another’s joy, such as in witnessing a toddler’s joy and feeling joy in response.
- The feeling of joy associated with seeing a loved one love another; contrasted with jealousy.
There’s been a lot of talk lately, around the ol’ Lokean campfire, about jealousy and strife in our circles, particularly in social media posts. Tension occasionally erupts between so-called “Baby Lokeans” and the more experienced devotees, between those who are “serious” in their practices and those who seem to take Loki too lightly, and sometimes even between Loki’s godspouses (and/or godspouses and non-godspouses). Sometimes people bail from these online communities because they just can’t take it anymore.
I have a modest proposal (somewhat different from Jonathan Swift’s, though Swift is a family name…). And that proposal is that we consciously cultivate compersion as a community, personal, and spiritual value. This doesn’t mean that we throw our own discernment or feelings out the window and obligingly wallow in whatever might seem odd or nonsensical to us, but to at least feel happy FOR the other Lokean, if nothing else. The polyam and non-monogamy folks have been cultivating compersion for years (and yeah, it can be a struggle). Here’s a good article from Elisabeth Sheff, Ph.D., a person I respect.
Annoyed by a Marvel fanperson posting their tale of a drunken dream orgy with a Hiddleston look-alike? Feel something like happiness for them (even as you restrain your snark and scroll quickly past the comment section). They’re just “longing to publish [their] prosperous love” (Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen).
Miffed by another godspouse’s account of hot vibratory tantric encounters with the patron deity of your polytheistic pantheon(s)? Get over it. Be glad for them. That person may have been working for years on a complex meditative practice with Loki as a cosmic daka, yielding revelations of Asgard and the other eight worlds as a sort of Vajra mandala. This person may simply want to share the numinous fruits of their labor for the good of all sentient beings (or they might want to sell you the best damn vibrator on the planet). Try to ignore your suspicions that they’re simply boasting.
Besides, Loki’s marvelous ability to be in many places (and shapes) at once benefit all of us, godspouse or not.
Right? (Let’s assume we can all agree to that…)
Are you squicked because someone’s relentless oversharing reminds you too much of your own gushing newbie self, once upon a time? Focus instead on the wonder of your own passionate path and leave others to their own discoveries (and later embarrassments). Feel joy for them as a fellow traveler. Like most of us, they too will grow into a deeper understanding of their own wyrd, though they might not develop the classy restraint of Jane Austen (who is really very funny).
I’ll admit it. There are times when I want to stuff my eye sockets with cotton balls. Some things I cannot unsee. Some things I wish I’d never read. I have the same response in supermarkets, though, and if someone wants to fill their shopping cart with twelve cartons of Hostess Ding Dongs to dedicate to Loki (or feed to their children), it’s really none of my affair.
Yes, you can leave a group if it no longer serves you. No, you don’t have to read or respond to drivel. But try to allow for the possibility of other paths to joy and discovery, even as you rush to log out. After all, our own path beckons beyond the keyboard–whether silly or severe or all of the above. We can have gobs more fun with that.
Compersion may be key to creating and nurturing frith in our online halls. Let’s see what happens when we are honestly happy for our Lokean kin, no matter how much we weary of godPhone™ text messages and runic bitch slaps.
Hail Loki! Have another donut!
P.S. The above is general observation and nothing that pertains to anyone in particular, except that paragraph five (counting after the definition) is me making fun of myself.