The four most stressful life events are death of a loved one, divorce/breakups, relocation, and illness although there are many others including the ever-present threat of Community being canceled (six seasons and a movie). Sometimes these circumstances have serious, long-term consequences: depression, financial instability, isolation, loneliness, anxiety, relationship problems, anger, frustration, destructive behaviors, over/under eating, sleep deprivation, insomnia, etc. But one of the worst ones is the effects on faith.
For some people, crisis brings people closer to their gods. They use them as a comfort from all the crazy. But that does not happen to everyone. Some people back away from their faith. The universe fucked them, so fuck the universe! There are a lot of reactions in between, too. All of these are valid and normal outlooks on the divine after something has happened. So if you are going through something, don’t freak out if your view on your gods has shifted.
For myself, I tend to pull away from my faith with varying degrees depending on the situation. However isolation is how I deal with crisis. I like to hide in my room with tea and Charmed reruns. In a way, I have to learn to adapt to the change on my own terms. But bit by bit I come back to the world. I know things are going to get a little better when I feel the strong urge to evolve my wardrobe to suit the new version of me. When it comes to my relationship to my gods and goddesses, I always feel the need to do a little damage control to counteract any offense. But if I am being completely honest none of the deities I work with have every gotten offended if I have to pull away for a while and have welcomed me back with unconditional love and support.
Ultimately you need to follow your instincts and react accordingly. If you want to do some Pagan-centric reading on grief and transition, I highly recommend Starhawk’s The Pagan Book of Living and Dying.
© Ariadne Woods