Who do you serve?

And is it even necessary to do so?


I may keep this behind a password or I may not. I’ll decide later. There is some language here that may be confusing to some. Understand that, because of the way my brain works, most of the time when I am talking about a master or a servant I am using the terms in a feudal or militaristic sense. It would not be inappropriate to translate much of this small and unorganized essay into an exploration of what it means to be part of a BDSM community, but that is not the intended audience or goal. This rambles quite a bit and the transitions don’t always make sense, but this is how my mind is currently playing around an idea that won’t leave it alone.


I told a bit about the extended series of rituals and plays that were part of this year’s May Moon, but not too much about the central ritual- the changing of the courts. The formal ceremony to mark the transition lasted a long time. Almost two hours, actually. That’s a very long time to stand perfectly still looking like a Crane- aka the Champion of the King and of the Light Fae… aka “look mommy a chicken!!” At the end I had completely lost sensation in my legs and feet although fortunately it’s not the first time I’ve had to stand like that for an extended period and I knew how to not lock my knees. I remember thinking that I wasn’t 19 anymore and that this was getting very, very difficult.

Then I remember thinking that I would make it through. ‘The Crane stands because the King needs them to.’ was the idea forming in my mind. It occurred to me, right on the heels of that thought, that I’ve never done as well without a leader to follow as I have with one. I began to wonder if that was a universally human trait or if it is restricted to some portion of the population. I got through it all, still standing.

The thought that began there has been in my mind ever since. Does a human need to have a master of some sort? If we are the master, is that because we serve ourselves? Our followers? Or something we perceive to be higher?

I believe that in a perfect hierarchical system, obligation flows in a circle from the lowest to the highest who must always consider and take care of the needs of the lowest. The church, for example, teaches that this is the ideal of humans falling in line behind holier humans who serve their God who serves the lowliest of humans first. Of course, I’m not sure it has ever actually worked that way. But obligation is only a small part of the question.

I also know that service need not be to another human, or even to any other being at all. Did not Odin sacrifice himself for himself to gain the wisdom of the runes? This is an equally valid example of the idea that I’m still circling around.

We seem to call forth our best efforts not for our own amusement but in service.

As the Crane was able to stand through a ceremony for the King (a small feat for a champion, but not easy for the one wearing the mask), I was able to stand through it for my good friends who wrote it.

I have always been better able to  hold to a diet or to an exercise plan when there was someone other than my own self involved. Do we simply require company or do we need to do it for someone else? Is it enough to do it for your own self?

Because I know exactly how damaged my own psyche is- do we fail to be motivated when we serve ourselves because we do not value our own selves? Thus, if we do not value our own selves must we seek a master in order to create to the best of our ability? Or is seeking a master to guide and focus our ability simply a different route to the same goal, regardless of the light in which we view ourselves?

In this, I can only speak to my own experience. I know that my self-image is grossly disfigured because of my weight. I also know that I have been able to change my body before- transforming fat to muscle bulk that left me actually weighing more but wearing a smaller size. Nice feeling, that. So why can’t I do it now? Why can’t I get motivated again to do the stretches and work the form and not eat the candy? I did it before. Does ten years really make *that* much of a difference?

When it worked before it was for a goal and a career that I can no longer perform. I’ve had too many injuries, and I know that those same injuries are a very real part of the difficulty I face now. I also know that I don’t have any serious, tightly held goals in mind for myself beyond the still growing farm and all of its frustrations and set backs. Is it the lack of personal goal? Is it the lack of, for any better term, master?

Or is it merely an overabundance of stress and frustration blotting out everything else that might otherwise prove beneficial?

I don’t have an answer yet. I don’t really expect one in response to this. I am still circling an idea, not quite sure what to make of the question that won’t leave.

Who do I serve? Is it the same question as ‘who do I love?’ or the same question as ‘what goals have I set?’ Is it enough to say “myself?”


4 thoughts on “Who do you serve?

  1. I have long considered myself to be a “service jock.” Taking care of people and getting things together for the “greater good” is really what I do. From managing shops, and business campaigns, to finding my way onto the board of several non-for-profit organizations I work best with a cause and community that I am fighting for. My self value has often relied on my ability to produce results on behalf of others. I serve my family, I serve my Gods, I serve my SCA Knight and through him the Kingdom. I am happiest when fulfilling a middle management place in that perfect hierarchical system. I have raised my children teaching them the value of service.

    I do believe that some people are cut out for self-service, or service to a concept (wisdom) rather than say the symbols of wisdom (Odin). To me however that seems like a very singular life that would be void of connection. Were I one to serve wisdom, I would have to do it by finding a community devoted to wisdom and then serve that community. Going it alone would take a personal devotion and strength that at this point in my life I just don’t have. I work better serving others, it is where I am strongest.

    Letting myself down is easy, I just put whatever it is off until another day, another year. Letting someone else down? That’s something that I try not to do.


  2. I’ve been mulling over responding to this in the hopes that I might fall into some insight, but as it is this will probably just be a rambling ‘I know this feeling’ sort of response.

    I’ve also always excelled the most when actively in service to something greater to myself, even if that is ‘only’ the group of people I’m working out with. Granted that was for preparation for military service, so technically it was in service to something well beyond the other ‘kids’ I was with…damn I miss being able to haul more than my body weight at speed. In relation to exercise again, once there wasn’t that group around anymore things really tanked, though I’ve had intermittent success with using exercise as an offering to certain deities. I find making exercise an offering can take really lackluster motivation and supercharge it into something that actually gets the body moving, but apathy can still eat that necessary first bit of motivation alive.

    Does everyone do better at serving a greater power (whatever form that takes), I’ve no idea, I don’t do empathy very well with most of humanity so I’m not even good at making an educated guess there. For those of us that being in service helps though, well, if we fall out of that service it’s my experience that the abyss of apathy is more than happy to welcome us into its arms, and that’s an embrace that is hard to pull away from.

    It’s just a thought, but if the strongest goal you’ve got is making the farm work, setbacks and all (aren’t they fun?), then maybe the landvaettir there can help with boosting your motivation. I’ll shut up now and maybe try to take that bit of advice myself, good luck out there.


    • I’m not even sure why I didn’t think to approach the landvaettir with some of this. I still feel like I’m in formative stages of relationship, even though I guess I have known them all my life. Thanks. 🙂 It did help.


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