Devotional: Aspirations

Today I’m going to look at a scene from The Wicked + the Divine #1. Finally!

In this panel, we see the protagonist Laura at a concert given by her favorite of the gods, Amaterasu. Her description sort of sums up my whole attachment to the series.

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So…What is it that a mass aspires to be? Why do we worship? And what do we worship? Do our official attempts at worship hit the same heights as other things in our life?

I like that the next part of this says it’s also what orgasms aspire to be (hers, anyway), it’s an interesting connection not made often. It speaks to my understanding of worship as a way to connect – with the divine, with other humans, with the world itself. Sex is (or can be) one way of making that connection. That feeling of being more than ourselves, letting go of performance and thought to just be.

I more often experience that in talking with people…often online. The written word does things for me and my ability to connect with people not much else does. Exploring ideas, turning them over in my head, being able to communicate them to others…that is so important, it’s the most important thing in getting me beyond myself and connecting to something larger. Without it, I would probably just disconnect altogether and give up on trying to be a part of the world outside myself.

Therefore reading does much the same thing. And while I’m not much of an artist, I did at one point really like to draw the things I saw. Ads from magazines, playground equipment, people on the street. When a classmate did a presentation on how to draw anime-style, it changed my life. It gave me a structure, suddenly I didn’t just see pictures but I understood how those pictures happened. I could see how everything I saw could be communicated as simple shapes on paper, and suddenly I was constantly drawing. Intense close-ups on eyes, hours shading hair to match a photo as much as possible. Looking back it’s kind of weird, I don’t think I ever really drew people, but I was drawing one part at a time, dissecting it, putting it all together and being kind of amazed that when I was finished it actually looked like a person.

That’s about when I started reading comics. And collecting screen shots from anime where characters were displaying intense emotion – something else to dissect and therefore begin to understand. I liked the ability to freeze the scene and replay it or re-read the panel over and over again until I felt like I knew what the characters were thinking and feeling, which helped me understand my own emotions and learn to share that with others in my life.

That careful recording, observing, and sharing means so much to me. And comics represent this perfect marriage of images and written word, giving me a window to see the rest of the world and reach out to it. There’s music that touches and inspires me and there are stories that give me context and values and rituals that help me focus on purpose and connection. But not much comes close to comics in doing all of that in a way that also manages to be communal and lead me to want to go out and talk to other people. That’s pretty amazing.

What does your worship aspire to be? Where do you find that?

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