Mar. 3rd, 2015

Sometimes when I hear my roommates in the bath I wonder if I should tell them about the gods that live there.

But then I think, maybe they've already met them. Maybe they've discovered them on their own, like I did. Or maybe that's the only way it works; maybe if I just went and told them, that would make it impossible. Maybe they have to discover the bathtub gods on their own.

After all, I don't know very much about our bath gods; I don't even really know how many there are, or if they have names besides the ones I gave them. This also suggests caution: maybe they are the sort of gods who value their privacy. It would make sense, given their home. To intrude on another's bath time is rude in the extreme. I wouldn't want to make the bath gods angry, lest they turn their faces away from me.

And yet it seems wrong not to tell them; selfish, really, as though I wanted to keep them all for myself. And wrong too, for the gods, to always go unacknowledged -- if, I mean, it is true that they remain unknown. Is it not in the nature of gods to seek acknowledgment? Or at least, if not to seek it, to take satisfaction in it. To proceed out of it. How else can these gods share their wisdom and kindness?

Of course I have had roommates come and go before, and did not show them what I had found. Why should this be burning a hole in my pocket now, of all times? And, truth be told, can I really be sure that I have found anything at all? Maybe I have remained silent because I thought they would not see them, as I see them; that they would laugh, or smile politely, and return to their regular bathing habits, which have no room for gods. I could hardly begrudge them such a choice; a regular old bath is still a pleasure in its own right.


And it is interesting too, to have a superstitious secret, even a playful one. To say that I am not a superstitious person is an understatement. And so it has never occurred to me, thinking of all those who are and have been, throughout history -- never occurred to me that they might have had similar doubts, similar reticence. About sharing their discoveries, their beliefs, with others. That those beliefs may have begun not as revelation, but as hunches; a sort of vague tingling confirmed only very slowly, through patient practice.

One -- and by one, of course I mean only me, really, for I cannot speak for you -- always imagines cultists and shamans and religious folk as zealous, full of certainty, leaping on any chance to tell the unbelievers the truths they have discovered. But maybe some of them were not like that at all: maybe they were shy about their gods, their spirits, their uncertain knowledge about where from and how to and why here.

Whoever they were telling probably had their own ideas, after all -- or no idea, which makes it harder still. How do you even explain to someone why there would have to be gods in the first place? And in the bathtub, of all places. Probably it is best to keep it to myself.



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