Friday, February 17, 2012

D is for Deity

How do you view deity?  If there is one thing that I have learned in walking this path it is that there are numerous ways in which one interprets and views deity and each way is supported by a belief system just as valid as any other, and that goes for all religions.

So how do I view deity?  It took a bit of soul searching in my journey to really get an idea solidified of how exactly I viewed deity.  When I began I found myself drawn to a particular goddess (Diana) but I always struggled to connect with any God, this was reflected in my practice and I felt bad about not meeting the ‘requirements’ of the craft as I’d read them (I was 15).  Then my patron changed, suddenly Diana had stepped back and briefly Epona stepped into my life and I was a little confused, shouldn’t we just have one patron deity? 

So it made me think, why did my patron change?  Why couldn’t I connect with a god?  Was I just wrong?  The usual doubts that come from a 17year old exploring a new path in secret with only books for assistance.  I took a step back and I looked at myself.  I thought about what I was going through at the time Diana was my patron and what she stood for and I looked at what had changed and what Epona stood for and I realized that each deity was here to help me with a specific part of my journey.  I looked at my disconnection with a male god and my life experiences and realized that I was struggling to connect to masculine aspects and masculine role models, if my life had so turned me against male figureheads how could I come to embrace a masculine deity?  I was out of balance myself and that was reflected in the deities that were manifesting in my life.

This thinking led me to analyze how it was then that I viewed deity.  Were my gods individual gods within their own rights or were they aspects of something bigger?  If the gods that chose to be with me stepped in and out of my life were they part of a whole?  Once again, back to the research and the soul searching.  I looked at creation myths, I read numerous books and I meditated… who were my deities?  Finally I came to my conclusion.  I believed in a universal force, one that was dualistic in nature – both masculine and feminine.  This force was so far beyond our human comprehension as a whole that we can only deal with aspects of it at a time – these aspects were the deities that we find in all cultures.  If we look at world mythology we can generally find in each culture deities that hold similar roles and attributes and I believe this is reflective of my belief that they are all manifestations of the one universal force.

As we journey through this path some of us find a patron and that patron never changes – this is a reflection of their path and their belief system and that is what their journey requires and therefore what the universe produces.  For me, thus far I have yet to settle on one singular deity.  In the 16years I have walked this path I have had several patrons.  I have been blessed by Diana, Epona, Cerridwen, Arianrhod and most recently Persephone who is helping me travel my shadow path.  

I have had less contact with male deities – it took me until I was twenty five before I worked with a masculine deity rather than the universal Lord, and that was Lugh, since then Cernunnos and finally Odin has entered my life and he has stayed for quite some time now.  Perhaps one day I will reach a stage where I have progressed in my journey and things will stabilize, perhaps not.

As you can see I have no problems mixing pantheons with regards to my deities – I believe that as they are aspects of a whole than it does not matter which pantheon I work with, they come to me as I recognize them and I guess they reflect what I am most familiar with in manifestation.  For this reason I will also work with different deities in ritual and spell work that reflect the purpose and intent.

Monday, February 13, 2012

C is for Contemplating the Universe, or just my navel.

What am I talking about here?  I’m talking about the importance of taking time out to appreciate and reflect.  I’m talking about aiming to be more aware of our selves.  I’m talking about the interconnectedness of the universe.  Okay, apparently I’m talking about a lot, but I'll try to keep it short.

How many people on a day to day basis do you think actually take time out to stop and notice the world around them, to listen to the birds in the trees, to look at the sky, to feel the grass?  It is a sad fact of life that we’ve become so immersed in a “go go go” world that a lot of us have forgotten to simply stop and appreciate this amazing earth we reside on.  I have lived in three different countries thus far in my life, Australia (where I was born), New Zealand and now the USA.  And I struggle with the pace of life that exists here in California – I don’t know if it is dramatically different elsewhere in the states - but here it seems everyone is in such a hurry to achieve some supposed goal and its all “rush rush rush” and nobody even really smiles at the person walking down the street let alone takes in the world, it is one of the reasons I want to go back home. 

One of the things I love about this path is that it forces you to become aware of the earth, to take time to notice the world as it changes around you and to be aware of how these changes affect you and those you come into contact with.  We are part of this earth and I think very few people really acknowledge how much the changes of the planet actually affect us.  Most people know the adage that the full moon makes people loony – it definitely has an effect on us.  Some are aware that high winds can make people stir crazy (I’ve seen this a lot as a teacher), but other than that I wonder how many people associate feelings and behaviors with the seasons and the moons etc.  I know that in winter I do withdraw into myself, I do find my thoughts internalizing a lot more than any other time of the year.  I have less energy, my body wants to sleep more etc.  I can always tell when the seasons are changing, I have a brighter outlook and I desperately start scrubbing and rearranging the house.  Summer is a more hopeful time, I have more energy and want to be outdoors more.  These seem like basic commons sense things yet so many people are unaware of it.

When we are more in tune with the universe we are more in tune with ourselves.  We see greater connections and we find our true selves.  I think it is important that we take time to reflect on ourselves, our journey and out direction.  We are often seen as selfish in today's society if we wish to take some 'me' time yet it is so vitally important.  I will admit I am still getting used to this myself, but it is a skill I wish we could all master.  How much clearer do we think, how much more inspired could we be if we actually took the time out to truly get to know ourselves?  To be aware.