Tag Archives: deity

What are the gods? 

I was getting a lift home from rehearsal when my friend started asking about my beliefs.  He, himself is an atheist, but he showed a genuine curiosity in what I believed to be going on in the universe.

I have touched on this subject before, here

Obviously, I did not mention or bring up any of that.  That would have been way too much! 

Instead, I launched into a monologue of my latest hypothesis of the gods I believe in and what they are.  It went something like this: 

If we go with the idea that all there is through the universe is the Life Force.  And by that I mean the spark of life that is within you, is connected to the Life Force in all things: it is connected to the Life Force in others, in animals, the sea, plants, the wind, the rain, the Sun.  This Life Force permeates everything, it’s why some people can feel or even see the auras of other people and things.  It is the thing where our Life Force goes to when we die and is the reason why some people can claim to speak with the dead as their spark joins the pool, allowing echoes to be heard and remembered. 

You get the idea, right? 

So, what if….. What if this Life Force had a sentience to it? And it communicated with us, and these communications became manifest into beings our ancestors interpreted and called gods, or spirits even? 

In effect, the gods are the avatar of the Life Force. 

Of course, when talking about all this to someone who had already stated he was an atheist, he told me “The problem with anyone who believes in something, is that you’ll never convince me it is real.” 

And he’s right.  I can’t convince anyone of what I experience or believe to be true. Our experience is entirely subjective.  My beliefs are a mish-mash of what I have learned, experienced, encountered and found not to be true.  Yes, I resonate with the gods of a people whose culture has now gone.  I have had conversations in visualisation meditations with beings who claim to be these ‘gods’.  Are they in fact distant ancestors? a manifestation of the Life Force that uses images and names I would understand? A projection of my inner voice that I unconsciously make into a character (a bit like what happens when we dream, except this time I am more lucid)? 

What would make such encounters more interesting, is for one of these to appear and give you their name as one you don’t recognise.  Or better yet, a familiar deity comes forward and disagrees with you.  Saying why something won’t work or how something else is a bad idea.  Or even how some idea about them is wrong: although be sure to write notes upon coming to and do some research to back that one up! 

Question: How come all gods are not the same? 

Conjecture: Because they are relevant to the people they belong to. 

 I know these things, these conversations (revelations of insight?) , these beings are real in my perspective.  It’s like when I see balls of light at the Grove Hearth:  I physically see them with my own two eyes, even point out when they are there, but no one else does.  Except for one other.  Do I know what those balls of light are? No.  Can I show a team of scientists one of our ceremonies in the Grove and point out when the balls of light arrive? No, they don’t appear every time.

And so it is with gods, spirits, entities et al I can’t convince other people these things exist just because I encountered something.

And as I was explaining the Life Force hypothesis to my friend, I actually realised how ridiculous this sounds to someone who doesn’t believe.  You’ve got to admit, it does sound crazy.  Any of it, all of it! And people go to war over this?  People murder each other because they disagree? 

Thankfully there was no war in my friend’s car, we ended the chat on pleasant terms and I finished it by saying: 

“You’re right, I can’t convince you of what I believe.  My beliefs are my own.  But if I was to say if you were to believe in something, believe in you.” 

Image from independent.ie
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Fidelity To Your Deity?

Merry Imbolc, folks!

I found it curious that in modern Druidry, Imbolc has been declared as the first celebration of Spring.

Seriously?

I mean, this is when Winter bites the hardest, right? The nights are gradually getting shorter, but they aren’t getting warmer just yet.  When the air is milder and the birds return and that smell of plant life is here THEN come back and tell me we can start celebrating Spring!

Be that as it may, I brought in Imbolc at home on Sunday 1st Feb (I know… Going with the modern calendar instead of the New Moon in February -18th for Astronomers and 21st for the religious- what WAS I thinking!?) by taking down the Yule decorations and keeping my Tree Lights up on my wall.  I also put my lava lamp in a more prime place… Bringing in the light indeed!

I also did a very short and private honouring ceremony, I was meant to be joining my friends for a night of Geeky pleasures, but wanted to give offerings to the Divine.

I lit my candle and offered the Gift of Air: Patchouli incense for honouring the Gods.  The Gift of Liquid: Seeming it was Imbolc or “Lactation” I thought Goats Milk was appropriate.  For the Gift of Earth I offered a bowl of cooked pork mince (homemade Bolognese sauce- from scratch muddafukka!) As Pork is food of the Gods, after all.  This is a version of the Land, Sky, Sea mind set which I developed on. 

I dedicated these to the Cailleach (Grandmother), The Morrigan (Queen) and to Brighid (Lady).  The bracketed titles are just what I feel drawn to when those Goddesses come to mind.  I just don’t see them as the Maid, Mother, Crone that modern Paganism is so keen to pigeonhole.  Afterwards, I sat in silence for a few moments and was urged to use the DAO. 

image
Bringing in the light... Unconvetionally!

I pulled out the card, Corr, the Crane, upright.  The card of patience, transition and hidden knowledge.  I’d read somewhere that it was one of the Birds of the River Goddesses, so I took it to mean that the Goddesses I called to were pleased with my offerings.  Just as well, because I encountered something I didn’t expect: a question of loyalty.

For all those who normally follow my blog, then you’ll already know I work with and revere the Morrigan.  And in a way, dedicating this seasonal celebration to her and two others, seemed (at least in my mind) like I was cheating on Her.  The card helped alleviate this, but there was still that niggling feeling of ‘Aawww! You’ve included other Goddesses… Just you wait until she finds out!’ In the back of my mind.  Which is ridiculous.  Both Morrigan and Brighid come from the Tuatha De Danaan and I have sworn no fealty to only one.  By rights, I have paid my respects with Danu, Brighid, Lugh, The Dagda and the Cailleach and even Dian Cecht before the Morrigan came into my life.  I certainly didn’t replace her with either of the two deities, I gave respect according to their seasons: End of Autumn for the Cailleach and the ending of Winter for Brighid.

The way I see it, The Morrigan is my prime Goddess.  She is my teacher and guide to my ‘warrior’ self.  The part of me that requires action.  Brighid is a Goddess of Bards (amongst others) and is a bringer of the flames of inspiration which can only be made physical by action.  The Cailleach, in whichever version I am talking to…. Being in the East Midlands, I am going to guess Black Annis is the Cailleach of these lands… a future blog there, methinks! She is the primal Goddess of Time and its cycles, the mysteries she knows of are more ancient and deeper than any.  And because I accept there are more than one deities in the universe, I was quite pleased when the Crane card came up.  If it does indeed symbolise the water goddesses, then that means no harm done and respect was rightly given for all three.

The Morrigan’s Mask…

I was inspired by this piece written on The Morrigan in Danu Forest’s article on ‘The Gods are not for sale!’ which you can read for yourself here.

So, I have to thank Leithin Cluan, really because she posted it to our Grove.  My particularly favorite bit is:

No the Morriigan is not an easy goddess- disrespect her land and she will want blood. Literally. She is sexual, primal, gutsy, scary- she will do the hard, horrible work, embrace her fury so a clean start is possible- but no she she’s not interested in comforting you because you don’t want to be as tough as your life requires right now, don’t want to wade into difficult moral or emotional terrain. She won’t hold your hand if you are scared of the dark, but she might smile if you pick yourself up, get fed up with your cowardice and do what needs to done. Read the old tales, research the folklore- visit the places on the land that honour her, in the real world. It’s all there. Get out of your own head, your own story- she’s waiting outside.   

Indeed!

Not a simpering maid, this Goddess.  This portrayal is one that evokes primal strength, a bolshy nature of “Well, do it then!“.  It also brings, at least to my mind, the now stereotypical image of the Morrigan: A flame haired beauty screaming across the battlefield with a bloody sword and gore splattered shield.  Heralding the death of her foes as she unleashes a furious murder of crows on those whose souls she has come to claim.  She is the black of night, the crimson fountain, the pale moon all in one and death is her punishment to the weak.  She mesmerizes with her blatant sexuality, oozing appeal with every curve and her eyes dare you to take her… if you can.

This imagery and the above quote, reflect only part of her being.  The Morrigan, believe it or not was only classed as a ‘Goddess of Battle’ only recently.

Everyone who has heard of her is familiar with the iconic raven and crow association, they are carrion birds after all, and eating the slain on the battlefield is a pretty sure way of a having them represent death.

Her powers influence battle to be sure, The Daghda, after seeing her washing in the river convinces her to ensure victory against the Fomorians by having sex with her.  At the end of the battle of Moytura, she sings a song of victory and also prophecies of the end of the world.

In the Cuchulainn saga, she tries to seduce Cuchulainn, only for him to refuse her (something she really doesn’t like).  In that story she shows her shape-shifting abilites: as a maiden, an eel, a wolf, a crone.  The Crone guise is used when Cuchulainn meets a crone with a cow, and is tricked into blessing the crone and thereby healing all the wounds he had inflicted on her.

So yes, she does have an association with death, with transformation and with prophecy.  More than that she is also a Goddess of Sovereignty (this is where the cow comes in, it represent the land, generosity and a number of Goddesses).  Where she is death, she also represents life: fertility and bounty,  both of which make way for the future- something she appears to know of before others do.

I am very aware this is merely an introduction into The Morrigan and will give more of my findings when I have them.  The way I see Her is like the bright full moon behind a cover of cloud: You know she is there and every now and then, she’ll be visible, but only for a moment and even then, was it the full picture?

Like her guises, The Morrigan has many masks.  The mask I see her with isn’t of the screaming warrior, or of the regal queen.  To me, at least, right now, she is mysterious woman showing me I must pay attention.  The choice she brings is to pick myself up or lie where I am and wonder where I went wrong.  Thankfully, I chose the former… after all, in front of such a pretty lady, it simply wouldn’t do to wallow.

I remember meeting the Morrigan in a dream in early 2013, the most distinctive feature I remember is the red make up around her eyes… the below image reminds me of her.  Taking hint of Cuchulainn, offering her a blessing, I have trialled giving offerings of milk.  So far, she likes anything I can give in Her name, but mainly milk, beer, whisky, tobacco, food (Not beef) and chocolate cake.

Image from Old Camarilla Wiki  – artist and details unknown, but would love to give credit to whoever did this.