One of the downsides of being a non-native English speaker, is that I cannot for the life of me think of a word starting with the letter ‘g’. I can hold a perfect conversation, but coming up with random words is proving difficult.
I believed I needed the Pagan Blog Project and the order of the alphabet to find enough topics to write about. I though I needed it to find my voice. As it turns out, there is plenty of stuff I need to write about. And I am spending a ridiculous amount of time on searching for a ‘g’ word. With words of Sannion in mind – “there’s a huge difference between someone who feels compelled to speak out on an issue that is personally meaningful to them and someone who’s just commenting because everyone else is” – I will not write about something merely to be able to say I have I written about it.
For now, I will lean on those whose voices are loud and clear, voices that have touched me deeply. Sannion recognizes that denial of the gods has its consequences.
My religion begins with the recognition that the world is full of gods and spirits. Every inch of it is just crawling with them. They are the basic molecules of our reality, what give life its fullness. To deny them is to create emptiness. Or to close yourself off to them, since they’re still there whether you see them or not. And when you are shut tight their blessings cannot flow through. The energy builds up until it bursts out as madness and violence and other fruit of repression. They will make a door if there is none, for everything must flow.
To me this does not necessarily mean that naturalist Pagans are in-cable to receive the blessings of the gods. It does mean that blessings cannot find their way to us, if we close ourselves of to them, consciously or unconsciously. I remember when I was in the flow, and when I left it. The difference is unmistakable. And even though I pray more than ever before, I know I have closed off channels that need to be opened. Worship is meant to open the gates, but this does not mean that worship ensures that the channels are open.
P. Sufenas Virius Lupus eloquently explains why the gods appear benevolent to some and wrathful to others without belittling anyone’s experiences.
The individual’s conscious self, the individual’s deepest needs in their soul, and the deity’s assessment of which need to address based on the nature of the relationship are the three best gauges for what form of a deity is most useful to appear to someone. I only have enough awareness myself to determine up to two of those three things at any given time; the rest is up to the deity, and far be it for me to attempt to dictate how a deity decides to appear to me, or anyone else.
As for as I know, this is the first attempt to theologically reconcile widely differing experiences of the gods. There has a lot of dirt-throwing going round, up to the point where everyone is either a fluffy bunny or a sad person who is in a unhealthy relationship with an abusive god. Not only has that sort of arguing the potential to damage our community, it is intellectually lazy, especially when human faults are blamed on the gods instead.
Aine Llewellyn has been producing a high rate of high quality posts. Here he writes on the power of our words for which we need to bear responsibility.
Some words matter even more. Léithin Cluan shares how her wedding vows have come to include a Geis:
We used Ruth’s words as our wedding vows. Your god shall be my god. (…) And though we made it in a ceremony that was basically mixed Christian-Jewish, I believe the promise was heard by my Gaelic gods-to-be, and that they said Done. (…) The concept of the geis may seem either religiously rigid or an absurdly ancient irrelevance to some modern druids – I don’t know. I just know that these are the kind of things I’m talking about when I say that I prefer the term ‘religious’ to ‘spiritual’. These are the things that keep me connected to my gods, to my community, and to my values.
John Halstead from The Allergic Pagan implores us to value our subjective embodied experiences as it is the key to the enchantment of our world.
We gain a certain power to control our environment when we attempt to bracket our subjectivity; but we also lose something. We lose the reality of our own experience, and we lose the sense of our own participation in that reality.
Truly, I am confused that there are Pagans who want to erase words like ‘sun rise’ because they appear to be scientifically incorrect. Especially as scientists themselves do not seem to have any problems with these words. They seem to be perfectaly able to distinguish between using a professional jargon and actually living. Human beings do not speak and connect through uttering little facts.
Steven T. Abell shares a beautifully simple diner table ritual.
We sit, and I ask for the table’s attention. I look around at our guests, and say the name of each. Then I say, “You are welcome in our household.”