Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stop me before I think again

I got some reading in this morning before getting up and about with my chores.  Mostly I just did a lot of organizing of all my journals and such.  I tend to collect journals.  Not really write in them.  Just collect them.  But I have a few I have written in and a few more I'd like to write in.  So I sorted those out.

Then I looked at the notes I had taken over the years, trying to decide what to do with it all.  I'm going to keep it because there is some useful information in there.  And there's room to add more wise stuff whenever I find some.  I have two three-ring binders.  One has a year-long study of the moon from The Druid Network.  The other contains notes about the Greek gods and various Greek festivals.  Then, of course, I have all my books on Druidry and Greek mythology and such.

Which led me to do some contemplation, while watching the candles burn, about how we can know the gods.  The Fertile Crescent religions all rely on scripture to tell them who their deities are, which in turn were written by people who supposedly got that knowledge from their god personally.  Even in the Greek recon setup, they rely on writings that are thousands of years old to tell them how to worship their gods and who their gods really are.

Yet, my impressions about the Greek gods don't line up at all with the recons.  How they desire to be honored or worshiped or who they are or whether hubris or miasma are barriers to worship or not.  While I do appreciate those who have gone before, those who have known the gods longer than I have, I refuse to let them dictate to me who those gods are and what my relationship with them will be.  I lived half a century being told who "God" was and how I had to behave in order for him to love me and take me to heaven with him when I died.  By people who were interpreting texts that were ancient and in some cases, forgeries. So why should I rely on ancient writings to tell me how my relationship with the gods in modern times should work out?  Or rather, why should I rely on someone in modern times telling me what ancient writings say about how I should be approaching the gods?

I don't want to be rebellious for the sake of being rebellious, but when I get an impression about the gods that comes from worship and ritual, then I'm going to believe that before I believe what someone else is telling me about them.  When I feel a spark of energy so tangible that it takes my breath away, well...I'm going with that.

I've struggled for a while with what to do about mythology.  My biggest obstacle in trying to remain Christian after losing my faith was the Bible.  What to do with the mythologies in it.  I had been raised to believe it was 100% true.  That all the stories in there happened literally.  Once that foundation fell away I couldn't transform those stories into mythologies that had symbolic value or that were allegorical.  How could I know "God" without the Bible?  If the stories weren't true, then how could I possibly know who "God" is?  So I've had similar problems with Pagan mythologies.  How do I know the god without their mythologies?

It's one of the reasons I had so many problems with Celtic mythologies as well.  And a huge hurdle to me accepting the Celtic/Welsh/Irish/etc gods.  Yet when I look at the Greek mythologies I tend to see them on two levels, co-existing quite harmoniously.  On one level they are true stories to me.  When I read them I can see Zeus, Hera, Hades, all the gods living on Olympus, having all the adventures they have.  On another level, I know they're not true, but how the ancients found a way to explain and relate to the gods.  I can't seem to do this with any other mythology so I'm pretty convinced that this is exactly the right path for me.

So when I deal with the gods, during prayer, during ritual, even invoking magic (which I haven't done much of yet) I don't see them as they are in their mythologies at all.  I just see them as they exist in relation to me.  I don't see Hera as the bitch-goddess who is always chasing down Zeus's paramours and turning them into animals or such.  I see her as a wife, mother and woman who understands what it's like to be me.  After yesterday, Hestia has ceased to be the aloof guardian of the hearth who keeps her distance.  She's right there with me, struggling with normal household tasks that are turned into hurdles by my fibromyalgia.  She sits beside me, knitting away with me, or spins while I spin.  Whatever barrier that was there before has been torn down and she has become more real to me.

It's the same with other gods, too.  Persephone has become one of my favorite goddesses.  I don't see her as an unwilling resident of the Underworld, but as the consort of Hades, reaching out to those who appreciate that the dark isn't evil, but another aspect of the night.  I've really come to love her.

I could go on but it's sappy enough as it is.  Bottom line is, the gods are who they are.  I can't imagine that they would welcome relationships yet leave their character a mystery to us.  If they don't make that connection and leave us with impressions of who they are, then how is anyone to ever find out who they really are?  Did they only reveal themselves to the ancients and then lock the rest of us out?  I don't have answers.  I only know that they don't reveal themselves to me as they exist in the myths.  Nor do I get a sense from them that they only want worship as it existed thousands of years ago. 

I think people who try to control religions want it to be the way they do it and they don't want anyone to do it differently because that implies they're doing it wrong.  And that's very sad.


  1. Beautiful! Really, I love that you are finding your own connection with the Divine. I have recently begun to experience more powerful instances of energy beings.... I don't really know what to call them yet. They assure me that they aren't gods but that they are powerful. They feel almost elemental. That aside, I am so glad for you that you are finding divinity in every day things- there are so few who really are able to have that connection. It is a pleasure to read this blog :)

  2. No, I don't see Persephone as unwilling either!

    I 100% agree with you. All those old mythologies and accounts are great to find out who the gods were, but it's been a long time since they were written. Why shouldn't the gods themselves have changed in that time? Maybe they want to be worshipped differently today? If the Greek religion had continued to thrive it would have been a living and breathing religion - it would have continued to mutate and change over time.
    And apart from anything else, what the gods want from you is easily going to be completely different to what the gods want from somebody else. You're building relationships here, listening is key.
    You go girl!

  3. Thanks so much, both of you. I agree, Nellie, that the gods change as time moves on. We can see in recorded history that the practices of worshipers of many different religions evolves with their societies.

    Lady, Zach is going through something similar, finding entities that aren't gods, who are speaking to him. That's so interesting and I can't wait to find out more.