I’ve seen a lot of people asking how to find their deity, how do they know who their deity is, etc. And, quite frankly, I’m baffled: I just don’t understand the question.
One part of the problem is that I’m not quite sure exactly what they mean. The deity that they feel closest to? The deity that they are supposed to serve? The deity that they are called to? (How they expect anyone other than themselves to answer that last one is beyond me, but anyhow…)
For that matter, how they expect anyone to provide them with the answer to any of those questions is also beyond my understanding.
Maybe I’m just in “Cranky Old Crone” mode, but why does it seem that no one wants to do the work for themselves anymore? Why are they looking to other people to provide quick answers to questions that they can really only find answers to by looking within?
Maybe I’m just lucky. Once I’d been practicing long enough for things to sink in, I knew who my deities were — I’d always known, actually, I just didn’t realize it at first. They were the ones who first “spoke” to me, way back in high school: Apollo, Artemis, and Athena. Apollo especially. (And, more recently, Hermes.)
How did I know? I just knew.
Looking back, I can see Apollo’s touch in so many little things in my life: my need for sunlight (I swear I run on solar batteries), my love of poetry, being drawn toward divination, being called to a healing path…
And why is it so important to know who their deities are right off the bat?
When I started practicing, I simply invited “The Lord and Lady” to my rituals. There were no specific names — naming them seemed to limit them somehow. (In fact, in general ritual I’m still most likely to use Lord and Lady, unless I am trying to connect with a specific energy or am honoring a specific deity.)
If anyone out there can explain this phenomenon, please do.
It started on my birthday (and ends on my mother’s — how’s that for weird?) and it has been miserable this time around.
Usually, a retrograde Mercury doesn’t bother me all that much. It’s more of a minor annoyance. But this time…
I have had nothing but trouble with electronic devices.
My cell phone wouldn’t pick up a signal the other day, yet someone else was having no trouble at all.
My computer has been lagging and temperamental. (Okay, it’s old and cranky but it’s not normally this cranky.)
The computers in at work really hate me. I’ve been rebooting them seven times a shift or more.
There was some sort of a glitch and a scheduled payment didn’t happen. (The money was in the account but somehow it just never happened.)
And let’s not talk about transportation issues.
But all that aside, a couple people have asked me about Mercury retrogrades, and at some point in explaining them the following came out:
Mercury retrogrades are not a good time for communication. Messages are missed, misdirected, and misunderstood. Communication is disrupted in one way or another.
But retrograde Mercury is a good time to meditate on communication: on how you communicate, on how you fail to communicate (remembering that communication is a two-way street — you not only have to speak, but listen), on what you do and do not say, on what blocks your own personal communication — with others, with the gods, with yourself.
There are always lessons — even from things like a retrograde Mercury.
In fact, the best lessons come from adversity.
And, I just realized that Mercury is the Roman version of Hermes, who is one of my primary deities, and I do believe He has been trying to get my attention.
So if you will all excuse me, I have a couple more days of retrograde to use to use to improve my communication with Him…
Be blessed, and blessed be.
I had originally planned a post about reasons that I’m glad I’m Pagan, but that was before I realized that this is the day before Thanksgiving.
(Yeah, sometimes days get away from me…)
So instead I thought I would take this post to do the traditional listing of things I’m thankful for.
1) Friends: both online and in person. They keep me sane – most of the time.
2) Family: they may be a little a little hard to explain and things might be a little strained at times, but they are still there, and they are important.
3) Freedom: I live in a country where I am free to practice the religion I choose and to walk down the street unescorted, without having to answer to anyone – not all people are that lucky.
4) Paganism: I feel so much more at home on this path than I ever did as a Christian, and I am grateful to the forces that guided me home.
5) My deities: the way They impact my life, the way They have guided and protected and taught me, and simply for being so that I could find Them and know Them.
6) Internet: it makes job-hunting so much easier. Plus, without it, I wouldn’t have some of the wonderful people who are a part of my life.
7) Creativity: writing, stitching, scrapbooking, all of the other hundred and one things I want to learn and do – they all help keep me sane. I really don’t understand people who have no hobbies other than television, who never feel the urge to create something. (I’m not judging them, I just don’t understand them.) (I don’t understand people who have totally spotless houses, either, but I sure wish I could be one of them!)
8) Home: I have a place to live, warm and dry and sheltered from the elements. And I love it here – this apartment felt like home the first time I walked in the door to look at it.
9) Health: overall, I’m healthy. Well, other than the fact that it’s bronchitis season. (Oh, and that pesky weight thing, a.k.a. “the perpetual New Year’s Resolution.”)
10) Food: I love food (a little too much – see above) and I am grateful that I have enough to eat and the ability to cook it.
11) Clutter: yes, clutter. It means that I have more than I need, which means that I can help those who have less. I have probably cut my wardrobe in half by donating clothes to charities, and I’m currently doing the same with books. (I have more clothes to go through too, but that’s going to wait until the next change of seasons.) (It also means that I probably don’t need to spend money on craft supplies for the rest of my life.)
12) Sense of humor: yes, it’s warped and people don’t always understand it, but it allows me to revel in the ludicrousness of human behavior without being insulted (most of the time).
13) Imagination: without it I… The one thing I can’t seem to imagine is what it would be like to have no imagination. It enriches my life in so many ways.
There are other things of course – those were just the first 13 things that popped into my head. And just about each one of the above could be broken down into individual items, but that would leave me feeling a little overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed with gratitude.
In my search for a topic for today’s post I turned to a friend of mine for suggestions. (We were talking via chat in gmail.)
She asked “Well, what’s going on in your spiritual life lately?”
“Trust, but I already wrote about that.”
So I did, and she sent back a quote from my “My Path to My Path” page:
College served to introduce me to Tarot and a few other things that would not have been approved of at home. (No, nothing illegal!) It also opened me up to the vague awareness of the “supernatural.” (In quotes, because I now believe that nothing is supernatural, but that’s a topic for another day. Paranormal is perhaps a better word.)
And then she asked “why not write about how nothing is supernatural?”
And since we are just one week away from Samhain (Halloween to the non-Pagan readers) I figured that that would be as good of a topic as any.
Except it’s kind of a short answer.
First let’s define “supernatural.”
The word comes from medieval Latin supernātūrālis: supra “above” + naturalis “nature” and was first used around 1520–30 AD. It refers to that which is said to exist above and beyond nature.
“above and beyond nature.” Remember that line, it will be important shortly.
A few more definitions:
1: of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil
2 : departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature
Things to remember from this: “beyond the observable universe, of or relating to a god” and “transcend the laws of nature.”
And, finally, from dictionary.reference.com:
1. of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.
2. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or attributed to God or a deity.
7. direct influence or action of a deity on earthly affairs.
From this we get: “being above or beyond what is natural” “of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or attributed to a deity” and “direct influence or action of a deity on earthly affairs”
So, what do the definitions tell us?
They tell us that something is “above and beyond nature,” that something “transcends the laws of nature.”
Furthermore, they tell us that the “something” that is above and beyond nature and transcends the laws of nature is… deity.
For Pagans, our deities are not above or beyond the laws of nature: They are the laws of nature. The God and Goddess are not separate from our world, are not outside of it – They are it.* Nothing is outside of our deities: They are all that is, and all that is is Them. How can They transcend Themselves?
With that as our given, how can anything be outside of Them, outside of nature?
There are things that we do not yet understand, but that doesn’t make them any more unnatural than the fact that we flip a switch and light appears.
So, no. I don’t believe in the supernatural. It simply cannot exist in my worldview.
*(This concept, that our deities are not separate from the world is a hard thing for people to grasp and will be subject of its own post sometime in the future.)