belief

Finding the Pagan Way

March, 2016

For many years of my life, I was reluctant to believe in the survival of the personality after physical death. I suspected that any such belief was just wishful thinking combined with my Roman Catholic upbringing. After the death of my father at the age of twelve, I walked away from mainstream spirituality and looked to more materialistic answers to the questions that life poses to us all.
I was fascinated by the writings of R.D. Laing. In his book, Sanity Madness and the Family, he described the ability of a young man, being treated for schizophrenia in a mental hospital, to give details of his family’s actions. The young man was able to describe situations in his wider family circle which he had no physical way of knowing about. I came to assume that this was merely evidence for the existence of some type of telepathy. I believed that we all received these signals, but a healthy personality filtered them out to enable people to cope with modern civilisation.
There was some fascinating research done in the USSR in the 1950’s which theorised that the human nervous system acted as both an aerial, and a transmitter, for electrical signals and which even calculated the frequency which telepathy worked at. I was quite confident that most unexplained phenomenon would eventually turn out to be undiscovered science.

Other books, such as ‘Supernature’ and ‘Lifetide’, by Lyall Watson convinced me that all life was somehow connected. However, I saw no reason to assume that this connection was not part of the normal material structure of the universe. I came to believe that it was simply a matter of convenience and comfort as to which gods or goddesses we chose to believe in and that atheism was just another viewpoint which was equally as valid. It seemed to me that somehow, mankind had inexplicable skills which were simply aspects of undiscovered natural laws. I learned how to live with doubt and found it was a great liberator. I accepted that my beliefs were simply that, -my beliefs, nothing more. I was happy to believe in the possibility of an underlying intelligence to the universe. It was also obvious to me that this intelligence had many aliases and was happy to answer to all of them. Even Yahweh (Jehovah) means “I AM WHO I AM”.

So why am I a Pagan?
I was fascinated by “The White Goddess”; – She reminded me of a vision I had as a child.
I asked her to show herself to me many years ago. I was much like a prayer to the Unknown Goddess. My life was to totally change before she appeared. She came to me with the gift of poetry and slowly revealed herself over the last six years.


The Goddess Calls

Who are you?
Strange longing that has crept into my restful soul,
I hear your quiet whisper, but, in words not of my race…
There is nothing in this world is seek, – My cup is full
and yet you call me softly from some distant place.

Are you the whisper in the wind that calls my name?
Or the Breaking of the waves against some rocky shore?
Or Moonlit shadows rustling in some country lane.
I feel as …if somehow you’ve called my name before.

Stay! Don’t fade away!
Your gentle torture seems to stir my bones.
I wait and listen in this dying light of day,
Perhaps My Goddess speaks in these soft tones.

Oh that I were not deaf and blind
to all those things on which my spirit soars,
If all the thoughts which cloud my mind were gone,
And only You and I remained as once before.

Patrick Kavanagh
16/04/12

As the riddle of the Goddess unravelled itself in my life, I became aware of the reality of many things which I had previously suspected were only tricks of the mind. For example, had anyone told me ten years ago that I would not only believe in the faeries, – but also interact with them, I would have never have believed them.
It was at Cabourne Parva, in Caistor, Lincolnshire, that I met the Faeries again for the first time since childhood. They completely changed my life and filled it with magic and meaning. My Goddess is the Goddess of the Fae. She is my muse and my inspiration. She is my protector and my guide. I have other guides, but meeting the Goddess was probably the scariest experience I have ever had. I no longer have any real doubts. I now live the life which I never truly believed was possible, although I have a long way to go before I canny fully act from my heart rather than my head. I still try to keep an open mind on all things. However, I am now on the inside looking out, – so real objectivity is pretty much impossible!

Walk With Me

Leave your nagging doubts behind and walk with me to find some quiet place.
When the glamour of the life you thought you’d love has gone.
When the worries, and the stresses, get too much.
When you’ve gone along the road as far as you can go,
When you learned to doubts the things that used to mean so much.
Then walk with me.

Leave the noise behind,
Leave your watch behind and leave your mobile phone.
Find a place where you can truly be alone,
And find me waiting there.

In a forest, field or quiet garden.
In a beach or park, or just a candle in a quiet room
You will find me in the silence,
Stop and listen, Find the light behind the gloom,
And you will find me there.

You wonder who I am.
I am the gentle touch upon your hair.
I am the comfort and companionship when there is no one there.
I am the eagle flying high, I am the wolf, – I am the bear.
I am the Dawning and the End of Time.
Look within yourself, and I am always there.

Patrick W Kavanagh
21/09/2013

Finding the Pagan Way

October, 2015

Many people are under the impression that faeries are largely a Victorian invention, but as most people with even a passing interest in them will tell you,- earth spirits have been encountered since the dawn of mankind. They are mentioned by various names in most, if not all, cultures. The faeries are a large part of my life, and are constant,- though usually invisible, companions. Yet I would not describe myself as a member of the “Faery Faith”

I dislike the term “Faery faith”,- for me it is not a matter of faith but of personal experience. For myself, and many others the existence of faeries is not a matter for dispute. We know they exist and we are not in the slightest bit concerned that some people might think that we are delusional. I have seen and experienced them in several forms. They are not necessarily the tiny winged creatures depicted in the “Cottingly Fairy” photographs,- although I have seen them in this form too! They are powerful earth spirits and often associated with the dead and with the ancestors. They are often helpful,- but also capricious. I have learned this to my cost,- and only ask for their help in the direst of needs. The results can be very unpredictable! These days I feel the needs to include such Proviso’s as: “…and without setting anyone’s trousers on fire” etc… etc…

A Trip to Richmond Park

I am sure my chaperone was sitting on a bench, when I last looked around.

She is such a troubled, worried soul and tires so easily from all her ague.

Her little book of poetry was nestled in her lap, and she was sleeping safe and sound.

Her childhood spent in India has left her rather poorly, and her mind’s a little vague.

A cousin of my mothers from the Dorset family line, I think they said.

Whose father went to India to manage a plantation or some such.

It’s whispered that the poor man got a fever and became a little bit unsettled in the head.

They had to bring him home and send his younger brother out to oversee, instead.

Neither, in the distance, can I see the coach and four that brought us here.

It’s sleek black panels and the burly servants, who assured a sense of safety and ease.

It seemed a lovely morning for a drive out to the park, to have a picnic and to see the deer.

But now I’m feeling very much alone, and everything around me seems so queer.

Tiny child-like figures seem to flit around. I see them from the corners of my eyes.

I sit and I pretend to read my book, for surely, when I next look up,- the park will be just as it was before.

But now I hear them singing,- all their tiny voices ringing out like pretty silver bells.

“Come play with us, sweet maiden. Come and dance with us around our faerie dell”.

Are they faeries?,- surely not! Perhaps the sunshine on my head has shone a little hot?

But peeking shyly round my book, I see, a pretty bunch of tiny creatures peering back at me!

Rainbow wings like oriental butterflies and cheeky faces with such marble skin and charming eyes.

They seemed to offer such delightful company, my feet began to dance!,- to my surprise.

Round and round we twirl until my head gets in a spin, and every time I try to stop my feet begin again.

I can no longer feel the ground, I’m spinning in the air. The fun has stopped and now I start to feel a little fear.

Opening my purse,- I throw my rosary upon the ground. The songs and laughter fade away like morning dew.

In the distance I can hear dreadful, moaning sound. I open up my eyes to find myself alone and lying on a faery mound.

Patrick W Kavanagh 26/03 2015

PaganWay

by Bill Oliver { boysoblue.com }

 

I have seen them in their deeper, and darker aspects and I fully understand the reluctance of previous generations to disturb faery forts and burial mounds. To me, they will always the Tuatha De Danaan,- The clan of the Goddess Danu. They were a powerful ancient Irish race with great magical skills. They were defeated in battle by the Milesians, and the great bard, Amergin White Knee, allotted to them, all of the island that was underneath the earth. As the centuries passed and their fame diminished they almost shrank into oblivion. They stayed close to their underground realms and only came up on certain occasions and on feast days. Even fifty years ago, there were many in the west of Ireland who have seen the Gentry as they are called.. but few have the openness of mind that would allow them to see the little people these days.

Do You Remember

Do you remember when, so long ago, we felt the flowers grow?

We watched them all awaken underneath the sunlit snow.

Snowdrops and daffodils, and violas of purple hue,

Spring would quickly follow with a host of things to do.

I remember flying underneath the red-streaked, summer skies,

Every flutter of our silken wings was spurred by endless joy.

Listening to the singing of the blackbird, at the dawning of the night.

The rising moon brought tears of longing, mixed with inexpressible delight.

There were feasts a plenty, with bread and cheese upon the hawthorn fair.

Hazelnuts and haws, with nettle soup, while marigolds and roses blessed the summer air.

Blackberries so sweet, that hung from every roadside hedge.

Elderberry wine to slake our thirst, went quickly to our heads.

We gentle folk were welcome in those days, with bread and milk at every cottage door.

And we would bless the farm to make the crops grow strong, where we found kindness for the poor.

Then we would ramble home, through portals scattered far and wide across the land.

Back to the Land of Sidhe, in cheerful song, with all the Faerie band.

Patrick W Kavanagh.

12/03/2014

paganway1

by Bill Oliver { boysoblue.com }

Musings of a Massachusetts Witch

July, 2013

Unverifiable Personal Gnosis 

Wicca has a foundation built on the idea of Unverifiable Personal Gnosis – meaning that our personal knowledge and experiences may not be able to be outwardly proven to others though we hold it as truth. In order to build and nurture our relationships with God Herself, to gain personal enlightenment or to seek the deeper understanding of the Mysteries, one is expected to experience moments of epiphany or gnosis. I would expect that when an individual lives a life dedicated to Wicca she or he would experience several moments of gnosis while communing with Deity either through meditation, contemplation or ritual. These are personal experiences that would not yield external proof but would bring that individual to a higher vibrational frequency and balance even if other Wiccans do not resonate with the insight refusing to accept the gnosis as their truth. The fact that others do not accept the gnosis does not tarnish what the individual who experienced it gains because at the core of Wicca as well as many other religions and spiritual practices is establishing and nurturing an intimate relationship with Deity or our Creator.

 

While Unverifiable Personal Gnosis is a significant part of Wicca it is also important in many other religions and spiritual practices. When I was a practicing Christian specifically Roman Catholic I had many moments of epiphany that other Christians did not and would never resonate with, one of which was when Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, spoke to me during an intense moment of prayer revealing to me her true nature. It was gnosis such as this that ultimately led me away from Christianity and onto my current Wiccan path. I believe that Wicca is as verifiable as Christianity is though I am acutely aware that many others will disagree with me claiming that there are historical accounts within The Bible and other sacred texts that Jesus Christ did exist and is the prophesized Messiah. While it may be true that Wicca has no sacred book to consult when we have questions, nor a holy text to check for verification of a spiritual belief, what we do have is shared experiences and personal gnosis. And if you are a person who does follow a religion with such reference material as Holy Scripture, how do you come to the belief that the sacred book or holy text that you readily consult is indeed the Word of God? Isn’t it through personal gnosis?

 

For myself I find that I am able to verify my Wiccan beliefs, truths and reality to my satisfaction by communing with the natural world around me. There I am able to witness the beauty of the sacred feminine in all her magnificent flora and greenery. I am able to feel the power of the sacred masculine in the weather and natural forces of the Universe that surround me. I can observe the cycle of life that dictates the path of all living beings that inhabit the Earth with me. Because I believe that Wicca is based in the understanding of the life cycle as I experience it, it is based in the reality I manifest for myself and the reality I create with others of like mind. It is the truth that I live each day here on the physical plane of Earth that we, you and I, have co-created. I come to these conclusions through unverifiable personal gnosis just as you have come to your beliefs through your own communion with Deity.

Across the Great Divide

August, 2012

 “The Perception of Believing”

It is often said that seeing is believing. That is to say that there is no definitive proof that something exists- that something is real- until it is seen or heard by the eyes and ears of a human being.

That seems a bit arrogant in its base. It is scientific fact that animals, such as dogs, sense and perceive things in our environment that are physically beyond our comprehension, but that doesn’t make it any less real.

Or is it that believing is seeing? That one cannot have a sense of something’s existence unless they first believe in the possibility of it, thereby opening up their mind to having the experience.

As a psychology scholar I have had a very keen interest in the psychology of perception because the perceptual process is what allows us to experience the world around us; and makes the human condition an enjoyable personal story.

No one’s world experience is exactly the same. It is the end result of the beliefs, education, behaviors, and witnessed events specific to that individual; and as such, is constantly evolving and changing.

No two people can have exactly the same set of these variables outside of exact clones programmed with the very same set of memory engrams, psychological profile, and physiology. But the moment the two are created they are no longer exactly the same because their view of the world, at least in the sense of visual acuity and position, is no longer the same.

Two friends can witness the same event, say for example a car accident, but remember the details in different ways, or even in a different order. Their proximity, field of view, emotional state, and memories all can play key factors in how they recall the incident.

The belief in, or the experiencing of paranormal activity may be the result of a coping mechanism within the perceiver to make sense of the witnessed phenomenon.

That’s not to say that the experience wasn’t real. In the mind of the perceiver it was, or is, for all intents and purposes, a very real event; but that doesn’t necessarily translate to empirical evidence in the eyes of science.

That’s why personal experiences and anecdotes related to psychical research are never used when determining the validity of clams of paranormal activity. These are by their very definition subjective, rather than objective experiences. If it can’t be quantified or confirmed by an impartial third party (i.e. scientific data collection) then it didn’t happen.

It has been suggested by Joe Nickell, senior investigator for the Skeptical Inquirer, that there is no proof of life after death or other claimed paranormal phenomenon.

Using leprechauns as an example, he points to the lack of scientific evidence that leprechauns exist beyond the realm of cultural folktales because most people don’t have any personal motive for believing in them or in seeing them.

William Butler Yeats would have retorted, “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

“We also have no scientific proof that ghosts and extraterrestrials exist,” he says, “yet most people do believe they’re real.” This is because of the promise of something more- something greater than the current human condition. Believing that we can go on after death or the belief that we’re not alone in the universe has specific emotional incentives for most people.

The questions involving the perception of paranormal activity are as vast and as complex as the answers themselves. Entire studies have been conducted and full-length works have been written exploring both sides of the debate. But, as always, I open the floor to you, my fellow explorers. Is it that seeing is believing, or is it that believing is seeing? Perhaps it is a simple matter of seeing what we want to see.

There are things about the physical universe that we know, and there are a greater number of things that we do not know, and between them both is a door that swings both ways waiting for us to have the courage to step through.

 

 

© 2012 R. Wolf Baldassarro/Deep Forest Productions

The Merry-Go-Round of Religion

February, 2009


“If God leads you to it, God will lead you through it.”

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that phrase and thought that the women in my life were more likely to be there for me as a guide than any man would be.

Fifteen years ago, thinking that my father would be more accepting of me if I believed in his God, I told him what he wanted to hear. I would go to church once in a great while with friends, just so that I wouldn’t be a liar. I borrowed the Book of Psalms from my Grandfather and knew the very basics about the Bible. No matter how I tried to please him without being drug down the whirlpool called Christianity, I felt hollow and empty.

What did I really believe in? Who did I believe in? Why….why was I willing to put up a false front just to please someone?

Five years later I was introduced to Wicca through some of my mother’s side of the family. Their comfortable demeanor and sense of pride with their religious beliefs intrigued me. Over the years, the popularity and rise of Wicca and other Pagan faiths in the mainstream public eye spurred me on to find out as much as I could. You hardly ever see a mainstream religion having that kind of comfort level unless they are recruiting others, or proclaiming Christ while taking the money out of your pockets.

Do as Christ would do? I don’t remember reading about Jesus being a thief, a liar.

My children are my guiding force, urging me on to help find something for them to believe in besides SpongeBob, Dora, and Hannah Montana. They ask me questions, I try to answer as best as I can. If I don’t know, I ask someone more knowledgeable. I tell them to believe in themselves, to follow their hearts, to respect themselves, others and Mother Nature, to only “harm” in self defense. I tell them to be honest and truthful to themselves about what they want to believe in, and to do it for the right reasons, not what someone else wants.

Some of those who guided me along my path and who inspired me have forsaken their beliefs in favor of believing in Jesus and the teachings of the Bible. Were their beliefs strong and steady? Were they Wiccan or Druid because they believed, or was it just convenient at the time? Did they change faith to be part of an accepted, mainstream religion because of peer pressure, or do they really now follow their teachings? There are so many questions, and the answers are, to me, as false as a pair of Vegas eyelashes.

One person who has chosen to convert to Christianity gave excuses about Wicca having “no unity”, no “unified moral code of ethics”. Reading the mass email she sent out, she professes that Wicca teaches us to think selfishly, that the spells and “ritual things” aren’t needed to be close to God. In a way she is right, I know many who don’t use things like athames, or wands. I just have to say though, excuse me?! What does she call all the pomp and circumstance of Sunday Service, all the “ritual things“ that they use?  That could even go for the whole “church” concept. We, as a nature-based faith, often don’t feel a building is needed, for anywhere can be our “church“.

As predicted, she then goes on and tries to recruit those she sent the email to. How disgusting is that?!?

Finding stability in society is hard enough, without the people you look up to for guidance doing a wishy-washy dance of uncertainty. What is even more disconcerting and suspicious, is when they change without any forewarning or clues. For some, maybe it is a life altering event that has made them think twice about what they believe in or practice. My father hadn’t gone to church for years, but always told me to believe in God and to go to church.

In 2003, my father was driving down a poorly lit main road when a man stepped out in front of his truck and was killed. My father never saw the drunk man until it was too late. He took this as a sign from Jesus and God. The man’s name was Jesus, and he had been trying to cross the road to his daughter’s house from the church across the street. My father saw this as a sign that he could still go to church. He explained it to me this way; he said that at 52 (at the time) it wasn’t too late to go back to church and be one with God.

My epiphany moment happened and I didn’t even know it. My soon to be mother-in-law was dying of cancer. On the morning of May 29, 1999 we were all at their house doing some major cooking for a birthday party. Three of us were in the kitchen when we heard a “thump”; her lungs had filled up with fluid, her heart had stopped beating, and she fell to the floor. We tried CPR, we called 911 and we cried. The Hospice showed up (I won’t go into that here), the paramedics, the whole neighborhood. My husband’s cousin was on the way with her three day old daughter, just moments away. There was nothing we could have done, she was gone. I want you to understand something, my mother-in-law was and IS a very strong-willed woman.

Later that night, about 7 or 8 pm, we got pager messages to get to a phone. We were worried about my husband’s younger sister or his father. Needless to say, what we found out was NOT what we expected.

The God and Goddess work in beautiful and mysterious ways.

After all those hours at the funeral home, the funeral director heard a noise. I kid you not, he heard a noise coming from her bag. When he opened it, she was breathing, her eyes were open and she looked right at his ashen face. The poor man fell, screamed, called 911 and promptly passed out. He would never talk to us after her memorial service.

She was with us until around 11pm that night, giving her friends and close family time to be with her to say goodbye. I look back on that day as the day when the Goddess first showed herself to me. The strength of my mother-in-law, her love for and belief in her family was like none I had ever witnessed before. She was a mother, a sister, a warrior, and a Goddess in her own right.

My point is this; we all have our reasons, but we should have them for the right ones. Have them because you believe, not to be part of the “In” crowd. Be proud of who you are and what you believe in.

McGod

December, 2008

Probably one of the most striking differences between modern Paganism and the more predominant western religions is the fact that we have multiple gods and goddesses.  More than any other, this difference is the most disturbing to the monotheistic / revealed religions espoused by millions in Western and Middle Eastern cultures.  It rankles and offends them in most cases and they find such ideas impossible to comprehend.  And, for many folks within the Pagan religious expressions, it is difficult to explain in any way other than to say, “Well, that’s what I believe.”  That’s hardly comforting to the monotheists and it usually doesn’t sit well even within our own minds.  The question of who are ‘the gods’ and exactly what sort of attributes we ascribe to them is not an easy subject to tackle.

For convenience, I’m going to not continually type ‘and goddesses’ every time I use ‘god,’ ‘the gods,’ or ‘god forms.’  Suffice it to say that I’ve given up trying to satisfy everybody in my writings.  Not only is it an impossible task, it’s a thankless one as well.  Whatever I use, it has no meaning concerning gender.  We speak of gender when discussing particular god forms, but even then it is less about gender than a similar discussion about flowers would be.  Our concept of ‘god’ or ‘goddess’ is based solely on a human condition that we are attempting to relate to.  I expect that ‘sex’ between deities is not dependent on any definition we might come up with concerning gender.

First of all, let me give you my take on who or what the gods are.  I settled into a Unitarian church after trying out a lot of churches in my city between the ages of 12 to 18.  One of the best things I heard in that Unitarian church was the ‘joke’ about when god made man in his own image, man returned the favor.  Cute, but it says volumes about how we think about deity.  For thousands of years, we’ve painted pictures of gods and goddesses, written long treatises about what they may be like, and generally made asses of ourselves trying to prove who was right or wrong.  Pagans don’t tend to get upset over what name or image of a god or goddess somebody else holds dear, but we also don’t (as a group) tend to think too hard about exactly what the nature of deity might be.  We kind of dance lightly around the subject and go back to other areas of our spirituality that might seem safer or less mentally taxing.  While that may be one of the reasons we don’t have any big arguments about the many different viewpoints we embrace, it also is a weakness in our understanding of what it means to worship any of these thousands of god forms.

My concept of deity is that it is a subject that’s way too big for any one human consciousness to grasp.  It’s a lot like the number we call infinity.  Even though we can play with it in mathematics, it still is beyond meaning in our minds because that is part of its definition.  Deity is not one, or two, or any other number we can count.  It is beyond that.  Deity contains all those numbers but is more than all of them combined.  What we can get our minds around is something far more pedestrian, much more like what we are used to.  Thus, Zeus becomes Mr. Big, the somewhat tyrannical figure who will often take advantage of the fact that he’s the boss but also has a more ‘human’ side to him that comes out even when his schemes seem to be abusive.  Hera, a goddess herself, is the long-suffering wife who has hissy fits over her husband’s affairs and who is hardly ever more than a wrong look away from attempting retribution or revenge.  We can relate, right?

Personally, I don’t know anyone who uses Zeus or Hera as the central figure on their altars (though I expect there are folks who do), but this is just an example.  These god forms are projections of our own lives and culture but in archetypical form.  They represent aspects of that bigger thing we call deity that we can’t quite get our minds around.  Some Pagans use the generic forms we call The Lady and The Lord, or God and Goddess.  Even these are projections of our understanding of the world as incarnated beings.  When questioned about our own favorite god forms, we invariably pick one out a mythology that resonates with us.  That’s our choice.  In spite of all the cosmic power we ascribe to our god forms, it seems none of them can force us to believe in or worship them without our consent.  How strange.  “We reserve the right to refuse worship to any who do not please us.”  It should be cross-stitched into our altar cloths.

Once, many years ago, my wife and I played at using Loony Tunes characters to portray many of the god forms that were popular among us and our Pagan friends.  Has it ever occurred to you that Bugs Bunny acts a lot like Loki or Coyote?  I don’t even want to get into who Taz reminded me of!  But can you see what I mean about our involvement in how the god forms are depicted?

At this point, it might look like I’m saying we invented the gods.  This would be blasphemous to those monotheists who insist they know who God is.  But, yes, in a way that is what I’m saying.  However, it goes beyond that… way beyond that.

One of the lines that anthropologists draw concerning what is human and what isn’t has to do with how we depict our world.  If we can draw graffiti on the walls, then we’re human.  If we can decorate our graves with trinkets, we’re human.  If we can carve fat-bellied naked women, we’re defiantly human.  It seems that we’ve had some idea of deity for just as long as any of these other abilities.  We may not have built big cathedrals back then (though most scholars agree that Stonehenge has some kind of spiritual significance), but we expressed our spiritual natures in a wide variety of ways even when we could hardly chip rocks.  It would seem being human means we have some instinct or desire for there being something beyond us, something that makes everything make a lot more sense than what we are able to understand.  In other words, humans have a sense of deity.

Our abilities to describe deity have produced a rich variety of images and concepts, but none of these productions come even close to what we would call the reality of deity.  So it shouldn’t be too surprising that there are so many differing descriptions out there.  In fact, it would be amazing if there weren’t.  When we say so-and-so is The God, we are bound to butt up against somebody else’s concept of The One True God.  The old argument of whose god is bigger extends back before recorded times.  The gods, as we perceive them, are how the archetypal forms combine with our sense/need/ instinct for deity.

One of the most interesting things about archetypes is the role they play in our minds.  They are specialized symbols that seem to be universal to all humans.  They are the foundation for what is termed the ‘collective unconscious,’ that body of information that is ubiquitous to us all.  In some instances, part of this collective is arbitrary but has become the agreed-upon ‘reality’ of our species.  The archetypes are huge, complex blocks of related information that appear to be formed at a surprisingly early age.  Some speculate that they begin before birth!  Almost without exception, certain archetypes appear before others, but usually by about the age of six, the human child has nearly all the archetypes formed in their unconscious and it takes extreme measures to modify or substitute them from that time on.  Some of these archetypes are so ingrained, they can never be changed.  We might add new tidbits of information to them as we grow, but they will remain pretty much as they are for the rest of our lives.

To say the archetypes are within us is only partly true.  As hard a concept as it may be, the other part that is true about archetypes is that we are within them!  We live our lives as part of the archetypes.  We order our perceptions to coincide with them, making them the compass of our existence.  Our understanding of deity must agree with these archetypes as well.  The resonance we feel when we choose our god forms is its agreement with our archetypical images and how we prioritize those archetypes.  Every iteration of deity, each god or goddess or spirit of any kind, is but a facet of that larger gem that we are driven to seek.

Worship is an expression of desire.  Our desire to find deity is so much a part of our being, so strong a force, we have killed and died for it.  Deity may always be beyond our understanding but it is never beyond our desire.  That we each might find a different aspect of deity that fits what we desire most is not surprising; even fast-food places offer more than one kind of hamburger.  Would you like to super-size that goddess?

Pagans tend to worship more than one aspect of deity; we have multiple god forms that reveal our deepest desires.  This shouldn’t be surprising because we don’t have just one desire or even simply one at a time.  We are complex beings and our choice of gods that resonate with complexity reflects that fact.  When I say we resonate with a god form, I mean that it is the chosen form that best expresses our desires at the time.  Many Pagans say that their discovery of whatever brand of Paganism they currently follow was like ‘coming home.’  Very likely this means they felt a greater comfort level with a spirituality that gave them more freedom to express their desires.  Multiple god forms allow for a life more deeply ingrained with spirit, more meaningful and connected with parts of deity.

Deity is not one thing, remember.  It is beyond and outside of any count.  The variety of god forms we use to express our participation within deity is strictly up to us.  No matter how hard we try, we won’t ever truly understand all of deity because that is part of its definition.  But if we don’t try, if we don’t find god forms that resonate with our deepest desires, then we will lead lives that are devoid of our own spirit and any outside form of worship we might display will be a hollow shell… as will we.

Now… would you like fries with that, too?