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Thursday, March 21, 2013

How We See the Gods

   One of the most basic aspects of paganism may be how we see the Gods. Our Gods, after all, have a concreteness to them that lends itself to imagery. We have myth, folklore, and ancient pagan artwork to pull from as we seek to imagine what our gods look like. We also have modern popular views, such as the many modern Heathens who describe Thor as red-haired. As a Reconstructionist these sources are invaluable, yet they can also be a double edged sword. For myself at least, when I envision my Gods I inevitably think of all these sources in an effort to come up with a correct image. It may produce an accurate result, but it also complicates inspiration and emotion.
   I am trying to take a lesson from my children now. There is a purity to the way that children approach the Gods that adults lose somewhere along the way. My oldest daughter, very unapologetically, has favorite Gods and they show up in her artwork from time to time. I have a drawing that she did when she was 7 of Freya; it shows the Goddess as my daughter imagines her. This is Freya from the heart, without any worry of accuracy or careful details from the lore. Its Freya as my daughter sees her without the filter we adults use for everything. There is a beautiful purity to that, even if most other people wouldn't recognize the Goddess.

Amara's drawing, circa 2011
  Its important to look to the body of myth and belief when we relate to deity, but it is just as important to listen to our hearts. I know that I tend to let my head complicate everything which is why I am trying to find a more balanced approach. Instead of rejecting the little things that pop up in my head - Odin with a hip flask, Freya with a butterfly tattoo - I'm going to try embracing them. I'm going to let my inner voice have its say and see what it comes up with. I may even grab some crayons and have a bit of fun with this. Even if the results are images that have no meaning to anyone but me, I am going to let my inner child have its say. It is so easy to ignore our inner voice when we feel like there is a right and wrong to what we are doing, but that inner voice can add a richness that is lacking in cold hard facts.  
  When you picture your Gods, how do you see them?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this article !
    I totally agree with you (and your daughters ;) ), because I have a very strong feeling with "my" Gods that really begin from the heart; not in books. "My" Gods are not the usual Gods: Odin is quite younger (40-ish years old maybe) with an amethyst in His blind eye, Bridgit is a Goddess of the Bear... and I don't care wether that is not the usual way to see them or not. I know, very strongly, it is how They are when They come to me. I can releash my creativity, my intuition, my soul, listen to Them deeper, and have a very unic relationship with Them.
    Does it really matter in fact if they are not the typical Odin and Bridgit ? They are real for me, and Earth Religion and magic is a lot about feeling, unleashed personal power and peace of mind (about what people think and do). We can learn from books and other people... but each God, Goddess, Hero, Myth and Legend, wait for us to keep Them alive, as WE really are, to live with Them or live them really, to give Them love, faith and feeling. So let's be pure hearted and ourselves !
    Our religion needs to be living and alive.
    So thank you for sharing your thoughts ! :)