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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?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Prayer for the Dying

Death is always difficult for the living to come to terms with, although it is said that to die to this world is to be born into the Otherworld. One thing we, as modern pagans, need more of are prayers for the dying, to help the soul move on and to comfort the living left behind. This is a blessing from the Carmina Gadelica to be said at death. I have modernized it and made it more pagan.  This could work equally well as something said to a dying person as they pass or as something said to those who are grieving during a funeral or memorial service.

Soul Peace 53

Since we know the soul is immortal -
At the time of yielding the life,
At the time of pouring the sweat,
At the time of offering the life,
At the time of shedding the blood,
At the time of balancing the beam,
At the time of severing the breath,
At the time of loosing the soul,
Peace upon the soul’s journey;
As it returns to the land from whence it came,
Peace upon the soul’s journey,
     As it returns from whence it came.
And may Manannan, gentle and kindly,
Lord of the waves and guide across worlds,
Take possession of the beloved soul,
And shield it home
     Oh! Where it may rest and be reborn again

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Druids - What I Do, the meme version

  One thing about the internet, there is never a shortage of memes going around. One that's been making the rounds for a while is a Druid version of the popular "What I Do" meme. I decided it was time to make my own version, one that I could relate more to. My version has images that include or focus on female Druids and portrays each category as I feel it. I am pretty sure, for example, that my mother thinks I spend my free time doing strange rituals naked in the woods, and I know that while I think I spend my time in solemn rites honoring the Gods, the reality is that most of what I do is contemplate my faith, my world, and the Spirits.