Day By Day: a (sometimes rocky!) journey to, and with, the Goddess

I believe we can walk with Goddess by our side, but need to work on our relationship with Her just as we do our person-to-person ones. I'm a 50-something womon seeking and often stumbling along the path to a profound connection with Goddess in Her many aspects. The power of everyday rituals and moments can help light that path and serve as deep communication when words just get in the way.

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Ashling Kelly

Ashling Kelly

I'm a Goddess-loving Pagan with a strong affinity
for Brigid & Quan Yin, writer, (very) novice fiber artist, and mother
of two adult sons. My beloved partner & I live at the foot of the
Catskill Mountains with our 3 cats, 2 dogs, 3 chickens, and three
honeybee hives.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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I've written before about life as an act of faith. Faith usually refers to one's spiritual beliefs, but I've never felt my relationship with Goddess required faith; it's a state of knowing, not believing.

However, Faith has been known to dally about with Trust. You often see the two of them whispering together in a corner, cozy and self-confident, but I'm not always such a fan of Trust. She's led me down the garden path right into nasty brambles or a boggy patch a few too many times, and relying on her just doesn't come easily anymore.

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All Hallow's Eve, oh holy night....but as my thoughts turn to this post, night hasn't fallen yet. Though Samhain is hours away, it feels as though perhaps the veil is thinning ahead of schedule. A low fog hovers, catching on tree branches,erasing the mountains as if they were mere figments of imagination, drifting around me like one of those ancestral wraiths seeking communion with the living once more. But no spirits come to visit, and instead my mind wanders, nebulous thoughts seeking form and being as evening draws closer. With the passing hours they begin to take shape.

We who walk this path share a gift, one known to a few other spiritual paths/religions--a spiritual new year. There will always be the horn-blowing, ball-dropping, sparkling-toast secular new year, but we're blessed with an extra new beginning, one that invites introspection and inspiration. We also get an extra opportunity to make--and make good on--resolutions, different ones perhaps than vows to reacquaint ourselves with the treadmill or be more organized. And so as the windy gloaming sweeps away one year and blows in the new, I ask myself how I can be--and do--better, how can I deepen my connection with Goddess, continue this journey of healing, nurturing and regrowing that once-fractured relationship. As darkness falls, each answer sparks, flickers and flares into being...a trio of flames lighting this moody, dark, rainy Samhain.

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We're researchers, Linda and I. We don't just grab a bunch of seeds, stick 'em in the ground and wait. No...we think it to death, researching heirlooms, tracking down companies with organic seeds, amending our soil, measuring rainfall. We were the same way with getting chickens. I knew what breeds I wanted because I spent hours comparing the merit of Australorps versus Orpingtons. We built the coop to ensure the appropriate roosting space, and spent hours discussing placement of the nest boxes versus the roost. I have this idea I need to do things perfectly. A mistake at work costs me lost sleep and spiking blood pressure. A botched dinner prompts numerous apologies to Linda (who honestly couldn't care less), and when my sons run into life's walls, I just assume it was a flaw in my parenting that is causing them anguish. As for my writing skills, well, no one is a more brutal critic than I. Yeah, bring on that cat o' nine tails and hair shirt!

So when all that research is done, when we've planted things just so, in perfect organic soil, with organic fertilizer, watered exactly as we should, provided just the right sunshine, it's kind of a rude slap when the harvest is...well, nada. This year forty heirloom tomato plants yielded a grand total of a dozen cracked and blemished tomatoes. Our peas barely produced. Heck, even my kale tanked!  Seriously-who can't grow kale? The gardening year started with such promise, and is winding down with anything but a fireworks display of produce. 

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I live, work and play in sight of the Catskill Mountains. Although I've followed the Hudson River ever farther north in my life, always there were mountains. First there were the gentle Hudson Highlands, then the rocky faces of the Shawangunks, and then, finally the Catskills. It was those wooded peaks that made me finally love the Hudson Valley. I'm blessed to see the Catskills every day, whether glimpsed as I stretch for a peek from our driveway, or sprawling before me as I cross the bridge heading back home after work. They mark the days, the seasons, and I love them. This morning, as I drove home from the Farm Market across the river, my car fragrant with basil and my mind sorting out what to make with the tomatoes and zucchini I'd purchased, I reached the bridge and gasped. The mountains were...gone. Just not there, as if they'd been stolen away by the same villain who swiped the Moon in the movie Despicable Me. Where they usually could be found was only a smudgy gray haze.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post at my home blog entitled Acts of Faith http://mountainwomon.blogspot.com/2011/09/acts-of-faith.html . So often spirituality relies on faith as its foundation. After all, we can't know there's a Goddess, can we? We can't prove Her existence, can't touch Her, see or hear Her with our standard-issue eyes & ears. And yet, I've known there was Divine since the day after my older son was born 32 years ago. They laid him tummy down on my chest, and he managed to somehow raise his tiny head, and looked past my eyes into my soul. Yep, I know babies aren't really 'looking at' anything at a day old. I don't care; I know what happened that day, and first, that moment changed both our lives. Second, I knew at that moment there was a Divine Being. It would be years before I believed that Being gave a rat's patootie about humankind, and years before I would recognize the Divine as Goddess, but at that moment in time, there was no faith involved; I knew as surely as I know the mountains haven't really vanished. Humidity, fog, clouds have hidden them from my sight, but never my heart. 

We of the Goddess path share that knowing. This post's title is borrowed from Jade River's classic Dianic Wiccan book of the same name. To have a relationship with Goddess is to know that relationship is possible, to know that She is there in the rising Sun and waning Moon, in joy and grief, sex and celibacy, birth and death. But that doesn't mean any of us have to have that knowledge from the get-go. We develop it over time, by listening, looking, trusting and questioning, digging in the dirt, living our lives and praying. Perhaps your  journey will start with faith that later becomes that which you know and are.

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Litha has passed; Summer is upon us. The Full Thunder Moon is softly waning, and the warm July night is jeweled with the twinkling fairy lights of fireflies. The air is scented with the powdery sweet musk of milkweed blossoms luring the monarchs, frogs offer up their throaty love calls, and my heart trembles with the holy joy of this peaceful night. There’s nothing easier than being a Goddess-loving Pagan at this moment.

When life is lovely, devotion to Her flows like silk, a shimmering thing of weightless beauty. My prayers are poetry, signs and messages abound, and my feet tread lightly on the Earth. Moments of inexplicable bliss catch me unaware, leaving me breathless with gratitude. But inevitably, the sky darkens, the seasons change and one day the world seems encased in ice as freezing rain chills the bones and wind whines and howls. Staring into the void outside the window, I feel alone, made of glass moments from shattering. I feel betrayed, forsaken; I can’t hear Her in this cold sunken place of despair and doubt.

Most of us have been in such a place in our person-to-person relationships….we’ve known what it is to be broken by someone we love, to feel tossed to the winds, to know anguish and anger. We’ve felt like fools, turned our backs on loved ones, determined never to be so vulnerable again. Sometimes though, we survive the storm. We forgive. We make our way back to each other. It starts with the smallest of steps: a bunch of flowers, a favorite meal, a small joke that breaks the icy shell. We begin again. Why is that harder when we speak of the Divine?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Tammye McDuff
    Tammye McDuff says #
    Thank you for expressing your thoughts. In this world of marketing and working and internet hype it is all to easy to forget to li
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Blessings on all our wild and mutual relationships with The Goddess. Thank you for you words.
  • Melia Brokaw
    Melia Brokaw says #
    An important read for any Pagan/Polytheist!

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