When you live as rural as we do, surrounded on all sides by miles of forest and fields, you gain an appreciation for nature that I don't think I ever experienced when I lived in a city. I lived in Colorado Springs, a place which values it's natural spaces and proximity to fantastic recreational areas; it was even voted the fittest small city in the country. However, a lot of my time of living there involved driving back and forth to work through row after row of houses, watching entire neighborhoods and strip malls appear within weeks. I didn't feel the same closeness to nature I do now because it was something I drove to.
Living on our Pagan homestead, one of the things I've come to appreciate more than ever before is the changing of the seasons, and witnessing it on such an intimate level. I've only been able to discover this deeper exposure to it since our "Exodus". Well, it's no secret that the seasons are changing now that we're half way through August. The days are getting shorter, but what I notice more is that the morning shadows cover my gardens later each week. Also, some plants are beginning to die back, after having served their purpose and finally giving into the brutal drought we're experiencing.
One of the key foundations of modern (and ancient) Paganism is also one of the most contentious. We find it very hard to talk about, it seems, and yet it's fairly key to many people's personal practice. When I've talked about it in the past, it almost seems like I'm breaking a taboo, with the words themselves being 'dirty' or embarrassing. And yet, learning from my passionate and heartfelt Heathen friends, that embarrassment is itself disrespectful, dishonourable and, ultimately, rather foolish.
Who are your Gods and Goddesses? What does Deity mean to you, and how does it influence and affect your Paganism? From the Platonic 'ultimate Male/Female' images (tallying with 'All Gods/Goddesses are One') to the pantheistic, international eclectic transference of pretty much any deity with any other no matter where you yourself live, talking about Deity is a tricky business. Especially because ultimately, nobody can really tell you you're wrong. Or right. Except, perhaps, those Gods themselves.
The Judgement of Paris (Classical)
It's been a few years since I left "the world of work" and embarked upon this journey with my wife. So many friends tried to talk us out of it, and some even stopped calling or coming by; many called us crazy, some called us brave. I guess it's not every day someone you know announces they're going to leave a good paying job, and the city, along with all its amenities, and move hundreds of miles away to start living a simpler life involving growing their own food, self-employment and getting back in touch with nature and their gods. Now that I think back, it was a crazy thing to do, but that's exactly what my wife and did.