When I comprehended my darkness, a truly magnificent night
came over me and my dream plunged me into the depths of the...
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In your standard Pagan wheel of the year arrangement, harvest happens in the autumn. We tend to celebrate it at the autumn equinox, when many regular Pagan teachings encourage you to reflect on wider ideas of harvest in your own life. However, if you grow soft fruit or salad vegetables, the odds are that you’ve been harvesting since some time in June.
While reading Dianne Sylvan's latest novel this past March, I had a flash of insight that knocked me out of her Shadow World and into the timeless, space-less realm of what Ellen Dugan calls “just knowing.” The scene in the book was of a young Witch drawing down the moon – pulling the Goddess into herself. I told my empty bedroom, “She's not pulling the Goddess into her. She's awakening the spark of divinity within herself!” Cool! I thought. Then I went back into the reading.
When I first came home to the Pagan path eleven years ago, I felt very uncomfortable with the Goddess and God concepts. The Wiccan Lady and Lord felt extremely foreign and abstract to me. I was raised Buddhist, and as a teen had gone through a period of absolutely despising religion altogether, especially the Judeo-Christian religions, whom I held accountable for committing torture, rape, murder, and genocide in the name of their Lord....
[Note: This is a revised version of an earlier essay that appeared on the Humanistic Paganism blog.]
A couple of posts ago, I wrote about ritual creation as a form of Jungian Pagan spiritual practice. I described ritual as a kind of dance between the conscious and unconscious, in which the conscious mind gives form to unconscious energy or potentialities. Jung often used the metaphor of water to describe the vivifying energies of the unconscious. This water, wrote Jung, “comes from deep down in the mountain [the unconscious] and runs along secret ways before it reaches daylight [consciousness].” The place where it springs forth is marked by a symbol. This symbol merely marks the experience of the archetype, and it should not be confused with the experience (the water) itself or the archetype (the source of the water)....
More drama has surfaced within wider Pagan community within recent weeks, particularly within the blogosphere between “polytheists” and “humanists”. I put those terms in quotes to blanket a lot of people under them, and because after all I’ve read regarding either camp, I’m not sure I understand what those terms really mean anymore.
I am the incomprehensible silence
and the idea often brought to mind.
I am the voice sounding throughout the world
and the word appearing everywhere.
I am the sounding of my name,
For I am knowledge and ignorance.
I am shame and bravery.
I am without shame; I am full of shame.
I am power and I am trepidation.
I am conflict and peace.
Listen to me,
For I am the scandalous and magnificent one.
Excerpted from Thunder, Perfect Mind, trans. by George W. MacRae
In the silence of the night the waters were troubled. We did not know that far to the south, in the headwaters of the great river, rains swelled the flow, sending the fertile black earth our way. What we did know was that the star of Sopdet, whom we know as Aset (Isis), had disappeared from the sky for weeks now. Each evening the priests watched for it to reappear at the horizon, the signal that Aset was weeping, mourning the loss of her husband Asar (Osiris). After dark there is no way to see if a crocodile lies in wait or a hyena quietly stalks you coming home late. Except in the cities, the silence here is vast, incomprehensible. Against that quiet, the change in the water showed itself in little lappings higher up the bank, a swath of new green advancing up the shores on both sides.
The priests told us that Aset’s tears were flowing, rousing Hapy from his sleep among the rocks of the headwaters. I do not understand these things. Like the Lady, I had suffered loss, the death of my husband at the hands of an evildoer. My grief was unabatable; like hers, my tears seemed a limitless flood. Then I found myself carrying my own Heru, pregnant with my own shining Horus boy, and hope soothed my tears. By the time of planting, I could hardly stoop to the water’s edge with my jar, and as the first harvest came in, my son saw the light of Ra.
The mother is so many things – fearful, yet brave, cunning, but also confused, wandering in search of Asar’s body. I am not pharaoh in his House of a Million Years, nor am I a priest who can explain these things. But I see that she is like me, or maybe I am like her. Maybe we are the same, though she is eternal. When I am cowed by shame or ignorance, I remember that she found her power, found a way to her heart’s desire. When the waters rise each season of Akhet, I remember that even while she wept, Aset brought new life to the world. I smile when I walk back to refill my jar, knowing it is her lovely tears, her life I’m bringing back home with me.