Pagan Paths - Heathern & Northern

My Dear Lord

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My Dear Lord

This is a sidebar to the article: Way of Wyrd an interview with the author.

In the autumn of 1972, I moved across the state of Missouri and soon lost touch with the Pagans I had known. It was a different time — without the Internet, without cell phones — when it was much more difficult to stay connected.

For many years after that, one god in particular watched over me. Some might call Him my “patron god,” although the term “patron” traditionally refers to a deity’s role as a protector of a group (city, nation, tribe) or conceptual area of life (archery, blacksmiths, animals).

By then I had heard of Wicca, which was a word used by Gardnerian witches to describe themselves. After the move, it seemed like everyone I met was using the word “Wicca” or “Wiccan,” so I began doing the same. I was soon initiated by an Osirian Wiccan. I could relate well enough to the “Great Goddess” as the Earth Mother, whom I knew as Herthe. In 1974, Buckland’s The Tree was published, and his Seax tradition seemed to confirm that the old gods were indeed a part of the Wiccan movement.

And so, after a time, I began to think of all gods as a mash-up of Horned God, even though most of the gods were never depicted with horns or antlers or anything of the sort. And all goddesses, from all cultures, became (in my mind) facets of Herthe, one more name for a single Great Goddess.

As the years passed, I came across inconsistencies — some innocent errors, others blatant lies — in the beliefs I had once accepted, and it became more and more difficult to ignore how little modern Wicca resembled any pre-Christian spirituality whatsoever. During this period of disenchantment — which continued for well over a decade — I grew aware of an Entity or Presence observing me. I was not sure what this was; at first, I was not willing to accept it as a deity, since there was only One Lord and One Lady; which I saw only as distant principles of Yin and Yang, of Fire and Ice. The Presence I felt was a distinct “person” of some kind.

My Visitor had some connection with, or interest in, the vegetable kingdom: trees, grasses and crops. I thought of him as the Harvest Lord, although I was aware that the Presence could be near me at any time of year, even in deepest winter when green growing things were encased beneath ice and thick layers of snow. The Presence did not fit into one “archetype.” He was my Harvest Lord, but just as easily the Green Man or even Jack Frost.

I knew Him, this Presence, but on another level I did not know Him at all. It took another move — this time across the continent — for me to cast off the concepts that were keeping me from seeing Him for Who He was. I soon met some polytheists who spoke of the Gods as I had once known Them. After hearing them out, I knew that my Harvest Lord — the Presence that had observed me, guided me, and inspired me to build a scarecrow each year as His effigy — was Ing Fréa.

I went into our back garden late one evening and gave Lord Ing an offering of ale. When He responded, it was with such intensity that I could understand why a monotheist might believe his god to be the one and only god in the universe. Ing was in me, flowing through me, around me and above me. He was in every flower and herb, He was in the breeze and the night sky. It was difficult to breathe. “I am,” He said. “I am not one small part of something else. I am not one name of a distant power. Know that I am, and that I am nothing less than Myself.” He was not angry. I had the feeling that my dear Lord understood how I had come to wander away from the Gods. Now I was back again, and could know him for who He really is: the Lord of this World, the Lord of the Elves, Battle Wise and Bringer of Peace. My Harvest Lord.


This essay was adapted and reprinted with permission from .

Find out more in Witches&Pagans #24 - Heathen & Northern Traditions


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