Cat Chapin-Bishop of Quaker Pagan Reflections has been posting on her own Spiritual Journey recently. Her discussion of experiencing the touch and Inspiration of the Divine has me thinking about some of my own encounters with the Gods.
In my own experience of Paganism – Witchcraft (non TIW/BTW) – one either invites the presence of the Gods or Directly invokes Them. Over the years I have wavered between the two activities. Experiencing the Divine through ritual and gnosis is a lot like a roller coaster ride. There are ups and downs and slow climbs and fast drops and exhilaration and fear and sometimes all you can do is strap yourself in and hold on for dear life. This business of relating to the Gods is also sometimes quite subtle… like hearing a piece of a favorite song from the open window of a passing car as you drive upon the highway… a hint of something dear as you travel through your day.
The first time I felt a sense of connection or Touch of Divinity was as I sat before an altar meditating one day. I sat cross-legged on the ground (what they were still calling, when I was a small boy, Indian-style.) Meditating when an image of the Horned God came into my mind, His form super-imposed with my own, both of us sitting with our backs against and inter-grown with an immense tree. Looking back I also had a sense of being showed something or how to do something…
“Not quite, more like THIS!”
That image has stayed with me for years as my grounding and centering imagery.
One of my acquaintances was, at best troubled. At worst he was facing some type of mental illness, he claimed multiple personalities and based on my own experiences and observations I would tend to believe him.
I was circling late one night and prayed to the Goddess for guidance on how to help him. I literally heard a voice say…
At which point, more than a little spooked and startled, I whirled around looking for the source of that voice so fast that I put out the Southern Candle and nearly knocked over the Altar.
The first time I felt the undeniable and powerful touch of the Divine, where I had no doubt, no question of did I imagine it… Itwas one night as I was walking home from work. A dear friend had given me a letter and told me that if anything happened to her I was to give this letter to her parents! (Ah, our 20’s…) I was deeply concerned and I started thinking what to do. It was early on in my journey as a Witch and it was also the early 1990’s and all-things-Celtic were popular and shiny…
So it made perfect sense to me since I wanted to see my friend protected and deffended when I decided to pray to the Morrigan. (I can already hear any Celtic recons in the audience chuckling to themselves…)
Late one night as I was walking home along some bike-paths on the outskirts of downtown Anchorage, I approached a place where three oths met. Somehow in my mind a Cross-roads, despite not having any direct association with the Morrigan, seemed an appropriate place to call upon Her. A limnal spot, a place of choices and consequences. As I walked towards the cross-roads I framed my intention in my mind, I called to her and prayed to the Raven of Battles for my friends safety and protection, and She heard me.
There was the sudden sense of the inrushing of presence, like a tidal wave of Presence. I remember feeling as if I was being picked up and looked at and examined from every angle and at the same time looked through to the deepest parts of my Soul. I felt small, insignificant and helpless before this presence. Then, a sense of… approval and assent? Then a sense of this same powerful presence leaving me, rushing away swiftly like the wind.
I stood there, stunned, not knowing what to do or how to do it…. my mind reeled from the reality of the moment and the realization that, in fact, “this shit is REAL.” (as a Witch of my acquaintence once put it…)
It was then that I felt another presence, a gentle and nurturing presence, amused by my foibles take me in hand. Not taking over me, but guiding me. There was a sense in the back of my mind of an amused older person saying things like…
“That’s just the way the Gods are sometimes….”
“It’s all right, these things happen… Just go home and go to bed, you can deal with this later…”
I had little to nothing do with the Morrigan or the Celtic Gods since that night. Although it now occurs to me that I must make some offerings of thanks to the Raven of Battles for hearing and answering my petition. It is only in recent years that I had realized that the second presence, the gentle guiding and oh,so amused one who led me back to my home, was Hecate.
I posted this story and a Heathen of my acquaintance told me, “you’ve been tapped!”
I am still sorting out my relationship with and devotion to Hecate and the Gods of Greece as a part of my religious life as a Witch.
More experiences in this vein later…