Monday, September 17, 2012
Friday, September 14, 2012
And A Fall Update
Yes, things have slowed down just a trifle this month. It won’t last. We’re coming into a month-long run of weekend blitz. Fortunately much of it includes some good Pagan or esoteric work. We’ll be keeping Equinox with the Grove here at Tredara, getting my occasional shot of Norse blessing as we keep our Vanir cult. In October we will host the ADF Clergy Retreat here, always one of my favorite occasions of the year, often including some juicy magical work. At the end of the month we’re off to Earth Warriors. Earth Warriors fest is organized by an old friend from SW Ohio. We’re pleased to be making the time to get there this year.
Earth Warriors Festival is “an earth centered multi-path pagan festival, honoring the many paths of pagan warriors and guardians, coming together to celebrate our similarities and learn from our differences.” I’m very pleased to be joining the line-up with Alaric Albertsson, M.R. Sellers, Kellianna and many other local and regional speakers. The music looks great, they have singing pirates (I am, on occasion, a singing pirate) and I’m going to do something new.
L and I will be doing a two-part workshop and ritual honoring the Dagda, the Excellent God of Bounty, Victory and Wisdom. The rite will be an ‘audience’ rite of the sort I have been developing, with effective trance, powerful symbolism and a solid blessing. I look forward to bring the deep and powerful energies of this male deity into the public Pagan scene. Dagda is a fascinating interface of the warrior function with powers of wisdom and the farmer’s fertility, so there’s plenty to work with. My hour-and-a-half lecture will include discussions of the model of a real Celtic pantheon and some discussion of our econstruction of Druidic sacrifice rites. I have nicely organized notes, and there’ll be no danger of not filling the time. I’m prepping some nice tools and images for the rite the next day, and hope to make it a real darshan of the Red Lord.
The Court of Brigid Grimoire is browning nicely, and will be done soon. It will still roll out sometime around Fall Equinox, and I have a surprise coming for those who like surprises.
Friday, September 7, 2012
|Shrine with ritual script &Blessing Candle|
Since this working involved crafting paper shrine-talismans we chose a covered space in which to work. We assembled a square of rustic tables, and everyone received one of the talisman cards, a ritual handout and a small candle in glass. Everyone likes ‘take-aways’, and putting some objects into people’s hands drew them immediately into the participation mystique required to make a real magical rite work in a festival setting.
|The simple Hallows of the rite.|
May Brigid bless you and the spirits aid you in all your works.
Monday, September 3, 2012
This is to some degree a response to Drew Jacob's blog article here. It isn't really a systematic answer, but just some thoughts that spun off. Here it is anyway, by way of something that isn't about the Court of Brigid (much).
Worshipping the Not-Gods
Polytheism is a puzzle. One of the real advantages to monotheism, in terms of ready applicability and easy understanding, is that there’s only one being to worry about. Do you want rain? Ask God. Do you want sun? Ask God. Human fertility, death of enemies, justice for the wicked, salvation for the hopeless – all the same fellow. That certainly makes it easy to focus one’s devotion and aspiration. The bad news (forgive, me...) is that there’s no such fellow. In my theological opinion everything that is accomplished by prayers to ‘God’ is accomplished by some spirit, just as all our requests, etc must be. The whole premise of magic (as spirit-arte) and magical religions is that actually knowing who one is praying to, making the right offerings, addressing them properly, etc will bring better results. If I didn’t think that was the case I wouldn’t be a polytheist.
I think that polytheists sometimes get trapped in the monotheistic notion that a ‘god’ is some big special category that is worthy of big special attention. Often people refer to ‘worshipping’ the Gods, while they ‘honor’ their Ancestors, Landwights, etc. As far as I can see this is a direct carry-over from Roman Christian theology. That system teaches that only their God is due ‘true’ worship, conceived as awe-filled surrender and open-ended fealty. This they call ‘latria’, from the same root found in idolatry. Against this they contrast the mere ‘honor and reverence’ paid to Mary, the Saints, etc, which they call ‘dulia’. By this dodge they explain why it is acceptable to burn incense, recite prayers and hymns, etc before images of beings other than their God. Of course the Christian Reform found it all unacceptable, and simply disallowed the ‘dulia’ forms, producing the trimmed-thin mythologies of modern Protestantism.
To me it is also all nonsense. There is no theological reason to make a distinction of kind between the honor we pay to the Gods that that we pay to the Landwights or the Dead. In fact there is no clear boundary between those poetic categories. One tribe’s ancestor may be another’s more distant god, etc.
I think there’s a tendency to try to build Pagan ways around the Gods alone. The impulse to think of ‘religion’ as being about ‘god(s)’ has a strong current behind it. I think that if we’re to actually resemble what the old ways were like we must widen our field of worship, as well as narrow it.
For any local expression of European Paganism (I’m less qualified to talk about other kinds) the Dead and the Landspirits are often as important as the gods. As I look at Euro-folk customs with animist eyes I am starting to see this more often. What is the corn-dolly, dressed in her gown, but an expression of the Spirit in the Corn? Not some deity from poets’ tales, with a shrine in the Grove, but a spirit present in and as the corn, to who worship is due. If there is healing at a spring or stone, it might be because of the power of one of the goddesses, or it might be directly from a pool-nymph or stone-wight, some Noble being who has taken kindly to people for a while. The model of the daemonic in Paganism would reconcile all this with deistic polytheism nicely, with some local daemon of a goddess tending the manifest locale.
So I don’t think there ever need to be any ‘missing gods’, if one includes the non-Gods (as the Gaels said it) in one’s spiritual cosmos. By making it part of the work to know the local Dead and the local rulers of the ‘Sidhe’ (or as you like) you will never want for an agent to aid in whatever work may come to your hand.