Of Gods and Goddesses

This is simply my pondering and not intending as a slight or judgement on anyone’s beliefs beside my own.

Sometimes I envy those who believe in the Gods.  There is something beautifully simple about putting faith in an unknown Devine power/spirit/entity than holding the responsibility of each move that we make in this world ourselves.  We give up control – actually never had control – of the beating of our heart – of the flow of our blood – how peaceful it can be to give up control and place responsibility out of our own hands.

I see others take such comfort in their belief and in their worship of their God, Gods, Goddesses.  Such peace it can bring, and yet such pain and suffering in the division and opposition of those same beliefs.

How I would wish sometimes that there are Gods and Goddesses’ to place blame, to place faith and hope in.  To ask for change – to ask for help – to ask for forgiveness.

And yet…..

I do not.  One day this may change and I am open to that but for now I accept that deities are not on my path.

I’ve read and listened to stories of the Gods and Goddesses and questions often arise in my mind.  Their stories often contain many “human” elements and concepts – or even concepts taken from religious constructs such as Christianity.  Marriage, social stigma, fear of judgement, punishment, shame, war – these aspects speak to me of humanity and perhaps came from the humans that wrote or told the stories or perhaps who re-wrote and retold their stories.  Embellishments and adaptations, subjective inclusion and extraction.  And so I came to ponder – who were these Gods and what made them a God?  What earned them the title of “God” or “Goddess” if, by many accounts, many of their characteristics and qualities were, in fact, human?  Perhaps the “Gods” were one and the same as the “Ancestors” and that actually what earned them the title of a God was that their stories were worthy of being retold.  Certainly that is often how Saints became Saints isn’t it?

Millions of Ancestors came and went and we know nothing of them and we never will.  Perhaps the Gods are those ancestors who made a significant difference, or who had great standing or power in their communities, or who sacrificed much or taught much, discovered much, who were talked about – who had tales told and retold about them – who were worthy to receive that title.

Of course it makes total sense that in ancient times a naïve species would look at the sun or the moon in the sky and see them as a God or Goddess.  That they might look to find answers and accountability for the bad crop this year, or the violent storms that have thrashed the lands and seas.  That they would ask for help to defeat their enemies.  Makes total sense to endeavour to appease those that might have that power.

And are we still a naïve species?  It is certainly within my capacity to believe that there is more than what we see and maybe it is our naivety that prevents us from seeing or feeling further.  But also I gather information from centuries of scientific discovery and consume it with great interest and trust.

And here’s an interesting twist – something I learned while listening to Yuri Leitch speak on an Ogham Grove episode recently – when Christianity was strengthening across the British Isles, it is in fact THEY that canonised many of the “ancient Gods” into saints.  For example, the Goddess Bridget (Brighd, Bridey) became Saint Brigit – a human.  And this is likely because of course their beliefs only allowed for one God and so other Gods and Goddesses were demoted to human and Saint.  This new knowledge left me feeling uncomfortable – that I too was attempting to demote the Ancient Gods, but this time in place of no other Deity.  I often think of the Christian suppression of the Pagan culture and beliefs as one of malice and self interest but it does raise the question now in my mind whether they too started with a pondering ….and then it turned into being.

I am not certain and thus I remain open to possibility.

I do struggle in ceremonies and rituals where we ask for something, where we honour an entity or ask for [it’s] blessing.  To whom are we asking and what are our expectations?  And while we’re on the topic of asking – it seems to me there is an awful lot of asking.  Asking for peace, asking for this, asking for that.  I wonder why we ask for so much and give and offer so little.  Why do we not offer peace?  Offer whatever it is within our own power?

I certainly do believe in energy and I do believe in the energy and power of the collective conscious and unconscious.  I wonder what would happen if we all gave and offered peace in our collective rituals instead of asking for it.  Maybe there is an element of Buddhist practice in that thought, I don’t know but it seems familiar.  Is it in our own power to “grant” something instead of asking for it to be granted?  Or is that arrogance?  Is it assumed that if there are Gods and Goddesses that they spend eternity listening to the pleading of humans.  That sounds like Purgatory.  Particularly if they do not have the power to grant peace, to grant the millions of wishes.  Poor Gods.

I do believe in something – perhaps a more animist viewpoint with a sprinkling of Taoism and Buddhism thrown in there.  And I’m often found talking to trees and animals….so there’s that….

It will be my challenge to find a fitting way to adapt the words of rituals/prayers for my own pathway and beliefs.  And it will be hugely interesting to revisit these ponderings when I am further down my path.  Maybe I just have it all wrong – and wouldn’t that be wonderful.


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