This week, C is for Complicated. Not as in the Facebook relationship status that confounds and depresses us when it turns up on our profile – but as in the perplexing nature of the polytheist’s relationship with the gods.
For example: obviously, as a servant of my Kemetic gods, there is some conflict of interest in going to honor other gods in ritual. When I decided I wanted to attend the ADF ritual this past weekend, there were some negotiations that needed to take place. I asked the gods for their blessing in attending, and They in turn gave me Their requirements. Yes, I could go, but couldn’t participate in certain portions of the ritual, such as the weaving of a community Brigid’s cross with intentions for spring. The logic there is pretty sound, in my opinion. So I went, and I honored Brigid, and the experience was satisfying, and my own gods were not put off.
The strangeness of relationships with the Divine is not an uncommon theme. At that same ritual, I heard many people note the complexity of their dealings with a particular god. There are many possible reasons for this: oaths made prior to a change in path, gods from other pantheons having work or a message, curiosity on the part of the individual that leads to requests for the deity… and so on.
What I think it comes down to is this. If we say there is a single God, or a single source of Divine Power, our dealings with It become much more unilateral. We know where our prayers are going, and we know where the answers are coming from. We don’t have to negotiate different agreements to navigate the different claims spirits may have on us, because there is only one Spirit with which to have any dealings. If we expand our divine power into many gods, many facets, many faces – now we are weaving a web of relationships across the Unseen world.
And when you consider it, it really is no more complicated than our dealings with one another. The difference is that we can usually clarify any confusion we run into between us and a human acquaintance verbally, and expect that our understanding will be better following a conversation. Sometimes people can be as cryptic or indefinite as the gods – and there’s about equal chance of running into both at the supermarket.
As previously mentioned, I recently attended an Imbolc ritual for Brigid at an ADF Grove in my area. A friend of mine asked if I would come and participate, and it was hard to say no, because I love Brigid, and I love reconnecting with old friends.
I am extremely glad I went. The experience was deeply satisfying. I won’t go into explicit detail because I don’t think it would translate well into words, so have some bullet points instead!
- I have gotten really sloppy with grounding/centering. Most Kemetic rituals don’t have the same energy-raising effects as this did, which left me totally unprepared with how to deal with the overwhelming amounts of energy zapping around the room.
- I’ve now experienced what seemed to be the pretty complete presence of a deity outside of a Kemetic ritual. If that wasn’t Brigid in the room, I don’t know what it was. There are certain metaphysical things I sense around a Saq possession, and this felt a whole lot like that.
- It feels good to be around pagans. There’s quite a few things I’ve experienced that feel totally unreasonable to talk about outside of a pagan gathering – the intricacies of navigating divine relationships; the complications of divine demands; the bizarreness of certain ecstatic experiences… it goes on.
- It also will always feel good to return somewhere you haven’t been in a very long time.
There was a long while when my gods seemed to be in a really possessive phase – everything had to be All Kemet All The Time. It seems They’re getting a little less up tight lately, which may mean more celebrations of the local Wheel of the Year. We shall see! Many thanks go out to all involved in putting together such a magnificent ritual.
Which will probably make some heads spin, because this is a Kemetic blog, and Brigid is certainly not part of the Kemetic pantheon.
The connection, is that I’m going to be participating in ritual for Brigid next weekend, at the invitation of an old friend of mine. Her invitation came as an invitation to sing – something I love doing, but am always sheepish to actually do. The last time we spoke, we were both at a little festival where I’d been asked to sing with a friend who needed backup, so I suppose that was a part of it.
Brigid was the first Goddess I really tried to form a relationship with. As someone very new to paganism and very curious about what worshiping other deities besides the Judeo-Christian God would be like, I sort of picked deities who ruled over things that felt important to me. I picked Brigid for her association with the sun (because I felt strongly that the sun was female – wonder why) and with creativity, song, and healing. I won’t say I became Her most devout devotee – I never found myself keeping a flame for Her, or doing much besides saying “Hello Brigid, I’m committing to work on getting to know You better”.
So because of my history with Her, and my general interest in singing, and the chance to spend time with a friend from the past, I’ll be spending this evening and next Saturday singing in honor of Brigid.
And don’t worry – my own Gods have made it fairly clear that if I’m going to be spending time honoring Brigid, I’d better spend double that time honoring Them.