Day Nine: Faith

noun: faith /fāTH/

  1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something: “this restores one’s faith in politicians”
  2. strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. “she gave her life for her faith”
    1. a system of religious belief. plural noun: faiths “the Christian faith”
    2. a strongly held belief or theory. “the faith that life will expand until it fills the universe”

I have a strange relationship with the word faith. I am a skeptic by nature. I rarely take things “on faith”, as it were. To do so would mean suspending one of my personal principles — that anything worth believing must be examinable; there must be some proof that can be considered before I can be satisfied. To be fair, I probably define proof much differently than others; still, nothing is integrated into my beliefs until I can find reason to consider it true.

My relationship with my Parents is much the same. When each of Them came to me, I did not make the assumption that I had been chosen as Their devotee or child. I acknowledged Them, I honored Them, and I tried to corroborate my experiences with others who dealt with Them. I waited for the Rite of Parent Divination, which confirmed Them as my Parents. Only then did I accept  that They were interested in me, particularly.

I have faith that my gods will not abandon me. I have faith that They will be there for me until the end of my days. I have faith that I always walk with Their blessing. I do not believe for a minute that this will grant me protection from suffering or hardship — but now, only now, after experiences, divinations, and signs and omens have confirmed, do I have faith that these gods are mine and I am Theirs.

Day Eight: Hope

I hoped that I would find my place.

I hoped that I would be good enough for Her.

I hoped that He would be with me forever.

I hoped that I could live up to the name They called me.

I hoped that I would be worthy of the Ordeal.

I hoped that I could serve well as Their priest.

I hoped that They would bless my marriage.

I hoped that They would bless my studies.

I hoped that They would forgive me for focusing on myself.

I hope that I can always honor Them.

I hope that I will always have Their love.

I hope that all that I do can be in Their service.

Day Seven: Dark

Writing about the darkness in my gods feels awfully presumptuous. Who am I to say that I can access the darkest parts of my gods? They’re deities and I’m a human; even when They show me Their shadows, I honor those alongside the light, because there’s something sacred in that darkness, too.

I have made mistakes in the name of my gods. I have followed my Father into what felt like Hell. I have believed myself invincible under His protection. I have allowed myself to breathe my Mother’s fire in anger. I have ignored my body because I had Her blessing. I have been a fool and been reckless because I believed Their love would keep me safe no matter what. Each time, I felt my reproach in the consequences of my actions. Each time, the gods remained near me, waiting for me to recognize my foolishness. Each time, They gathered me up again, reminded me that They have Their moments too, and set me on my way.

Maybe that’s what is most beautiful about honoring deities who make no attempt to conceal the fact that They are not omnipotent or perfect: that They can contain both light and shadow, joy and pain. They embrace divine imperfection, and allow Their children to embrace it too. If the gods can be dark, then I can love my shadows too; my flaws, my illnesses, my mistakes. If I can honor Their darkness, then I can honor my own.

Day Six: Light.

You have always worn this light:
light which burns,
which heals by cauterizing–
cold light that washes faces,
purifies hands.

This light that comes forth
from Your eyes
Your hands
Your tongue–
it seizes up when it enters our skin,
passing through our pores,
thickens in our blood
and our love is crystallized.

Our lungs fill with this light.
It aches.
It tumbles out of our mouths
in song and in weeping for joy.
In Your presence it washes over us
coating our skin and sealing our lips
until all we can see,
taste, touch, or be
is You.

In this light You engulf us,
incinerate us,
turn us to shining stone.
You gather us to Your heart
with waves of it
and as the tide of this light recedes,
what remains is only Yours.

I have touched the hem of this light
which ripples over the ground like skirts,
robes, garments passing over the skin
and feet of followers in the crowd.
I have let it into my body.
This light has burned, drowned,
and calcified me
and I give thanks that I may carry it,
bearing it within me,
proud to be one tempered by Your love.