Archive for ‘Theo(a)logy’

August 21, 2011

Manifesting the Maiden

The Maiden manifestation of the Goddess is the reason that I am half-soaked, sitting in a café with Tibetan monks up in the mountains of India.

She is also the reason there has been such a gap in posts.

About ten days ago, I boarded the largest plane I have ever seen in my life and flew thousands of miles to New Delhi, beginning a physical journey across India, Thailand, and New Zealand. Alone, I navigated the chaos and disrepair of the capital city, and, after a perfunctory visit to the Taj Mahal, made my way up into the Himalayas, to McLeodganj, home away from home of the Dalai Lama. This is a journey of education through direct contact; and a pilgrimage that will take me throughout the subcontinent, to many expressions of the Goddess.

The Maiden, in many forms, embodies personal strength and adventure. She is the huntress Diana, the expression of life, Persephone. Understanding the symbolism of such goddesses reveals the moments in our lives when we risk our comfort, open ourselves to mistakes, and step out into the world. Peeling away our known world, whether that means opening ourselves to new relationships, a challenging new job, or deeper spiritual development, we can experience sides of ourselves that were previously hidden. Although I am of classical Maiden age, restricting interpretation to the numbers we collect as we move through our lives limits the potential that the Maiden can offer. We can move through the forms of Maiden, Mother, or Crone until we die; they are paths to understanding and engagement.

Perhaps I took an extreme route to comprehending the Maiden and all she represents. I’ve given away half of my things, stored the rest of them at my father’s house, and peeled away my responsibilities – communally as well as lifestyle-wise. I have launched myself into a physical unknown, chaotic India, so that I may better examine what it means to be human, a woman, a being. I am not completely alone, I have made new friends and made connections, but the Maiden is not necessarily isolated — it is that responsibilities and decisions are limited to yourself.

For me, this Maiden journey cannot last forever. It is a time for training, spiritually and intellectually, so that when I embody the Mother and the Crone, I will be prepared.

July 23, 2011

What Makes it Earthy?

Usually when I say “earth religions” I am talking about traditions that have developed out of Europe, although you could make an argument for others around the globe. But I cannot speak for everyone, only from what I know. If you are reading this, you are most likely familiar with all these ideas, but just for a strong foundation…

Obvious part: earth religions focus on nature, even call it divine.

It is not that God is in nature, because that would imply separation. “God” is nature. And it is not as if I put a pebble up on an altar and worship it; one, because I am a nomad with no altar to speak of, and two, because to worship a piece of the whole would miss the entire point. “Nature” can be thought of as living matter, or that plus the rocks/planet/etc., or all matter and energy. Well, matter and energy are technically interchangeable, but that’s not the point. Yet.

All religions are invested in the planet: maybe simply because human beings live there, or because practitioners are working to release attachments to the material world. Nature is at the center of earth religions, but it is more than that – it’s the whole donut.

There is more to earthly experience than pure mechanics. I am taught that stars explode and re-form, that the universe is expanding at an accelerated pace, that our sun is in the medium size category. Being earth religious is not limited to an intellectual recognition of the complexities of the world. In looking at the night sky, I think of the science; but there is also that awe, the realization of the whole, our simple part in it — there in the experience, which makes all the difference. And when that awe extends to all things, when the sacred expands to include the universe, you touch on being earth religious. Then it turns back on itself, asking for ethical engagement. This is religion because it can be a body of thought, lead to a series of practices, and/or a lifestyle.

In practice, being outside is the easiest access point to the universal energies that can be felt if you are aware. Our manufactured products are like processed food; the computer I am writing on is still a part of nature, just indirectly. It may not be true for everyone, but my body feels best when I am eating raw, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. So, spiritually, being out in the land is a salad, and being in downtown L.A. is American cheese.

My experience of Wicca, and my own practice, is marked by nature symbolism. From holidays and moon rituals to guided meditation and workings, nature is drawn from and celebrated. Ultimately, practice is not meant to appease a deity, but to remember what we already know — that me, you, we are all part of nature. That although our contemporary lifestyles attempt to deny it with fluorescent lighting, air conditioning, and imported produce, every day is not the same. There are seasons in the year, and in life. To put nature at the center of religion is an attempt to engage the entirety of being, to truly live and feel.

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