The problem with god…

Well, not so much with god, (which god, btw?) but the system that supposedly promotes him/her/it.

I’ve been stewing on this for a little while, but some Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on my door early this morning and I was as annoyed at being roused from a decent sleep in as I was at their motives. You see, christendom hasn’t had a genuine spiritual motivation since about the fourth century.

If you go back through the Hebrew scriptures that were misappropriated to form the “old testament” you’ll notice that the Hebrews weren’t monotheists. They knew there were plenty of other goddesses and gods out there, but their deal by virtue of birth or conversion was that they’d only worship a particular one. When christendom first kicked off the founder didn’t even speak to gentiles about conversion, he was interested in motivating Hebrews to a kind of reform.

It wasn’t until the spread of christendom to Hellenic culture and Constintine adopting the religion for Imperial purposes that the whole “one true god” thing got going. It must be pointed out also that Constantine wasn’t a christian. He was only baptised on his deathbed.

For those who felt suitably drawn to connect with the Hebrew god conversion was and still is available. Those from among the Jewish tribes who didn’t feel inclined to engage in the contract were also catered for. They’d be left in Gehenna, that is the garbage dump outside the gates. Not so savoury perhaps, but it was a place outside of the group and it had it’s relevance. There were afterall, plenty of other groups and deities and pantheons to partake of.

Considering the attitude of the prophet to encourage those who would choose personally to join the christian sect of Judaism, before it became a separate Imperial movement of course, such choices were to be made by adults who felt spiritually led. This really torpedoes the whole approach of raising children to a religion by threatening them with torture, exclusion and death if they refuse a particular identity.

If christendom were true to the teachings of it’s prophet, no child would be raised with the lie that christendom is the only true religion and the Hebrew god the only true god. Every person would be able to make her or his own mind up according to their spiritual inclinations, whatever they may or may not be. And forget about running a country by religious law. That’s the one form of leadership that christ specifically forbid, not to mention theocracy also being a direct contradiction of the whole personal salvation ethic. And the fact that humans are a gregarious animal and living with the best interests of the individual and the group at heart is a universal human requirement regardless of religion or ethnicity. Sure it’s had different expressions over the ages but “don’t kill” is hardly specific to christendom, particularly since it’s been disregarded continuously.

There are many goddesses and gods out there and each individual should theoretically be free to discern for her or himself which of the many they feel drawn to, if any. There’s nothing to say that any goddess or god is any better or more capable than any other. As for heaven and hell, well, gehenna was simply a place outside the city gates. Hell was originally the German Hel, which was simply a resting place at the end of life.

The ancient Hebrews were aware of other goddesses and gods worshiped by other tribes but didn’t see fit to account for afterlife in each instance. Pre-christian Europe was replete with many and varied different heavens and hels according to the pantheons and localities. Can one god have ultimate say over the followers of another? Who’s to know what’s possible in that case, but one thing’s for sure you wouldn’t take the word of followers of a particular god who are proven liars and killers.

As a Witch and follower of the old Germanic pantheon, I’m kinda hoping to spend eternity with Freya… if I’m not reincarnated and I’m not so sure about how that would work in the quantum mechanical universe anyways. Suffice it to say that fundamentalist and charismatic christianity is on the rise, particularly in politics and particularly among young people who don’t have very well developed bullshit detectors or have grown up with experiences of violence or other abuse. That’s not because religion fixes abuse, but some churches certainly do exploit the effects of it.

With any luck those of us who are old enough and sharp enough will remain around to point out the issues with such political religion, and hopefully survive to see a more moderate day. Wes thu hael.

Advertisements

atypical Saturday

Danassala

Danassala

That there’s my dear old Djembe. As you can see she is a bit the worse for wear… yet somehow still manages to sound quite good.

The other night while I was up painting, the neighbours came over to invite me to a Hindu Goddess shindig. A couple of years ago after they’d first moved in there, we were sitting around discussing some images they had on the walls. Hindu can be a *very* broad church, you see. They also asked about my beliefs. I wasn’t sure how the whole “witch” deal would go down, and they’d read Dan Brown so I simply said I was a Goddess worshipper which was very true. It seemed to be something we had very much in common, a respect for the earth and the feminine principle of fertility and generosity. Which isn’t to say there isn’t a male fertility and generosity, but that’s simply not what we were tuned in to at the time.

Anyways, when they came over the other night, Punja made a point of emphasising that it was all about the Goddess and being very grateful for their new home and the blessings of life in general. It might have been mainly one of those “invite the neighbours so they won’t call the cops on you” deals, but when asked about drumming they said yes there would be drumming and I was most welcome to bring mine.

Saturday day I’d been down to catch up with all my witchy girls and everyone was commenting on my brilliant energy. Thanks very much to a French Shaman who’s been doing a bit of work on me. Amazing work, I must add! Something that could have and should have been fixed years ago, but who else would have known how to do it? Considering all the prayers and blessings and healings I’ve had from many and various sources over the years, some of whom thought they were absolutely the wasp’s nipples but did bugger all but make a lot of noise.

The chief high scary fairy asked what was going on. I told her I’d found a God. Heh. She laughed.
“Such a difference since when you first came. You would have castrated any God who came within coo-ee of you.” LOL
“With a rusty razor blade” I replied. They were all raised eyebrows to hear that it was Odin who’d reached in to turn things around. Yes, it is the frame that everything needed and it is obviously working very well.

It was a great catch up. We were all talked out by mid afternoon and I was feeling quite satisfied. The Saturday evening event was in the back of my mind, but since it seemed quiet I wasn’t sure what was happening and didn’t want to barge in. Over the last few weeks and particularly over Beltaine I’ve had a very transitional energy going on and lots of changes. There were a couple of events I was invited to and missed out on because my energy wouldn’t have contributed to the group. It was very disappointing to miss a highlight like Beltaine. In addition I was feeling peeved after falling out with a big wig in the nearest Asatru Garth and am probably uninvited to any of their stuff, which left me feeling very high and dry. The invitation was a welcome surprise and in one way a real indicator of the forces that are at work in my life at the moment. So despite my uncertainty, it was an invitation I could not refuse.

At about 10.30 I eventually decided to go and find out what was happening. Turns out they were all up the back of the house, drumming and singing away before a beautiful red and gold decked shrine of the Goddess Amba. It was magnificent. She is dressed beautifully, with eight arms holding all sorts of things including weapons, and riding a tiger. There were all manner of offerings laid out before her, a halved coconut, large trays piled high with fruit, sweets and other lovely things. The only thing I could think of to bring was some coriander from the garden and incense, which were well recieved. The energy of the celebration was deeply impressive, almost tangible. The nearest link I can find presently is for Durga. Hope to have some more pics of the night shortly.

For some time I hung around down the back of the crowd. LOL A few dozen Indian folks and one Eastern Asian looking woman and I was the only white chick in the place. And man, have I never felt so white! Haha. :-) They were all dressed beautifully too. It was really impressive how pretty they all were. Really pretty, men and women, young and old both. Must be like walking onto a Bollywood set with all the colours and jewellery. Crowds of people, sweat and perfume, and you’re in the midst of it all. Goddess warmth.

The welcome was memorable. No one looked twice really, except to smile at me. No one questioned why I was there or what I thought I was doing. No one bothered that I wasn’t of the “right” race to be attending to the Goddess. No one asked about my efforts in the Hindu faith to be welcomed into the ceremony. To be honest, their hospitality rather put me to shame. And most of all there were no strings. No expectation of conversion or other demonstration… I was there to contribute to the worship and that was all good. Heh. In a way with the mix we were having a serious Indo-European devotion. :D

The musicians were quite good and since I haven’t played for a while, and certainly not anything Indian, I hung back despite the hostess wanting to drag me up in front of everyone and introduce me. Eventually she had her way and it all fell into place surprisingly well. The drummer offered an idea where to start. He said “1… 2… 3… 4…” Hehe. :D In Indian drumming it isn’t so straightforward. Eastern drummers can use all sorts of strange signatures that our westernised ears don’t pick up well if we’ve grown up on top 40 radio. Fortunately I haven’t ;-)

Anyways, it was sink or swim, so I picked a simple line from what he started with and away we went. And it flew! At the end of the first track I was feeling quite a bit more confident. He gave me a thumbs up. What he actually said was “You play very well and I can really use the support.” Wow. So, that’s how we played. I nailed down the rhythm and he went off. They had said they expected it to go till around midnight. Needless to say we were still going well after 1.

It’s incredible how drumming can carry you away. Early on before joining in playing, simply rocking and clapping in time to the music with everyone else, I had a vision of her… She was laughing, smiling at me. Quite happy to acknowledge that I was there yet not “one of hers” so to speak. She actually said to me that Frigga wanted me, and laughing, reached out and touched my head where the bindi would be. I wasn’t in the same devotional bag as everyone else there, but it didn’t matter since I was there to participate and it was very much considered A. Good. Thing.

At the end of the night there was dinner and the offerings from the altar were divided up and distributed amongst the attendants. It was explained to me as sharing in the blessings of the Goddess. That was neat to participate in that. Whether she be known by a Hindu name or in a different manifestation as Freya, Nerthus, Gaia or even simply Earth Mother, it’s a spirit worth acknowledging. For some time I’ve been on and on about participating respectfully in the life of the planet, and this was another iteration of that idea. A very enjoyable one, too. Might have to head up to the Sri Durga temple up the road some time and drum with them. Until enough mad Heathens turn up around here to form a drumming circle.

The Gods and Goddesses of the ancient pantheons still surprise me how open they can be. No doubt not every one would be in the same frame of mind as Amba, but things are very different to the crawling, rules and distance that I’d grown up with. And things are happening.

Well, I’ve hardly had any sleep and as you can tell my mind is going a million miles an hour. LOL Things will probably be a bit wild for a little while, as that repairing the Shaman did takes effect…

Whew. Heh. How good is this!! And what a change from the last few months. I really do need some sleep ;-)

Pebbles in the path

This morning has seen some interesting turns. Yes, I’m still on about Heathenism.

I’ve joined a couple of email lists to get in contact with a few Asatru and Odinist groups… and encountered a curious phrase about “sharing ‘our’ common ancestry”. A bit of a problem for someone who’s Irish Australian and part Aboriginal. This should be interesting :D

To be honest the focus on ancestral reincarnation is not of itself a problem. There’s many peoples who’ve held this view. I was probably simply being a bit thin skinned about percieving myself as excluded from the “real” group on account of this shared (or not) heritage thing. But I speak English and look white… so we’ll go with it from here and see where it all leads. And I do very much feel the sense that it is leading somewhere important for me.

Last night I picked up Miranda Green’s book on Celtic Goddesses again. Miranda is a fantastic writer. I’ve also seen her featured as an expert on Tony Robinson’s Time team which I enjoy when I can catch it. It’s kind of a survivor archaeology… a dig that operates to a time limit. Shame about some of them, but the history and anthropology it brings up are fascinating. So yeah, here I am reading about all these brilliant Goddesses and heroines like Boudica, with comments from the Romans about ‘o my gods how tough/independent/forthright are these Celtic/Gaulish/Saxon women!’ Not a direct translation by the way ;-)) It’s all very fun except for the bits about human sacrifices. And those made to the Goddesses of war were particularly gruesome. It’s a bit like reading Tom Clancy decrying contemporary female terrorists.

Today while I’m online pursuing my trail of raven feathers, I come across pages about the Saxon Goddesses. Well, I must say I’m pretty pleased. These girls certainly give Epone and Maeve a run for their money. Which is to say they are no less wonderful images of strong, independent and capable females. What a pleasure to read after living with what the Protestants did to Mary.

Here’s the link to the Goddesses on the Assembly of Elder Troth site. These quotes are heavily snipped so if you enjoy them, visit the site for more.

Freya is probably the best-known and best-loved of the goddesses today. Her title simply means “Lady”; her original name is not known. Freya is the “wild woman” among the deities of the North: free with her sexual favours (though furious when an attempt is made to marry her off against her will); mistress of Odin and several other gods and men; skilled at the form of ecstatic, consciousness–altering, and sometimes malicious magic called seidhr; and chooser of half the slain on the battlefield (Odin gets the other half).
This goddess drives a wagon drawn by two cats, perhaps large forest-cats such as Lynxes, and is seen today as the patron goddesses of cats and those who keep them. As a battle-goddess, she also rides on a boar called Hildisvini (Battle-Swine).

I keep a few cats, particularly black cats, so there’s double the appeal with Freya.

Frigga:

Wife of Odin, Frigga is the patron goddess of the home and of the mysteries of the married woman. She is seen as Odin’s match (and sometimes his better) in wisdom; she shares his high-seat, from which they look out over the worlds together.
Despite the likeness of names and the similar relationship to Odin, Frigga should not be confused with Freya, who shares none of her essential traits. Her only departure from strict social behaviour is that during one of Odin’s journeys away from Asgard, she is said to have taken his brothers Vili and Ve as husbands; however, this probably shows the queen-goddess as the embodiment of sovereignty. Her name is also not directly related to the English slang-word, though the two derive from the same original root (“love, pleasure”).

Actually it’s worth having a read anyway. These girls really get around! Kind of disappointing that Anglo-Saxon culture has deteriorated into a globalist locker room after having originally embodied these awesome female archetypes. There’s certainly plenty here for me to work with, with my visualisation and magic.

Further reading on Heathenism.

Last night I wandered back into usenet after gods know how many years. It’s even worse of a mess, if that’s possible. The Pagan and witchy newsgroups are a lot of fun if only for the disparaging of all the xian trolls in there. I was laughing with tears in my eyes. Perhaps I should get out more ;-)

Anyways, further in this reading about ancient Saxon history and contemporary Heathenism… The various groups seem pretty certain that the current Heathen groups… (Heathen being a Germanic reference similar to the Latin Pagan, meaning people in rural areas who adhere to the old (pre xian) religions) are not reconstructionist like 19th century witchcraft but maintain an unbroken line of historical continuity. Experience has taught me to do my own research, so I’ll reserve comment on that one for now… with the exception that it seems possible, not necessarily probable or even plausible, that in some rural areas in Scandinavia elder traditions may have continued like herb lore and folk beliefs did in other areas of Europe hiding under the skirts as it were, of enforced christendom.

What’s important for me at the moment is finding a mythology that works. This doesn’t mean I’m intending to throw into it balls and all as if it were scientific rational reality. Mythology is the stories we tell ourselves that couch our understanding of the universe in which we live. In other posts I’ve mentioned ideas like the Jungian collective unconscious or developmental ideas about the nature of quantum consciousness. Most of humanity seems pretty simply explained in terms of animal behaviour qualified by the development of the frontal lobe and opposable thumbs. Our need for stories and understanding is a result of us living in tribal groups for most of 6 million years and having the capability of imagination and verbal language. Simple. (;-))

But as I posted yesterday, it doesn’t give me much shape for the emotional attachments I have to the natural world in which I live or some of the stranger experiences I’ve had.

So. Bring on some more reading.

Fortunately this morning I came across an ostensibly Heathen web site which includes some blogs. The writer of Henry’s journal is a psychologist as well as a Heathen, and has a curious way of mixing his world views in a way that rings a few bells for me. Here’s someone who’s doing some critical thinking within his spirituality and talks about not being “lore-locked”.

And that’s probably the main issue I’m having with this field of enquiry right now. Having escaped xian dogma I have no intention of falling for another one. I’d much prefer to go into it with my eyes open. The other problem is of course the links in a few areas with Asatru and white supremacists. Not to mention that it seems terribly male dominant. Fortunately there’s the archetype of Freya… That’s worthy of a bit more research before I discuss her, but she’s a bit of a saving grace for someone like me.

So I shall continue to follow Woden’s trail of feathers and see what the mailing lists & ors turn up. Now I’m wondering if I should enrol in that Psych degree or opt for history and archaeology instead LOL. And go buy some runes. Just what I needed, another “new-age” consumerist spending spree. Gear Aquisition Syndrome sets in again. *sigh* ;-)

The local Hindu temple near where I live has occasionally put out the following slogan: “God Is One, Though The Wise Call Him By Various Names”. Now that’s a subtle and very interesting point of view to hold. Viva the pan-Indo-European connection!

This slogan recognises the ultimate interconnectedness of everything (which is the spiritual truth of monotheism at its best), but also the significance of individual beings’ unique spirit (which is the spiritual truth of polytheism and animism at their best).

Happy May Day!

Well, it’s that time of year again. While students in Korea and employees in Russia might be celebrating with a vodka or a riot, things will probably be quieter in the land down under. We may still be waiting for a revolution. You know, realising that people are human beings and not units of labour. Remembering that we’re part of the life of the planet and not merely consumers. Connecting with some sort of idea that humans created what we think of as the economy or culture and that if we made this one, we can just as easily make it into something else. Something more practical, more inclusive and less damaging.

In Australia women are particularly still waiting for a revolution. In recent days we’ve been vilified, stabbed, shot and raped… Not to mention the legislation of financial abuse that hasn’t been altered or even addressed by the current Government.

In spite of all this, Happy May Day. Because we can change it if we want to. It’s a waning moon at the moment, a good time for banishing and letting go. A good time for rituals that release all the stuff in the past that’s unhelpful and poisonous. Time to clear the decks in order to move forward.

Not that it would be beneficial to repress the past and forget it’s lessons. Simply that forever focussing on the evils in the world, all the horrible things that men do to each other and to women, can be so dreadfully depressing and seemingly hopeless. We continue on, often in spite of the carnage going on around us. We persevere hoping that in the midst of the abuse, we can create something for ourselves and experience life, love and laughter with friends.

And in spite of all the bullshit in the media and corporate construct, we can still spend some time in the bush reconnecting with the sacred natural.

Blessed be.

Sexy witch blogging.

Found this site and the pics were so good I thought I’d share!

bathing witch Heh, yeah, I’d take her to bed. :D

Archetypes and the gender dichotomy.

Various symbols of gender roles have been popping up recently, in dreams, Tarot and conversation. I found a fantastic book about dream interpretation, Dream Alchemy by Jane Theresa Anderson. It’s a great book. Not only does it walk you through a number of dreams common to humans, it offers useful suggestions for working with what your dreams are telling you. How to use the symbols and feed back positive suggestion to move forward.

As a witch I have no problem with the use of symbols for positive psychological suggestion. As a thinking woman I have no problem with using psychology and ritual to change my life and understanding for the better. Isn’t that what the unconscious is for, to interface with what’s going on at a deeper level and overcome shallow, imposed constructions that try to force you into someone else’s pigeon hole?

In some places this book, as do many others, uses Jung’s archetypes. No problem with Jung, except that he as much as so many other men, was a product of his culture. Unfortunately the same thing holds true of other famous spiritual writers such as Paul Foster Case, Arthur Waite and even Aleister Crowley. The thinking of society at the time was that the masculine had to be logical, light and active energy and the female was the dark, passive, intuitive energy.

This is something of a problem if we’re trying to evolve toward a society where women and men are seen as equally human, rather than men being “more human” or at least more important than women. It’s obviously hugely necessary to see women as human in their own right and not an accessory to men or some necessary evil to provide sex and babies for men.

All people whether male or female have active initiating energies and strong conforming or shaping energies at work in their lives. To characterise a shaping energy as “passive” and therefore “female” contributes to a gender bias that does no one any good. It contributes to the problem rampant in christendom of projecting the shadow onto others and in fear of dealing with the deeper elements of the psychy even making the shadow evil.

To evolve as humans we need to be able to deal first with our own shadows, rather than seeing our own evil in others and then punishing them. We need to balance the forces and archetypes at work in our own psyches, rather than wanting all the “male” ones because we want power over our own (or others’) lives, or wanting the “female” ones because we think we must be submissive to be acceptable in a masculine defined society.

What I’m proposing is not that we throw out archetypes, but that our attachment to constructing psychological, spiritual and energetic archtypes as “male” or “female” under the continuing influence of Victorian era androcentric cultural norms be reconsidered.

Crowley hinted at this when he considered the Tarot trump Strength as a female energy and called it Lust. The kundalini energy in women is equally as strong as in men, it’s an energy common to humans after all. It is the Anglo cultural stereotype that tries to portray men as being necessarily strong and women as weak in order to appeal to the indoctrination of men to take power over others. Should I say illegitimately take power over others…

Because of course every human should have power over their own lives, be responsible for their own lives, in relation to others but not taking power over others. That’s where christendom has embraced Nimrod. The idea of imperial conquest and the construction of dominating power as a good rather than an inappropriate, disrespectful and abusive overstepping of the lines. Yes, it’s about boundaries. Yes, it’s about self-respect and self-determination. And yes, it’s about women being human.