Thursday, May 6, 2010

Take it Upstairs

One happy reunion that was the result of leaving behind the Wiccan path is that I got God back. No, not the sociopathic guy with the white beard who judges us and smites whomever He wants. Not the guy who makes promises or tells people they are "chosen." I never believed in that god. I'm talking about the great divine realm, beyond the beyond. God, according to the cosmology of Reya (and many many great thinkers throughout history) is formless, unnameable, unknowable by the mind, impossible to describe or explain, except for brief moments in the heart.

In Reclaiming we had the Goddess. What that means depends on who you talk to. Reclaiming was an anarchistic tradition so there tended to be many different opinions, but I think it's safe to say that many of us believed the Goddess is literally the earth, a living being from whom we are born and to whom we shall return once this earthly dance of life is over and done with. True, dat. I began then and continue now to worship the incomparably beautiful, luscious Mama Gaia. Wow. I also resonate with the way my shamanic godfather, Ghenghis Khan saw the divine cosmos: he worshipped the Eternal Blue Sky as father, and Earth as mother. Nice, eh?

In Reclaiming we worshipped not only the Earth and the Moon (all wiccans worship the Moon), but also many different pantheons of deities. We were a wide-open, inclusive tradition so those of us following that path were free to pick and choose our favorite deities from all the mythological traditions we knew about. I loved (still do) Bridgid, goddess of poetry, smithcraft and healing. In fact I dedicated myself to this goddess and still abide by that heart-felt commitment.

And yes, there are gods who are a part of the pantheons, a number of whom are my dear brothers. But God, the name I place lightly on the idea of the great overarching formlessness and wisdom, was not generally included in the Reclaiming model of the cosmos. I'm sure there were some who included God, but divine formlessness was SO not our focus.

When I'm confused, stuck, sad, grasping at straws or caught in one of my many emotional vortices, like I was yesterday and the day before, if I can remember to open to that thing that makes everything else more than a sum of its parts, (another way I sometimes think of God) there is always richness and wisdom available. Indeed I wandered the streets doing my shamanic thing, and I dreamed hard, but eventually I remembered to take it upstairs, to open to the divine formlessness. As always, all I can say is: wow.

I know you are formless and have nothing like a personality, God. And either you have no name or every name ever spoken, but please allow me to address you intimately, as if you had form and personna, OK? I want to say thank you for your and wisdom and multiversal love. Seriously, thanks.

To live is to fly
Low and high,
So shake the dust off of your wings
And the sleep out of your eyes
So shake the dust off of your wings
And the tears out of your eyes

Townes Van Zandt

Capitol Hill landscape reflected in high contrast from the side of one of those ubiquitous white vans.


ellen abbott said...

Yes, the formless unknowable that is all.

Expat From Hell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Expat From Hell said...

So is it possible to be pissed off at a being that is formless and without personality? Maybe I need to find another target. EFH

lakeviewer said...

I don't know how you stay sane in that city, Reya. Love the poem you included here.

Reya Mellicker said...

Rosaria, it's a song. The last line of lyrics includes a link to a youtube vid version. Beautiful song.

Expat, the way I see the "work" of God is as the great dissolver. Being pissed off (to me) is binding. Makes me stiff and hardened. When I call upon God, I can unwind. The pissed offedness is kind of like the opposite of what I'm clumsily referring to.

Yikes. I am no theologian. How do those guys manage to find language for these complicated ideas.

willow said...

I'm glad you got God back. And I like your description.

Jo Floyd Lucas said...

You know my view of God, Gaia, Mother Earth...whatever we choose to call it, the formless unknowable without personality,yes.
But to further simplify, the true spirit of Love in all its forms, Agape(ideal love) , Eros (passionate love), Philia (love of the mind), Storge (parent/offspring), and Xenia (hospitality), all rolled into one magnificent power.
It can be drawn upon at will, is never diminished, and is eternal.

LOVE this post, Reya, and love, love, love the song!

The Pollinatrix said...

Wow. There is so much I relate to in this post. Embracing the Wiccan path for me was so valuable in letting the Goddess in. I too have an affinity with and dedication to Brigid.

Father Sky and Mother Earth has been on my mind a lot lately, and has come up in conversations. It's a powerful image and tool for reconciliation of the sexes, appreciating the specific wisdom of each and complementary balance between them.

"open to the thing that makes everything else more than the sum of its parts" - oh yes! God-synergy.

Thanks for this beautiful, poetic reflection.

Mary Ellen said...

Reya, you have articulated very well the (sometimes very slight) difference between the polytheism of many Pagan folk and the (still formless, in many ways) Quaker-tinged theism I hold. One benefit of my kind of theism is that I can benefit from the 2,000 years of monotheistic experience without swallowing the doctrine whole - instead of accepting the sometimes-articulated Pagan story of that 2,000 years being all a big mistake. Below is a link to a wonderful Pagan/Quaker blogger who also articulates very powerfully what I find resonant to my own experience of Quaker practice imbued with Pagan sensibility:

Reya Mellicker said...

THanks Mary Ellen. And all of you.

Jo Floyd Lucas: YOU ROCK AND ROLL. Seriously. And yes, that song is gorgeous.

I don't believe in swallowing anything whole. Chew carefully. Believing absolutely is what gets people into a mindset in which they will fly an airplane into a building or kill innocents. Fanatics of all stripes scare me.

Linda Sue said...

Don't know about godstuff, at all...Don't have a vocabulary for godstuff. I live with a skeptic, a naysayer of all things, pinched, narrow, "realistic", and the joy of life usually goes wanting...sometimes I think spirit guides are asleep or non existent and maybe they are really just our own brains doing it's mysterious thing. In the end i say choose a comfortable loving place and dwell there.Call it whatever .

Reya Mellicker said...

I've been thinking about this, Jo. I think love might be the conveyer belt back and forth from our very specifically shaped reality to the unformed divine realm. As a theory, does this resonate?

Mrsupole said...

Hi Reya,

God is God and do we truly know who or what God is, probably not. I think we all hope to meet and know God when we leave this body that we now inhabit. Just having a God to believe in is a most wonderous feeling and I like to think that everyone's God is God. That God is the total of all, God is everything, hence God is God.

We are blessed to believe in God. We are blessed to love everything and everyone with God in our soul's. God is a blessing and having God's angels watching over us, offering guidance as a choice to accept or refuse, is what gives our souls freedom. I think that is why some people say, that when they chose God, they suddenly had this sense of joy and freedom. When you choose to love God with all your heart, then your soul is set free to feel the total of all that is God. You then see and feel things differently, and others see it in you too.

God is a choice, your choice to go with God, or to walk another path. Either way, God loves you. God is God, and God loves the total of all.

God bless.

Reya Mellicker said...

Mrsupole I love your devotion!

jinksy said...

That's about the best description of God I've ever come a cross...

The Bug said...

I agree with Jinksy - & probably mirrors the place I'm going. Just not quite there, what with the choir singing and all. And why not sing in a choir - it definitely brings me to a more God-place than I'm usually in.

About the language? The Germans invented it all & then it got translated to English & is quite unaccessible to the average person (so says the seminary dropout quite a bit tongue-in-cheek LOL).

Nancy said...

Nice way of putting it, Reya. Nice that you have God back.

Ronda Laveen said...

Thank you and you're welcome.

Merle Sneed said...

I'm content to realize that something bigger than me is loose in the universe. I have no compulsion to seek the approval of the Sky Daddy, though.

Reya Mellicker said...

Merle the Sky Daddy thinks you are the best thing evah.

Jo Floyd Lucas said...

If I understand correctly, Reya, your theory would then presuppose a distinction between our specifically shaped reality and the divine realm. I don't see that.

I see a connectedness between all things. A power, a vibration, a soul, if you will, in everything on Earth (and in the neverending universe) . I think the power itself is Love. In fact, even though I often us the word 'God,' my brain literally sees the word as 'Love.'

Gaia, if you'd rather use that name, is in everything...the trees, the soil, you, me, our brethren around the world, the oceans, the wildlife, our crops, etc. It is in us, and we are in it.

Maybe an image more to my liking than the conveyor belt would be something like the rays of the sun with its warming beams, or an eternal font of spring water, with the water pouring forth, sustaining and nurturing everything in its path, taking new forms, generating new life, and creating new pathways...the source and the sustenance of everything contained by it and in it.

We each have our own ideas, and our own interpretations, of course. The important thing is to continue asking questions and seeking answers...together, if possible.

Anonymous said...


Sleepy Kitty said...

I think you have expressed the Divine very well.

I have been having discussions with several people recently about the nature of Goddess/God. It may just be my experience but I think that in focusing so tightly on the Goddess, you miss the full meaning and message of the God.

My personal feelings are that God or Divinity is in the relationship between the Male and Female in us all. So in this sense, the Divine is formless as each relationship is different.

Hope this makes sense, it will always be a work in progress to understand the Divine. That's why I call it a path, it's a journey. :)

Oh, and I also have dedicated myself to Brighid. Her creativity and passion that make her the patron of healing, smithing and poetry just light up my life. :)

Anonymous said...
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Reya Mellicker said...

Jo, my guess is we're thinking the same thing, using different words to describe it. Wish we could sit down and drink coffee and talk about it for hours!

Lynne said...

I am a bit behind in reading blogs since I didn't do so while in Europe en vacance.

Wicca has always had an allure for me. I just noticed a "class" in a town not too far from me that is starting up in a few weeks. Is a "class" necessary do you think? I've read books, but it seems hard to put what I read into action. ?

As always, you are inspirational to read. Loved this.

Reya Mellicker said...

A class really helps because it will bring you from the theoretical into the experiential. Also it provides you with instant community from which you can get feedback and advice - ALWAYS a good thing when practicing magic.

Steve said...

"Smite" is such a great word. "Smote" is even better. :)

I don't think of God as a personification -- more like a force, or a structure of things as they truly are that's beyond our comprehension. I don't think God has a will or directs things, though. As Merle so colorfully put it, no Sky Daddy.

Reya Mellicker said...

I, too, love the word SMITE. Remember in the early days of computers when you could buy little stickers to place over the DELETE key, stickers that said SMITE? Fun.