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21 November 2011

Bright Blessings for the Winter Solstice

First published by Helen 21st December 2010

Somewhere in the world during the morning hours, the US mostly, people possibly saw the lunar eclipse.  I didn't even see the moon as it was overcast last night here in N.E. London and even duller this morning. Didn't even see the sunrise.
Well OK I'll be honest, I wasn't even awake! There is not a lot of point setting an alarm to look at something that isn't going to be there to be seen.

If I were a deep-rooted believer in the rituals of the Pagan, Druid or Wiccan faiths I would have made the effort - but I'm not, so I didn't.
I will light candles and lanterns this evening and switch on all the garden lights (reserved for special occasions) and pay my respect to the Winter Solstice in my own, personal way.

I am a Pagan, but I do not adhere to ritual or worship. I suppose I am a subtle, personal believer with my own deep rooted feelings - ones that I believe have been passed down to me by those who came before. I am very aware of my ancestors, of the invisible thread that links me to my grandmother and her grandmother and her grandmother......

I don't believe in deities - any deity. I  believe in the Power of the Universe, the energy that surrounds and binds, guides and protects us. The Great Spirit, the Creator, an entity that is responsible for the Soul and Heart of all existence, of all life, in whatever form throughout the Universe - and beyond. All the levels and forms of existence, whether in this World and Plain or elsewhere and on other Plains.

I have never liked organised religion - of any Faith - because I dislike being controlled. I have never liked being told what I can or cannot do. I went along with being C of E as a child because that was the religion of my parents, my mother in particular. I think the horrors of WWII and being a prisoner of war disillusioned my father of God, Christ, and Christian Love.

I was never comfortable in Church, hymns, especially carols, I liked because the tunes were nice, and any good song is rousing. But the meaning of the words meant nothing to me. In fact I was a little frightened of this All Seeing All Powerful God. This figure of a man in a white beard sternly watching, censoring everything - and threatening the Fires of Hell..

 Religion is controlling and censoring. All the beliefs, of whatever religion, is about Control. A "do this" and you shall be rewarded, 'do that' and you will be punished type of control. Get up, sit down. Wear this, don't wear that. Attend Church, pray facing a certain direction at a certain time. Church on Sundays in Sunday best.
I'm sorry, I cannot believe that God  gives a toss about whether I wear my best frock or a raggedly pair of jeans in order to enter Church to talk to Him (or her)

I understand about wearing decent clothes in order to show respect..... but to whom? God or the local community? I wouldn't walk into a Sunday Service at my local C of E or Catholic Church, or a synagogue, temple or mosque (not that I am likely to enter those latter buildings without an invitation) in old raggedy jeans, low cut top and looking like I've been dragged through a hedge backwards because I would not want to offend other people worshipping there and because I would be embarrassed at their disapproving, hostile stares. I truly don't think God would even notice. Surely He (or She) would be more interested in what I felt, in what I thought in my heart and head and soul not in what I was wearing?
Spiritual means internal. Nakedness wouldn't matter, except it could be cold and even more embarrassing. (especially with my somewhat sagged and wrinkled 57 year old rather worn body.)

A woman decided she wanted to show her husband how much she loved him, so one afternoon she had a scented bath, put on her makeup and made herself look beautiful for her man. As she heard his car pull into the drive she arranged herself, seductively naked, on the couch in the living room.
"!Hi Honey I'm home!"
"I'm in here!"
.... "Oh." (says husband very surprised at seeing his wife sprawled naked on the coach) "Oh. You haven't got anything on."
"Yes I have." The woman replied, stroking her hand sensuously over her skin. "This is my love dress."
"Is it?" the husband replied, turning round and heading for the kitchen to put the kettle on. "I reckon it needs a good ironing then.."


For myself, I don't need to picture a God / Goddess in the limitation of a human form. The Is simply IS. That's enough for me.

The IS is a power, an energy, a force. I have experienced it, have felt it. But it is Energy, A Power, A Force of the Earth and the Universe, it is not a humanised god.
The stories of gods and goddesses - Roman, Greek, Egyptian, stories of the Old Testament Bible, are all just stories made up by people in order to explain things they did not (do not) understand. Some are stories passed down of course, tradition and such. But they are stories adapted to fit the times. The Catholic & C of E Bible for instance (and all adjoining Christian-based Faiths) are about a white-skinned God and a European Christ. You don't see much about the fact that, actually, Jesus was  a Jew who was born and lived in Palestine.  Gods and Goddesses, whoever, whatever, were made up to satisfy  non-understanding - and  fear - of the unexplainable. Some of the stories were based around real happenings Jericho had an earthquake and the walls came tumbling down. There does seem to have been a wide-spread Flood. Plagues of locusts, frogs. Water turns to wine if yeasts are added (simple fermentation) The prophets really did live and preach and prey (including Jesus. Was he the son of God? Well that answer depends on your Faith.)

I do believe in Guardian Angels. No, I don't believe in blond haired white skinned beautiful shimmering people with wings... but I do concede that the Ethereal Spirit / Spirits who inhabit the Universe (Creatures of Light, Love and Protection) reveal themselves to us, either in sight, sound or feel, in human form. Let's be practical here. Not one of us would take the slightest bit of notice of an ant sitting there beside us telling us not to be afraid. And the shimmering? That's real. I've seen a person's aura, I can feel my own. Spirits coming from another plain (be it another world, the realm of the dead... whatever, wherever) have a stronger aura, a sort of cocoon buffering them from the clash of energies from this, our world, and theirs.

Now this is all very profound, and is personal to me. I have no wish to - or intention - to offend anyone. Your faith, your belief, whatever it is, is yours to choose. Equally I have the right to choose what I believe, and if you damn me for it, that is your belief also, not mine. The next plain, the Spirit World, Heaven, Valhalla, whatever, does exist in a different dimension. We'll all recognise it when we get there. If it doesn't exist, well it doesn't. I'll be dead before I find out though, so its not worth worrying about in this life is it?
My faith is the power of Nature, the beauty of the Stars, the utter wonder of a full moon hanging in a black, velvet sky, the bright light glistening on the sparkle of snow below. The awe of the days growing shorter and shorter  night and darkness coming earlier and earlier until it reaches a peak, and the Earth turns back to the sun and the days grow longer and warmer and lighter.

My deity is the Skies, the beauty of a sunset, the wonder of the stars: the Earth, provider of food and shelter and life. Fire, the bringer of heat, water, the giver of life. And Spirit, the IS that holds it all together and bridges the indescribable immenseness of the different plains of existence - of past, present, future, the here and now, and there and when.

The sun and moon are important because they give us Life. They are not gods though. I will light my candles now, and if I can see her through the thick cloud that is out there, I'll bob a curtsy to the moon, for She is so full of wondrous beauty and it is my way of saying thank you to whatever it is out there that looks after us.

Bright Blessings


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Anonymous Mark said...
I was awake for the eclipse, but didn't see it because of the cloud cover. Then I logged on to Irish broadcaster RTE for live streaming of the sunrise at Newgrange. That didn't happen either, because of the cloud. I was at Newgrange in person a few years ago for the winter solstice and, fortunately, there were no clouds then. It wasn't a religious experience, in any sense, for me, but truly awe-inspiring, nonetheless!
Blogger Helen said...
The awe of a sunrise, a moonrise, an eclipse, a star-pocked sky - a new born babe - is too great to be contained in the bigotry of any pious religion. The sun rose, the moon set at the beginning of the Earth, millions of years ago without any interference or worship from us. They will continue to do so long after humankind has faded away. We humans are mere blips in the Universe, and contrary to what we prefer to think, are not actually very significant or important. In a nutshell, the Is is bigger than we could ever imagine.
Anonymous Paula Mildenhall said...
You have succintly summarised what I feel as well Helen. I hope you don't mind if I borrow some of this when I tell people why I don't subscribe to their religion. I sometimes say I am a pagan- but not really a pagan. I believe there is a force out there but I am vehemently opposed to organised religion. I like the way you describe it. We couldn't see the eclipse in the part of Australia where I live as there was too much cloud cover.
Blogger Helen said...
Use what you like Paula - the term 'pagan' basically means anything non-Christian. Being very pedantic I suppose I'm not Pagan either because I don't 'worship' a deity, but how else would I describe my Belief? Not spiritualist, not Wiccan (though I did look into Wiccan - found it had too many rules & was too organised) A Wiccan verbally attacked me once telling me I was insulting her religion by using the term Blessed Be & that I couldn't be a Wiccan because I didn't believe in the Goddess blah blah blah... if Wiccan is that sort of bigoted ranting then you can keep it, so I stayed with my 'Pagan' belief. No one, especially a Costume Witch, has the right to tell me what I believe. If I am wrong that's my problem, not anyone else's. How can any Faith or Belief be wrong? Nothing will ever be proven in this Life, so take joy from what _you_ have and leave everyone else alone! I have some very dear friends who are Wiccan - and the good fortune to have two High Priestesses among those friends. Both are the dearest, loveliest people who have given me the kindness of support when I needed a hefty pit-prop and the generosity of their encompassing love. One is in the US one is local to where I live. So nice to just call in and ask for a hug if I need one - a hug that is always freely and joyfully given (you know who you both are LOL) The Wiccan "laws" I have adapted to my own use, though, should be universal to all religions: what you send out comes back three fold. Send hate, you will get more hate back Send a smile you will get a wider smile back. (it works!) never condemn anyone for their personal belief. We all see the Great Spirit / the Creator / God / the Goddess through our own eyes and with our own soul and heart. remember to say 'thank you'. Two very little words with a very big meaning.

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