Encounters with the Goddess
Article ID: 11617
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: June 17th. 2007
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After a long and trying period of rehabilitation after experiencing serious health problems, I was finally ready to make my first road trip in several years. Although the quiet lessons learned in hospitals and home recovery were great gifts, still I was more than ready to stretch my wings a bit and step more actively into the outer world once again. So I was truly anticipating driving alone from Atlanta to Las Vegas to meet old friends for a couple of weeks, to help them organize and pack for a move to Kentucky.
Though I see Deity in all whenever I am able to stop and truly look around me, this journey of re-discovery provided me with many touchstones of differing natures along the way. My having been forced to step away from the ever-present pressure of the clock that drives life in the modern world had perhaps helped to better open my eyes to the timeless. So in this, my true first step of independence and return to the demands of travel and time, I had the gift of several epiphanies of the Divine in our workaday world, where I now once more dwell. Here I would like to share them with you, as I experienced them.
It’s a Tuesday morning in Nashville, Tennessee, with me up bright and early after spending the night in a nice motel on the outskirts of the city. I had deliberately made a short initial stage on my journey, and I felt excited and alive as I hit the road, having made such an easy beginning. Any early doubts of making such a long trip were gone, as I loaded up and headed out - come, join me as I pull out onto the road again...
Driving down I-40, I see a sign reading “PARTHENON - this exit.” Prompted by my inner voice, I exit and follow the signs...to a park in downtown Nashville where I discover a full-scale reproduction of the original Parthenon in Athens. It stands on a rise of ground overlooking a small lake, where geese swim honking to each other. It’s cool and quiet, truly peaceful - since they had just opened, I am the only visitor there. There’s not even an attendant present.
Walking up the stairs, I enter the sanctuary through massive bronze gates, passing between the great shadowed pillars of stone. Standing across from me is a forty-one foot tall statue of Athena, a modern reproduction of the original statue by Phideas...considered a marvel of the ancient world. Unfortunately, the modern version falls a bit short of the artistic standards of ancient Athens. But still, I am struck by such a sense of wonder - to be standing in a re-built Pagan temple (not any temple, but the perhaps most famous and glorious structure ever raised to any aspect of the Goddess), there before what is still the largest indoor statue in the world...an image of the virgin Goddess, Victory standing in Her right hand, the impenetrable shield Aegis in Her left, protecting the Serpent of Wisdom at Her feet.
I kneel in silent prayer and meditation for a time before Her. Then I arise and salute Her, “Io Athena Partheanaos!” my voice ringing among the towering columns and surrounding statues. When has She last been so addressed, in Her own Temple?
Yes, hail, Athena! Lady of wisdom, invincible in battle, Protectress of Athens, the light of the ancient world and home to the founding of all Western thought! Immortal Goddess, I salute you! Lend me Your strength in the days ahead; as I try to better serve You and Your children. Thank You for Your generous gifts to me, grant me the wisdom to use them as I should. So mote it be!
Carrying on - still Tuesday, past midnight, and far down the road. I’m past exhaustion and my back is killing me; but I’m pressing, trying to find my limits…
I’m roaring across the plains of Oklahoma at over ninety miles an hour - sunroof back, windows down. I am filled with such a sense of exultation that I just have to yell “Yaaaahoooo!” into the roar of the wind. The Scorpion stands guard over my left shoulder, the Great Bear over my right, with them dancing through the thousands of points of brilliance blazing all the more clearly now that the moon has turned beneath the horizon. I experience the awesome glory of the clear night sky wheeling above as the road unrolls beneath me, far surpassing my poor powers of description - my spirit sailing out upon the river of light that stretches above, embarked for a moment on the Boat of a Million Years. I am filled with a sense of oneness with all of creation. Time stands still for me, a rushing thing hurtling between earth and sky transcendent as I follow the footsteps of She Who walks among the stars for an instant. Only an instant, yet enough.
It’s the next day, after a short rest in Amarillo – rousted from my restless sleep all too soon. It didn’t take long to decide to leave behind my unwelcome bed companions there in the cheap motel room where I had, unfortunately, chosen to stay, driven by exhaustion. So I hit the road again all too early, after a quick shower and a light breakfast with lots of coffee. The only goal remaining was to get the trip over with. I was starting to worry about being able to finish – and what I would do if I couldn’t. However...
I’m crossing the high desert of New Mexico in the sharp light of early afternoon, watching the cumulus clouds appear and grow as the sun's heat drives moisture from the parched earth - to condense as it reaches the colder upper air. The clouds blossom and swell, leaving the landscape below striped with bands of shadow and light. The sun's rays paint broad swaths of gold across the high mesas and broken, rolling plains. I drive on, watching, pulled out of my inner thoughts.
The clouds roil and darken, gravid with waiting rain. Suddenly leaping through the air, the lightning's fire strikes the ground below - thunder crackling and echoing across the landscape as the deluge descends. Visibility instantly drops from the distant horizon to mere feet ahead of me, as pounding water floods the road before me - the falling rain spreading the gift of life over the thirsty earth.
Just as suddenly, I move out from under the storm as it dissipates behind me. The sun rides high in the glorious blue sky above. And I give thanks for having witnessed an aspect of nature's original Great Rite, ancient and eternal as our Mother Herself - the great circle turning once again before my wondering eyes as I see the marriage of earth and sky, in a unity with water and fire. She is here...She is always here. All we have to do is look, and see.
And I travel on…everything’s fine.
Location: Stone Mountain, Georgia
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