The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
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Article ID: 15332
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: February 3rd. 2013
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I am beginning to understand the Great Mother’s gift, via Robert Heinlein, and the nature of squirrels.
Waiting is - it was many years ago that I first read that phrase; I thought it cool, though I had no real understanding of its truth. Like a Stranger in a strange land it once seemed odd to think that a great truth can be found in a book of fiction. I begin to understand its import and that understanding compels me to write this now. Perhaps it will help another to bask in their own “Ah ha” moment.
As Pagans, we often speak of good and evil, or light and dark, but I have all too often failed to grasp the beauty of the gift that began us all. Good and evil, light and dark, happy and sad, wise and foolish, in all the opposite pairs you can discover, one cannot exist without the other. We cannot grow with out the complete pair. I have come to understand that those who came before us, be they our older selves or entirely new spirits, have been far more clever than I have yet to be. They hide their clues like squirrels preparing for winter, they do not expect to remember each cache but create so many and in so many forms that they know they will find some. And so we each hide and rediscover our knowledge in a vast and varied way, from the understanding of science, to gospels of many colors, and to phrases created for works of fiction.
This vast array of beings caching their unique understandings has the wondrous side effect of making certain that knowledge is everywhere and none is ever wasted. The Great Mother (how I choose to think of the beginning that has no end) did not want us to become this thing or that thing in the end. Her gift is to enable us to become whatever thing we could become, without end. She had no goal in mind, no image of perfection to be achieved, for that would have closed out possibilities that even she could not imagine. Her gift was the striving for balance, not the balance itself. It is both subtle and powerful.
We “fight” for good or evil and we grow and change. It matters not if we seek the light or dark, it is the act of seeking that nurtures growth and change. I begin to believe that we have all been both and either at one time or another in our growth. The great power of her gift is that it matters not what we achieve in one life or many, whether we become all good or all evil, full light or full dark, the cycle is designed to collapse and perpetuate itself and us along with it in an endless cycle. With each new thing that we become, new possibilities are created by our own growth and change and the path is extended. I find it exciting and humbling to realize that we are all creators of the possible. Some of our possibilities are for us alone and some can be opened by any who discover them. I have often believed that we are striving to become some perfect being and that when we achieve that we will be satisfied, fulfilled, finished even. I now understand that along that path lies stagnation and eventually, non-existence. I am grateful that the Mother’s gift prevents that.
As we each grow in our own way, at our own rate, the balance is often tipped in one direction or another, for us as individuals, and sometimes for entire cultures and sometimes with cataclysmic results, but because of the gift, being continues. All who have begun to understand, no matter how much they understand, leave clues for us to follow and rebuild. With each birth and death we are not quite the same and so discover those clues and use them in new and varied ways and rebuilding happens, once again. Each time we understand a little more, grow a little stronger, create more possibilities, it is a wondrous system.
Do not doubt your understanding because it came to you through fact or fiction, do not doubt your understanding because it holds a different truth than another’s, like the plants and life around us, each grows at their own rate and in their own form. Our understanding is unique and takes new shapes as we and those around us change and grow. I have discovered clues in the interaction of yeast and flour. I have discovered truths in the lies told by others, and sometimes the ones told by myself. I have learned from wise teachers and from foolish ones. I have found understanding of things spiritual in the most physical of scientific facts. I have felt my spirit grow because of the most physical of labor. Like the squirrels, we sometimes rediscover our own caches or stumble over someone else, but the understanding blossoms and growth happens, whether we like it or not.
Monitor your body; learn to trust what it tells you. Listen to a song and feel the knowledge it teaches. Study a subject because it speaks to you, it may have been a cache of knowledge you left for yourself to find, a lock keyed to your hearing. Play, and laugh, cry and be sad, help a friend, accept help from a friend, sit for hours in the forest and learn from the trees, go to school, have a conversation with people who believe different than you. These are all caches left by someone who may have understood a lot or a little or just a different part than you.
Let us cherish all the clues we find and leave our own clues for those that follow, be they new spirits or our own, re-crafted self.
I will give thanks to the Great Mother for her gift that is the freedom to become whatever I may become and then become again, as new possibilities undreamed spring forth. It is a gift that is both powerful and subtle.
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