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The Gods of My Heart

Author: Betsy Sutton
Posted: February 1st. 2015
Times Viewed: 2,528

The God, as the infant Sun, is born from the Goddess at Yule, the shortest day of the year. As the days grow, so grows the Sun and the God. At Imbolc, the festival of waxing light, the Goddess renews Herself, as life stirs in the belly of the earth. When day and night are equal, the Goddess, in Her maiden aspect, dances across the land at Ostara, causing the flowers to sprout.

The God ascends in the first of Spring from the underworld with the new green growth. The God, as the God of the herd animals, the Horned God, Lord of the Trees, the Oak King, the Green Man, courts the Lady in her maiden aspect at Beltane. At Midsummer, the couple celebrates together. The Goddess is the fertile Earth Mother. The God is the burning bright Sun King, as well as the verdant Green Man. He transforms into the God of the Grain, also known as the Corn King. The grain dies at Lughnassadh, when it is cut at the first of the three harvests.

At the Fall Equinox, the acorns fall from the oaks belonging to the Oak King. Night and day are equal. It is the second harvest and the Pagan Thanksgiving. The God has transformed into the God of the vine and fruit. At last, He descends into the underworld at Samhain, where He transforms into the Lord of Shadows, Lord of Winter, the Holly King. The Goddess in her Crone aspect mourns him. Yet He will be reborn again--as the seasonal Wheel turns--from a spark of sleeping seed in the womb the Goddess. Thus we end with the beginning.

Over the last almost 24 years, I’ve learned that doing away with labels like Wiccan, Druid, Pagan, etc. (when I refer to myself) helps me stay more focused on my path than my title. When someone else asks about my beliefs I may say Pagan or even Hedge Witch, but only out of a lack of a real word that describes all that I am. I don’t like to be labeled because I feel like it confines me to that one thing and that’s not who I am or what I'm about.

When speaking to others of the gods, one has to allow for the beliefs of many. Hard core polytheists believe that the gods are distinct and separate real divine beings. They don’t see them as a personification of some natural occurrence nor do they always believe that the gods of different cultures are equally real.

On the other hand, soft polytheists believe differently. As was written in Apuleius’ Latin novel, The Golden Ass, and later revived in The Sea Priestess by Dion Fortune, “All gods are one god, and all goddesses are one goddess, and there is one initiator”. This second group believes that there is one all-encompassing force, one initial deity that is the sum of all Its parts. They believe that the rest of the gods of all the pantheons in all the cultures are just archetypal images of the One True Divinity.

I am not here to tell you what to believe, only what I believe. So for your consideration I offer up the following:

I think that it’s somewhere in the middle, between soft and hard polytheism. Like so many other things in life, I believe the answers lie in the gray areas. It is believed in many religious traditions, Christian and non-Christian alike, that we were made in the Creator’s image. It is also believed that the Creator is all-powerful, all knowing and all things. I look at the Divine Creator as a whole and also as the sum of many parts. I first break down Divinity into female- the Goddess, and male- the God. I do this because we all have a feminine and masculine side to us. From there, it’s a matter of personality. Warrior, Lover, Protector, Farmer, Artisan, Fortune Teller, Mother, Father... the list goes on. They come in different shapes, sizes, ages, ethnicities, etc. Just like us, They have many sides to who They are.

We are multifaceted, like diamonds. In my lifetime I have been a granddaughter, daughter, niece, aunt, sister, mother, friend, enemy, wife, ex-wife and so much more. I am all of these things and I am also uniquely me. Just me, a singular entity from which come many other facets and names. This leads to my belief that the gods are also distinct and separately real divine beings. I believe that the gods are both archetypal images and real live entities. I also think that They are far too vast for us to pin down as any one thing. They are, after all, everything and everywhere.

The Qur'an contains the ninety-nine Most Beautiful Names of Allah. Judaism refers to seventy-two Divine Names and the Mahabharata text, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, contains a thousand names of Vishnu. The Goddess has been called the Lady of One Thousand or Ten Thousand names. The word ‘God’ is used by countless religions and spiritual systems of belief across the planet to name their Supreme Being. God, Brigid, Vishnu, Yahweh, Jehovah, Kwan Yin, Allah, etc. are all just labels.

I think of them as terms of endearment. I call my daughter Baby-girl. As I write this, she is 21 years old and I’m sure it annoys her to no end, but she’s been my Baby-girl since birth and will continue to be that until I draw my final breath in this life. It is, ultimately, just a term of endearment. It is what I call her as a show of my love, respect and affection. It's how I refer to her because that is the aspect of hers that I currently connect with the easiest, that child within. This is how I speak of her. Unless, we’re in public, then I call her by her given name or suffer her wrath.

The names of Deity are much the same for me. If I am frightened for my life, it is Kali or the Morrigan I’d want by my side. When in need of strength or the gentle touch of a mother, I call on Pachamama or Yemaya. When I am harvesting herbs, it is the guidance of Lugh I seek. When reading the tarot, I call upon Cerridwen to open my eyes to the universe. And for inspiration and the strength to make major changes in my life, I pray to Brigid. I am ultimately calling on the one and only unnamed Creator of all that is, but the Divine One is so vast and unknowable that it is easier for me and many others to address one of the many aspects that make up the whole of the Creator.

This isn’t to say that the individual Gods and Goddesses are just a subset or less than the Supreme Spiritual Entity I pray to. On the contrary, I believe them on equal footing. This is what I believe, but there are a lot of people who don’t believe this. They believe that the Gods aren’t all one and that the Christian God has nothing to do with the Wiccan Deity or any other Deity for that matter. I say that’s perfectly fine. I understand and respect their point of view fully. I believe that’s the way spirituality is supposed to work. We come together for the common goal of love, honor, understanding, respect, and becoming one with the world around us, but we all come to the Gods (singularly or in groups) in our own way, at our own time. I think the important thing is that we walk the path at all.

In the end, we are all one. One with each other, one with the Creator, one with the Universe. An American astrophysicist named Neil deGrasse Tyson put it this way, “…not only do we exist in this universe; it is the universe itself that exists within us.” He said this when comparing the make-up of a human being to the make-up of the universe. We as humans have the same ratio of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen as does the universe. He also said, “…we’re all connected to each other biologically; to the earth- chemically; and to the rest of the universe- atomically.”

Or to quote Joni Mitchell, "We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon, and we got to get ourselves back to the garden."


Betsy Sutton

Location: Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

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