I was supposed to attend a potluck today with the Pagans of central Alabama, but unfortunately, we’re still a week away from getting the front tire replaced on Buttercup and Miss Becca ended up having to work today. Since the potluck is down around Prattville (or near Montgomery, for those of you unfamiliar with central Alabama), it’s just too far for us to risk it until the tire is replaced. Part of my heart weeps, because I was extremely excited about finally meeting some of the wonderful people I’ve been talking to recently on Facebook. But part of me is okay. You see, I’ve spent the better part of the last week reading. Blog hopping, actually.
A lot of my spiritual life, at the moment, takes place in my mind – rather than going through the motions of ritual or out walking in the woods (since there isn’t really a place where I can do that here) – in quiet conversations where I learn to hear the voices of my Gods and we get to know one another. For me it is a learning that is vital because there is so much that runs through my mind at any given moment. I do not quiet my mind to meditate, I learn to look past the millions of thoughts to find that quiet place where my Gods speak. I’m told there are actually people out there who can completely quiet their minds and the things that come to them in that perfect stillness sound amazing. I am incapable of this. Not, “I lack the discipline”. I am incapable. Even as I fall asleep, it isn’t a gradual rundown of thoughts until the quiet of sleep; I experience a constant stream of thought until it suddenly stops when I fall asleep – only for them to resume the moment I begin to dream, which is every night. So it is vital that I learn to listen beyond. That I learn to discern which dreams hold meaning and importance. I’ve spent much of the last few years learning to live with the way my mind works, instead of trying to force my mind to function the way other people claim their minds work.
So these last several days, I’ve been reading other people’s blogs about their relationships with their Gods, searching for people who worship my Gods – particularly Brighid and Manannan, as They are the two that are the focus of my devotion at the moment as we learn each other. And through reading other people’s blogs and thoughts, I focus my mind to make it easier to discern Their voices. I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone else. But I know Danu’s voice when She sings softly to me. I know an’Dagda’s mighty boom when it sounds in the back of my mind. Because I know Them. They have been with me for fifteen years and I can hear Them over just about anything when They speak to me. Brighid and Manannan’s voices, though, come much more softly, though I am getting better at recognizing Their influences, whether I can hear Them or not. But I have grown accustomed to hearing the voices of my Gods, even if They don’t speak to me every day, so it is important that I learn to listen for Them.
Which is funny, as I’ve stumbled across many references to the “Godphone”. I don’t follow many online Pagan communities – it was my determination to find what it is that I believe, as opposed to the general consensus of a wider Pagan community that drew me away from following the big voices that apparently talk about things like this – so it was a new one on me. I have one of these, but not everyone does. No, it doesn’t make me a specialer snowflake because I can hear the voices of my Gods, nor does it mean that I have a closer relationship or a better one. It just means that when I am doing something that does not please Them – or don’t do something – They let me know it. And no matter how comfortable I am in what I am doing or where I am, if it displeases my Gods, I cannot stay there and continue to do what I am doing. It can be heartrending when there is no room to say “well, maybe They will be okay with this, even though it doesn’t fit within the framework They’ve shown me” because They tell me so. Or worse, when I’m really hardheaded about something, They stop speaking until I begin listening again. Does this mean They give me all the answers to all the questions I have about the world and life and death and all that mystical stuff that I’m sure everyone wonders about? Nope. They show me the way, They give signs and put people and things in my path to teach me. But They require a sort of self-sufficiency of me that I can learn and discern for myself. It’s only when I’m way off or being purposefully obtuse (who me? okay, yeah, me) that They give me overt nudges, usually away from something rather than to something.
All of this is what has been running through my mind over the past several days. And, slowly, I being to recognize the murmur of my Lord, Manannan, as He speaks of secrets and mysteries that I don’t know if I am ready for, but I’m sure He’ll let me know. And I learn the familiar brightness of Brighid’s laughter, so like Her Father – and mine – an’Dagda. And yet, Her voice is so uniquely Her own. I am beginning to learn to hear Her through the rush of stories that run through my mind and out my fingers, committing to words the stories in my mind and communing and communicating with my Sister. It’s amazing and terrifying. And somewhere, far beneath it all, is the steady beat of waves against the shore and I know that the day is coming for me to know more about my mysterious God, Lir.