(or, That Night at The Cross-Roads pt 1)
This very interesting post, by John H. Halstead over at Humanistic Paganism, takes a look at the tendency to make the Gods into an entirely psychological phenomenon. Some of the ideas in the post, including the idea of The Gods as something that not only brings wonder or inspiration, but also awe… that the Gods are something that happens to us. This discussion reminded me of the first time I had an experience that convinced me the Gods are real.
(Those unnerved or wary of that statement are invited to re-read the Intro to this series of posts)
It was in the mid-1990′s after my mom had passed away and I was living in downtown Anchorage and working in Midtown.
My dear friend Lady Rhaevyn, who had dedicated me to the path and was very much a friend/mentor to me at the time… we ended up drifting apart for a while but then drifted back together as close friends and equals… but that was in the future. Inspired, I suspect, by her now ex-husbands wild stories she had recently given me a sealed letter and told me to hold onto it for her and if “something” happened to her I was to give it to her parents. Looking back it seems awfully dramatic and perhaps a little silly, but at the time I was deeply worried, and she was short on giving me any details.
Not knowing what else to do I turned to the Gods, or rather a Goddess.
I was new to Magick and Wicca and was reading all sorts of things about the ancient Gods. In particular I was intrigued with the Celtic Gods at that point because I am of Irish and Scottish descent and so had a blood-line connection to the Celtic Powers. I decided to call upon the Morrighan. In approaching this ancient, and fearsomely reputationed Goddess I made some decisions… it should be done outdoors, it should be done late at night, and light on the props… just words and Will and invocation and prayer, and for some reason I felt it should be at a Cross-roads. It seemed to me that she took part in the issues of liminality and decisions and irrevocability that the Cross-roads take part in. And Cross-roads are a widely reputed place of magick.
At the time I was working the night shift and walked home along some of the bike trails near West High School and Westchester Lagoon. West High-school stands upon a bluff overlooking Downtown, where the whole downtown area sunk down closer to sea-level during the 1964 Earthquake. Anchorage is blessed with a number of public parks interconnected with walking and bike trails, including the Chester Creek Green Belt… which ends at the above mentioned Lagoon. The green-belt is sort of a border land between mid-town and down-town Anchorage and walking along the trail from West High-school towards downtown. As you walk down the hill you have the mountains to the East of you, as they surround Anchorage, the Sky above you, and the River and Green-belt around you and Cook Inlet to the West of you. just after you reach the base of the hill you come to a place where 3 walking paths/bike trails meet, in view of Earth and Sky and Sea (the traditional 3 elemental realms of Celtic myth). Knowing of the importance of triads in Celtic myth and spirituality, I decided that my invocation should include three callings.
So one night, before leaving work, I washed my hands to ritually cleanse myself. I walked from work to the top of the Hill, calming myself and trying to focus myself on the business at hand. To breathe and center and prepare myself to prayer and magick. Once I reached the top of the hill, I paused and adjusted my backpack, and started down the Hill knowing I was approaching sacred ground. I spoke my invocations, calling Her by here many Ancient titles and pronouncing a few of Her names in mangled but well-meant Irish. I spoke of my friendship, my fears, my hopes that She would protect my dear friend. I spoke from my heart. I finished my prayers and pleas as I entered the Cross-Roads…
There was an intense onrushing of Power and Presence, as deep and powerful and ancient as the Ocean and its tides or the majestic Mountains of my childhood. I felt as if I was experiencing the approach of a Tidal Wave. I stood there feeling as if I was being picked up and examined from every angle. Held carefully is strong yet gently cupped hands. Scrutinized to the deepest part of my head and heart and soul. Then there was a sense of…being judged, weighed and examined… a sense of decision, and then She was gone.
I was left alone, at a cross-roads between Earth and Sky and Sea… adrift and stunned having truly ~experienced~ a God for the first time…
Libertas (whilst written before this series was conceived of, it fits a little too perfectly into the theme to be ignored…)
The Morrigan (this Post)
The Honored and Beloved Dead
Spirits of the World Around Us