Death To Life, Is There A Goddess?
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First reaction from most people today I am sure would be, “Of course there is!”. The imagery they have in their minds when they think ‘Goddess’ is loving, encouraging, and transforming into new life, vitality, and abundance.
A lovely grand image to carry.
This writing is a sort of continuation of ‘Living With The Big Mystery’ from yesterday, so please excuse a bit of repeating here.
Stirring my thoughts for this was a woman music artist promoter from Pennsylvania who was at a short seminar we attended during Tradfest in Dublin. She described something that I had always thought, but never heard it said from a USA person.
She said that “Genre is hopelessly essential
for the American mind.
If something cannot be given a name, a group name it belongs to, put into a box or cabinet, and be labelled and indexed ... it just does not exist ... to an American”
She was referring to music and explaining that when she handles Irish musicians breaking out around the USA, she has to first mentor them. She mentioned how so much music in Ireland is now a fusion of several genres at once. For her to market it she said she has to dissect it to sculpture out a defined genre. Then she asks the music artist to re-arrange what they do to remain in that genre box. She claimed without doing that, she cannot sell.
With my thinking, though there may be campaigning to make a lot of things genderless these days, I think I am quite genreless. Thinking of genders, I believe there are 63 gender categories of filing now listed in the USA somewhere? Do we think much beyond male and female here?
My own most dramatic experience of this exacting thinking was when I was waffling my usual uncategorised storytelling that included a local chieftain, monastic monk, and a woman entity you may call a ‘Goddess’. A woman in the group shrieked, “Stop! Stop! ...
I want to know the exact date that Ireland
converted from Paganism to Christianity”.
My reply was, “It hasn’t really happened yet”.
Unfortunately that made her furious. She was writing things down and was desperate for exact names for things and exact dates. My own faith and belief is in the organic flow of feelings and conditions, one of the reasons I post a novel weather forecast post on Facebook each morning. Weather is movement, flow and conditions.
So all of my start to this feature is to canvas out the scene for my own approach to ‘Goddess’.
To me, life is a constant dance of male and female aiming for equality in nature but surviving from inequality and the friction energy that provides. I feel equality is a state of stillness and we may define that as death.
Its like the constant sodium and potassium flow in our body cells, always unequal, trying to become equal, but if they did there would be no more motion, we would seize up, and spirit would depart.
I love the image and presence of female energy. Well, I’m a lad. I do not try to dominate it but dance with it. It seems sometimes I am in lead and other times she is. Its like a moon state of ebb and flow.
So to me, the word ‘Goddess’ can be merely a genre of gender to allow some image understanding for visitors?
I do not think it matters.
If I apply names that are understood,
its a bridgebuilding job done well.
Its not just USA people, but the modern mindset is flowing towards registering and securing names, so that anything without a name is believed and classified to not exist.
The Greeks, Romans and Saxons did this very loosely, then the Normans seemed to be the first to do name registration, then Elizabeth 1st went into this in a big way.
So before all this it seems people were named, and places, according to what they did and represent. The names were not part of a dynasty, as today, but a description of who they were or something they had done.
During this social media decade, Morrigan has become a favourite. There are also transformation stories related to Macha, Etain, Danu,
A decade or so ago, before social media, and outside of Wicca, the most common name uses were Cailleach and White Hag, both very generalised.
I do find all of this a muddle myself because of the expectation of a single deity to cover death and rebirth in the cycle.
I visualise the death and rebirth part of the cycle
... as an organic transformation of several elements through the infinite dance of male and female weaving. I cannot even put a boundary between death and rebirth as they seem to happen in unison.
So in storytelling I tell all of this featuring two images. The norse version is well known, the mating of Freya and Odin.
Here in our area we have Daghda and the Mör na Coire Cíuín, anglicised as Morrigan. Unfortunately the anglicised image has changed the interpretation.
Morrigan is a very popular imagery for groups focused on the feminism recognition movement. Any woman who wants to make money as a writer or fill workshop space, just needs to start waving the image of Morrigan the Warrior Woman.
I think this is not surprising because the woman spirit has been brutally suppressed by the patriarchal coup of the upper positions of pyramid living structures, and throwing crumbs to the women.
To get beyond this goddess image I like the meaning of Mör na Coire Cíuín, which is a description of the womb inside the Cailleach, meaning the creator of hills and mountains.
Daghda being drawn to the Faluchtra,
... the fire hearth in the pool of this womb. Yes, a hearth inside water. Daghda merging with this ignites the fire. This hearth becomes the ultimate copulation and conception from the harvest debris spirit to the incubation of new seeds of life.
When we see a crow, a raven, a vulture, there we are present among the gods and goddesses of death to rebirth. They eat the carcass debris and poop out the best organic fertiliser to ignite new life.
So, as usual, no singular answer.
This is actually the running theme of my follow up Bathing Book, Bathing With The Sheela.
My approach is to drift away from our naming and pyramid lifestyle images and get more fractal like the trees and plants.
The wonder of imaging everything as a male and female dance in unison and creativity.
At times of loss of a loved one, and wondering where spirit will go as new life, I suggest think of water. It leaves the body and goes somewhere, whether it seeps from a casket, or goes into the air from a cremation.
Some water is released at passing,
before any burial or cremation.
Then there is that phenomena of memory and how that holds for years and years. Those passed on, live in our memories. This can be so strong that firm images can manifest before us, and they are truly real.
Understanding of all this seems to need detachment from the science and using our own power of story.
It is through such memories and stories that an image of a feminine guides appears. Well with me she does, especially if we are by a hearth or fire. I never question who she is. A goddess?
To close this, I am now thinking of Scottish Hebrides men in bars talking about their wives. Around the world the conversation may start, “How’s the missus?”, “How’s the old lady?”. In the Hebrides its “How’s the Cailleach?”.
Who is the Goddess for you?