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Saturday, 11 June 2011

Inspirations from a Goddess

I may not have mentioned it here before, but I am a pagan. My husband is attempting to find his comfort zone within Christianity after much of his life has been spent in critical hostility towards it (or rather, towards those close to him who found that path apparently easier to follow). This generally means we talk about religion quite a bit, and get to mark all of the holidays associated with both.

One aspect of paganism that Ray finds really difficult to comprehend is the concept of multiple deity. I have never been anything other than pagan, and follow the path of my ancestors - those who I inherited my family name and genes from and also those who shaped the lands I have lived in. This means roughly that I acknowledge the Gods of northern Europe (modern Germany, Austria, a bit of Poland and the Czech Republic), with more than a passing nod to Roman deity.

The two pantheons overlap for me in so many ways, that despite more academic pagans often telling me I'm diluting both paths by not being exclusive, or even that there is no historical evidence that some of what I feel is correct, to me the Saxons and the Romans are 2 layers of my heritage rather than 2 branches of a single tree. And much like the physical history of those peoples, one group tends to show up and party for a bit, while the other is constant and blends itself with whatever else is going on around it. Like the Atrebates who populated my birthplace originally, I appear to have a foot in both camps.

This can all lead to some good discussions as I said earlier, and sometimes to some surprise visits from individual deity. My dearest friend Ciel believed that all Goddesses were a facet of the One Goddess, and didn't have much to do with Gods. I believe the opposite, that all deity are individuals, with specific oversight and associations. In the same way that you wouldn't normally call out a hairdresser to fix a broken washing machine, I wouldn't expect Pomona to turn up if I were trying to learn a new musical instrument for example.

I'm not much of a scholar when it comes to beliefs. I tend to live it rather than learn it. Since Ciel died earlier this year though, I've been called in ever increasing volume by a particular Goddess that I've not had any dealings with before. Instead of being all facets of one Goddess, this one is more one Goddess to all peoples.

Minerva has been honoured by many tribes and by several names. Her Roman name, Minerva, is the one I'm most comfortable with, but her shrine in Bath is one of the few places sacred to the native tribes that was adopted by the Romans and maintained after their departure from Britain. She has been important to the Ancient Britons, the Greeks and Romans, the peoples of Wessex, the nobility of Georgian and Victorian England, and now to me.   

I am working on an idea for a new creative business venture. It involves knitting particular items and using very lightweight yarns in natural fibres. When searching for a name for the venture, my daughter suggested it should be something to do with water, and Minerva revealed herself. Since then, her calling has been growing louder. Owls have been appearing in the most unlikely places and the ideas I am getting for the venture seem to be taking shape as guided inspirations rather than just from my own head or learning. The associations with water are strong, and what started as a tiny spring is now in its well stage as I draw from it. I'm hoping it will grow to a lake of safety that feeds a river beyond. I am learning more about the craft involved - even having practised it for over 30 years already - and I am confident that I will find the level, just as water does, eventually. It is not something I can hurry though, it is taking time to work out but I think it will be better for that extra detail.


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