As I get older and journey along my spiritual path a little further, I find the labels and definitions of ‘belief’ get hazier for me. I have stopped worrying about whether I am duotheist, polytheistic or monotheistic; about what tradition I might or might not feel myself a part of. I feel at home in Druidry because it seems to me to be remarkably inclusive and undogmatic, something that increasingly suits me very well; it allows me to express my love for certain aspects of eastern spirituality, make peace with my Christian past and remain open to learn from other beliefs and philosophies. I had the absolute pleasure of attending my friend Mark’s ordination into the Open Episcopal Church last weekend; a wonderfully moving ceremony that included not only Christian priests but Druid and Pagan ones too. To hear Christian liturgy alongside Druid and Goddess prayers in an atmosphere of tolerance and openness was heart-warming.
How we are touched by the Divine is so personal to us, and although our vision might be shared by others around us, the impact and deeper meaning of that relationship can only truly be understood by ourselves. This is why it seems such a pointless exercise to enforce one’s ideas of the Divine onto others. It has been said many times before but Divinity/Life is really too awesomely expansive to put in a box. However we perceive the Divine, the connection and relationship we build is ultimately far more important than the form or forms we perceive it to take – which is not to disrespect the forms but rather to embrace diversity and celebrate both difference and tolerance.
I went through a stage of exploring the Feminine Divine through a five-fold aspect of Maiden, Lover, Mother, Priestess/Wise Woman and Crone. Like the eight-fold Wheel of the Year (something that remains the foundation of my practice) such systems are an enormous help in deepening our understanding. They give us a structure within which we can explore and learn. I was always trying to find systems that I could settle into, that would have a sense of permanence but found – and have come to accept – that most of these mutated and changed. We outgrow structures, shedding their tight and constricting skins when we reach a point of readiness to expand and fill a wider space in our thinking and understanding.
As we grow, we shed; sometimes we revisit with new eyes what we once knew but have forgotten, and so the journey is more a meandering spiral than a rigid line. In this spirit, I share some of my five-fold Goddess Prayers from way back – those goddess forms that have moved through my life and being and have helped to shape and change me. I am aware that my understanding of these forms is confined by my own limitations of perception but the great thing about changing and shedding is that a little more of the mystery is always potentially there to be discovered along the way.
Brighid, Bright Lady of the Triple Flame, you are my passion and poetry, my sun-bright inspiration, my heart-fire and my healing peace. You are the light in my brightest day and darkest night. Your precious spark journeys within from my heart to my tongue in word and song. At the touch of your warmth, like a burst of bird song, the thrill of your gift of life pours out from me – pours out that I might drink from a deeper well, that I might see the sun on the sea and know the wonder that all life is born from your fire and water. You are the precious pearl of light that is my Maiden self, ever renewing and transforming my world with new vision. Sweet Brighid, Sweet Bridie, Sweet Brigit, bless me.
Blodeuwedd, ‘Flower face’, sacred blossom that opens to the bee, you are the vibrant Green Woman of the earth’s desire and the earth’s yielding, of the sap rising and the embrace of longing. It is you that sets fire to my belly with joyous heat, who animates my body with the blissful energy of your love. You are the pleasure of union, the exquisite unfurling of body, mind and spirit. Owl of wisdom, you teach that through desire I am able to touch and unite with the world beyond my skin; able to let life in, and in doing so encounter my greatest lessons of transformation. Blossom of all creation and desire, in you I find my unique beauty, the sweet passion and wild delight of my womanhood. Blodeuwedd bless me.
Madron, whose cornucopia overflows with the abundant blessings of life, I am your child; the warmth of your womb and your powerful embrace are each the safe harbours of my life. I sense your nurturance and strength guiding me; I feel your unconditional love and acceptance upholding me. For you are my protector and provider, cradling me with your comfort and grace, nourishing me with your bounty and love. From your breast flows the Milky Way that feeds my inner life. I eat of your body and grow strong; I draw from your immense creativity the ability to birth my own dreams, as you have birthed the world. Great Mother, hold me in your peace and welcome me home. Madron bless me.
Ceridwen, you are the deep dark place where change begins; the fathomless pool where, from the depths, transformation rises – at first barely seen – to surface within my being. Tomb and womb, there is only stasis without you. I have died and been reborn a thousand times in the cupped cauldron of your hands. You are the midwife of my soul’s journey, eternally reshaping me that I might make a better fit, might grasp a little more of the mystery, might uncover a truer place to be. Each ingredient of my life you carefully prepare, simmered in your pot – my soul food. Dark Mother, I give to you all that needs to be transformed; you give to me the first precious breath of a new life. Ceridwen bless me.
Cailleach, Grandmother of stone, of mountain, cliff and cave, and rocky, windswept crag, you are my bedrock of strength and endurance. Ancient Bone Mother, you are the frame upon which my life takes shape. Rugged and timeless, your wildness inspires journeys into the remote and lonely places of my soul, for it is here that I find you, your face bright in the moonless night; your laughter my sacred song of dark wisdom and mother wit. Ancient Crone of all knowing, sing over my bones and remake me. Through your care may I be whole and transformed; blessed with your wisdom; keen as beak and talon, beautiful as the arching sky that carries your feathered spirit. Cailleach bless me.