Sunday, June 27, 2004

Finding Divinity In Nature

Sometimes the Goddess just throws people into your life to remind you what is important. Last night Lisa and I had dinner with Keven and Al, more old college buddies. Keven is, like me, pursuing a pagan spirituality. I have never thought Keven was smarter than me, but I have always known that Keven has a significantly greater ability to assimilate and process raw information into a coherent whole. He has not changed in that he certainly prefers speaking to listening; however, I must admit that he is fascinating to listen to.

The whole point of mentioning Keven here is this: he reminded me of the primacy of nature in my religious faith and beliefs and that is something I have not discussed in depth here.

I cannot comprehend spirituality without a reverence for Nature.

During those dull grey years of drinking alcoholically and failing out of law school, losing jobs, destroying relationships and increasingly frequent visits to emergency rooms there are moments that stand out in contrast:

Watching snowflakes big as quarters spiraling out of the sky

Seeing the sun rise over the eastern plains of Colorado

Walking round a boulder in Rocky Mountain National Park and running into a bull elk grazing at a frighteningly wonderfully short distance

Sunset over Garden of the Gods

Seeing Golden Eagles soar over the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

These are where I felt the presence and immanence of the Goddess before I entered AA. In the majesty of Her creation, I could know Her even while I was a spiritually dead being. I must thank my parents for this. They are the ones who taught me that nature was sacred. This is surely one of the greatest gifts that my parents have given to me.

So when I entered Alcoholics Anonymous and was told to get a Higher Power, I was not actually as lost as I felt. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous was a huge help to me there because not only could I identify with Bill W.’s experiences as hopeless drunk, I could also identify with some of his spirituality. When Bill wrote: "we found ourselves thinking when enchanted by a starlit night, 'Who, then, made all this?' There was a feeling of awe and wonder, but it was fleeting and soon lost." I have stood in Bill's shoes for I have felt this.

Awe and wonder indeed. As an active drunk I would stand before nature and think I am less than all of this, and that was the first half of what I needed to be saved—an acceptance that there was a Power greater than myself. The second half is to internalize the belief, yes, I am less than all of this but I am also a part of all of this.

I do not understand the pagan fascination with magic to bring true love, hex opponents and get more money and I don’t practice magic that way. Sometimes feeling a gentle summer rain hitting my skin is almost too magical and wonderful to bear. It is like the Goddess herself is kissing me. How could I ask for more than that? She gives me what I need, not what I want, and for that I am grateful, because my ignorance is such that She knows better than I what I really want and need.

To me, the entire Universe is the greatness of a loving, powerful, Deity. There is no separation between the Creator and the creation. She is within me and I am a part of Her. The Kingdom of Heaven is here within me and on the earth around me, and the infinite universe above me. The trick is to immerse myself in that belief so that I the feeling of awe and wonder is not fleeting and lost.

There is an old ‘80’s pop tune by Love and Rockets called No New Tale To Tell which begins with the words:

You cannot go against nature
Because when you do
Go against nature,
That’s a part of nature too.”

It is true you know. Her creation finds a way, always. I think we live our lives in opposition to nature (he types on a laptop powered by electricity inside an insulated home with artificially cold air coming from a vent all brought to him by petrochemicals) as opposed to in harmony with nature. But I believe that we are on the cusp of a revolution, an evolution of our technology. I do not think our technology has to be in opposition to nature. I think we can make good, clean, renewable energy. I believe we can live on this earth without having to resculpt this earth and I believe that we can leave this earth and live elsewhere in the universe in the same manner.

If we cannot do these things, I do believe that we will make ourselves irrelevant to the creation and the creation will overcome us. The idea that the environmental movement is to Save the Planet seems to be an egotistical conceit to me because the planet is fine. We must reform to save ourselves from ourselves. We may well be the cause of our own extinction: it may come from not seeing the sacred in nature.

I do believe that the Goddess gave us free will and She will allow us to annihilate ourselves if we so choose. That’s a part of the free will package. She will also stand ready to embrace us, one by one if we so choose. We get to choose the name we call Her: Brigit, Jesus, Allah, Diana, Vishnu, and so on.

Paganism and Wicca are based on nature and the cycles of the world and that is a perfect spiritual practice for me to be involved in. This is living in the sacred and in my imperfect way I try to do it as best I can. I am glad I have the chance.

Good Morning Goddess Brigit, my name is Andy and I am a hopeless, helpless alcoholic. I have been kept sober since Imbolc 2001 by the gift of Your grace alone. Goddess, I am grateful to be sober today. I cannot do it alone without You. Thank You.

Adjuva Brigitta! Thank You! Blessed Be!