Today is a landmark–I’m finishing the Goal of the Witch series! If you’re looking for a novice’s take on the 13 Goals of the Witch, take a look back at my Year and a Day Journal post archives and see what you think.
Certainly even in the time that I’ve been working on this series, I’ve been growing as a person and experiencing such a huge variety of events and emotions. Just last Thursday I broke down and cried after a particularly difficult class (featuring three problem teenagers), and the next day I almost cried from happiness when one of my students brought in his entire set of Harry Potter books to give to me. Of course, I already have the series, but I’ve been contemplating for a long time buying the series in the language of the country I’m in, and on Friday, as if he knew, my student just brought in the books, all tied up with twine. He said he’d already read them and thought I could use them to practice my language skills. It was seriously just what I needed after a particularly stressful day just before.
Of course now my students are all chatting while they’re taking a test (cheating is not frowned upon in this country, and despite my best efforts to give dagger stares over my laptop, they will never break the habit of looking at each other’s papers and cracking jokes), but then again I’m typing on my Witchcraft blog and getting paid teaching time for it. So I really can’t judge.
Anyway, on to the main event! Discuss Goal of the Witch #13: Honor the Goddess and God.
I’m going to refer you all to a recent week’s series from the Pagan Perspective channel on YouTube, during which they discussed the term “soft polytheism.” Cutewitch772’s video in this series struck a particularly strong chord for me, because we have pretty similar views. Basically, soft polytheism is not really the hard belief in any gods per se (hence the “soft” rather than “hard”), but a belief that all of the many different gods (or gods from any certain pantheon) are sort of figurative aspects of the Universe, or they are symbolic of different forces of nature or facets of human nature. I don’t really believe in a physical God or Goddess, or a real Thor or real Brigid or real Athena or who have you. Believing in the Christian God was one of the biggest obstacles for me in staying Catholic, and so it wouldn’t make any sense to start believing in a whole slew of gods if I couldn’t even believe in one. However, I do like studying them and I believe that they are all representations of different aspects of the Universe, and they can certainly teach us about those aspects of the Universe (or aspects of the Divine) and give us perspective on them.
For example (and I’ve used this example before), perhaps I want to make the most of a Tuesday and meditate on the god Ares (or Mars). Perhaps I know that I need additional strength (and who doesn’t need strength in the middle of the work week?) and so I’ll call on the energy of Ares to help me or I’ll meditate on what it means to be a strong person like Ares. I can envision Ares however I would like to–as an old-fashioned warrior from ancient Greece, or maybe as a contemporary soldier in desert camouflage–and use that as inspiration. As for me, I definitely envision Ares as a contemporary soldier, because my boyfriend is a soldier. I just picture maybe a fictional battle buddy for my boyfriend, and because I know what my boyfriend has been through, I can look upon those aspects of a warrior to help guide me. Or maybe I’d really send this idea of a warrior to my boyfriend if I know he needed additional strength. That being said, because many of the gods or goddesses from ancient times are also flawed, we can see the consequences of the extremity of these traits. Too much strength and warrior-ness can lead to aggression or violence. I think that working with the gods and goddesses can teach us balance.
Of course, I’m in an infant stage here. I don’t work with any gods or goddesses right now, but I do picture the female and male aspects of the Universe when I go out into nature. I also can see that there is the Divine within me and those around me. When I return to my boyfriend in the summer, I’m sure that I’ll see the masculine aspects of the Divine within him (and I’m sure some feminine also, just as I’m sure I have some masculine aspects within me).
While I don’t think I’ll ever have a hard dual-theist outlook on life the way that the Goal of the Witch seems to lay it out, I’m excited to keep finding out more about the gods and goddesses and potentially the God (as the masculine energy of the Universe) and the Goddess (as the feminine). Even if I don’t literally think there is a Horned God wandering around in the forest or wherever, I can see that there is a kind of Divinity in the Universe.
My favorite saying used to be the Latin phrase: Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. It means “Where charity and love are, God is there.” I even had this quote under my photo in my senior yearbook.
I think that, just because I no longer strongly identify with this idea of God, I can still find something in this phrase if I think of God as the Divine. Where charity and love are, there is the Divine. Perhaps, the Divine is everywhere.