|Live Oak Trees/Shutter Stock photo|
When Live Oak Trees are planted together in a row their roots fuse together, and the individual trees become interdependent upon one another for water and nutrients. The twining of the roots give the trees a stronger hold in the soil. Rooted as such in the Earth and interdependent they are able to be sustained throughout whatever comes their way.
Many of us in the Pagan Community are connected to the Earth through the worship of the Goddess Gaia (Gaea) in her various aspects. Exploring Her character this way I have developed a genuine relationship and love for her as Creator and Source of the Universe in an individual and personal way.
It's not enough to simply sit in awe of Nature. It is not enough to see and admire a sunset, a flock of birds, or a flower. All of that is wonderful, but for me, it's necessary to know the Source behind all that to be able to truly enjoy the Gift. My devotion to Gaia grounds me by grace, in love and with mercy. The process of developing this understanding is sometimes an arduous journey when following the framework of Modern Paganism. Years of exploration have lead to dead ends and false leads and requires patience, tolerance and discernment. There is a lot of chaff to sift through before finding the gold of the beneficial grain to feed my spirit and soul. What has sustained me through this journey and kept me from being discouraged, is the singular truth that She loves us and stays with us the entire journey, whether or not we realize it. Our faith may falter, but her love does not. And that's what keeps me in the Pagan sphere, despite the silliness, outright nonsense and negativity we sometimes seem to wallow in.
She is there in the most difficult of times, and that gives me both comfort and peace. She is there for the journey in times of transition and change. My most recent experience of that is when I had emergency heart surgery several months ago and nearly died. There were no tunnels of light, no glimpses of Summerland, no choirs of angels for me ( unless you count an appearance of my friend Arthur the Druid who sang a very sweet song for me which I largely do not recall other than that it was beautiful). There was none of the NDE stuff you read about on paranormal sites, but there was the comfort of Her presence and a holding of space.
I often find I lack the proper words or am uncertain how to express myself to the Goddess because I allow myself to become overwhelmed by the vastness and scope of her divinity. It's a hold-over of my period of being a Christian, and while it's not necessarily a bad thing, it does get in the way occasionally and I have to stop to re-frame my concept of the Feminine Divine into something more comfortable. Her aspect of the Holy Rose lends her divinity a softness which in no way diminishes her strength. The understanding of my relationship with Her is often too deep for words and the eloquence of language fails me. To counter that I become still and give myself over to simply being, and then we can merge at the point of spirit, which is restorative.
My connection to the Goddess in Her many forms is continually changing as I make new discoveries and add to my faith story. How I apply these things to my everyday life formed who I am and who I continue to become. The latest of these lessons is that we are given no trials without purpose- and after saying that, I can argue the point. Shit just happens and things go inexplicably wrong. In March I threw a blood clot and ended up having major surgery. Even when things go wrong you have to find the positive in them and use it. So what happened after the surgery is that while I'm still healing I'm getting healthier. The downtime during my stay at the rehab center was used to prioritize somethings I've been meaning to do and make them goals to look forward to, and one of the best things out of that time are the friendships I made while there ( including some new Pagan friendships). The very best thing that I came away with is that I discovered how resilient I am. That was the purpose of this particular trial, from my take on things.
In the time I was forced to be still (momentarily!) I not only had the space to look inward, I truly had some moments of solitude-nothing from my everyday routine to worry about because I was disconnected from it all. My primary reason for waking up in the morning was to simply make it through another day as my body and mind healed from the trauma. Right now I do what I can physically for the moment-but then I read. I study. I call on the power within to remember who and what I am. This helps me to ready myself for even more the next day.
Like the trees in the opening paragraph,when I entwine myself with other people and situations, we all-hopefully-benefit from not having to stand alone.