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Monday, February 14, 2011

Wicca 101 - God

Monday, February 14, 2011
He is an aspect of Pagan Deity that is, most times, by most pagans, either ignored or given only a cursory reference. And even though they are jaded these people are not to blame. Most of us have grown up in a culture and/or religion that places the male god outside of us. In a society that makes him into a stern father who stands in Heaven with lightning bolts at hand to punish us if we step out of line. So it is little wonder that so many pagans who ran to paganism as an alternative to Judeo Christian culture steer clear of the pagan God. But there is no need to fear Him. For while he can be stern there is no concept of sin, no line to cross. He also does not represent the view of our culture that men are violent predators. For there is mercy in His strength and justice in His anger. His role is to protect his family and home from all that threaten it.
He is the Greenman, the Horned One. The Oak, the Holly. The Lover and Consort, opposite yet complimentary to the Goddess. He represents the lifestages that all men go through. From childhood and young adulthood into Fatherhood and then into Old Age. He is the Hunter and the Hunted. The Grain and the Scythe.
If you seek for the God look for him in Song and Dance. Hear his voice in the wind and the falling rain and the crackle of the fire on a cold night. He visits the high places and dances through the deep forests. Hear his laughter in the babbling brook and laugh with him. He can be found at lifes beginning and at the end of this life and the beginning of the next. He is the God of Life and Death. God of War and Peace. Father of us all he can be found in all things.
We have organized the God into three aspects. The Horned Lord, The Lord of the Harvest, and the Lord of Shadows. This section shall also be organized as before. First an introduction to the aspect with specific examples of Deity. Then the guided meditation at the end of each individual section.
The Horned Lord
The Horned Lord, he who is the warrior, the hunter. Lover and consort to the Maiden, While She is the rolling meadow, He is the deep forest. Gentle stream, raging river; Quiet reflection, Ecstasy of Song and Dance. He is the Oak King, the Lord of the Dance. The newborn sun rising quickly to his zenith. He embodies the dynamic power of youth. Quick to word and action not yet tempered by age. He is not violent or angry except when he has no other choice.
Many pagans will include this aspect but ignore or gloss over the essential part that includes his warring nature and his love of the hunt. This world that we live in, as much as we hope otherwise, is not a peaceful one. There is war and there is death. But the Horned Lord is not about war for war's sake or hunting just to hunt and not to eat what is killed. Hunting at one point in our history was necessary not so much now but if do hunt say the prayers to the soul of the animal that you killed and give thanks when you consume its flesh. Choose to fight only when you have no other options before you. This aspect embodies tolerance and forbearance. Be tolerant of others but do not let others tread on you.
The Peaceful Warrior. These three words sum up the definition of the Horned Lord in his warring aspect. The warrior, first and foremost, seeks to reach above himself; to overcome his false perceptions. His highest achievment is not of victory but rather of absolute truth. And it is this truth that He integrates into all parts of his life.
The lives of the innocent and the weak he places above himself. For he has banished his ego knowing that all things are transient and fleeting. He seeks to be just and honorable, taking pride only in what he does, rather than what he has done. And to those that seek to be awakened he shows the way and guides them down that path.
Try to accept these lessons in your life. Act with truthfullness, tolerance and forbearance. Live in the moment for it is soon gone and Death will be here. The Horned Lord does not seek brilliance or the void instead he focuses on living his life, thinking deeply and working hard. Seek to do the same.
The Horned God is an iconic symbol that stretches across much of the ancient world. From the Celts into Rome and even into the Indus Valley in India. There are many names for Him. The best known is Cernunnos, even though there is nothing written about him by the ancients. Yet the images of him are consistent. He is often portrayed with antlers like a stag, and older man with long hair and beard. Most often he is pictured near a stag and near a ram horned serpent. It is because of his association with animals that he is called the Lord of the Animals or of the Hunt. Cernunnos is often portrayed sitting in what appears to be a meditative posture so he is in addition to being believed to be a God of fertility often believed to be a shamanic God.
But the Horned Lord does not always need horns. A God that represents the freeing power of this aspect is Dionysus. Again the serpent makes an appearance here in addition to the bull, the vine, and ivy. All of it infused with the power of this God. An ancient God dating at least back to the Minoans he is often depicted in a chariot being drawn by panthers.
Many think of Dionysus as a God of drunkenness and excess but he is not an old fat drunkard as many portray him. In fact he is much more than that. He is a God of fertility and growth, as well as freedom. He was born to a virgin mortal mother fathered by the King of Heaven (Zeus), killed only to be reborn. Turn to Dionysos when you are looking for ecstasy of the spirit and freedom for a time from the worries that plague you.
The Harvest Lord

He is our Father, ruler of the Earth's bounty and of the High Places. That grain that grows, yet also the scythe that cuts it down. He is Life and Death and the bridge between the two. For He is the grain in life and in death he is still the grain that gives us new life. He is the provider that walks that line, willing to sacrifice all, including himself, to provide for his family.
The Lord of the Harvest is also the patron of the arts and crafts. Lugh was example of this, associated by the Romans with Mercury, because of his patronship of the arts and of all crafts and skills. He was also the god of traveling, money and commerce.
Romano-Celtic images of Lugh show a bearded, mature and handsome man, carrying the symbols of the caduceus and purse, accompanied by his totems; the ram, cock and tortoise. He was often shown accompanied by Rosmerta or Maia, representing wealth and material benefit. Such companionship parallels the old Celtic custom of the marriage of the king to the material goddess of the land.
The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote of a version of the myth of Osiris. In this myth Osiris is described as an ancient king who taught the Egyptians the arts of civilization, including agriculture. Eventually Osiris is murdered by his evil brother Set who cuts the body of Osiris into twenty-six pieces. The great mystery festival of Osiris began at Abydos on the 17th of Athyr (November 13th) which commemorated the death of the god, which is also the same day that grain was planted in the ground. The resurrection of the god symbolized the rebirth of the grain. This aspect is representative of the ability of all things to be reborn. Remember all that falls shall rise again. Turn to the Lord of the Harvest when you feel you are at the end of your rope and look for the hope of rebirth, it is never that far.
The Sage or Lord of the Underworld

Anubis, the Jackal God of the Egyptians is a good example of the power of this aspect. Even though he was shunned and made fun of by the Romans his worship continued at least until the second century in Rome.
As the God of dying and later of death, he was the guide of the souls through the veil. And as such he was known and prayed to as the protector of lost souls, such as orphans. Anubis was also the weigher of souls and this makes him a god of judgement as well.

The lame smith God of the Greeks Hephaestus is another God that falls into this aspect. His lesson is that you can be unpopular and not have good looks but still be in great need. The myths tell us that he was given the hand of Aphrodite because of his great crafting skill.
In fact his skill was in such demand that he wound up making most of the necessary items of legend for the other Gods and Heroes of old. Such as Hermes' winged helmet and sandals, the Aegis breastplate, Aphrodite's famed girdle, Agamemnon's staff of office, Achilles' armor, Heracles' bronze clappers, Helios' chariot, the shoulder of Pelops, and Eros' (Cupid) bow and arrows.

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