Who is the Goddess?

I fixed the formatting but the capitalization is not mine. Some things are well meant but not well written in the practical sense. I found this on Facebook and wanted to keep it around for myself. I think the Crone should be about more than death and endings though, too much focus on that and not enough on wisdom and experience.

And the Child asked the Maiden: Who is the #goddess?

The Maiden turned and replied: the Goddess is Pure. She is the first burst of Life. She is untouched by Man. She is One who finds Joy in everything. She is a Sister. She is a Child. She is One who is Servant to None for She has no Consort and no Child. She is the Huntress. She is Innocence. She is Growth.

But the Child was unsatisfied. And the Child asked the Mother: Who is the Goddess?

The Mother turned and replied: The Goddess is She who nurtures us. She keeps us safe. She guides us. She is the One to whom we can turn. She is the mother with the child at the breast. She is the pregnant woman. She is the One who has the earth as her body, the full moon as her symbol. She is the One on whom we depend for life. She sustains us. She is Life.

Still the child was unsatisfied. And the Child asked the Crone: Who is the Goddess?

The Crone turned and replied: She is Death and Rebirth. She is the Wisdom Collected over many Lives. She is All that has Happened. She is All that will Happen. She is One who has come to the end of the Cycle. She is Feared by the Young. She is the welcome Aid to those in Pain, to those who suffer. She is the One to whom All turn when They no longer wish for the Life She has given Them. She is Destruction in preparation for the New.

Still the Child was unsatisfied. The Child looked around but there was no one else to ask. Finally the Child shouted: GODDESS! GODDESS, WHO ARE YOU?

The Goddess replied: I am the maiden. I am the mother. I am the Crone. I am Diana. I am Isis. I am Kali. I am Birth. I am Life. I am Death. I am Creation. I Sustain. I am the Destroyer. I am one Goddess. I am Thousands of Separate Goddesses. I am in Everything. I am Everywhere. I am Eternal. I am in Everyone. I am whoever You want me to be. I am in You.

And the Child was satisfied.

Where the Wild Things Are: Death and Dying

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, May, 16, 2004.

My Dad is quite likely going to die soon, any day now. Don’t worry about sending sympathy, condolences or anything of that sort. You don’t know him. For me it’s a lot more personal.

People think the dying become almost holy. As if, while dying, they change and become a better person all of a sudden. You can’t talk badly about them, you must visit them and you should really, really hold their hand.

Well, my Dad was not a nice, happy, friendly Dad. His dying hasn’t changed that. I don’t want to hold his hand. I don’t want to go in and see him now that he is becoming a pile of meat rather than a human being. Sure, I can stick my hand inside a turkey each Thanksgiving and pull out the little bag of goodies. That doesn’t mean I want to do the same sort of ghoulish thing with my Dad. So, I am visiting him (second time will be today after work) but I am not going to touch him.

What do you believe about death? That gets tested each time someone close to us (physically or emotionally) dies. I still believe in reincarnation. I still believe the body becomes about as useful as roadkill once the person inside is gone. I still think the best body disposal method is compost in the family garden rather than taking up space in a graveyard plot. I’d much rather have my remains sucked up by worms and trees than rotting away in an expensive box.

Am I grossing you out? Am I being too blunt? Do you not want to think about death in such a practical way? Too bad. Death is part of life. There is no getting away from it. Death is always there, waiting at the end. That, I very strongly believe.

I’m not afraid of death. I’m just in no hurry to get there. I’d miss too many things. Every ordinary day, new inventions and ideas, seeing the tulips each Spring and so on.

Anyway, my Dad wants to be cremated. It looks like he will soon have his wish. I don’t think I will miss him. But I’m doing my best to be a good daughter now, in these last days. Not for him, not for myself especially, but for my brother and sisters who seem to expect something grand and dramatic and perfect. As if now that he is about to kick off forever we should honour him for the things he did right.

The Ancient Science of Folklore

Originally written for The Crying Clown Zine (c. 1998)

Folklore is not an old wives tale, mere superstition or fairy tale. It is more than that. Folklore is a way of doing things not based on scientific fact. People relied on folklore before the invention of science. Those who want to practice magick should begin with the study of folklore.

The word folklore literally means “the learning of the people”. W. J. Thoms coined the term folklore in 1846 replacing the old term popular antiquities. My definition of folklore is a habit or tradition based on knowledge from a less than official source, such as modern science.

Folklore covers a wide area including traditional beliefs, customs, stories, songs and sayings. Beliefs concerning nature (animal, plant and mineral), human nature and inanimate objects, magick, charms, luck and disease and death. Customs and rites such as marriage, childhood and adult life, festivals, warfare, hunting, farming, and fishing. Old myths, legends, folktales, ballads, songs, proverbs, nursery rhymes and riddles keep folklore passed along in cultures all over the world.

Folklore comes from every culture on the planet, current and extinct. However, folklore must be taken with a grain of salt. Look it with a slightly suspicious mind and a practical, scientific nature. Explore each custom and belief. Dig deeper and find the mechanics of the idea, what made it work, if it really worked at all. Some customs may have worked once and then just been taken as truth.

Pagan and Wiccan magick are rooted in folklore. Read about herbs, divination, tree magick, astrology, animal guides, weather magick and you are reading folklore. Any magick you look at will be full of old ideas which science is only recently looking at. Do some research and find which old wives tales are having a second wind and are already available at a drug store near you. Not enough for you? Look at a modern wedding ceremony and list the customs that do not seem based on logical scientific thought. Start with throwing rice or catching the bride’s bouquet. Does rice guarantee children? If it did over population would be a much bigger issue!

So, why throw rice? How and why did that custom start? Find out! To really understand and work your own magick you will need to know the thoughts and theories behind it, its roots. To step in and attempt to create magick without studying the how and why is like skipping the whole beginning of a book.

Divination is a good place to start looking at folklore. Divination is a belief/ custom based on folklore, early ideas of science. Every tradition from tarot, dowsing, crystal gazing, scrying to reading the bumps on a head can not be proven to work by science. Still, divination in all its varied forms is a very popular form of magick.

Of course, some folklore is truly a fable or superstition. It will be up to your own explorations and common sense to dig deeper and decide which are fable and which are facts. Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty when you get your feet wet, most of all, have fun!