Monday, May 4, 2015

The Pagan Experience - "Fire"

WK 1 - May 4 – Fire –  What ignites your passionate fires? What fuels your spiritual fires? What rages in fire’s destructive wake within you? And, what has healed from the cauterizing flames? How do you honor fire? How will you embrace its transformative powers?

I panicked a little after I was ordained in 2009.  It wasn’t just my quarter-life crisis/pre-Saturn return.  I literally went through one existential crisis after another.  As soon as I “resolved” one issue, another would arise.  Even now I sometimes find myself looping back to former contradictions and concerns that I thought I had reconciled long, long ago. 

But as we venture further into the labyrinth of this existence, we find ourselves looping back and back again, an eternal ebb and flow.  But we’re always gazing upon the world with new realizations, insights, experiences, and knowledge.  At this rate, we might as well be looking at an entirely new world each and every time we open and close our eyes. 

One crisis I remember quite vividly was over my concern of “how to be a good minister.”  I remember phoning my Bishop (probably in tears), literally freaking out about how I had no idea what I was doing.  I took my ordination very, very seriously, and I had begun to put a lot of pressure on myself to be “the perfect minister” (hah, whatever that is!)  I still recall my Bishop’s voice – calm, patient, gentle, honest, trusting… I could tell he was smiling, even through the phone.  He assured me that he wouldn’t have ordained me if he didn’t KNOW I was going to be a good minister.  But that wasn’t enough for me, and he could tell I was distressed.  I wanted a check-list, a book or a resource for me to refer to:

How to Be a Good Minister
1. Get ordained
2. Study a lot
3. ????

Unfortunately, no such list exists.  Sure, a person can undergo ceremonies and initiations.  My actual ordination was actually quite lovely and incredibly moving to me.  I remember it vividly.  And even to this day, years later, I study and read all the time, trying to gain as much knowledge and technique as I can in regards to “being a good minister.”  But… these things don’t really make you a GOOD minister.  Not really.  There’s more, so much more, and my Bishop knew that’s what I meant when I asked him these questions.  It’s what I needed.

He took a breath and asked me “do you really want to know how to be a good minister?  Really, truly want to know?”

“YES!” I cried out.  “Yes, tell me!”  I was begging with him, pleading.

There was a pause.  I could hear him thinking.  He took a breath.  His voice was very soft and gentle.  He said: “The way for you to be a good minister is to let the light of the Divine shine through you.”

Now it was time for me to be silent.  I was still stuck on the “3. ????” stage of my “Good Minister” checklist.  He could sense my consternation, so he explained further.

“Develop your relationship with the Divine,” he said.  “It will start as a little seed, as a little spark, but the more you nurture it, the more it will grow.  And the more it grows the more it will shine, until the fire of God overwhelms you and others have no choice but to be on fire, too.”

Though my Fellowship is no longer a Gnostic church, it started off that way, back in the day.  In one of the Gnostic myths, Sophia messes up and she creates the Demiurge, an imperfect being who is so removed from the Divine that the Demiurge things HE is God.  So the Demiurge, in his own acts of creation, forms humans, but treats them very terribly.  Sophia, compassionate and wise, takes pity on us, and saves us with a piece of herself, which is a piece of the True Divine.  And it is through this spark that we maintain our connection to the Source.

In Orphism, little baby Zagreus is torn apart and eaten by the Titans.  They are destroyed by Zeus’s lightning bolts and turned to ash.  It is out of this ash that humans are created – ash from the corpse of a Titan that ate a Divine child.  Again, we retain our connection to the fires of the Divine.

It is through these archetypal stories that we are reminded of our own Divinity.  These aren’t just myths – they more true than anything else in this world.  I am Goddess, and thou art God, and it is by recognizing this Truth that I am a good minister, that I can be the best minister I can be.  The spark of the Divine that lives within me ignites the spark of the Divine that lives within you, and together we burn bright.  Together we are fire. 

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