Thinking About – God

Thinking About – God

I wonder what you thought when you first saw the title of this post? I’m pretty sure the many responses, including my own, suggest a good few moments ‘thinking about’ it well worth the time.

You see, there is no doubt that the word God comes with a lot of baggage. It’s a word that is loaded with centuries of love, pain, blood, peace, war, you name it, it’s in that word. The way our current world uses the word God, and also the ways we think about what a God is, is very different from our ancient Pagan ancestors. The Old Gods were often directly linked to a particular part of the natural world and life, be that a mountain, lake, the flock, or an aspect of the weather. The Greeks felt they played and were involved with our lives, but even then they had their own lives to think about and humanity was just one aspect of their ‘Godness’. But over the centuries I think the monotheistic relationship and way of viewing ‘God’ has also influenced the way the word is viewed in modern Paganism. Some may even not use it at all, in the same way that the word ‘religion’ is replaced by ‘spirituality’, God and religion, for some, are problematic.

So how do I relate to the word God? I rarely think about a ‘creator’. I can see that life has developed on this planet over millions of years of evolution, and that we, a type of ape, are but a comma occupying this space, right here and now. That makes it highly unlikely that a God, any God, created humans in their own image. It’s a part of the Christian story that has never held for me. It’s almost too big a concept to pin down. I mean, I can try, but my relationship with the far outer reaches of the Universe is something I will discover when the atoms of my body, soul and spirit return to stardust.

Right now there are more pressing relationships, and that is my relationship with the life and land around me. So my relationship with the ‘Gods’ is more like my ancestors’ relationships.

I know a God of the sea. I rarely see him as a Poseidon-type figure striding across the waves trident in hand. Mostly I feel the spiritual essence of the sea itself. I call him Llyr, others call him/her/them/it by many other names. It is easy to replace ‘God of the Sea’ with ‘Spirit of the Sea’ – to me it has the same meaning. It is the essence of the sea itself, its consciousness. When I hear thunder I hear Taranis. Others may hear Thor. The thunder is the same.

So if all life has a Spirit, or God, who is the God/Spirit/Consciousness of humanity? For monotheism the answer is easier, for the animist, polytheist, pantheist it is a quest and potentially more complicated. I can only answer for myself, and where my path has led over the years.

It’s probably obvious that I see humanity as just another animal who lives on this gloriously diverse planet filled with life. By its own definition an intelligent animal, but I still cannot smell the world as a wolf or dog does; I cannot follow sonar like a whale or dolphin. What makes ‘intelligence’ is subjective. I see myself as a part of the animal kingdom and what image, for my ancestors here in Europe, bridged their relationship with that of the animals they hunted and shared their world?

A God with Horns.

A God with many names, but one whose image blends that of human with the deer, goat or other horned animals. It feels right to me, and it also shows that the Spirit that cares for the fox, the badger, the deer or bear also looks out for me. They are my brothers and sisters.

It’s why so many of my songs are dedicated to him. He is who I talk to when I need advice, when I need comfort, when I need energy. As with the image of Poseiden, the anthropomorphic image I see is useful and powerful. Maybe it helps me, as a human animal, to feel a kinship with other species. Maybe the image of the Horned God tells a story my soul needs to listen to, and once it is heard I will once more be able to relate to the God of Animals in its non-physical form, just as I often do with the sea.

When I make my annual pilgrimage to see the Rut in Autumn I can feel that energy filling the land. I hear the voice of the God of Animals in the call of the stags and the echoing crash of their antlers. It’s exhilarating to feel that energy so close, and it once more reminds me that I’m a part of this world – another animal trying to survive, and being watched over by a God with Horns.

Blessed be.

5 responses to “Thinking About – God”

  1. Great post! and how exciting to see a picture of the pride of our oceanfront – King Neptune! I always feel that statue is a reminder that we are being watched over in our coastal town on the Atlantic.

  2. So true the monothesistic and male god comes with baggage a) excluding half of the worlds population by default, b) the whole creator “rubbish” which was nothing more than an explanation for people at a time, when there was no scientific one available and it was just that a creation story, like so many other religions have one and c) with its claim to be the only valid explanation for everyone… however the 10 commandments have been quite a good basis for people for a long time … so not all bad here, but neither all good. Also I see that especially in Britain there is not much knowledge about the Christian religion and if so only Anglican and may some odd Evangelical churches…because the vastness of the Christian religions is often not seen… the Orthodox, the Catholic, the Lutheran are again each quite different from each other and other branches… I mean they could not even get an understanding and the shift of Christians becoming the suppressed religion in quite some countries recently… but again not by multi-deity religions, but by other monotheistic ones… quite some competition there on who is the one true god… so much more chilled out, if you can chose from many, because again in essence it does not matter what we call it, them, or she or he… but their meaning to the individual…my Animal here is more the Crow, maybe that is why we get so many plus magpies around us… and from the plumpness I reckon the magpie is telling me something… to ditch the crow and choose her…

  3. I agree about the baggage. The “God” I was taught about at school was all male and told people the world had been put there for their entertainment – THAT one turned out well, didn’t it? There was no balance and the most important teachings that god is love and through history that big important commandment about not killing seemed to have changed to thou shalt not except when it suits you. Everyone thought their god was the biggest, best and the only one and even members of the same religious group persecuted each other over minor differences in belief, let alone those of other religions.
    When I think of god I think of something like the term “The Universe” that is bandied about in new age circles, the deep powerful spiritual force at the core of existence, neither male or female at it’s highest level. It can manifest or be perceived as different male or female deities to make it easier for us to connect and experience it but at it’s deepest level are just aspects of the same force. You can put whatever label or name on it you like which makes it easier to connect to it( not worship – work with, not for ) and we are part of it too, not subjects to be dictated to. We have a divine part of ourselves the same as we have a higher self. All are one.
    No one has a right to dictate how others see or access it, no one is right, after all gods and goddesses, all forms of spirit be it angels, elementals, guides etc manifest and are perceived differently by each person, that’s why when I paint them I don’t put faces on.
    The basic rules are the same. Balance – neither male or female is more important, both are needed and equally as powerful. Kindness – if any god is used to make someone’s life miserable it is wrong. Tolerance – everyone is on their own spiritual journey, you must let them follow it and develop in their own way. As it harms none, do as ye will. And follow the law of three -real or not, if we all considered would we want our thoughts and actions coming back at us before doing them the world would be a better place. We are part of the world and have a duty that our time in it leaves more positive than negative. We’re only human and that can be hard but the alternative…..
    Love to all, healing to nature and peace to spirit

  4. Thank you, Damh, for putting into words what exists only as thoughts in my mind. I have had issues with the monotheistic god for quite a while until I gave myself permission to doubt it’s existence. It makes sense to see deity in nature, in the trees and in the animals. They are the only things greater than humans. They are not out to destroy the Earth.

  5. I’ve tested several religious ideologies in my quest for spirituality.
    Two years ago, at the age of 75, I started thinking about cause and effect, and came to the conclusion that Everything can be traced back to the Big Bang. Everything, including the impulses driving my fingers to think about and post this comment. And so, I don’t have a personal God, but, ain’t Probability grand? 🙂

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