April 22, 2012
This is my first day writing “morning pages”. I am reading a book about developing ones own personal daily practice and the first weeks assignment is this. It is essentially automatic writing, as soon as possible in the morning I will sit down and write three pages of whatever comes out of my head. This week it is all I will be doing, 6 days of morning pages. I am reading the book as I go so I assume in the second week more tasks will be added on.
Cernunnos has been figuring prominently in my subconscious the last few months. I knew that a God was coming forward I just didn’t realize it was Him until a week ago. I have joined a group on head covering and modesty within Paganism. Believe it or not it is something that is quite heavily looked down upon in the Pagan community at large. People assume you are being abused or forced to cover when really it is our God/dess’s that are calling us to do it. Veiling is definitely not just a “Big 3” religious practice. I have felt so much happier about that part of my life since I have joined. The support is just amazing. We got into a discussion about Godspouses, which I had never even heard of before so of course I went rummaging around the internet to figure out exactly what it was. It is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You commit yourself completely to that particular Deity. Apparently this isn’t the easiest thing in the world, it demands a lot of your time and energy. And it’s not just you picking a God and saying you are married to it, it takes a lot of work and devotion and practice, it is a mutual thing, not just something you decide to do.
The creator of the group posted about Hermes and how He has been with her since she was a young child, about how just recently He had asked for her to become his spouse. She had refused saying she already had a mortal husband and a family and didn’t think she had the time to devote to him completely as well. He wasn’t pleased but He is still with her, they are working on it. Which I think is super sweet. Reading her post set a bunch of bells ringing off in my head, a major AHA! moment. As I said I have been struggling with the fact that a God was making Himself more and more visible to me. Whispering to me. When I left the United Church fifteen years ago I gave up on Gods. I acknowledged the male aspect of Divinity but felt no desire to work with it. I was repulsed by it to be honest. Or so I thought at the time. Slowly as I have studied more and grown deeper in my faith I no longer reject the idea of working with a God but it still feels a little off after working with the Divine Feminine for so long. The Gods and Goddess’s are sneaky and never seem content to just show up and announce themselves. So I have felt this male presence for months but could not quite figure out who it was that was talking to me.
I first assumed that it was The Daghda seeming as how it is The Morrigan that I am devoted to. They are shown together in the Myths. So I reached out to Him for a while and while His reception is most definitely warm and loving (the name “Papa” comes to mind when I think of Him), He made it clear that it was not He who was calling to me. For a VERY brief period of time I thought it might be Lugh but that idea was shut down very quickly. I didn’t even get the warm response like I had gotten from Papa. Not that He was mean or anything, He just felt like a stranger on the street. So I started throwing the idea around again of Cernunnos. In my mind Cernunnos and Herne are one and the same. It is the Scottish Highland and British version of this God that calls to me. I know Cernunnos originated on the Continent but it is the worship along Hadrian’s wall that has always called to me. As has the image of Herne, the hanged horned God. Technically the myth starts off with Him as human but all myths hold a grain of truth in them.
After reading Cora’s post about Hermes and how He had been with her always a sudden flash of memory hit me. When I was in grade one or two I went on the yearly end of the year choir trip. We went to UBC, I don’t remember where exactly this moment took place but I know it was UBC or possibly the Museum of Anthropology. I remember rounding a corner or looking up and a little ways ahead of me was a set of antlers from an Irish Elk. I believe they were fossilized. I remember looking at them and feeling this rush of energy, this clenching in my solar plexus and this rabid excitement. I couldn’t quite understand it but I went with it and ran up to the glass, placing my hands on it and memorizing every detail. It was so important, this sudden mind-blowing connection. I’ve been obsessed with Irish Elk and antlered animals ever since. Although, thinking about it now my connection to Him was essentially at my birth. He has ALWAYS been with me.
My father is a member of The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, he is retired now but was a drummer for the band for at least 30 years. The crest for the Seaforth is a stag’s head. The Regimental Toast is as follows:
“The land of hills, glens and heroes;
Where the Ptarmigan thrives
And where the red deer find shelter.
As long as the mist hangs o’er the mountains
And water runs in the glens,
The deeds of the brave shall be remembered.
Health and success forever
To the lads of Cabar Feidh.”
(to which is replied…)
CABAR FEIDH GU BRATH!
(translated: The Deer’s Horns Forever!)
This above part of the toast is translated from Gaelic. I have literally heard this ALL of my life. I have heard it in English and on special occasions in Gaelic as well. When anxious the response will pop into my head. It has been popping into my head seemingly for no reason the last few months. I have memories of running around the Armoury as a child, petting every stuffed stag head I could find, be it deer, moose, or elk. The cougar is also a crest for the Seaforth and I was never attracted to it. I remember when they had to get rid of 99% of the taxidermy, it broke my heart. Growing up, while my father holds a very special and dear place in my heart, I didn’t have just one dad. I had the whole band. So an extra 10-15 men who helped form my personality and took care of me. After reading about Herne this makes me think of the band of riders and hunters that He apparently rides through the woods with. I’ve wanted a stag’s head tattoo my whole life. When I was married almost five years ago half of the band came to my reception and surprised the Hell out of me. I had asked my Dad if he could ask a few of them to come by and play. I didn’t expect HALF of the band to come. My Uncle Mike (technically my Dad’s best friend) had been at the service itself, playing his pipes for us as we left the Church. But I digress. Half the band showed up. I cried like a baby the whole time, I was so happy. After they had played for a little bit my Uncle Mike had the usual shots of Scotch brought up, one for each man in the band and one for myself, my husband, my Mom and Dad and my in-laws. He then said the Regimental Toast IN GAELIC and we all yelled the response as loud as we could, as is tradition, then downed the Scotch. Looking back on it seems so fitting. And a nice counter to the Catholic Ceremony we had. And it seems rather fitting that Cernunnos was at my wedding as well. A big one on my upper back, I plan on having little ribbons “tied” to the antlers with the names of my children. Just a plain white one for my first baby who died.
It seems so obvious now that it was Him all along who was whispering to me. Everything has just clicked in my head. My plan over the next week is to redo my altar. A year ago a very dear friend of mine bought me a VERY large Bowie knife that has an antler handle. I feel it is time to put away the small ones I bought in my Wiccan days (I keep the two on my altar for The Morrigan, she is a war/death Goddess after all) and replace them with the one large blade. I’m not sure what else I am going to do but that seems to be the most important thing right now. I want to start meditating or sitting in silence (think Friends) so I can connect with Him more directly. The Morrigan and I have a deep-set relationship and I know this sudden realization of The God for me has made her happy, I can feel her smiling (so has the appearance of The Cailleagh, but that’s a whole other story). I feel a bit like a lost child. She has been my rock for fifteen years. I suppose I shouldn’t feel so unsettled. She is still with me. And He has been with me since the beginning. It’s a male energy thing though. Male energy in the not just platonic sense (He is definitely NOT a father figure like The Daghda!!) has always thrown me all a kilter. I’m running with this though.
I feel at this point I have no choice. I am wandering in The Wild Wood and it is He who hunts me, or He I am hunting for…or both. I suppose after so many years of focusing on the Divine Feminine it is just my time to balance the scales and focus on the Divine Masculine as well. He seems pleased with my covering as well. Especially the veils. I did a tarot reading for the first time in YEARS a week ago for a good friend and was compelled to place my white rectangular scarf over my head, think Virgin Mary style. It made the reading much easier and it came to me that this is something I should be doing when I pray/commune with the Divine. I haven’t had the chance to do it yet but I am hoping to tomorrow. Prayer is something I like to do alone, as in nobody in the house! Although my husband is very understanding (he’s Catholic, so I figure he gets the importance of ritual). When I go into the bedroom at night and light the candles on my altar and burn the incense he leaves me alone for a good 15 minutes or so. Usually very discreetly poking his head into the bedroom to see if I have put my prayer-book down.
I will fully admit to being terrified on some levels of this sudden turn of events. In other ways though I am insanely excited. I have felt like I have been floundering a bit in my faith. Not a crisis of faith per say but just that something was missing. I thought perhaps that Jesus was coming back into my life, with the sudden reemergence of The Virgin. It seems that is not the case though. He is there as always but in the same sense as The Daghda. More like a Father figure or an Older Brother. He loves me and is there for me but it is not his place to connect with me like that. I am certain that I have found that missing piece. It is just a matter of integrating Him into my practice.