‘It izz wriiten!’ bellowed Beelzebub.
‘But it might be written differently somewhere else,’ said Crowley. ‘Where you can’t read it.’
‘In bigger letters,’ said Aziraphale.
‘Underlined,’ Crowley added.
‘Twice,’ suggested Aziraphale.
From Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
It’s pretty standard when we want to know about something new that we go looking for written information about it. Whether that be books or in these modern times on the internet. We want answers, we want good quality information, we want to do things right, especially when it comes to spiritual practice and the Gods.
However written information is only as good as its author and editor and unfortunately there is an awful lot of bad writing out there or worse stuff thats been made up, basically to sell more books. And of course you will find a lot of argument over what is good and what is bad amongst the people who have read them.
So then, maybe we look for the older stuff, the original writings, the lore that relates to our beliefs. Well, unfortunately the same problem still applies. Much of the lore about our pagan Gods was written in a very different time, often in a different language and usually by Christian monks, because they were the only people who knew how to write. And then they have been translated by yet another person, and that is not a fully accurate science either. Also we are modern people, living modern lives, so these older writings should be read with a degree of reservation and understanding of context.
So what do you do? Well, reading stuff isn’t a bad idea. Reading the lore isn’t a bad idea. But then after that, trust your instincts. Trust your connection to your Gods. And I think most importantly, be willing to NOT have to know. Be willing to not have all the answers on a plate. Part of the beauty and the magic of paganism is in its mystery and its lack of dogma. As soon as we rigidly hold on to the lore or anything written about our faith as being the whole story that must not be deviated from, we are creating dogma.
No matter how much reading you may have done, no matter how long you may have been a pagan, no matter your community status, none of us have all the answers. We are all on a journey, a living, breathing, connected journey that is our lives with our Gods. For isn’t that part of the point of having a spiritual belief and practice, that it is a part of us and a part of our lives.
And who knows what might be written down somewhere else, where we can’t read it.
(c) Awen Clement – October 2017
Awen is a priestess of the Morrigan, writer and ceremonialist who lives in the Midlands of the UK. The rest of the time she is doing her best to help her four children grow up into interesting people and hanging out in her tiny temple shed at the bottom of her garden. www.awenclement.com