Thursday, 30 October 2008


EURYBIA was the goddess of the mastery of the seas. She seems to have presided over the external forces which influenced the main, including the rise of the constellations and seasonal weather, and the power of the winds. Her husband was the Titan Krios, who may have been associated with the constellation Aries, marker of the Greek new year. Her grandchildren all had power over the sea. They included the Anemoi (Winds), the Astra (Stars), Hekate (Witchraft), Selene (the Moon), Nike (Victory), Bia (Force), Kratos (Power), Zelos (Rivalry). Some of these represent human command of the seas : the winds for sailing, stars for navigation, and force, power and victory representing naval supremacy.
According to Hesiod's Theogony, Εὐρυβία had a heart of flint within her. She was the daughter of PONTOS (the Sea) & GAIA (the Earth). So if the sea makes love to the Earth, it erodes the rock, deposits it somewhere else, and makes chalk - which has a heart of flint. So I wonder if Eurybia was also a goddess of chalk? As someone who was born on the chalk, I find it very magical. Also Εὐρυβία is the grandmother of Hekate, goddess of witchcraft. I read somewhere recently that Doreen Valiente found chalk landscapes very conducive to magic.

As goddess of the sea and the winds, Eurybia is very closely allied to witchcraft, because witchcraft was often about the control of the winds; witches used to tie knots to bind or release the wind. And of course, the sea symbolises either the subconscious or the collective unconscious, the supernal mother.
I am the soundless, boundless bitter sea
Out of whose depths life wells eternally
Giver of life and bringer-in of death;
HERA of heaven, on earth, PERSEPHONE;
LEVANAH of the tides and HECATE
All these am I, and they are seen in me
I am the soundless, boundless, bitter sea
All tides are mine, and answer unto me.
~ Dion Fortune

Thursday, 16 October 2008

a symbiotic relationship

What is our relationship with the deities? Some people serve them. Now, maybe I'm being cranky and difficult, but I am not at all sure about this. I will happily co-operate with someone who has the same values and agenda as I do, but not because they're a discarnate entity; rather because they have the same values and agenda as I do - which may mean I only co-operate with them on a temporary basis while the shared goal is being worked on.

I don't think I'm on an equal footing with the deities in their domain (the numinous, nebulous, eternal, non-local) - they graciously allow me to access their form of consciousness; and in return I allow them to access my local, focused, finite, time-based consciousness (in which they are not equal to me). So no, it's not equal in the sense of being the same, but it is on equal terms - they're better at some things than I am, and I'm better at somethings than they are. It's a symbiotic relationship.

Maybe this means I am not religious in the conventional sense - but I became a Pagan because I didn't agree with blind faith and subservience to the big bully in the sky, so I am not going to give this one up without a struggle.

Yes, I want the world to be a better place, with more peace and harmony, social and economic justice, and respect for the environment (by which I mean deep ecology) - but I am not at all sure that giving power to floaty entities (and most likely ending by having a priesthood that claims to speak for them) is the way to achieve these goals. Domination and submission games are for consenting adults in private.

So, I will happily co-operate with any entity (incarnate or discarnate) who wants peace, harmony, social and economic justice, and respect for the environment - but I will not serve.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Only connect

I engage in interfaith dialogue for a variety of reasons: partly because I want to help others to realise that Wicca and other Pagan traditions are valid spiritual paths and inform them about what we do, so that they realise we're not scary; partly because I want to learn about other faiths and respect their insights into the spiritual journey; and partly because I think interfaith dialogue promotes tolerance, understanding and harmony, and is the only way to resolve conflicts between different religions.

I do think, however, that the basis for interfaith dialogue has to be mutual respect, with no hidden or overt agenda of proselytising or evangelising. In listening to the other points of view in the dialogue, I should be open to them to the point of willingness to change my own position, but they shouldn't be trying to convert me. It's rather a paradox, but it's the only way to make it work.

Sometimes interfaith dialogue can be slow, and one is sometimes rebuffed by people who don't consider Paganism a "proper religion" - but patience is a virtue. It's precisely the people who are hostile to the ideas of interfaith and religious pluralism that most need to engage in interfaith dialogue; there's no point in "preaching to the converted", otherwise it just becomes a cosy little club. The whole point is to try to build a world where religions can co-exist peacefully, and if a whole tranche of religions fail to engage in interfaith dialogue, then the goal won't be achieved.

My position is that I would always encourage people to follow the spiritual path that is right for them. For me, the goal of the spiritual path is to transform the world by raising the consciousness of everyone; and whatever symbolism best represents that process for you - whatever speaks to your soul - is good. Only connect, as E M Forster said.

But I don't think that all denominations or all practices of all religions are equally valid; there are some really unpleasant practices and beliefs with disastrous consequences in many religions; but there is also good in all religions. Our task is to discern what is good, and work towards it together - offering constructive criticism rather than blame, and accepting criticism from others.

We now live in a globalised world where every religion has to rub shoulders with the others; we have to get along and learn from each other. No single religion will ever appeal to everyone in the world; each has different strengths and weaknesses, focusses on different issues, works in a different philosophical paradigm, and has different blind-spots. That's not to say that their truth claims are entirely irreconcilable, because they're not; just that diversity is a good and natural way for the human race to be.

This post is part of the interfaith synchroblog on interfaith dialogue.

List of participants