Sometime back in September (yeah, I have a backlog of things I want to post about, and the only other thing in my head is more mommy issues and I'm tired of mommy issues right now), The Wild Hunt noticed a small group of Christian blogs posting entries about paganism, and I went to look at them.
The one that particularly struck me was "Following the Wild Goose" at Eternal Echoes.
Why did the Wild Goose speak to those ancient Celtic Christians? To begin with, wild geese aren't’t controllable. You can’t restrain a wild goose and bend it to your will. They’re raucous and loud. Unlike the sweet and calming cooing of a dove, a goose’s honk is strong, challenging, strident and unnerving – and just a bit scary.
She goes on to write about the extended community that encompasses more than the human -- the manifest world as an expression of the will of the divine, animals as part of that dialogue among human, divine, and world, the value of the world of spirit as a part of the world that one lives in rather than a disjoint thing that does not touch on the centre of living.
And while I'm no Celt -- I leave that to my liege -- that doesn't mean that I don't have a shrine that Brighid shares in my house, accepting my cool water libations and occasional offerings of scent, milk, and whiskey. Integrated, a part of the spirit and the living of the house; my house shrine honoring its Two Ladies also houses all the miscellanea of day-to-day living -- the box of envelopes, a drawer with pens, stamps, and in theory nail clippers (in practice, at the moment, not so much), because the smooth maintenance of the extended household is a thing of spirit and reverence and also a thing of sometimes needing a pair of scissors. It doesn't make sense to separate them out to me, to pray for household peace and security in one place, and to trail about looking for a tape measure elsewhere, when all of this is a part of living and maintaining that household.
There is listening to the world, and knowing down in the bone that it breathes the will of the divine. I live in New England now, land of the Three Sisters, the corn and beans and squash twined together, a holy trinity of vegetable nutrition, each supporting the other in its own way, and feeding people well at the end. This is one of the secrets of the land I live in; I fully expect that the surrounding world will reveal a cornucopia of truths about the interrelationships between lives if one only pays attention. In ancient Egypt, the system was stark and clear; it is perhaps harder here without the richness of the thousand dualities that they knew then and there, but it can still be found, written in flesh as much as in storm and stone.
And when one listens, sometimes one can hear the voice of God, in the cry of the goose or the stormwind through the trees or the moon falling behind shadow or the clear returning glory of the sunlight, reminding and demanding that one attend, be present, listen to what it has to say. Maybe today it speaks of the seasons turning, or the end of drought, or the sun triumphant after another treacherous night beset by dangers; maybe it speaks of something more personal, more private, more demanding, down in the secret places that are never confessable, not in mortal tongues.
Sometimes the wild goose demands more than is easy to give. And one can turn away and listen only to sweeter songs, more pleasant, more flattering, or one can take the buffeting of the wings and hear the glory of the divine in all its registers.