Well, I’m back! It’s November and a couple of months have passed since I last posted. The winter is arriving full force, the temperature is down to one degree Celsius in the morning, and the cold loving plants that usually bloom in early spring are starting to bloom for the second time this year before their last pre-spring dormancy period.
Everything is beautiful at this time of year, and this time of year in England has always been my favourite. The air is fresh and crisp, the skies are clear and bright, the sun is shining brilliantly and everything seems so much more vibrant, even with the deciduous trees losing their leaves and becoming barren. It’s a wonderful reminder how even though death is part of the cycle of life, there is still always life, and death can ultimately be transcended as nothing more than a beautiful transition between one state of matter to another.
I’ve become very in tune with nature and her seasons since studying herbalism. I feel like I know our mother earth much more deeply than I ever thought was possible. It has revealed many things to me, and I feel much more content and secure than ever. Who knew that there were flowers that liked blossoming in winter? I certainly didn’t! But now I do, and I’m excited and just in awe at how beautiful everything is at this time of year. For the first time winter isn’t the end of summer for me: Instead winter is the beginning of wonderful new life. Death is not an end, it’s merely a beginning.
As you can probably tell, my positivity from my last post is still in full force. It has actually just become such a large part of me now, a staple within my personality that I never knew I needed. I am happy and content inside, and find it enjoyable and easy to feel vibrant and alive, to look to hope and love, to fight and be strong.
My journey with agnostic paganism is still a part of that. Diana is good to me and brings me a lot of internal strength. She stays by my side supporting me, loving me, and gently guiding me. But when it comes to spiritual protection from my ‘demons’ her approach is more one of internal change than eradication of what ails me. She will not do my work for me, which is a good thing. At the same time however sometimes I just need that help during particularly bad episodes, and I have found myself turning back to Durga again.
I don’t think either Diana or Durga mind if I work with both of them. Diana knows sometimes I need my attacks to be slayed, but she also knows that ultimately I need to build that own strength up inside me so I can be strong enough to ward them off on my own. And Durga doesn’t seem to mind that I’m an English girl dedicated to a Roman Goddess who is invoking an Indian deity from a religion I don’t share theology with (any longer). Interesting though how Shiva was my main deity role model for ages before my interest in paganism and he is the husband of Durga.
Anyway, so I am still going strong with Diana and reaching out a little bit and exploring the pagan world as it applies to me at the moment. I still don’t know if I believe the gods are real, sometimes I think they are, other times I think I’m just hallucinating. Sometimes I think they are probably just advanced extraterrestrials communicating with us through some kind of quantum telepathy. Who knows. The theology itself isn’t too important to me these days. It’s more about what makes me feel good, because what makes me feel good improves my quality of life regardless of what it is (as long as it’s ethical) and should be pursued. But that’s my apparent Utilitarianism talking.
And Paganism does make me feel good, it makes me feel connected and grounded, and for some inexplicable reason, centers me into the real me, as if it’s who I’ve always been but never known. I just feel connected both on a spiritual and physical level. I feel connected to my ancestors and my generational line, to my evolutionary history, to the waters of the sea and the dirt of the ground where we all came from. I feel human, I feel part of something bigger than me. I guess I feel a sense of collective consciousness and identity, which isn’t that different to how I felt those few years back when I had my supposed “enlightenment experience”. Except the context is quite different. In that vision I felt connected to the universe on non-personal level. In this context I feel connected to all living things on a personal level.
Perhaps collective consciousness is just what humans strive for. We are social animals after all, and maybe our end goal is the post-human state of the singularity which has us all as one mind, still individual yet all connected. Even if it’s something we may never achieve, and something that doesn’t really exist anyway (pantheism), I think that perhaps that’s what will always drive us. Connection with others. Or perhaps that’s just what drives me these days. After all I can really only talk for myself, not for others.
A somewhat related but interesting thing that has been on my mind lately is the idea of archetypes. There was a point in my life where I was obsessed with archetypes and believed them to be god-like entities that ruled humanity. For example, the archetype of the Self being the ultimate God-others-connection. But I had always come at archetypes from a monotheistic kind of view. That there’s only one of each archetype, that there’s an ultimate that governs every archetype. How could this be more wrong? Things in nature are never solitary. There’s the archetype of the father but there are also billions of fathers on this planet. Why should it be any different for the gods?
And this gets me onto hard polytheism vs soft polytheism. A lot of soft polytheists will lump a lot of gods together like they are all the same, especially with the Wiccan maiden-mother-crone archetype. For example they will equate Diana as being the same Goddess as Isis, just because they may share a lot of characteristics. But that’s as erroneous as saying I’m the same human being as the girl down the street from me just because we share a lot of things in common. Yes we may share a lot of archetypal imprints in common, but we are two totally different people.
I feel this is where the soft polytheism goes wrong, and why the idea of an ultimate God-archetype cannot exist. Archetypes are archetypes, they are simplified patterns of behaviour, they are abstract and not actually anything real on their own. They cannot be used to equate the gods interchangeably. And the reason I am writing all this is because when I started out on my path of following the Goddess, I did originally believe all goddesses were one Goddess. But now it makes no sense to me. When did anything ever have a single creator? Sophia the world’s first robot to be awarded a Saudi Arabian citizenship was created by a group of scientists, not just one person. And among those group of scientists they were not the only humans existing. There is an entire human population which ultimately through centuries of hard work all contributed to the current knowledge we have to be able to create our own creation – Sophia the robot.
And it’s the same for the gods. They either created us as some advanced species, or they too are a product of evolution and just happened to evolve before us. Who knows the possibilities? But I am trying to understand this from a more practical approach, because let’s face it, when you really get down to it the whole idea of Monotheism doesn’t have any feet to stand on at all. Monotheism is completely against nature, and now maybe it’s only that I’ve been feeling in tune with nature and her seasons that I have come to this realisation. That there is no one ‘Source’, but that in fact each life is perfectly unique in itself.
This brings me onto my last topic I think, which is also only somewhat related, but I have nearly finished the introductory herbalist course I started, and whilst I’m not sure what I want to do between now and when I get better, I do know that once I am perfectly healthy and energetic again my desire is to sign up to the NHS apprenticeship and through their PTP program graduate as a clinical scientist, the benefit being that I can work and study what I desire at the same time. The health sector is definitely for me and it’s taken me all these years to realise that I was a born healer and that I just needed to find my own path to heal others. And mine I think is the scientific route, not the ‘energy’ route, if you know what I mean. No more pranic healing and reiki, but loads more research into human enhancement technology.
I was born both to be a scientist and a healer, it’s just who I’ve always been. So in a sense I guess you can say this post is about how I’ve been finding myself, when I thought I was lost, I found myself again in a place I never expected. I may have been badly fucked up with the psychosis (spiritual crisis?), but it has changed me so much for the better, and I sometimes find myself thankful for all the horror I went through because I would not be this person now. I thought after what I went through I would and could never feel thankful for it, but amazingly I do, and I probably wouldn’t change any of it.
The last thing I will write about is how I am hoping I may have the right treatment soon and be perfectly healthy and energetic again like any average person. I have Narcolepsy and Cataplexy exams coming up next Wednesday, where they will do a lumbar puncture to measure the levels of Orexin in my brain, and also I will sleep over night and they will measure my brain waves to see if they are acting normal between wake-sleep-wake cycles. The doctor told me it does sound like I have narcolepsy with cataplexy and if the diagnosis turns out positive a lot of the suffering I am going through can be near completely eradicated with the medication they have. So I’m very happy and excited about that. I am getting my hopes up but I am also being realistic and realise if the results turn out negative, even then it’s one thing ruled out and I can go onto the next lead. It’s progress either way, so I’m feeling very hopeful.