Jun 14, 2011

On "Perfection"

When I was a kid, I had this idea I had to be "perfect." At least part of this was a reaction to a very chaotic home environment. If I were perfect, I'd have control. Of course, defining perfection was a problem. One determination I made at the emboldened age of eight or nine was that perfect people don't cry. Fortunately, I was also philosophical. When I did invariably end up crying over something--at the emboldened age of eight or nine--I put it in perspective and determined that I would try to do better next year.

As polytheists, we acknowledge that our Gods are not perfect. They are amazingly good, awesome, loving, huge, powerful, healing, etc. They fill the deepest recesses of the heart, then surprise you all over again, just when you thought you'd reached the pinnacle of spiritual experience. But They're not perfect.

I think there's a good reason for this. Perfection, when you get down to it, is a static ideal. If you try to picture a "perfect" heaven, you're more likely to envision perfect boredom. We need to learn, to grow. Nothing in nature is truly static. Even the emptiest corner of the Cosmos must surely know the brush of a new quark every ten thousand years or so. The seemingly permanent mountains change. The hardest of stones all have their own stories.

There may be such a thing as temporary perfection. Perhaps I could write the perfect brief: my case citations would be impeccable, my arguments air-tight. Every word would sing off the page, and the judge would of course find in my favor. Yes, I'd have the perfect brief.

And the next day, a case "just like" the one I'd just won would come up. Only, it could never quite be the same case, could it? At least one or two facts would have to be different. Yesterday's brief would no longer be perfect. Not for that case. But you could still use it as a template for the new perfect brief, right? For a while, maybe. Nonetheless, my one true masterpiece of legal writing would become less and less relevant over time. It's a frozen victory, a gnat trapped in amber. Meanwhile, new laws would be enacted, new precedents established.

So much for perfection.

We're blessed in that we don't have perfect Gods. We're blessed in that we cannot be perfect ourselves. This doesn't mean we're not called to high standards and to high ideals. But we move. We grow. And in doing so, we thrive.

Jun 9, 2011

Transcending Gods

I recently had an experience of my God that I have the go-ahead to share. I'll do my best with it, but words are by nature going to be inadequate. Ultimately, this is one person's mystical experience. If a reader takes something away from it, wonderful. If this post doesn't resonate at all, that's fine too. Reasonable minds differ, and individual experiences differ. No one walks the exact same path.

I recently had a meditation change over into something new for me: everything went silent, mentally, and my perceptions became very impersonal. There was a quick flow of images, starting off with the more personal feel of my God and the end of His worship as Christianity spread... then the sense of His presence shifted, and I found I was "following"--for lack of another way to put it--the law (or, The Law) as a sentient, transcendent power, with preferences and opinions. This "felt" something like my God, but was not the same. Not the way I'm used to, at any rate. Perhaps one could describe this as a different aspect?

The flow ended in my familiar work environment. I could perceive a very caring side to this... consciousness. There was a sense of acute, seething frustration with people who use to the law to cheat others or to deny others access to justice. There was also a jubilant, very personal sense of affection for those who try to serve the law and put it ahead of their own convenience, biases, and interests. This power simply wanted what It wanted (and here I hesitate over the appropriate pronoun, as It still seemed quite masculine to me): It did not mind if the people It cared deeply for ever acknowledged It at all.

Toward the very end, I got swept up in a sense of transcendence. The impressions were astonishing, but also terrifying. Words are doomed to fail here. Law is no small thing; it is a real force in our world.

I very much like the idea that our Gods could have stayed with us in other ways, that They could have been with us all along, even when we weren't actively worshiping Them. However, I'll again emphasize that this is just a possibility that now makes some sense to me. It is offered here as nothing more or less than that.  

Afterwards, a rather amused Loki decided to stop by. He pointed out that, hey, at least I didn't get hit over the head with transcendent Justice.

Jun 4, 2011

Altar Piece

This is a wood-burnt piece I made for my general altar to the Gods and Goddesses. Something about wood-burning really appeals to me. The smoky scents, the uncertainty of the results--there's a real mix of planning, chaos, and improvisation involved. Then, there's a deep satisfaction to the staining finally drying and being able to see your completed work.