Tag Archives: sacred

Relationship with Divinity

There are people from all religions who have spiritual experiences and feel they have come into contact with their god, goddess, or another spiritual presence they find significant. Generally speaking, being a serious upholder of the given faith is deemed a good way of inviting that kind of experience. So, what is a Druid to do? How do we go about our lives in order to make contact with divinity?

For us, it’s a very different scenario. There’s no book of rules, no straightforward way of demonstrating power of faith or devotion that you can easily tap into. We talk a great deal about having nothing to mediate between us and the divine, but in practice what that also means is that we are entirely on our own.

What are we seeking, when we quest after direct knowledge of deity? Reassurance? Something to take us out of the realms of faith and into knowing and certainty, perhaps. We might seek validation, proof that we are heading the right way, doing the right things. We might just want the ego boost. While all of these things may be natural, they are about us, and not about relationship. If there is any rule at all for Druids in this context, it should probably be, to seek connection for its own sake and not for anything else. Don’t even assume it will mean insight and wisdom. It might just bring chaos, confusion and uncertainty. Are we looking for some clear moment, the booming voice from the Heavans? Or are we actually seeking to know and understand? Religious experience is not like the movies. There is seldom much certainty, but moments of beauty, wonder, awe and numinousness can enrich our lives and give us a sense of having encountered something other. Seek relationship for the beauty of it. That is enough.

The things that shape relationships between humans are just as valid when it comes to thinking about relationship with deity. What do we share? If we understand deity as manifest in nature, then when we are out, interacting with and relating to nature, we are also experiencing relationship with the divine. Watching it on the telly doesn’t count. If we are drawn to more human gods, the named figures of historical pantheons, then we might think about what they represent – and where we are exploring their focus, and the energy they embody, we are making relationship with them, or at the very least with concepts that exist externally to us.

To seek deity in the way I’ve described above, does not call for belief. It doesn’t need validation in the form of something obvious returning to you. It is experiencing sacredness in action, allowing perception to include that element of deity, and being open to that which moves us. It’s spending time with a river and the land, or writing poetry and recognising the sacred within that. As with all other kinds of relationship, the more you share, do and give, the deeper it becomes. No burning bushes actually required.

All Things Sacred

Monotheistic religions place God outside nature and denigrate all things physical as unspiritual. This has fostered an attitude that material things are traps, unimportant, or there purely to serve our needs. Pagans have a radically different outlook, seeing divinity and nature as connected at the least. For some, nature is the divine made manifest, for others, spirit pervades all things, or Gods are born of nature. The distinctions may seem subtle, but are important. However, what all of these approaches share is a sense that everything matters.

It’s very easy to live a careless life, taking without thought for the consequence, if you see the material world as ‘just stuff’. I assume this is what most people believe, because it makes sense of the way in which we as a species  relate to the planet and its other inhabitants.

What happens if you embrace the idea that all thing, both living and inanimate, are full of spirit and inherently sacred? Not just the idea that temples and trees are sacred, but that there is spirit in the chair you are sitting on, a spark of divinity in your trousers. Look around you. If everything you can see has some kind of awareness and purpose of its own, if everything is connected through the flows of spirit, and you can imagine that, how ought you relate to it? To have such an awareness of the world, creates a need to step lightly, use minimally, give back and treat with respect. To do otherwise becomes painful.

Now, I can’t rationally and scientifically prove that everything has awareness. Our society’s notion of ‘rights’ depends a lot at present on ‘like a human’ – the more like us something can be proved to be, the more inclined we are to take care of it. That is an interesting prejudice. From a certain perspective, it doesn’t matter if everything is actually, objectively, measurably sacred. We ought to treat it that way anyway. Better a life based on respect, tolerance and sustainability than a philosophy of greed that will cost us the earth. So even if you are unable to believe that either god is everywhere, or that everything is equally valuable, consider the idea that there is much merit acting as though it were so anyway and explore what this does to your perspective, and your life.

One line to consider is how this affects sense of self. If all things are infused with spirit and to be treated as sacred, then I too (and you, dear reader) are also infused with spirit and inherently sacred. It is an understanding that makes self respect essential, accepting yourself as part of the magical whole that is existence. What then should you do, as a sacred, spiritual entity? Treating your own body and mind with respect becomes more important. Treating well the environment that nourishes you becomes more important. Seeking a connected, balanced, meaningful place in the world becomes vital. A whole different set of values, duties and creative possibilities emerge when we view ourselves as unique and precious, in a world that consists entirely of unique and precious things. Nothing, and no-one can be written off as worthless. Nothing should be discarded. Everything matters.