Finding Gods of Compassion

Many times when I do readings I get the message to tell someone not to be so hard on themselves; to give themselves time to heal from the wounds that the world has given them.  And inevitably, the client (especially my deeply pagan clients) look at me with surprise.  They then proceed to tell me that their God is not the type to allow someone to wallow in pity.  Instead, they tell me their Gods and Goddesses are the type to push someone to ‘suck it up’ and get on with it.

I fully agree, to an extent.  As someone who feels very honored to have a relationship with Odin, I know first hand that there are Gods out there that want us to ‘get on with it’.  They want us to accept our shortcomings and grow up.

But that request to ‘grow up’ or ‘get over it’ isn’t the same as giving ourselves time to heal from the deep wounds that the world gives us. And in that aspect, I think that we are missing an important factor in the relationship with our Gods.  Although they want us to grow, Gods and Goddesses can also can be compassionate and supportive of us being compassionate for ourselves and for our fellow human beings. 

Now before you start getting weirded out by images of Odin sitting around a camp fire holding hands and singing, hear me out.

We know that during early periods of civilization the Gods moved around within pantheons a lot.  We know that at times one God usurped another when civilization changed.  Gods of the wildlands were replaced or altered to represent the fertile fields and of agriculture.  And in time, those Gods were also altered or replaced to represent war and protection from other civilizations thirsting for conquest.  I’m not going to get into all the specifics, but they are all there in the history books for anyone to see.  And this happened in many different civilizations.

The point that I’m trying to make is that the Gods changed when humanity needed them to.  And for thousands of years, humanity was OK with that.  In fact, in our current time, we have been known to modify our own practices to mold to our own needs.  And even from a reconstructionist pagan standpoint, we see that modification today.

For an example, let’s look at Beltane, the fertility festival celebrated by many pagans around the world.  This festival was originally a fertility rite, both for the fields and for fertility of our species.  We still see this holiday as a perfect time for couples to do fertility rites to get pregnant, but we recognize that the survival of the species because of lack of fertility is not as serious of an issue today as it was two thousand years ago.  We don’t need to utilize that rite to secure survival of our species.  In fact, I think we all can agree that there is an overabundance of humans now on the planet.

So what do we do with this fertility rite?  Do we stop celebrating it, or do we reframe it to our needs today?  What we find is that many pagans do a very good job of reframing it.  We still honor and remember those of long ago and why they celebrated Beltane, but instead of fertility for the fields and for our species, pagans might celebrate the rites to work towards the fertility of money, the fertility of ideas that would allow them to further their careers or the fertility of wisdom and aid with the goal of bettering themselves in some way in order to continue to honor the Gods on this plane of existence.  And I think we can all agree that the Gods worshiped during the height of Beltane haven’t abandoned us because we modified the rites to more clearly represent what our needs are in this day and age.

I’ve pointed out that we have modified rites to reflect our current culture, and I’ve also pointed out that the Gods have changed based on the needs of the population at the time.  Now what does all of this have to do with the Gods having compassion?

One of the biggest needs of the day in my mind is compassion.  Open your favorite social media site and I can guarantee you will find something in your feed that is argumentative.  You may also find something that will get you frustrated or even angry.  It’s a very easy example because it happens on a regular basis.  Want another?  Drive your daily commute, or just drive anywhere on a highway in fact.  We are human, we are going to get angry at the person who just jumped in front of us and slammed on their brakes, or who decided to drive in the faster lane of the road yet is going under the speed limit for some reason.

All of this anger has slowly built up over the years to the point where we are today.  For years we have let the anger fester in our minds and souls, causing us finally to lash out at ‘those’ type of people.  Those that don’t think like us, those that don’t act like us, or those that believe differently than us.  We have become a polarized world that praises ‘sticking it’ to the other person over trying to come up with a compromise.

It didn’t happen overnight.  And there are more root causes of the problem than anger, but built up anger is absolutely a part of the problem.  We hold anger for ourselves, hold anger for our lot in life, hold anger and jealousy at others for having more, or for getting more assistance than us.  The anger bubbles up at our politicians (who may deserve it from time to time) and causes us to lash out at others who disagree.  And to battle we go.

For many of us, we feel like we either have limited options.  We could either take a side and fight for it, get the heck out of the way of the arguing forces or be run over; a casualty of the environment that has been slowly forming over many years.

Any one of those stances is going to cause anyone to have battle damage.  And this isn’t even the worst of the battle damage we carry around.

Our upbringings aren’t always rosy.  Our relationships with others can become abusive.  Life has its traumas, and we endure each and every one of them, but they don’t leave us exactly how we were prior to the situation.  Sometimes the changes are physical; a scar appears where a wound once was.  Sometimes the wounds are emotional, and we end up hardening some to those around us.  But no matter if the wounds were physical or emotional, there is a spiritual component to the wound as well.  Hardened hearts change the outlook on our spirituality.  Perhaps we stop caring as much about helping those in need because we are bitter about our own circumstances.  Perhaps we end up angry at our Gods for allowing things to be the way they are.

The world is changing, it’s getting more rough edges, and because of it we are hardening more than we realize.  I’ve seen even the most compassionate of Shamans make critical comments against another in the current hardened climate.  And I know I’ve done it myself numerous times.

Yes, there are times when we must be hard.  Perhaps we must defend ourselves from those abusers or from those that would do us ill will.  That is important too.

But what do we do with all the pain, anger and battle damage that has struck at our core and dimmed our spirit?

Why not give it to the Gods as an offering of endurance?

Why not ask for their aid to heal properly so that our souls can shine again?

Why not ask for their strength to see situations with compassion in an effort to make the outcome less hardened?

This is different than just ‘getting on with it’.  There will be times in everyone’s life that the hardened edge they encounter is small enough that it does little damage.  That is when it is perfectly acceptable to hear from our Gods that we must just ‘get on with it’.

But what about when the hurts are so great that they affect our daily lives?  What about those who have suffered any form of abuse for any period of time?  What about the traumas of life that shake you to the very core?  I don’t believe the Gods want to just look at us and say, ‘get on with it’.  Sure, we may THINK that is what they want us to do, but perhaps that is how we are conditioned to believe.  We’ve had almost 2000 years of a religion that has given us the group mentality that we are scum and not worthy of taking time for ourselves.  This religion has told us for years that we are unworthy of healing or compassion, and that we have to grovel and beg for healing and forgiveness.

Christianity has provided us with a group mind and culture that says we are weak and lacking.  Advertising agencies have already picked up on this and used it to sell us products to make us feel better.  Many people start waking up, and reach to Pagan Gods and Goddesses, (the very ones we think tell us to ‘get over it’) in order to get out of that mindset, and that is fantastic.  But are we allowing our personal beliefs to also make us feel better, or make us worse in other places?

At the very least, consider that the Gods and Goddesses that you are willing to fight for, the Divinity that you know will fight by your side, is also a Divinity that would be willing to tend to the wounds that you received from the fight you fought together.  That isn’t an unreasonable request, and one that could easily happen on the battlefields of old.

And if you are willing to go that far, also consider that sometimes the wounds that you receive may put you out of the fight for a while, and perhaps your God or Goddess understands that better than you realize.  Recognize too that if you could no longer fight, the Gods and Goddesses were compassionate enough to give you a place to go after you passed this plane of existence.

In my own personal journeys with Odin and Loki, I’ve come to realize that they are accepting of me when I am at my best, but they also are accepting of me when I am at my weakest.  Loki especially encourages me to look at my areas of weakness and learn to make them strong, and he has shown me that brute strength is not enough to do that.  In order to become stronger, you also have to have compassion, you have to have the courage to allow yourself to be weak, and perhaps even show that weakness to others in order to allow them to help you find your strength.  Compassion allows us to accept who it is we are without the glamour or lies that we tell ourselves.  Compassion allows us to look at the wounds we have received in battle and honestly evaluate them to understand how we need to heal.  And compassion is what we need to recognize the true amount of time we need to do that.

If we can expect our Gods and Goddesses to accept our feats of strength as appropriate offerings, why not also allow our feats of courage and compassion to be offerings to them as well?  Especially in today’s world, it’s going to take a significantly larger amount of effort to show compassion than to follow the status quo.  In those times when compassion is most needed, wouldn’t it be a better offering to show that compassion since it does take so much more effort?

And if you were one of the millions in this world who has emotional, physical and spiritual wounds, don’t you think your Gods would want you to heal as well as you can from those wounds?  And in order to heal fully, don’t you think that you have to have compassion for yourself?  So why wouldn’t a God or Goddess not have compassion for you?  Wouldn’t they be proud of you, because they know you realize that fighting isn’t something that is going to allow you to heal properly?

Perhaps it’s time for us to shift our thinking.  Perhaps it’s time we honor our Gods and Goddesses with different offerings; acts of compassion and beauty.  Maybe we need to recognize that even though they may not seem like a form of divinity that would react with compassion, perhaps they at least have understanding of the compassion that we need to have for ourselves and each other.  And perhaps they already are ready to adapt to that compassion to help de-escalate the polarization of the world.

 

Feeling Connections

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

~ Howard Thurman

 

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Over the year that I have been working with Loki, Sigyn and Odin, I have found a happiness that I never thought was possible within religion.  In all of my years as a practicing Christian, I never felt the Christian God the way I feel the ones that I am working with now.  Yes, the Christian God felt alive to me, but I didn’t “feel” like one of “his” children.  Even when I was doing other pagan and Wiccan practices, I never felt so close to the Gods as I do now.  The more devotional things I do for Odin, Sigyn and Loki, the more I feel and hear them.

I wonder if in today’s constant strife regarding the role of religion if this is something that we are lacking.  We see a lot of posts about how and what people think about their Gods, their practice and what other people should or shouldn’t do, but we aren’t seeing many posts about how we FEEL about our Gods.  Perhaps if we looked at how we feel about our Gods, and in turn how they feel about us, we wouldn’t have as much argument.  It doesn’t matter how we find our own ways to get there, but in the end, if you are content with your practice and feel the connections to the Gods, then that connection can be a starting point to reach out to other religions.

My connections to my Gods make me feel alive.  They soothe my soul and make me feel whole.  Odin helps me to understand that I do not know everything, and that I have a long road to get to the level of understanding that I want to be at.  He recognizes that I have value in who I am and in what I do, and that I’m not afraid of going outside that which I know in order to get something done, especially in his honor.

My connection to Loki is one that is very hard to describe.  I feel his passion and fire within me, and that has gotten me through rough times, especially when I am having a hard time with my chronic pain.  Loki also helps me learn to accept all of myself.  This includes those pieces of me that I feel are less than desirable.  I’m allowed to be angry, I’m allowed to dislike things.  But I am also allowed to recognize those feelings but that I don’t have to DO anything about them.  I can let things go as they may; I don’t have to make everything right for everyone, or even for myself.  And while I am not constantly on the lookout for the rug to be pulled out from under me in some aspect of my life, I recognize that it may happen.  And when it does, I am enough to do whatever it is that is needed to make the best out of the situation.

Sigyn is a much deeper lady than anyone gives her credit for.  To know her is to know that there are other aspects of her that she does not show to many.  She is the consoler, but she also does not let people shirk their duties because of their pain.  She asks of you to do what it is you can, to find the limit and work to it, then to recognize that that is enough.  Some days those limits are higher than others.  Sometimes they are much lower.  Either way, that is OK.  She also teaches that once you have met the limit, Rest for your body and for your soul is always necessary.   She is the champion of us who have chronic illness, a lady of quiet wisdom and strength, and a child of wonder and awe.  She is someone you must sit with for a time as she must know you before she opens herself to you.

Some readers may also remember that I am the holder of a medicine pipe of Native American traditions.  This relationship too has been solidified over the year.  I am not as afraid as I once was of the power that likes within the sumac and pipestone.  Instead, I recognize that its purpose is to help heal and teach those who are within its influence.  Ceremonies with the pipe are not things that happen often, but when they do, they will need to be done very carefully and purposefully.  And even when the pipe is in its bags, proper respect is still expected.  I find myself still giving offerings to it whenever I feel it is necessary.  Finally, the pipe doesn’t have to be out to speak.  It will speak to whomever it needs to, whenever the time is right.

A year ago I made pacts with these Gods that I would renew within a year and a day so long as they still wanted me, and I still felt comfortable with them.  Now I recognize that the connections that I have made with them will last much, much longer.  And I am absolutely OK with this.  It feels so nice to finally find a home.  It just took me throwing out some of the things that others taught and feeling my way through my own truth.

Perhaps speaking about these connections will help others speak about their own feelings regarding their relationships with the Gods.  Perhaps they will think on how they feel, and recognize that we all have a common starting point; the joy and comfort the Gods bring as well as the continuous lessons that we receive on a day to day basis.  I don’t expect this post to change all that.  But it might get some people thinking at least about expressing their own connections to divinity.  And even if it doesn’t, I’m still happy at the fact that I can express the relationships that I have had a hand in making for myself.

Photo from Deviant Art.

What I Want To Say to My Christian Family

Last week I helped to bury the patriarch of my extended family.  My Grandfather was a strong, noble, wonderful man who held together all of the extended families with his presence.  If he said ‘be here on this date’, all of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren would assemble, ready to do whatever it was he wanted.

His burial was a Catholic one, and I once again found myself in the Catholic church of my upbringing.  The funeral home’s services also were Christian in nature as my Grandfather’s faith in the church was just as strong as he was.  Even the Knights of Columbus came to give their respects and held their own special service to commemorate his 50 years of service with them.

The tone of the funeral and it being populated with so many strong christian and Catholic overtones reminded me of one many years earlier, the funeral of my great-grandmother.   Weeks before my great-grandmother’s funeral, I had come out to my parents as being pagan.  At that time they didn’t say much about it, but instead chose to unleash their anger at me on the drive home from my great-grandmother’s funeral.  I remember that drive vividly, as it was filled with my mother’s tears and ranting.  Specifically aimed at me, my mother ranted about how my great-grandmother, also a devout Catholic, had shown such unwavering faith in her religion, and how dare I belittle her by not following suit with my own faith.

This recent funeral didn’t come with the same yelling, but it did come with a deep silence that felt like an uncrossable chasm between my family and I.  In the end, no one took notice of my half-hearted attempt at mumbling through the remembered prayers of my childhood. And the not going up to communion was still easily explained at the fact that I cannot eat wheat without getting violently sick.  That isn’t what I wanted though.  I would have much rather had a long conversation with them about what I believe and why, and how the values and morals that I carry in my heart are so much like their own, even though we do pray to different Gods.

I wanted so badly to explain to them that my desire to better myself and help others around me steers my life and is based in my beliefs, even though there is no bible that dictates it.  I wanted to tell them that they would be proud of me, because I don’t just speak of my beliefs on Sundays and on events like this, but instead I speak of my Gods on a daily basis, and am constantly in a state of communication with them, allowing them to guide my actions as they see fit.  I wanted very much for them to see that the faith that they yelled at me years ago for not having is there and is so much stronger than I ever thought it would be.

I wanted to say how much I pray; how often I give offerings, not only things like what is dictated by the Christian church, but yet I give so much more than that and included volunteering, prayers for the dead, prayers and blessings for those around me and actions to help this earth that we all live on.  How I wanted to explain that each of my offerings came directly from my heart and was because I felt it was needed, not dictated by Christian doctrine.

I wanted to say I didn’t need the bible to give me comfort in the loss of my Grandfather. I wanted to explain to them that I knew he was home, and that no bible was needed to explain that to me.  And most importantly, I wanted to say I knew that someday we would all see him again, regardless of what we believed, how ‘good’ we were at ‘repenting’, or what religion we claimed to be.

In the end, I didn’t say those things.  I’ve given up on the idea that my parents or my sisters would understand me.  Instead, my family is more comforted in their beliefs that  I am an atheist, because this ‘pagan’ ideal is much to hard for them to understand.

So the silence still remains.  And I grieve the loss of my Grandfather alone.  I have learned to leave the silence in place, as every time I have tried to cross that uncomfortable quiet I am struck down.  I am silenced by them again and again because my beliefs do not come from a book, nor do my beliefs need someone else to validate them for me.

In the end, I am stronger for what I believe, and I know this.  But it doesn’t stop me from wishing for that one day to come when I can talk to them and help them understand.  But I guess that will just have to wait for the time when we are all on the other side of the veil.

Po-TAA-to, Po-tot-o… Is it time to stop caring about it yet?

I am beginning to think that there are many more pagan bloggers out there that are writing for the shock value than they are for the actual content.  Perhaps some of them are trying to make a splash in some form or fashion in order to get their voices heard, or perhaps some of them are just trying to put their own stamp on the shaping of any piece of the pagan community for the next generation.  No matter what they think they are doing, it seems the only result is in more arguments.

There are a couple posts out this week that have people up in arms.  I’m not going to even post them here, personally, I don’t think they deserve any more airtime.  In general I will say one of them talked about how certain God(s) of the Norse Pantheon don’t exist, and another one talked about how loyalty to one’s country is dead.  And there were a few others.  The only thing these posts did was to further solidify in my mind that all of these labels that we talk about in the pagan community are dividing us more than they are doing anything else.

So in response:

I believe in many different Gods.  I believe they exist differently to different people. They could be considered constructs of people’s imagination, but they also could be individual entities that exist on their own.  Or, they could be one source deity that decides to appear differently to others.

Overall does it really matter, so long as they provide comfort to people in some form or fashion, or  help people feel like they belong to something?   

I believe everything around us has it’s own energy.  That energy could be an existing entity or  spirit, or that energy could even be just from the mitochondria in each living cell.  And when that thing is deconstructed and made into something else, some of the energy stays with it, and thus the new thing has it’s own energy.

Does whether or not I’m an animist really matter if it works for me?

I believe that the historical texts of any religion are a great tool to start out with when you are trying to learn the morals of any one religion, but other than providing that starting point, perhaps they should not all be looked at as deeply as they are right now.  Too many people use them for crutches in their faith instead of looking within, and they are getting too caught up in the semantics.  Instead, perhaps simple conversations about what they feel is right and wrong is without someone pulling out a book might bring about more understanding than trying to figure it out from words written by humans with flaws.

Does that make me less of a religious person?

The answers to these questions are NO!  This stuff doesn’t really matter, and no it doesn’t make me any less religious!  And no one has a right to judge whether or not I am religious enough, if I follow too much UPG or if I’m too reconstructionist, or put any other label on me.  Period.

I have a right to my own beliefs, I have a right to express my beliefs, and I have a right to be heard.  I also have the responsibility to understand where someone else is coming from, and respectfully disagree when I disagree.  However, in this case, respectfully disagreeing is just going to mean I stop getting roped into the crap.  I don’t deserve to get angry when someone else tries to discredit others opinions on their blog.

No, I’m not taking the sensationalist, dramatic road here.  I’m taking the road that isn’t popular.  But perhaps if more people took the unpopular road we would have less discord in pagan communities.  This sensationalism and drama is only furthering anger, hurt and division.  And I for one am very tired of seeing it.

 

 

The New Definition of Warrior

I just saw a friend post a meme on Facebook.  I am not going to repost it here as there was no link nor statement about who created it.  But it was about fighting untill your last breath; how when the time came to leave this planet that they do so swinging a weapon and having the courage to sing their own death song.

Basically, it was what many people feel the definition of a warrior is.

I agree that those who have been in combat deserve that title.  Anyone who chooses to go into a military branch and serves our country is a warrior.  My Grandfather is one of those warriors.  As a Marine he fought in World War II in the Pacific theatre.  He saw combat on Sipan, Tinian, Okinawa and helped with ‘clean up’ efforts on Iwo Jima.  He also saw first hand the aftermath at Hiroshima.  He fought through all of that, came home, built his house from the ground up and then had his family.  I deeply admire my Grandfather for his strength and courage.  He went through hell and is still one of the most gentle men you would ever meet.  He and many others like him are true warriors.

My father is also a warrior.  He didn’t see combat in his military career because of hardships with his family; while the rest of his unit went to jungle training after basic, he was sent home to a National Guard unit.  But that doesn’t mean he didn’t fight.  With no diploma and being laid off from his factory job, he went to walking the streets of my home town to read utility meters.  Every day for almost 20 years he was out on the streets going from house to house as the only reader.  They gave him three months to read a city of 25,000 people.  After awhile, he told his boss he could do it in two, just to save the city money.  And that is precisely what he did.   All he really had to do was what he was told.  But he fought to do the best he could for the people he worked for as well as his family.

Things are a little different now.  We live in a time where many of us don’t have to face going into combat like my Grandfather did.  And the job my father did is now done by computer.  But that doesn’t mean we still don’t have to fight for things.  Just in this day and age, some of the fighting is a little different.  My sister had a child late in life.  After her first died while she still carried it, she was determined to try again.  When she and her husband found they were pregnant again they were overjoyed.  But it was a long and very hard pregnancy that ended with a cesarean section.   My sister fought through though, and in my mind she earned being called a warrior for bringing her daughter into this world.

I also think in many ways I am a warrior too.  With the fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and myofacial syndrome, there are many days that all I want to do is to stay in bed.  But I know if I did, I would not be able to provide for my family.  I also want to provide an example of what is possible, even with these chronic conditions.  That’s one of the reasons why I push to work, run and train in martial arts.  Every day I fight to get out of bed and keep moving, knowing that the minute I stop moving might be for the last time as these disorders get worse as I age.  But while I still have the will to want to move, the courage to try and the strength to see me through I will continue my fight.

Warriors come in all shapes and sizes.  Yes, there are those who fight for their country.  Those are warriors who deserve our gratitude.  But there are also warriors fighting serious illnesses, fighting for causes they believe in or fighting to represent those that do not have their own voice.  There are warriors out there fighting to heal from abuse, or fighting to get a job to provide for their family.  Finally, there are warriors out there who are trying to better themselves, and by doing so they will find ways to better their community.

With all of this in mind,I think we need a new definition of the term warrior.  My friend on Facebook is one who loves the idea of the glory of being a warrior and longs for the drama of fighting the battles of old.  But I think it’s about time we stop romantasizing about what the warriors of old were.  I think we truly need to start giving recognition to the ones that are in our own families and communities.  We need to recognize the battles we face in everyday life and honor the strength and courage it takes to continue to fight those battles.    That recognition is powerful as it would allow us to see that we aren’t as different as some would have us believe.  It is powerful enough to see some of our own struggle in one another, which would help open our eyes to another’s problems.  And person by person, I believe that recognition to be powerful enough that it could help to change the world.

The Lady Sigyn

 

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Hail Sigyn
Victor over the unbearable
Goddess of Compassion
She of boundless courage and strength
Lady of unconditional trust and love
In your example we see the path to our own victories
In your compassion we see the wisdom to care for ourselves
In your strength we know we can be strong
In your honor I continue to endure

If the stories of Sigyn in the lore tell us anything, they tell us she endures the unbearable.  She comes to her husband’s aid by holding a bowl over his head to stop poison from coming down and causing him pain.  A lot of people believe this to be the work of a victim, a battered woman who was forced to do things in honor of her husband.  This could not be further from the truth.  One thing an abuser does is takes the power of decision away from the abused person.  This allows the abuser to have control over the abused.  The lore says Sigyn chose to stay with Loki.  That is a clear sign to me that she was not abused.

I have read how many bloggers have attempted to hold a bowl with outstretched arms for a period of time.  During the attempt, they almost immediately realize how hard this task truly is.  Even the strongest of people would soon start to weaken both mentally and physically.  Add the mental anguish she had to have dealt with and you can see how this truly was an unbearable task.  Yet Sigyn continued to help her husband as much as she possibly could.  She knew his faults and crimes, and she continued to support him. That takes courage, strength and shows how much unconditional love and compassion she has.

These traits were all things I understood from the Lore.  However, to feel them from her is another thing entirely.

Unfortunately I have Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Myofascial Pain Syndrome.  However, in spite of this triple whammy I do my best to not let these conditions stop me from living.  I work full time, am a runner, a yogi, and I study two martial arts.  I am not able to run as fast or train as hard as I once used to, but I still do what I can.  I believe my pushing through these obstacles is why I felt attracted to Sigyn in the first place.  So I created an altar for her.  Since then I will feel her presence occasionally, especially if I get to a place where I either I am pushing too hard, or not enough.

One example of this was in a recent yoga class.  My teacher was pushing me to try moving from a downward dog position to a forward lunge position by just moving one leg forward to rest between my hands.  This is an extremely tough move to do, and I could tell my body wanted nothing to do with it.  I was having a heck of a time.  After the fifth try I opened my mouth to tell the teacher that I just cannot do it and that we should move on.  But before I could get any words out, I heard a very strong female voice in my head.

“NO!” She shouted.  “Keep trying!”

The message was so startling that I decided to heed it and keep moving.

After another two tries, my teacher moved us on to another set of poses just as challenging.  I did my best to keep up.  Finally, while we were in our final savasana of the night, I realized it was Sigyn that had called to me. Feeling very grateful for her push, I said a prayer of thanks.

Sigyn is a lady of strength, courage and grace.  She isn’t beaten down, although she has endured many things.  She has let those things change her, as they have to, but yet she is not a victim.  She accepts and endures.  She doesn’t do it by wailing, although I have images in my mind’s eye of her quietly in tears as she starts her task of holding the bowl.  She lets herself feel the hurt, and by doing so the situation changes her.  Then she does what she needs to do, and moves on. She is powerful in that she knows her own strength and her own worth.  She does not need to lean on others, although she chooses to accept aid when given unconditionally, or when she wishes it.

By calling on Sigyn you learn to realize how much strength you truly have within yourself.  She shows someone that even though a situation feels unbearable there is always a path forward as long as you keep fighting.  She asks you to trust yourself and your instincts about something, accept the scars that you must bear, learn and become stronger through what you endure.

Sigyn knows this work is not easy.  She understands there are times when we must be weak to be strong, and because of this she also shows us non-judgement and compassion.  Sigyn also reminds us to show the same to others.  This is one of the hardest things to do in this world, but it must be done, especially in the trying times that we find ourselves in now.  Judgement of others is what causes a significant amount of strife in this world.  If only others would be compassionate enough to seek to understand before they are understood, perhaps we wouldn’t have so much fighting between people.

Sigyn also speaks to taking care of yourself in these trials.  She needs to empty the bowl, even though she knows that by doing so Loki will feel pain from the poison.  She drops her hands to take the filled bowl out of the cave to empty it.  She does not put herself in harm’s way of the poison in Loki’s place.  Neither does she try to pour the poison out in the cave as she knows sooner or later it may splash onto her and cause her pain, which will stop her from her task.  She does what is best for her.  By doing this she is also helping Loki by being as strong as she can.  Her example shows us that we need time for ourselves to help us stay strong.  That allows us to push through our own trials.

By pushing forward in my own trials, I honor Sigyn.  I am grateful to understand her trial further, and am very thankful to her for coming to me.  By doing so, she helps remind me of how much strength I truly have, and that even though the road through my health problems is pretty rough, I can still do what needs to be done.  She truly is a strong and powerful Goddess.

 

Image By Harry George Theaker, illustrator, Public Domain