What Scares Me

Teo Bishop has a post on Patheos titled “Paganism Beyond the Warm and Fuzzy.” He describes two personal experiences where someone almost died in dramatic fashion and one dream where he was sure he was going to die, then says:

All things have their place, and there is certainly a place for the warm and fuzzy in Paganism. But I think it’s also necessary to remember that there are parts of nature, and aspects of the Kindred we worship, that can be violently cold, fiercely wild, and terribly awe inspiring.

Good religion is dangerous religion – it challenges us to confront our preconceived notions and live up to our values. This is true whether you’re a Pagan or a Christian or a Buddhist. Nature is good, even though it can be “cold, wild and awe inspiring.” This is true whether you’re a monotheist or a pantheist or a humanist.

But for those of us who consider ourselves polytheists – and I’ll include both the hard and soft varieties, though I think it’s even more important for we who experience the gods as distinct individuals – this call to move beyond the warm and fuzzy should come with a sense of urgency and priority.

What are your goddesses and gods telling you right now? What do your ancestors want you to do? What do the spirits of the land need from you?

What is your calling? Is it challenging you? Is it scaring you?

If your gods aren’t scaring you at least occasionally, I’d suggest maybe you aren’t paying attention.

I don’t intend to bash those whose primary interests are love and light and personal growth. We all need love and light and personal growth. But if we’re spiritual adults, we’re past the kind of kindergarten growth where a smiling mother goddess holds our hand and leads us to the sweet smelling flowers.

The god who is both hunter and hunted has passionate needs. A battle goddess has needs of life and death importance. The gods and goddesses of smithcraft labor long and hard to create what is needed.

What do they need from you? What have they asked of you? How have you responded? Have you responded?

Most of what I write here is ultimately personal, and so is this. I’ve reached a goal that is both an achievement and a calling to greater service. Some of you know what that is – the rest will find out early next week. All achievements should be celebrated and I intend to celebrate this, but there’s a tendency to pause and rest… sometimes a little longer than you should… than I should.

I’m being called to some deeper work. So are many others, as the comments to The Call of the Morrigan illustrate.

That call scares me. The thought of all the work scares me. The thought of the opposition I’ll encounter scares me. The thought of the uncertain path and indefinite timetable scares me.

But you know what scares me more than any of that? The thought of what I’ll miss out on if I say no.

That’s me on the left, rappelling for the first time in 1987.  Those first two steps backing off the cliff were terrifying.  The rest were exhilarating.
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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13046348046273693706 Rev Wes Isley

    I think I understand where you're coming from, and I think I'm at a similar juncture myself! Scared? Hell yes!


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