The Gods Who Come With Us

Drawing by the author
Drawing by the author

It was an indoor-outdoor kind of setting – a big covered atrium with open meeting spaces, big terraced balconies and pathways.  Mainly a college-age crowd with alumni visiting, doing break-out groups. I was walking through when someone called, “hey let’s ask Tempest!”

Hearing my name, I walked over and sat on the table, and asked to hear the question.

I listened. Then I lay back on the table, hair sprawling out, and looked up at the sky/ceiling, then I answered:

“There are the gods of places and the gods of spaces.  There are the gods we carry with us, and the gods that come with us.” 

People nodded.

“The gods of places are the gods that have always been there. They are the elements and elementals, the chthonic, that which has always been. The gods of spaces arrive at a place and create a niche, a space of their own among the gods of places. They are nature that lives, breathes, dies, and is reborn again and again.  The trees, the groves, the streams, the ponds.”

The gentleman who called me over in the first place looks on expectantly.

“The gods we carry with us are the gods we know. The ones whose names we call upon, whose images we see and acknowledge.”

More nodding.  “But the last group? How is that different?”

I smile up at the ceiling.  “The gods that come with us are the ones that know us, but are unknown, unknowable, forgotten.  They are the ones whose names we do not know, whose faces and images we do not see. They watch and they wait. They are the ones who call to us.” 

This exchange is brought to you by my dreams last night.  The first line kept repeating itself throughout the rest of the dream.  It’s a new thing that’s started in recent years, where a line will be spoken again and again, carrying throughout the dream.  The words remain fresh in my head when I wake, though sometimes the meaning and context disappears.

Not so much this time, I think it’s pretty clear.

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