A word to the wise – if we’re on a roadtrip together, and I’m the one driving, there’s a good chance a billboard is going to send me off into
a rant an enthusiastic discussion about history and religion.
Roadside signs are a mixed bag. Some of them are hilarious ones that promote tourist traps and others feature poorly designed local advertising. Then there’s the preachy kind, focused on sin, damnation, and imposing religious views on state and human rights matters. (Cue my hackles being raised.)
Last summer, while I was touring the country promoting The Witch’s Cauldron and The Mechanist & The Star Goddess we saw a lot of billboards. Somewhere in Utah, on our way to Salt Lake City, there quite a few of the preachy variety. The one that particularly set my mind in motion (which I would have snapped a picture of, had I not been driving) said, “When you die, you will meet God.” I think it also had an additional, much smaller-sized line that spoke about atoning for your sins before that happened. A threat standing in yard high letters about a jerk god and what might happen if you don’t follow their rules.
I saw that, and I thought, “How sad.” As if it’s not bad enough that so much of Christianity focuses on an afterlife reward or punishment system instead of promoting the benefits of being a decent human being right this moment. (The latter is what Jesus actually is said to have focused on if you read the scriptures.) No, they also push this Abrahamic concept that we’re removed, separated, or unconnected to the Divine. Which, when you think about the core creation myths, if God made the world, then everything has been touched by the Divine. EVERYTHING. That includes the mountains, trees, skies, rabbits, spiders, snakes, sunfish, and human beings – all created by God. God-made.
Sure, I have talked about how belief in God or Gods isn’t integral to practicing Witchcraft and that I don’t consider myself a devotional Witch. But I do work with Gods and spirits. I experience the divine regularly, and personally. The Self-Divine is a concept that is part of my threefold model of the human soul – which says that we are directly linked to the Divine/are made of god particles and star stuff ourselves. I don’t see gods and spirits as being separate from this world at all. Nor to meet or experience them does it require you to die first.Even if you have a hard time relating to deities as distinct personalities that you can interact with, you can see the divine in the world around you. As an artist, every piece of work I make is touched by my hands. That means they’re covered in my DNA – from skin cells, to occasionally blood, spit (really I try NOT to lick my brushes), and also cat hair. (If you manage to clone me from my art, let me know, ok?) Metaphysically, they’re soaked in my energy, and they come forth from my mind: out of nothingness comes something real and tangible. My work is a part of me and linked to me, even if it’s not me. Similarly, everything in the world has a hum to it, connecting elements and energy to give form to our realities. A thumbprint or DNA spiral if you will.
That means when you look in the mirror, you are essentially meeting God. Every time you look at the landscape, interact with other people and animals, you’re interacting with the divine. If you are able to recognize the sacred and godly within yourself, then you can start to see and feel the connecting threads that unite all of us. Once you have those weaving threads fixed within your mind’s eye, it’s much easier to work magick and to wildly fall in love with the world. Our ability to create physically and spiritually are linked to our hearts, designed for love.
It’s hard to see or use god as a threat if god is love as they say, and love is god, as my friend S.J. Tucker says.
Lastly, meeting gods and spirits isn’t something that works on neat fixed human schedule, or only in certain places (unless they’re tied to a specific place of course.) You don’t have to be dressed appropriately or tithe a certain amount of your income to make it happen. You could be in a beautiful grotto in an ancient site, but it might happen while you’re driving or in the bathroom or asleep. It’s not necessarily tied to yours or anyone else’s expectations. Why? Because to meet God right now – all you need to do is live.