One True Thing

One True Thing March 15, 2015

The gods are real.

Remember that one time that one god walked through my living room? I didn’t make that up. Or the dream I had just last week about the work that other devotees are doing, things I shouldn’t know? Or that consistent, still, small voice that whispers to me when I am still and quiet. The gods are real.

The land speaks.

Some of it speaks more loudly than others. Sometimes I can hear it more easily than at other times or in other places.

Sometimes these voices are audible, other times they are things known, things heard in the quietest spaces within.

Shafts of sunlight over Inverlochlarig, Andrew Smith via Wikimedia Commons
Shafts of sunlight over Inverlochlarig, Andrew Smith via Wikimedia Commons

But most times? Most times I don’t hear anything. Most times it’s because I can’t hear myself think because the inside of my own head is already too crowded and noisy. The grocery lists and appointments vie for the last sentence of the book I read one paragraph of this week. I can’t sink into the earth like roots and dangle my toes in the water table. I can’t ride the shafts of sun to their blazing conclusion. I can’t float along the breezes and pick out the six different scents wafting through the yard. I can barely make eye contact with the three wee creatures that demand every single piece of me. Don’t forget to keep your eyes on the road.

This absence of the numinous is true too.

What if the gods aren’t real? My life won’t be any different than these silent times, surely. What if I never hear the land again? This claustrophobic fear is true too.

Bee hive huts near Slea Head, Ireland. Warren Buckley, via Wikimedia Commons
Bee hive huts near Slea Head, Ireland. Warren Buckley, via Wikimedia Commons

The gods are real. And they are not. Like the faithful cenobitic monk working out his apophatic theology while attending mass in the “dark night of his soul,” like the Zen monk chopping wood and carrying water, I seek after one true thing.

This seeking is one true thing.

When I feel like I’ve lost my way, usually when life is busiest and loudest and messiest (like this month has been), I come back to one true thing.

This too shall pass. This absence will pass. The intimacy will return. And then that too shall pass.


(Thanks to Chandra Alexandre for reminding me of this practice.)

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  • An Elder Apprentice

    Niki, thank you for this post.
    This week I was studying major Tarot Key 10, the Wheel of Fortune, said in Golden Dawn attributions to correspond with Jupiter the traditional, premodern, ruler of Pisces. So often ‘The Wheel’ is seen as reference to great changes in life, an individual ego rises to the greatest even heroic hights followed by great falls. These are perhaps the illusory changes that any soul in the wheel of manifestation must experience. Yet doesn’t this wheel spin, perhaps more gently, in my everyday life, minute by minute, and day by day. I experience the little numinous ecstasies – wonderful love making, making art, connection with a friend or being in the presence of a God, a beautiful sunrise. Shortly thereafter, perhaps just minutes or even seconds, later, I have to take out the trash, struggle with a boring contract text at work, pay a bill, or get in an argument. The Wheel spinning seems fractal, the beautiful little hill and the numb valley seems as different from each other as my soul’s mountain hights and deepest underworlds. Your post nailed this quality very nicely

  • I have feeling your life is going to loud, busy and messy until at least August 2! Maybe a little longer. Ground, center, delegate!

    • Ha! Yes indeed. Alas, at this point there is no one to delegate to! Better sleep would help, but be sleep deprived is par for the course of having tiny humans. I knew what I was signing up for! Even as I struggle with the reality.