I am a hard polytheist. This means that I believe there are many deities. Not that there are many aspects of one deity or that there are two deities who have many facets. I think that there are powers out there. I see them. I walk on the Earth Mother and breath with the Sky Father. One in particular comes once a day in the early morning and she’s changed my life.
The Dawn. I call her by her Lithuanian name: Aušrinė.
It wasn’t my plan. I didn’t pick her out of a book and think, “Yep, that’s the goddess that’s going to rock my world.”
She is a Goddess of liminality. She is a dancer on the edge between darkness and light. The thin red dividing line between day and night.
1. of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.
2. occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.
Liminality is challenging sometimes. One thing I’ve learned about being devoted to the Dawn is that my life is often going to be in liminality. I might go so far as to say that at least in some aspect it seems I must at all times be in some sort of liminal state, but that would by it’s very definition say something was permanent. That would be unacceptable.
We all find ourselves in liminal circumstances. Everyone has moments of transition when they’re not quite one thing or another. Often those moments are times of stress. Marriage, birth, and death are all liminal spaces, as are the smaller transitions of life such as a new job or a new friend. I honor those changes with my words and deeds.
I’m not naturally good at transitions. It’s something I’m learning from her. I often think of myself as rather Hobbity. I like to stay at home, tend my garden, paint, craft, and cook. If you’ve ever watched the Disney variant of Rapunzel, Tangled, I could live in that tower as long as it had a rooftop garden.
I see it in my children too, this need for stability and the soothing happiness that repetition and sinking into a pattern can bring.
So it’s sort of hilarious that a goddess of liminality would choose me. At the same time, Aušrinė is faithful in her work. Though she brings transition and change she does so each and every day without fail. The stories tell that she tends the Sun’s fire every morning, readying Saule’s chariot and opening the gates of dawn. She does the work that must be done, without fail, because if she didn’t the order of the world would delve into chaos.
I don’t think the order of the world would fail if I didn’t cook breakfast for my kids. But I do know that my family depends on me, as Aušrinė’s family depends on her. Some days it’s hard to get up and get it done. The kids start school next week and the pressure to get everyone dressed, fed, and lunches packed can be intense. I know I will struggle with my work then as we find a new rhythm. I find that if I view my daily work as a practice to honor her it helps me and gives me strength. I sing when I work and I feel the connection that I have to Her.
In working with her I’ve developed a number of devotional practices for her:
I dance for her. In groups and by myself. I let the drums take my body and move me. I let the self that organizes and thinks and reads fade away and all that is left is the me that moves when She is there. In the infinite present moment I find her.
I create for her. Like the fire she tends, I tend my creative fire. Like love, I find the more I am creative, the more inspiration I have to create. Creativity is one of those things where there is an endless abundance of it when I let it into my life. I paint and draw, but I also experiment with materials and ways of creating. In particular, I often find myself working with the Earth Mother as well in this aspect of my practice, searching for more sustainable and environmentally friendly ways to express my vision and my creative impulses.
I heal for her. For those of you who are familiar with Brighid, this is all beginning to sound pretty familiar, isn’t it? I personally think that Brighid and Aušrinė have a lot in common. I could see them getting along pretty well. Cosmic BFF if you know what I mean. Another story of Aušrinė tells how she was there at the creation of the world and that she has three forms, the sea mare, the maiden, and the morning star. As such she is connected to the sea, land, and sky. When I do my healing work, whether it is with herbs, words, or a laying on of hands, I let myself sink into that triple connection, allowing my self to reflect that ordering of the cosmos. When I am in that space the words flow freely and my hands feel how the energy should flow. Healing is a dangerous and radical thing in this world ordered by insurance companies and medical laws, but I have heard from many individuals that what I do has helped them and so I keep doing it.
She is only one of the Deities that I honor and have devotional practices for, but she is one of the most important ones. My life is supported by my work with her and with my work with other Gods and Spirits. Sometimes I feel foolish about admitting how important this work is for me, but then I find that if I talk about what I do, others begin to speak of their own experiences and wisdom. So this is my virtual version of speaking within my community. For those of you who read this blog, do you have devotional practices that bring meaning and strength to you?