Pagan Blog Project: Comparing Pagan Gods to the God of Classical Theism

Pagan Fridays here at The Druid Bird… can you tell I’m a philosophy student?

This is a theme that I’ve been wanting to explore for a while now, and I’m quite excited to be able to do it.

We’ll start with the basics for all those who haven’t studied philosophy/R.S/R.E to a decent level.

Omnipotent means all-powerful, omnibenevolent means all loving, omniscient means all-knowing and transcendent means above or beyond the range of human comprehension or understanding.

The God of Classical Theism (the God of the Muslims, Christians and Jews) has a small problem, something that is known in philosophy as ‘the inconsistent triangle’ he has to be both omnipotent and omnibenevolent- but if he is both these things, then how can evil exist in the world?

Followers of the God of Classical Theism have come up with many counter arguments for this problem, from free will to original sin- but that’s not what I want to talk about here.

What I want to talk about here is how the God of Classical Theism compares to the Pagan Gods.

So, God of Classical Theism = omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient… what about the Pagan Gods?

In general the Pagan Gods/Gods of Polytheism/’gods’ (however you want to refer to them) are not omnipotent, omnibenevolent or omniscient… in fact, some of them can be downright malevolent.

So why, you may ask, would anyone want to worship a deity who might not have the power, inclination or knowledge to help you? Well the answer is very simple- they may not be all knowing or all powerful- but they’ve got much more of those qualities than we do.

The gods are ancient, they have lived through the entire life of the planet and therefore have untold wisdom. I don’t think there can ever be such qualities as omnipotence or omniscience in anything, I don’t believe there’s such a thing as perfect- everything has some flaw.

Another point is that it makes them more relatable, more human- we can see that they have flaws like we do, and so don’t feel stupid if we screw up in front of them (tripping over your ritual robe, reading out the wrong prayer, calling a god by the wrong name… you get the jist) we can see them laughing along with us as we blush and correct ourselves, not staring impassively down.

The keen-eyed amongst you may have spotted that I’ve left a little something out… omnibenevolence.

I left it until last because I thought it was the most challenging question… why would you want to worship a deity that isn’t omnibenevolent?

For me this is one of the most interesting and hard to answer questions… I worship deities that are malevolent- that would cause harm. I do this purely out of respect, the world is a cruel place- it annoys me when some people glorify nature and go on and on about its beauty and ‘returning to the land’ when actually nature can be harsh and cruel. I grew up on a farm with a grandma who was an expert at cooking offal; I’m a very down to earth woman when it comes to food and nature.

There needs to be harshness in the world- we can’t all be wonderful, lovely people. I worship gods that are benevolent and malevolent because I feel that for the world to work we have to have balance… and we have to accept that there will be darkness.

We as human beings have a tendency to block things out and try to ignore them- but this approach leads to ignorance and ignorance to fear, if we walk away from our malevolent gods then we begin to fear them and all that they are associated with.

Also, having a perfect God who can fix all our problems takes the responsibility away from us, the one thing I like about being Pagan and working with the gods that I work with is that at the end of the day I have to work things out for myself. The gods will answer if I pray- but not how you would expect. They won’t make the thing that I need pop up in front of me, instead they’ll give me the courage and resources to go out and get what I want for myself.

The gods deal with life in a pragmatic way- take Morrigan, goddess of death (and many other things, but we’ll focus on death here)- most people think that having a goddess of death is depressing and morbid- but it’s not, it’s practical and healthy. The ancient Celts lived in a dangerous world filled with courage, honour and war. They had to deal with violence and with death on a regular basis, and having a goddess that represented it helped them deal with and make sense of the emotions that they were feeling. I’d rather worship Morrigan than live in a world where I deal with bereavement and death by not thinking about it.

One of the main reasons why I don’t follow the God of Classical Theism is that I don’t believe he deals with life. His perfect qualities make him incomprehensible and unrelatable, he faces the darkness of the world with a shiny white light that we can’t hope to replicate and has a sanitised approach.

The Pagan gods get down and dirty, they make fun of you, laugh at you and cry with you. They let you swear at them when something goes wrong but blast you apart of you cross them…

But then again, deity is transcendent… so everything I’ve just said could be utter balls.

Blessed be,

Wren x

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Losing My Support and Preparing for the Inevitable

I’m trying to be a good girl.

I got some bad news- one of my best friends is leaving school. He’s coming back in september but is going to redo the year.

He’s the only person who listens to me, I have a habit of talking to myself and singing which everyone ignores- except him, he’ll start singing the same song as me or laugh at a joke I’ve just cracked even if we’re in a noisy room and there’s no way he should have heard. He’s the only one who knows when I’m upset and who hunts me down and makes me tell him. He takes everything I throw at him and never gets angry at me. He’s one of my best friends and now I have to face exam time without him.

I know I can do it, I know I’m strong enough, but right now this is not what I wanted to hear. He’s at school for two more days and then I probably won’t see him for sixth months.

For me it’s like a smack in the face, I know it’s nothing personal- but it still hurts a hell of a lot, I’m scared that without him I’ll feel like I’m drowning again.

A couple of things are bothering me at the moment- but I’ll put them in separate posts, I don’t want to info dump in one.

One of them is that I’m going on holiday to Italy straight after the exams (I know, I know, it’s alright for some!) so obviously I’m going to need to wear short sleeves, skirts and shorts… but this is straight after the exams, a period of HIGH stress- and therefore a period of self harm.

I self harmed a LOT during my GCSE exams, my hallucinations/delusions/paranoia built up to a point where I put myself in danger. I had horrible nightmares and generally didn’t know how to cope. Looking back I’m amazed that I managed to get through that period relatively unscathed.

I have to be practical- and I’ll probably need to try and broach a conversation with my Ma at some point.

’til next time

Wren x

The Exams Cometh

It’s sunny outside.. and I’m going to ramble on about something or other, not sure what yet.

I had a little cry in the shower last night, I’m not sure why… I remember being really relieved that I could actually cry though, so at least that’s something to be happy about.

My mood’s really odd at the moment, I feel all adventurous and relaxed- and yet at the same time I feel really, really stressed.

My exams are coming and it’s slightly terrifying. I’ve done a little revision this afternoon and am tempted to try and do a bit more, I reckon I could get 1/6 of it done in the next few hours if I tried… but should I prioritize that over the essay that needs to be in for Tuesday? I’m really scared about this essay, it’s a philosophy one and I got a D in my last attempt. If I try at this one and still fail then I’m honestly going to cry, I’m trying my best and I just can’t get it.

CAMHS have abandoned me, the proverbial safety net has been removed- if I fall I’m going to break my neck. I’ll be fine, it’ll just bloody hurt.

If the sun’s out where you are then enjoy it 🙂

Wren x

Pagan Blog Project: Four Pillars of the Magus or The Witches Pyramid

Pagan Fridays are back once more…

The four pillars of the Magus- more commonly known as the Witches pyramid- are four aspects/skills that help deepen our understanding of the craft and give us guidelines with which to live.

They are:

To Know

Corresponds with air; to know is all about intellect and ‘book learning’ this pillar is one that I personally love to indulge in. Plain and basic knowledge is essential for practise of the craft- you can’t do anything if you don’t know what it is or why you’re doing it, and often the best way of finding these things out is through books. We aren’t all blessed with a physical teacher and so have to do the best we can with textbooks.

In my opinion ‘knowing’ is the foundation pillar, it forms the bedrock of our understanding of the craft, from this we can develop our understanding of the world and of ourselves, leading onto the other three pillars…

To Will

Corresponds with fire; will is all about inner strength and personal belief. We have to believe in ourselves and our abilities for them to work. If you do a spell and sit around thinking it’s not going to work, I know it’s not going to work… then it won’t work! You’re sending out ridiculous amounts of negative energy and destroying the delicate threads of magick you’ve just woven.

Will is about being certain about yourself and your actions, without strong self belief you can be swayed by others- sometimes into doing things you don’t want to. As a Witch you need to take responsibility for your actions, at the end of the day it will be you reaping the consequences- whatever they turn out to be.

But it’s not all negative and scary- will is about having the courage to stand up and walk the other way to everyone else, will is that little thing inside you that gives you the courage to physically stand up from your chair and walk from the room when you feel the need to protest what is being said, will is the thing that makes you shout loud enough to be heard, whatever the consequences.

Will is deep, silent courage that makes sure you stay true to your heart.

To Dare

Corresponds with water; to dare is a more obvious form of courage.

Starting to work with magick is terrifying, I know that it was months before I could turn out the lights without praying for protection from my patroness, Brighid. This may sound a little extreme but you have to take into account the fact that I had A) just stopped being a devout Christian and B) was essentially accepting the fact that I was playing with the fabric of the universe.

Both of those things meant that I was really, genuinely scared at the thought of casting spells. But it didn’t stop me. I kept pushing on, praying and protecting myself as much as I could, and eventually the fear faded away.

I’ve been scared in other areas too, scared when I had to give a presentation on Paganism to a group of Muslim students, scared of telling my dad about my faith, scared of having to deal with the death of a loved one, scared of having to live without someone, scared of being alone. There are so many things I could list here, but every time I’ve stood up and faced it.

Daring is about trying things, it’s about meeting new people or volunteering for something. In my experience it either fizzles out or goes really well, so really there are no downsides… if you don’t dare to try things then you’ll never know.

By its very nature the craft is frightening, you’re messing around with the intangible fabric of the universe- if you screw up it’s not going to be pretty- but if you do nothing you gain nothing.

To Be Silent

Corresponds with earth; is perhaps the most fundamental and yet unappreciated pillar.

I’m good at being silent, I’ve been silent for the best part of my life. Within Wicca, Witchcraft, Paganism… whatever name applies to you and your path… it’s vitally important to keep silent about some things.

Part of this is practicality, I come from a very open environment and am surrounded by very open and accepting people, I know from talking to other people, even ones who live in the same town as me, that things aren’t always as easy as I’ve had them. There are things that I wouldn’t tell other people about- just because they wouldn’t get it, they wouldn’t understand, and people feel threatened by what they don’t understand.

The other part is that the craft is complicated and personal, when we stand in the circle we stand as ourselves at our most vulnerable, our most honest and open. We see parts of other people that they might not want us to… and that’s why we have to be silent. Keeping things inside of ourselves keeps them precious, it keeps them important and sacred.

Cheers for reading,
Wren x

The Pitfalls of Being a Psych Student and a Fifth Wheel

Being a mentally ill A-level psychology student allows you to understand exactly how your brain fucks itself up.

Yeah, I know- really helpful.

I realised that when I woke up this morning with a stinking horrible cold and thought: hmm, my adrenal cortex is working overtime releasing corticosteroids which is then causing my thymus gland to shrink, reducing the production of T cells and meaning that I can’t fight off potential infection.

I then felt like weeping.

Not only am I depressed, I’m ill. Oh, and my stress levels have rocketed. I don’t really know what else to say, I can’t distinguish between the crapiness of illness and the crapiness of depression, it’s all merged together into a big depressing ball of awfulness.

I’d also like to apologise for my language… I don’t swear that much in real life (is it bad that I just typed IRL and then went back and deleted it?) and this is kind of becoming a ramble-y post… but then I have spent most of today collapsed over a desk drinking water and feeling sorry for myself.

CAMHS are still avoiding me. I’m not going to look up when my last appointment was, that’ll just piss me off. Okay, so my psych nurse is ill, I can appreciate that- I’m not a total bitch, but they can at least try and arrange some kind of cover. I know I’m not a potential axe murderer or anything but it’s not fair to leave me in the lurch like this. I feel all lonely and rejected.

I’d share some awesome photos with you but SOMEONE keeps forgetting to stick them on Facebook, so I can’t.

I’ve been kind of bright today, but I think that was cos my best friends weren’t around (okay, now I sound like a bitch!) in all seriousness though, sometimes they’re really suffocating. There’s five of us- me, Claire, Jess, Michael and Callum. Claire and Michael are a couple and Callum and Jess are a couple… seeing any problems here? They think it’s fine to piss everybody else off by constantly doing things as just the five of us, but it means that I spend most of the time feeling lonely and isolated- and get shunned by all my other friends for being associated with those four.

So I basically spend all my free time watching my friends be all lovey dovey with each other whilst I sit on the floor by myself (literally in most cases) and every time I complain I get told to stop whining.

Haha, I think that was my gripe for the day.

Hope everyone’s well 🙂

Wren x

The Weather May Change, But My Mood Stays the Same…

I want to start this post by saying a huge thank you to anyone who commented, liked or even read the last post… opening the laptop this afternoon to find those comments and stats was amazing, it validated everything I’ve been feeling and made me realise that I’m allowed to be upset sometimes.

So, life at the moment is alright. I really need to cry- I’ve needed to cry since Wednesday but haven’t actually managed to produce any tears. I think that seven hour crying spree dried me up. My tear ducts must look like raisins or something.

My eyes are kind of prickling as I type… come on tears! It may sound like a weird thing to want but crying is therapeutic for me. It’s a way of safely and normally expressing emotion.

Today is the Spring Equinox/Ostara. I could write something seasonally appropriate… or I could refer you to my epic post on Pagan festivals.

My arm’s started to heal, it hurt like a bitch yesterday but is now on the road to recovery. I’m glad, I went much deeper than I’ve ever gone before and it was horrible. It hurt all day yesterday, after I’d just done it I remember it felt like my skin was on fire and I thought I was going to vomit.

One thing that pissed me off was that my friend (the one who tried to top herself and generally pissed me off) saw and decided to try and give me counselling. Okay, I was a bitch to her, she kept doing the face and stage whispering: if you need to talk you know where I am. Like she’s the fucking grown up in our relationship! No dear, I look after you (and try and stop you from killing yourself) not the other way around.

The thing is that I self harm for completely different reasons to her, what we do may have the same outcome (I’m a hell of a lot discreet-er about it though) but the reasons why are totally different. I self harm for control- so if you even try and infer that I should stop I’ll rip your head off (verbally, I’m only 5ft 1″) I’ll cut down, I barely do it anymore- but I won’t stop. Anyway, for me talking about self harm see here.

I was also talking to my friend (the one I bitched out the other week) he’s officially one of the loveliest people in the world, he’s been so nice and kind and sweet to me and I want to give him a big hug to say thank you… but I’m not a huggy person, so that might be weird.

Now I’ve got to go and do some filing. Yeah, filing… I was reading something about coping with depression last night and it said to get rid of any stressors… tell that to my bloody teachers.

I spent today being told that I’m not putting enough effort in (it wasn’t specifically me, it was the whole class) which is bullcrap. I put so much fucking effort in and it’s never enough. I care what you fucking tell me, I can’t revise if you set me shitloads of homework to do! I have a life outside of school, I refuse to do anything less than my best in these exams but right now I’m sleeping 10+ hours a night and still barely have enough energy to put my make-up on in the morning so I’m sorry if I’m not doing extra reading around the subject in my spare time.

I need to go and do stuff now… *sigh* sometimes it feels like I’m banging my head against a brick wall. Nothing I do is good enough.

Hope everyone’s well and sane and stuff 🙂

’til next time

Wren x

 

Helplessness, Depression and Other Miserable Whinings

I don’t really know what to say… should I sit here and write about how things have been in the last few days? About how my mood’s been at rock bottom and how I’ve been falling back into old habits and coping mechanisms… should I sit here and tell you that I seem to be becoming a child again?

I don’t know, I don’t know- it feels like even my grim and persistent sense of humour is failing me.

I’m in pain, my arms and legs are killing me and I can’t tell anyone- self-injury doesn’t get sympathy. I had more blood today than I’ve ever had before, I peered down my sleeve ten or so minutes after I’d cleaned myself up and rejoined the living to find that it had bled again and covered the skin of my forearm.

I’ve cleaned myself up properly but am not looking forward to showering tonight.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, at the moment I’m trying to stay calm. Depression sometimes feels like claustrophobia, the moment you realise how trapped you are you get scared and lash out and end up hurting yourself.

Because this is the internet and all anonymous I feel okay to admit thatI’m scared.

I feel like a little child wandering about in a big world, and I have to deal with this on my own- I’ve always had to, and I always will have to. I have to ease my Ma through what’s wrong with me and gently explain and sanitize things for my friends. I have to cope with my Dad losing control and rationalise his behaviour.

I’m sorry, but I’m the one in need of help here… I put every bit of energy I have into hiding what’s wrong, into being normal- and sometimes I’m tired.

People think I’m much more capable than I am, they think that because I want them to, because I do everything in my power to make it that way. But at the end of the day I don’t know what to do, and I need help.

My CAMHS nurse is god knows where- well, I think she’s ill- but when she gets back I’m not getting in touch. I’ve been in therapy for two and a half years and kept every single appointment. My social worker commented on it a lot, she said that I was very unusual in that respect. I don’t want to see anyone at the moment, I’m angry and hurt and rejected, and I know it’s just a fact of life but I don’t want to be sensible anymore.

I’m sick of hiding and being nice and good- I’m angry and I’m hurt, and I have the right to sit and cry and be a bitch sometimes.

I don’t want to go into all the shit about why I feel I have to be perfect and stick to the rules- that’s something for another day and going over it will only make me upset.

Thanks to everyone reading and everyone who’s offered support, I promise I’ll be back with it soon- things are just pretty shit at the moment 🙂

Wren x