Sunday, August 31, 2014

30 Day Deity Challenge

August is finally coming to an end, and this year it was an especially intense month. Despite the intense resentment I feel for the FIFA World Cup for many (political) reasons, I owe it a huge one: because of it taking place in Brazil this year, the annual Goddess Spirituality Conference in São Paulo got postponed until early August, and that is when I visit my family and native country.
When I moved to Madrid over seven years ago, my intense, passionate and fruitful spiritual life with its accompanying, glorious social aspect were put in the fridge. My new friends in Europe were certainly open-minded and chilled, but they all ridiculed, abhorred and rejected anything that was not sensorial, logical, linear-minded and, in my opinion, not spiritual. Or at least that is what it seemed like to me. So, I hid my Craft tools, shut up about my real impressions and feelings many times, and just played the game. It is not easy to tread an alternative spiritual path here in Deep Spain, and alternative here means pretty much anything that is not Catholic Christian. Witches and Pagan priests I met that came to live here never stayed longer than a year, and the small, local Pagan community I found here was for some reason difficult to relate to, on an energetic level, and as the years went by I heard at least two horror stories (quite literally) that made me only glad I never really integrated in the local scene.
So, going back to Sampa for the Conference I had not attended in seven long years, and reconnecting with people who shared the Calling with me after so long was amazing. It re-lit the passion and the faith, and set the fire of my Divine Inspiration back on.
For the three days of the conference I talked and wrote a lot about the Old Gods, about the Craft, about spiritual callings and about Inspiration, which I have long considered to be my main path. I would get to the hotel where it took place before 10 a.m., enjoy every second of the starry-eyed lecturers and facilitators sharing the fruits of their passion, work and inspiration, join the rituals in the evening and come back "home" at 9 p.m. for writing, researching and (re)weaving until the wee hours while the rest of São Paulo partied the weekend away. I was on fire.
I went back to my parents in Rio, then I flew back to Spain. But the fire burned on for the rest of the month, and I did not hesitate to organise a local World Goddess Day gathering next Sunday, right next to an original Egyptian temple dedicated to the same goddess to whom this year's edition of the Goddess Spirituality Conference was dedicated, Isis, brought over and rebuilt right here in Madrid. For the gathering, I will lead a Spiral Dance, which is my favourite thing to do when priesting for a group activity, and the Spiral is a symbol of an elusive goddess that way long ago called me, and followed me for most of my adult life, never giving up on me no matter how clearly I stated that I had given up on understanding Her.
This month, after the Conference, the fire that burned on my head revealed much of Her to me. And I decided to heed the Call. I am giving next Sunday (just before the Spiral Dance) a short lecture on Arianrhod, a major Welsh goddess on whom, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has completed the 30-day deity challenge. My druid friend who took this challenge himself challenged me to do it today, and after failing to do the ice bucket challenge only yesterday I decided I would take this one up. I have only 29 days before I travel to India for a Yoga Teacher Training course, and I want to finish this before flying, and it is way too warm to sit here at the computer for too long. Also, I do not have access to much of what I read and researched about Arianrhod or Celtic myth over the years, thus this will look certainly a lot like pure personal gnosis and intuitive conclusions, but it does not need to be scholar work anyway. So, expect something short, undocumented and very, very dynamic.
The topics are:

I. A basic introduction of the deity
II. How did you become first aware of this deity?
III. Symbols and icons of this deity
IV. A favorite myth or myths of this deity
V. Members of the family – genealogical connections
VI. Other related deities and entities associated with this deity
VII. Names and epithets
VIII. Variations on this deity (aspects, regional forms, etc.)
IX. Common mistakes about this deity
X. Offerings – historical and UPG
XI. Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
XII. Places associated with this deity and their worship
XIII. What modern cultural issues are closest to this deity’s heart?
XIV. Has worship of this deity changed in modern times?
XV. Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
XVI. How do you think this deity represents the values of their pantheon and cultural origins?
XVII. How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
XVIII. How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG)
XIX. What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
XX. Art that reminds you of this deity
XXI. Music that makes you think of this deity
XXII. A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
XXIII. Your own composition – a piece of writing about or for this deity
XXIV. A time when this deity has helped you
XXV. A time when this deity has refused to help
XXVI. How has your relationship with this deity changed over time?
XXVII. Worst misconception about this deity that you have encountered
XXVIII. Something you wish you knew about this deity but don’t currently
XXIX. Any interesting or unusual UPG to share?
XXX. Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?

Feel free to contribute as comments. I will read them all.