Monday, March 14, 2011

An interview with the Goddess

I recently enrolled in a class at Cherry Hill Pagan Seminary, in a class studying Doreen Valiente, ancestors and the Charge of the Goddess.
My final report for the class was a rendition of the Charge of the Goddess, as if it took place between the Goddess and an interviewer.
 The instructor urged me to publish the report, so here it is. Enjoy!

An interview with a Goddess

    (Author’s note: Before the interview, we tried calling her office to nail down a time to meet, and a location, and the name by which she preferred to be called. She chose midnight, for some reason, and the middle of a forest. As for the name, it kept changing – she said Aradia one day, Diana the next, then Cerridwen. Eventually we just gave up and called her ‘the Goddess’. Although at the office we referred to this subject as ‘Sybil’.)

Interviewer: Thank you for meeting, you know we’ve been trying to meet you for quite a while.
Goddess: Yes, about seven thousand years.
I: I’m sorry? We only contacted you seven weeks ago….
G: But I’ve been waiting for you for, oh, millennia. Since your grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfathers looked up at the night sky and wondered at the stars, I’ve been waiting to sit down with you, these trees and your microphone. That’s how long I’ve been waiting for you to find me.
I: Um, alright. So if I may ask, why so many names?
G: Because different people know me by different names. Look at it this way – at home, your kids – do you have kids? I know you do, Ashley is 7 and Jeremy is 4 – your kids call you ‘Daddy’. And your wife calls you ‘honey’, and your boss calls you ‘Robert’. Your photographer calls you ‘Mr Henderson’. You’re known by many different names, depending on how people want to relate to you. It’s the same with me.
I: Wait, how do you know my kid’s names? I never –
G: I know everything. It’s part of my job.
I: Um, right, I guess. So, you wanted to meet under a full moon? What’s that about?
G: Because that way I can see you better, silly.
I: Moonlight is better than daylight? Or in a room with lights? What’s that about?
G: There’s a line from a song that you might remember. Do you? Yes – you were two when it was recorded. Do these lines sound familiar? ‘Cold hearted orb that rules the night,steals the colors from our sight. Red is grey and yellow, white. But we know which is real – and which is an illusion’. Well I don’t ascribe to the ‘cold-hearted orb’ business, but under the moon’s light you all look the same to each other. Brown skin, pink skin, red? Doesn’t matter, I know who you are, and if you open your eyes – not the ones in the front of your head – you see yourselves as all the same. So the moonlight brings everyone into my sight, but where you are all free of limiting perception.
I: And you do know it’s .. midnight, right?
G: Of course! My favorite time of day.
I: What’s with midnight? Everyone should be in bed?
G: Well answer me this – what time is it right now?
I: Midnight, like I said.
G: So is it yesterday, or today, or tomorrow?
I: It’s um, well, both? Neither? All three?
G: Exactly! We are, as it were, between times. At the stroke of midnight it’s not any time, is it. Or all times. I like the eternal ambiguity. 
I: And the once a month thing is…..
G: Guess.
I: When it’s full?
G: Bingo! Well done.
I: So, the forest, this is pretty weird.
G: Did you have a hard time finding it?
I: Yes, it wasn’t on my GPS, I almost got lost…..
G: Good. Next question?
I: What is it, exactly, that you do? Here in these trees, under a full moon.
G: I answer questions. I ask questions. I offer advice. I heal you. I make you grow, and learn, and let the world spin around me. Through me. And through me, I set you free.
I (nervous laughter): That seems like a big job…… (adjusts his tie)
G: Oh, you have no idea. By the way, you keep fidgeting in your clothes.
I: Oh, I’m just, you know, it’s late and…..
G: Remove them.
I: I’m sorry?
G: Your clothes. Take them off.
I: Now listen here, can I ask why –
G: Because I want you to. You’re the interviewer, asking me questions. You wish to understand me. Part of understanding me is letting me understand you.
I: Is this some kind of kinky –
G: Nothing kinky at all. Remember what I said about how moonlight makes everyone equal? Well if you look at a police officer in uniform, you know what he is. If you see a soldier in his combat vest, you know what he is. If you see a doctor, or a nurse, or a butcher, you know what they are. The clothes, as they say, make the man. Yes, stack them over there, thank you. Oh you don’t need to be shy, I’ve seen you naked before. Now, how does that feel?
I: Um, chilly? Embarrasing? Exposed?
G: But if someone else were to meet you right now, would they know you were a reporter? They’d see no microphone, no jacket with the company name on it. You’d be unidentifiable, no?
I: Well, okay, but I don’t see….
G: And if they were also naked, you’d have no way to judge them. You wouldn’t know if they were a politician, or a homeless man, or anything. You’d be on equal footing.
I: I suppose….
G: And without those identifying labels you give yourself, you’re liberated from your restrictions. And I might add, you don’t have a way to hide from me, either. Granted I can see through you anyway, but this way you would be consciously acknowledging that I can. It’s a way of saying, “I’m free to be myself – my inner self - before the eyes of the universe.”
I: I think I see that. Can I put them back on now?
G: Do you want to? I don’t want you to.
I: Well then can you be naked too? You’ve got all this shining robe thing on….
G: Very well. For you, I will. Not because you want to see a naked woman, but because you want to see me as an equal.
I: Are you my equal? I thought you were a Goddess….
G: I am your equal. And your mother. And your daughter, sister, lover, friend, teacher, enemy, confidante..
I: Enemy?
G: Have you ever had someone tell you something you didn’t want to hear? A boss reprimand you at work, or a doctor give you bad news? For a split second there, and this is quite normal, you despise that person, you wish you’d never asked them whatever it is. That’s when a friend becomes an enemy. But then you think about it and see their side of things, and your understanding grows. I do that.
I: So you – you’re a Goddess – don’t you always love people?
G: Yes! Oh yes. I have love for everyone. For the newborn baby who takes his first breath. For the child who learns to keep a secret from his parents. For lovers enjoying the blossoming romance – and the occasional spat. For a mother who cries out when her child is hurt. For the man who knows the pain of burying his father. For the crone, frail and wise, who draws her last living breath. I know them all, and I love them all so much!
I: So how do you, you know, show it? All that?
G: I show you, or them, by showing them a mirror. I urge them to celebrate the love the universe bestows upon them. I urge them to sing, to dance, to embrace and feast. The joy of life is revealed in the celebration of being alive! And when people celebrate, even alone, I am there. I am the light shining in their eyes, the joy I their voice. I am the tears on the cheeks of lovers reunited, and the slap of the hand on the drum-head. I am the taste of meat on the tongue, and I AM the meat on the tongue. My love is everywhere – and when people see the love they share, they see me.
I: That seems like….. I don’t know what. A secret, um, they share a secret with each other?  
G: It’s no secret. It never was. Tell me, do you remember the story of King Arthur? His quest?
I: King Arthur, yes, he had the sword Excalibur, and he sought the Holy Grail, right? Jesus’s cup?
G: Good for you! Now then, let’s re-write history for a moment. Imagine you are King Arthur. What part of you, right now, resembles a sword?
I (mimes a chopping motion with his hand) : Ummm…..
G(smiling) : Not quite. Look down.
I: I, um, oh. Oh! That’s my sword? Oh I get it, symbolism. That’s, what, Freudian?
G: Older. Freud used the idea, but I wrote it. Okay so if that part is your sword, what part of a woman is the ‘sacred cup’?
I: Oh, I get it. The whole yin and yang thing, right?
G: Not bad for your first lesson! Now, if the sacred cup is what you seek, then is the sword used to conquer, do you think? Or something else?
I: Using my …. To conquer, that sounds like, I don’t know, rape?
G: Please, don’t be so apologetic on my account. I’ve been at this a long time. No, when you use your weapon, or when your weapon is, shall we say, drawn from its metaphoric sheath, you feel empowered, yes? emboldenend?
I: I suppose…..
G: And when you feel more empowered, if you, let’s say, suddenly have the answer to a question that’s been bothering you, you feel invincible! Suddenly everything is in your grasp!
I: I think I understand.
G: Of course you do! And here’s the other side of that story – when you feel that sense of victory – and this is absolutely not restricted to men, the cock-sword thing is just a reference for you to, as it were, grasp, believe me – the sense of victory makes you feel young again! Like you see the path through the maze, everything is easy. You know the exuberant joy of youth! The cup of immortality that I offer can give you that.
I: So the sword is… or my, um, cock, is….
G: Your strength. Your will. But like I said, it’s not a gender thing. Have you heard of Boudica?
I: Boo-who? No I haven’t.
G: Okay. Marie Curie? Xena, Warrior Princess? Janet Weiss? Hypatia of Alexndria? Sekhmet? Oprah Winfrey? Mother Teresa? Doreen Valiente?
I: Some of them, yeah.
G: They all had it. Warrior spirit. Find your warrior spirit, and marry that with the love you see in me, through me, and you know what I can help you find.
I: Which is…..
G: Immortality of spirit. Oh everyone dies, sure. Eventually everyone becomes as dirt. But the spirit, that is immortal. And when you celebrate my love for you, when you celebrate my belief in you, when you use your own spirit to see beyond the maze, that – THAT – is where you find your true freedom. You know your own strength when you see yourself as I see you. Immortal, beautiful, loving. Magnificent.
I: Well that’s… huge, that’s…. wow, what do you ask for to give someone that? What, do they have to give something up, like Lent? Do they have to kill a goat?
G (laughing) : It always comes back to goats! Oh those poor goats. No, please, don’t kill anything on my behalf. Well actually, yes, yes, do. I do ask one sacrifice. There is one thing you need to kill for me.
I: And that is?
G: The fear of not being good enough. Kill that. Because you are, you always were. You are perfect, and I love you! You just need to see that in yourself the way I see it.
I: So what do you want people to do, you know, for you?
G: Easy! Celebrate me. Worship me – and worship the me that is in you, in every part of you. When you cry, I’m there. When you laugh, I’m there. When you make love, I’m there. When you see your daughters grow up and have daughters of their own, I’m there. And when you fuck up, I’m there, kicking you in the backside. I am in all aspects of your life, and all those aspects are as worship, to me. 
I: But …. Where do you start? I mean, we called to set up this interview, but aside from that, where does a person, you know, begin?
G: Have you ever looked in a mirror?
I: Of course.
G: Start there. Have you ever spent hours working on a problem only to figure it out, and say, “Oh I knew that all along!”
I: Um, sure….
G: The answer was always in you. That’s where I am, and that’s where you’ll find me. Because if you don’t know how to look inside yourself to find me, you’ll never know how to look anywhere else. Every question, and every answer, that you’ll ever face, begins right there – inside your heart.
I: So I’m….
G: You are, already, the answer to the question you haven’t even asked yet. Look up. What do you see?
I: Hmm? Treetops, stars… the moon…..
G: Stars. Do you know where you begin? Where you came from? Where I came from?
I: Lemme guess. Stars?
G: From the universe. You are one of the universe’s beautiful mysteries, and every day you see yourself a little more clearly. Every day the universe reveals itself to you a little more. And every day, when you open your eyes, you can know that I am looking back at you, and that I love you. I always have. 
I (still looking up at the stars) : That’s, it’s almost too much, it’s…. wow, this interview isn’t what I expected!
G (smiling) : Oh? What did you expect?
I: Um, talking about books, history, you know. Religion.
G: You want to know the truth of religion?
I: Do you know the truth of religion?
G: Of course! I helped your great-great-great-grandfather figure it out.
I: Okay what is the truth of religion?
G: ‘Don’t be an idiot’.
I: What, that’s it? Don’t be an idiot?
G: That’s it. Be the person you know you can be. If you pretend you’re less than you believe you are, you’re fooling yourself. Be the ‘you’ that I see. Here, at midnight, in the light of the moon. No disguises. Here, I see you as you truly are. And you are not an idiot. So don’t act like it.
I: I don’t know what to say……
G: Thank you?
I: You’re welcome!
G (laughing) now you’re getting it!