For our June seminar, anewton has sent me this seminar on Man and God. He is unable to post it himself today, so I am posting it for him, but he will be back soon to join in the discussion.
Man and god
Andrew Bear Newton
Funny thing faith, For the longest time in my life I was never sure the gods were real, like a lot of people yes I thought probably something like God or Goddess or great spirit existed but I was never really sure.
This is the story of how I became sure the God and Goddess exist.
It starts when I’m a child, for reasons I won’t go into in depth, other than to say you can find some of them on a certain section of the OBOD web board if you look hard enough, Its fair to say my life was haunted by a great darkness I did not understand, and so I shut myself away from the world, built wall after wall, created my own castle of glass to hide away in.
Castle of glass, glass armour, spear, hmm sounds all a bit Celtic this. Why did I choose those images to protect myself with? The answer lies in science fiction/fantasy and the astonishing amount of occult material I’d managed to get my hands on by the age of 12. I used to have a standing joke with PCG that I never read any books in the 20 or so years I’ve been around the order , well I read 100s of books when I was young, pretty much everything that had been published so I had a lot to go on. When I came into the order I did not want to read more have my thoughts clouded by other people’s ways of doing things, I wanted to find my own way.
I was still reading at this point, many years of reading everything and anything had passed, and one particular set of science fantasy books suddenly struck a chord with me, the story of a misfit, sent back in time, and coming across a race of aliens who used glass technology, had mythical weapons of the sword, the spear, the cauldron and who sued a singing stone, with names like dagda, luggon, fafnir and so on; clearly based on the old Celtic legends that had fascinated me so many years previously , and I started to dream that perhaps I was that misfit hero.
And so I started to play luggon in particular online, in the very early days of what would go on to become the internet, mostly as a rampaging killer at first, I became quote notorious as aiken-lugonn on SX-MUD, MUDII and a number of other online MUDs (multi user dungeon, text based no graphics back then!).
Then one day I found myself in a game type I’d not come across before, a game called Gods, where killing brought you nothing, only co-operation worked, a game where the aim wasn’t to become a wizard of infinite power but to become a loved and adored God.
Somewhere in that process; Playing the god became real, the light of lugh started to shine in the dark, I’d opened a gateway into my own darkness, and at last I could see.
I think it’s only when I saw the light I really began to feel quite how much pain and hurt I’d locked away with me.
Years passed, years of pain and darkness, and then one day I found a way to get away from the bad situation I was in, locks were left undone, and over the course of 24 hours left my old life behind and moved to Oxford.
Now free of at least the physical shackles that had bound me it was here I decided to look for other people like me.
I came into contact with some rather dubious characters In Oxford at first, and I tended to have a rather hopeless habit of falling in love with just about any woman unlucky enough to cross my path at the drop of a hat, a habit it would take me many years more to begin to loose, and it would be a further year, my 30th until I would have my first sexual relationship with a woman where I wasn’t an unwilling victim.
Among the dubious character was one gem, a woman called Anne, and it was she who introduced me to the fellowship of Isis, but at that time relating to the path of the Goddess was impossible for me. Eventually a friend introduced me to the newly opened OBOD, and I began the journey through the grades, but that all pervasive dark, ah that still haunted me.
Some wonderful things happened in bardic grade, and among them I came to understand that dark, and yet light star bear was not actually outside me but part of me, that the reality is that that wonderful rich dark is so much part of my power as who I am it needed to be embraced and loved and welcomed, and the darker it was, the brighter the light. I got told a lot to love myself, its great advice but it really does not help when you have no idea what love is really.
Ovate was fascinating, and I revelled in it, finding out about my witch ancestors, diviation,a nd the trees, my family and that even that briefly I’d had a twin sister that I’d never known about but who died at birth, I began to understand who I am, and I even did both bardic and ovate grades twice.
And so into druid grade, feeling lie at long last this was my true home within the order, creating the first ever online druids guild in a game, creating many of the powers and abilities like shape shift and items like totems you still see in many games where you play a druid now, and the gift of the druid grade goresedd at the end, but still even then I had not worked out how to love myself, but druid grade is a bit like that in each of our journeys we all learn different things at different times, some simple things, some very hard lesions not learnt until perhaps years after we’ve ‘finished’ the gwersi, and yet I was really no nearer to believing in the God than I had been 15 years ago.
Then I returned to druid camps, and the moment I stepped onto the Beltane field below dragon hill something very strange but very wonderful began to happen., strange images began to parade before my eyes open or shut, a wonderful feeling of warmth and wellbeing followed me around, and as we began the men’s process I knew in my heart i was to be that years may king; And then the bottom dropped out of my world, I put my foot down a rabbit hole and severely damaged my ligaments in my ankle as I found out later, all those hopes had come crashing down....
And yet, something even stranger began to happen, the facilitator of the men’s lodge suggested someone could run in my place, a champion, if I was chosen as a candidate, the women moved the scheduled meeting of to be chosen king and queen from the top of dragon hill to the middle of camp.
Sure enough i was chosen as candidate, and off m champion went, I sat alone in the men’s yurt, but yet I wasn’t alone, a horned figure appeared gradually, stood with me, warmth and love flooding through me, into me, with me and holding me, and I knew I’d won long before the men returned to the yurt.
And so this is how I know how the God is real, you see I’ve met him, he choose to come and stand with me and walk with me and within me step for step, breath for breath, for a year and a day, and what was my quest?, ah to learn to love myself.
It’s been four years now since that moment, of the year and a day when the God walked with me, it was the most intense initiation, extraordinary experience of love I’ve had, and yes I did and have learnt to love myself, and no that work is never finished.
Since that journey I’ve gone back to the fellowship of Isis, discovered that the great mystery of the Goddess is just as real in a very different way, but man and God and Goddess, well that’s another story.