When I first began to seriously study the Craft I was troubled by certain modalities of thought that sought to explain the Universe in terms of a structured hierarchy, usually one that supported whatever power structures were in place within the organizational body of that particular religious tradition. My intuitive sense, even at that tender and awkward age, was that reality was in a constant state of flux, always changing, always yearning to create new forms. I believed then as I do now: that all of Creation strives to express itself in new and interesting ways.
I remember my thoughts on gods and goddesses at the time, how inconceivable it was that these beings could somehow be separate from each other, if indeed we were all part of one being; one cosmic being experiencing itself through ourselves. My intuition called me to explore the idea of an ultimate Divinity, a Divine Source from which all else proceeded. I remember no book that I read on the Craft at that time speaking of such a concept, preferring to explain things in terms of interactions between the Goddess and the God, (explained as being separate powers) the mythological Lord and Lady reigning supreme from their celestial throne. When asked about a conceptual power behind these two beings, perhaps even a unifying force, I would be met with wide-eyed astonishment, or more usually, simply arrogant superiority. To focus on a singular Divine power or source was monotheism, I was told, and had no place in a polytheistic religion such as witchcraft.
Many a religious tradition has fallen prey to this trap of fixation, this idea that the Divine is somehow limited to certain qualities, aspects, faces, political affiliations, etc. By supposing that one has the only viable connection to Divinity (and that all others are therefore invalid) dangerously invokes a religious fanaticism that, by its nature of serving the ego and reinforcing whatever power structures are already in place, encourages the suppression of differing points of view, the destruction of indigenous peoples (who's traditional lifestyles are invariably in conflict with big business and the ideals of a religious structured hierarchy) and, by extension, the squandering of the earth's natural resources. It is a mindset that we are all far too familiar with.
One of the distinguishing marks of the Feri tradition for me has been in the recognition of the ambiguous nature of the Universe. Far from being a system that seeks to impose limits and definitions onto experiential realities, Feri seems to revel in the blurring of boundaries, taking sheer pleasure in the paradoxical, the anomalous, the Weird. The unfathomable power of chaos is at its very core, that primal churning of energy that is the beginning point for everything known, and unknown. The Star Goddess moves outward from Herself, taking several forms, blurring one into the next, taking on new aspects, becoming more focused, yet retaining the essential quality of what has gone before.
All beings flow back into the ultimate source of all things. This implies that the underlying nature is a unified one, however this doesn't mean that any being will be just as useful for a particular purpose as any other. All goddesses are one Goddess, but this doesn't mean that I would find it useful to invoke Kali for a love spell, or Aphrodite for the destruction of an oppressive pattern. We find different points of focus along the spectrum that are aligned to different energies. We "tune into" varying frequencies in the waves of Divinity at different times, as we deem appropriate. I can understand mentally that the Blue God is, in one sense, a manifestation of the Star Goddess, but I also recognize that they feel quite different, and because of this possess different powers.
Recently I had a dream. In this vision I was shown a window into the nature of the Star Goddess, specifically Her relationship to other Deities of the Feri tradition, and by extension to the Universe at large.
In the dreamtime I see a light. The light from a black candle breaking across the darkness of the room, as my teacher and myself sit, breathing in a rhythm, calling down the trance upon ourselves. We breathe, and the white flame becomes surrounded by a rainbow band, a prismatic nimbus that hints at the hidden powers within the light. I inhale, and the power moves outward from that light, becoming now something different; moving into a new form. Where there was one power, there are now two: Nimue and Dian y Glas, birthed from the white fire womb of the Cosmic Mother. It continues, riding on the waves of my breath, these two powers move outward still, changing from these child-like beings and maturing into the Great Mother, and the Harvest Lord, then finally into the Crone, and the Winter King. A point of stillness at the end of my breath, and then it returns on my exhale, these powers collapsing back into that from which they came, flowing backward into that point of light which contains them all: the white fire of the Star Goddess, flickering softly in the darkness of the Void.
I awoke with a sense of purpose, determined to actualize what I had seen. I began to perform the exercise from my dream, slowly at first, following the pattern as laid out in my vision. It wasn't long, however, before the flow of power began to take on a life of its own, emerging into new configurations, new patterns that challenged the seemingly structured order that was present in the dream. I began to experience the interactions of specific Deities I had not associated with each other before. The Blue God flowing into the Winter King, forming a specific energetic vibration, a frequency that, in one sense, represented the revelation of a Deity previously unknown to me; a hybrid, a seeming paradox if I were to retain the rigid thinking that would force them to remain separate. I began to contemplate this being, allowing Him to show me his secrets, feeling His flow of power, listening to His whispers. Then I promptly forgot all about it.
That is until quite recently.
Working extensively with the Star Goddess as of late, I found myself bathed in Her fire. Resting in my heart in the form of an idol I created for Her, she pulsed with white flame as elemental fire raged into my body from the four directions. I awoke with a fever, drifting in and out of consciousness but always returning to the idol in my chest and the fire in my body. I felt as if my blocks to power were being, quite literally, burned away, leaving me pure and open. My fever grew and for a short time I was no longer able to make the distinction between this world and the next, being comforted by the singing of unseen children, and the constancy of my vision. Then the being came.
He emerged from the darkness to rest before my closed eyes. He was beautiful, appearing as if in his early twenties, triangular features, pale skin, jet black hair. His eyes were the blue of the star-lit sky infused with the still cool light of morning. He looked into me and aroused my desire for Him. He had a playful wickedness to Him, a sense of almost punkish sensuality that both allured and frightened. I wanted Him and found myself relaxing into Him. After a brief silence He told me that, now in my fever, I could come with Him if I chose to; I could leave my physical body and wander the Outer Darkness with Him as my shining guide. There was a definite sense of temptation, as if He, the Pied Piper of my dreamtime, were attempting to seduce me into choosing my own death and for a time I was indeed tempted. To look upon His face was to be filled with desire for Him. But to stand in His presence was also to be reminded of the importance of this reality, a sharpness that cut to the heart of the matter at hand. I looked into His eyes and gave Him my answer, that there was still more that I wanted to do here and thank you anyway.
He responded by opening his cloak (Why had I not noticed it before?) made entirely from feathers. He had no body, but this was of no concern to me, as the focus of the vision was on the feathers: iridescent black but interspersed with those of a peacock, revealing a secret into the being's identity. He danced. In circles He danced, whirling like a dervish silently off into the Outer Dark. Then he was gone.
By the next day my fever had broken and I was left to ponder my encounter with the nameless being. It was obvious to me that I had encountered, in vision, a Deity who had only previously been hinted at by the dream exercise; a blend of energies that produced a focal point where two different currents of power could flow into each other.
This being, this amalgamation is, quite literally, the offspring, the Divine Child of Dian y Glas and the Winter King, merged together in Holy Bliss. The implications of this realization, especially for me as a gay man, were tremendous. No longer would I be able to impose onto the realm of spirit the limitations of the physical. Sex, gender, reproduction; we have definite ideas as to what these terms mean for the human animal. But moving into the areas of the spiritual these ideas reflect different, more core truths. No longer limited by the density of the manifest we are left to contemplate their energetic essence and begin to understand these forces as mutable, flowing into each other, dancing together, making new forms, expressing to their fullest the possibilities of the erotic. To do so is to begin to touch the ecstatic.
In my body I understand the fluid nature of the Gods and so I need no one else to validate, or categorize my experiences for me. In communion with the Divine I require no outside authority. I stand as a Sacred Gateway for spirit to flow into the world, however strange it may seem at times. With this experience comes the realization that we are all such a gateway, just waiting to be open and allow the Divine, and our true selves, to flow into the world. In this psychedelic realm we know that what we dream is real, and that in this sea of energy we call the Universe, we are all just swirls, temporary patterns that arise for a time and then are gone, returning to that from which we came. A current flows here under the waves, seemingly going against the tide, challenging what is known, revealing new possibilities. In this ocean of experience we swim, feeling our way through to the depths of our own being, and beyond. In this state we can hold on to nothing, our judgments and egos would just weight us down, and so we choose the only other path: to be open, and to allow ourselves to be led by the current of the Divine into bliss. To do this is to do nothing less than to choose our own liberation.