Myths, tales, legends, stories….much of this stuff is the background driver of cultures. In some, the epic tales and myths are forefront, and part of everyday life. Or so it seems – its awful difficult to pull up an average citizen of – let’s say – the Roman Empire, and ask them how much emphasis myths, tales and legends plays a critical part in their daily lives, or even helps explain decision-making in mundane tasks. But that’s a different argument/discussion for people who want to argue those points. (Damn, a tangent, and this early in the writing too)
We have epic myths and tales within our time. Look at the legend of Pat Tillman. An NFL player, who opts out of his contract, so that he can join the military and fight for the principles that he believes in. He enters into a combat zone as a leader of man, engages the enemy and fights them to the bitter end of his life. The military Public Relations people pick up on this, promote the story to show that even one of the “privileged” few will take a stand against the “bad guys”. Of course, after time passes a short time, we find that the tale is mostly fabricated, and there is a strong possibility that Tillman was cut down by friendly fire. But the fabricated story helped many on the fence concerning their enlistment, to decide to join the military. A tale that they had been told helped inform their decision. Those who had decided to take the plunge into a military lifestyle over this decision – I would certainly love to talk to them now, and see how much the disintegration of Tillman’s legendary death may changed their mind – if at all.
Those that wind up with Gods and Goddesses calling to them, well they tend to do research as well. They pick up the Legends and the Tales, they read about the exploits of these figures enshrouded in myth, and legend. And I wonder how many are shocked to find that these Gods and Goddesses are somewhat different from what has been spoken about them through tales and stories around the campfires? ::raising hand:: Been there. Doing that. The legends and myths talk about some of the general aspects of those Gods and Goddesses, but communicating directly with them will blow an individual’s entire expectation. These Gods and Goddesses are not as cut and dry as the myths and tales bring about. They have personalities, they have the ability to be tender and kind (even those associated with war). They have the ability to be angered, and nearly militant in avenging even what some may consider to be the smallest of slights. Some may feign an interest, simply to utilize an individual’s corporeal existence and talent. But my point is not to paint the Gods and Goddesses as “petty”, “Angry”, “aloof” beings – they can be at times. They can also be nurturing, caring (to a degree), and very helpful.
If you have read this blog for any amount of time, you are aware that I have two Trickster Gods in my life – Crow and Coyote. And while they are Trickster Gods, they have a caring side to both of them as well. Sometimes, they bring helpful insight by showing you a Pathway to walk down, which is a dead-end with a stinging rebuke. From them, I have learned to accept cautiously, research deeper, and examine from every potential angle – even the most improbable or impossible. In some ways, its like reading the “Terms and Conditions” from a piece of software that you downloaded from the internet. Most people hit the “Accept” button…and never read beyond the wording “Terms and Conditions”. Part of the reason I changed the name of this blog from “Footsteps on My Path” to “Life With Trickster Gods” was to reflect that blindly accepting agreements and “bargains” from the Gods is not only in your best interest.
And sometimes, in your research, you may find that some legends and tales may not be completely appropriate for the God you are currently dealing with. If you ever get the chance to listen to the Rock Opera “Jesus Christ Superstar”, you will find that it is possible to see Jesus ben Joseph in a different light. He makes a bargain with God to show the human race what love is like, by being manifest among them. He reaches some followers, and adds revolutionary figures such as Simon of Zealotes to his group of friends. Simon advocates in the song “Simon Zealotes/PoorJerusalem” of the overthrow of the Roman government that occupies the government and lands where they live. Jesus tries to dissuade them from their path of anger and destruction by telling them of the future of “Poor Jerusalem”…which confuses the gathered crowd, as they were primed for violent overthrow. Now think about this for a moment. What Andrew Lloyd Weber was doing here was trying to get people to see characters in the Bible from a different perspective. And he was pointing out that outside influences may have tried to attach themselves to Jesus’ provision of peace, love, hope, and assimilation into society – utilizing that as cover.
Gerald Seymour wrote in his book Harry’s Game that “one man’s terrorist, is another man’s freedom fighter.” Which brings up the reminder – legends and myths are not a two-dimensional canvas from which we glean only one perspective. Its more like a three-dimensional sculpture, which we can find more understand and perspective by circling it from every angle. Seeing the good sides of it, as well as the bad sides. The Venus de Milo is a marvelous depiction of a young lady of that time. A marvelous figure, save for her missing arms. Seen from every angle, the feminine lines are absolutely marvelous, loving carved from rock — but it all comes back to the missing arms. Why the arms are missing? To be honest, that doesn’t matter. There’s still the missing arms. The scar on an otherwise marvelous work of art. Seeing the good, along with the bad.
I would posit that many people see the Gods and Goddesses in a two dimensional understanding. Flat, uninspiring (to them) tales and legends of an era of superstition. Hardly lifelike. Those that communicate with these Gods know far different. But then, I have also seen individuals who venerate and communicate with these Gods and Goddesses sneer down their noses at the Christian aspects of Jesus ben Joseph as the Rising Savior, Mary Magdalene as the earthly Mother of the Savior, the all-knowing Jehovah as the Father God, and the mysterious Holy Spirit. If there is power, and three-dimensional aspect to our Gods and Goddesses, surely there is the same merit in the same manner towards the ethereal figures within the Christian Pantheon? Or any other Pantheon?? But again, my point is not to argue the merits of the Gods and Goddesses, regardless of tradition or follower belief. I know these Gods and Goddesses exist…and I really have no need to convince anyone else of that fact, aside from myself.
But the Gods and Goddesses are three-dimensional on aspect, and even in personality. The legends, tales and myths show some aspect of these beings. Experiencing them for yourself is another matter altogether. For me, it fleshes out the ramifications of something that goes beyond legend, far beyond the myths, and enters into an area where a singular relationship becomes a matter between you and whichever God or Goddess has approached you or you have approached. In my own experience, the tales and legends are nice to know, an excellent starting point to realize a small part of who these beings are and what they, for the most part, represent. But in the end, its the personal experiences between the two of you that will matter more. You develop a unique relationship with your particular God or Goddess. I have a relationship with Crow, but that relationship is unique to Crow and myself. Others may have similar experiences as well, but those relationships will all – individually – be as unique as my own.
The Gods and Goddesses are more than just the two-dimensional caricatures we create in imagery and tale. Some story-tellers do a wonderful job of exploring that depth further, as do some artists – but in the end there’s still so much more about each of the Gods and Goddesses that can only be fleshed out through personal experience. And from my experience, if you approach the Gods and Goddesses with patience, honest, and openness, you may get the chance to cultivate a wonderful experience that may last lifetimes, or even shorter….but the experience is worth the chance. Just my two pence…