Starting Out: What are your names for God?

oldest-living-trees

Spirit called to me even as a young child. There was a tree in our backyard that I used to climb all the time—my mother says if anyone asked her where I was, she’d tell them to look in the tree. That’s where I would talk to God. That was my word then. God. That was the only word offered me at the time. My path into nature-centered practices seems obvious from this vantage point. But then the only thing offered me, forced on me, was Episcopalianism. The sacred story cycles of Christianity, at least the ones I heard in that church, not only didn’t serve me, but generally left me quite angry. The wrathful God of those stories found no overlap with the God I knew in the trees. As no other alternatives were offered to me in that sheltered existence, I decided instead to stop talking to God. I did not talk to It for a long, long time.

And then, one day, God talked to me.

In the cultures of the British Isles, which is primarily my ancestry, “the hedge” has long been seen as a liminal space between the worlds. I am a hedgewalker, getting to know the spirits of the land on the shoreline of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and those of my celtic and anglo-saxon ancestors from the British Isles and northwestern Europe. I study druidry and other core “shamanic” technologies that many ancient peoples & contemporary indigenous cultures across the planet have used to connect with the Otherworld(s). “Shaman” is a word specific to the Tuvan people of Siberia. I use the word “hedgewalker” to honor and connect with my own culture, as well as to mindfully skirt the arena of cultural appropriation as best I can.

I did not come back to this natural core way of connecting with Source until much later  in life and so I consume books and workshops and conversations and teaching with an intense hunger. So much time has been wasted and I feel “behind.” I practice with a healthy dose of skepticism, a profound appreciation for science, and a heart bursting with love for Source in all Her manifestations. In addition to my studies with the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids and my hedgewalking practices with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and other practitioners, I went back to school around my day job and received a certificate in Spiritual and Pastoral Care from Andover Newton Theological School and most recently, a certificate from the Spiritual Guidance Program from the Rowe Conference Center, a Unitarian Universalist retreat center and now offer spiritual companioning to others—from any faith tradition or none at all—who want to explore the spiritual dimensions of what it means to be human.

I have been informed by many spiritual pathways on the way to this one and the names I use for Source have become many—Spirit, God/dess, the Divine, helping spirits, Holy Mother, power animals, and spirits of the land. Persephone, Brigid, Hekate, the Cailleach, and Cerridwen are the manifestations of the Goddess whose wisdom most frequently and personally speak to me and to whom I pray and make offerings. It is their faces I see in the directions, on my altar, and who whisper to me at my art table. Source has a thousand names. Your names are welcome here too. I look forward to being in conversation with you. Welcome to my blog.

2 thoughts on “Starting Out: What are your names for God?

  1. that which is most feared seems to be that which is heavily pushed down, subjugated, denigrated. Why be afraid? Those who do not understand nor respect Nature’s potent force will use force: rape, kill, erase. This power can never be snuffed out nor silenced. It can only rise, with each cosmic exhalation.

    God/dess, for me, is the sovereign voice of the land, the earth, the sky, the sea. Women stand as guardians and gatekeepers. And women who must learn to rise again. I seem to have a lot of fear in this lifetime. Perhaps it is the recall of past lives that were brutal and unforgiving. Perhaps I am atoning for prior misdeeds and injustices.

    I wish to deepen my connection with this beautiful planet. It is a challenge but I am willing, ready and able and I am listening…
    Be not afear’d!

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    • hekate9 — please forgive the delayed response! Life got in the way, big time, of the progress of this blog but I appreciate you reading my post and responding with your own expression of how the God/dess enlivens you. Among our ancestors, women definitely had a much larger role in the spiritual life of the village and the people and even today, in some indigenous cultures, the women are still the keepers of the land. In the celtic culture of Ireland, the land was a goddess — Sovereignty — and the King made a ceremonial marriage to her in order to become king, making a promise to the people and to the land to put their needs first. In many indigenous cultures here in the States, the women are the water protectors. Let us all, as you suggest, deepen our connection to this beautiful blue dot we call home!

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