Today I approached my altar in silence. Speaking the words out loud, my standard approach to a daily ritual, felt unnecessary. In my mind, in my heart, the words rang out with perfect clarity, and I trusted that whomever needed to hear them would.
The effort I put into my daily practice waxes and wanes, and it is influenced a great deal by my emotional state. Some days I don’t feel I have it in me to make offerings of gratitude and thanks to the Kindred. There are financial concerns, piles of paperwork on the desk, and sticky-notes of errands that have been neglected. When I wake up with a busy brain I have a very difficult time making space for piety.
But today in my ritual, rather than using my voice to will the space into stillness, I went inward. I turned my gaze into the depths and found that there was already plenty of space for reverence. Caverns of it, really. And the stillness came.
To my delight, I found that the richness of my meditative, magickal work increased in this state of silent dialogue. My small candle flame transformed into the great, Sacred Fire with a force that it hadn’t before. The chalice became the Well, and reached deep into the center of the earth, effortlessly. In between the two stood the Great Tree, broad and majestic, and full of life.
All of this happened in a silent room, and it was only possible – I think – because I’ve been faithful to my daily practice to the point where the words I speak out loud could finally be internalized. The Kindred listen in ways that are beyond my imagination. The spirits of the land and of our ancestors are sentient, I believe, but I’m not sure how. I think that I was persistent in speaking out loud because I thought there was a connection between the sound of my voice and their ability to hear. This may have even been a lesson I was taught.
But I don’t believe it’s true. I don’t believe we need to approach the Kindred — the Gods of our heart — with the idea that their limitations are easily conceivable. They may not, as many Pagans have presumed, be omni-anything, but the exact shape of their being remains a mystery.
Sometimes I think the Pagan Humanists have it right in their approach to their practice. They see the Gods as archetypes, but they also see the archetypes as our entry into deeper engagement with the greatness, the expansiveness, the mystery of the Gods. In a way, I’d rather suspend my need to affirm some definite conception of the Gods if it allowed me to approach Them with greater reverence and wonder.
Does that make sense?
Before today, I spoke out loud in my room because I thought I needed to do so in order to be heard, in order for my ritual to be successful. But I’ve discovered that I can have the experience of being heard without speaking at all. It feels like there are greater ramifications to this discovery that I can’t yet see.
Does this inspire something in you?