Monday, January 26, 2015

desert river divine... and stuff

The topic for the Pagan Experience this last week was "deity and the divine."

I already wrote a response to it, but then I didn't realize this was actually the same prompt, so I wrote another response. Because I'm organized like that. Then, as I was considering editing this - since I'm all rambly lately - I thought, hey, this is starting to sound just like that one post I did. Hm. Maybe... yeah, I need to check on that... Oh damnit. And it turns out the post I was thinking of was a different post, which was about the San Pedro River but not about deities. But whatever. This is another perspective on the topic/s. Or another way of looking at the same perspective. Anyway, it's different enough that I decided to go ahead and post it. Can one spam ones own blog?


The other day, somebody Awesome (okay, it was my tai chi teacher and most excellent friend, whom I shall name Awesome) was commenting on the nature of the divine, and she described it as those natural things that stand out to you, that reach out and touch your soul somehow. These things, these places, have a power of their own that speaks to us. These are the divine.

That's not a quote because my memory sucks and I can't remember her exact words. But that's the gist. We were talking specifically about the San Pedro River, and how it flows through the desert valley, a plainly visible strip of life even in the winter. The river itself is surrounded by cottonwood trees with silvery bark in the winter, and the lightest green leaves the rest of the year. It's a brilliant bit of desert enchantment, and it's most of the reason I ended up living in southern Arizona.

I was sent here for training while I was in the Army. When I got out of the Army, I wanted to come back. The land pulled me back. I'd never felt a place so full of masculine energy, so devoid of the womb-like energy of the forests where I grew up.

But this place, this desert, is not barren; it is full of life that thrives on struggle. The river epitomizes this concept, and functions as a focal point for the energies of this place. That is how I imagine deities: they are the focal energies of places, things, and intents.

When I say a prayer to Hel, I'm recalling the energies of transformation and bare-boned truths; when I seek Odin, I acknowledge the energies of sacrifice and knowledge. Sometimes these energies seem to move through the world in ways that draw my attention, like the river San Pedro does.

I was thinking, while we were at the river this weekend, that this is a place that brings all four elements together: the water reflects the sun's fire as it tumbles between the earth and air. The pull here is so strong it feels almost sentient. Or maybe it's beyond sentience. Who am I to say?

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